web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 337)

Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren Goes Undercover As Nerdy Intern On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Westlake Legal Group 5e2d43691f00002e008580a6 Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren Goes Undercover As Nerdy Intern On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Adam Driver returned as host of “Saturday Night Live” and resurrected a version of his classic 2016 “Undercover Boss: Star Killer Base” sketch. This time his “Star Wars” persona Kylo Ren went undercover as “Randy,” an “entry-level intern” on the Star Destroyer.

“I haven’t been the best boss lately,” admits Kylo Ren. “I’ve been a little distracted by some personal drama.”

A voice-over explains: “Kylo killed his dad, cut his mentor in half, fired upon his mother’s spacecraft and is now obsessed with finding a young Jedi named Rey.”

Now he’s after a “fresh perspective.” But he’s a bit cranky as an intern, doesn’t like the rude stormtroopers, fries printers — and creams a disrespectful admiral (Beck Bennett) with a death stare. “Oh, my God,” he says in fake concern. “Are you OK?”

“I made four new friends and only killed one of them” (with a lightsaber), he recounts when his intern stint is over. “I’d say that’s a pretty good start.”

Check out the last time Driver’s Kylo Ren went undercover on “SNL” here:

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner

Westlake Legal Group 00iran-plane11-facebookJumbo Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

When the Revolutionary Guards officer spotted what he thought was an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport, he had seconds to decide whether to pull the trigger.

Iran had just fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at American forces, the country was on high alert for an American counterattack, and the Iranian military was warning of incoming cruise missiles.

The officer tried to reach the command center for authorization to shoot but couldn’t get through. So he fired an antiaircraft missile. Then another.

The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.

Within minutes, the top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards realized what they had done. And at that moment, they began to cover it up.

For days, they refused to tell even President Hassan Rouhani, whose government was publicly denying that the plane had been shot down. When they finally told him, he gave them an ultimatum: come clean or he would resign.

Only then, 72 hours after the plane crashed, did Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, step in and order the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.

The New York Times pieced together a chronology of those three days by interviewing Iranian diplomats, current and former government officials, ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and people close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and by examining official public statements and state media reports.

The reporting exposes the government’s behind-the-scenes debate over covering up Iran’s responsibility for the crash while shocked Iranians, grieving relatives and countries with citizens aboard the plane waited for the truth.

The new details also demonstrate the outsize power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which effectively sidelined the elected government in a moment of national crisis, and could deepen what many Iranians already see as a crisis of legitimacy for the Guards and the government.

The bitter divisions in Iran’s government persist and are bound to affect the investigation into the crash, negotiations over compensation and the unresolved debate over accountability.

Around midnight on Jan. 7, as Iran was preparing to launch a ballistic-missile attack on American military posts in Iraq, senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deployed mobile antiaircraft defense units around a sensitive military area near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.

Iran was about to retaliate for the American drone strike that had killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in Baghdad five days earlier, and the military was bracing for an American counterstrike. The armed forces were on “at war” status, the highest alert level.

But in a tragic miscalculation, the government continued to allow civilian commercial flights to land and take off from the Tehran airport.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guards’ Aerospace Force, said later that his units had asked officials in Tehran to close Iran’s airspace and ground all flights, to no avail.

Iranian officials feared that shutting down the airport would create mass panic that war with the United States was imminent, members of the Guards and other officials told The Times. They also hoped that the presence of passenger jets could act as a deterrent against an American attack on the airport or the nearby military base, effectively turning planeloads of unsuspecting travelers into human shields.

After Iran’s missile attack began, the central air defense command issued an alert that American warplanes had taken off from the United Arab Emirates and that cruise missiles were headed toward Iran.

The officer on the missile launcher near the airport heard the warnings but did not hear a later message that the cruise missile alert was a false alarm.

The warning about American warplanes may have also been wrong. United States military officials have said that no American planes were in or near Iranian airspace that night.

When the officer spotted the Ukrainian jet, he sought permission to fire. But he was unable to communicate with his commanders because the network had been disrupted or jammed, General Hajizadeh said later.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, fired two missiles, less than 30 seconds apart.

General Hajizadeh, who was in western Iran supervising the attack on the Americans, received a phone call with the news.

“I called the officials and told them this has happened and it’s highly possible we hit our own plane,” he said later in a televised statement.

By the time General Hajizadeh arrived in Tehran, he had informed Iran’s top three military commanders: Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the army’s commander in chief, who is also the chief of the central air defense command; Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Armed Forces; and Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Revolutionary Guards, an elite force charged with defending Iran’s clerical rule at home and abroad, is separate from the regular army and answers only to the supreme leader. At this point, the leaders of both militaries knew the truth.

General Hajizadeh advised the generals not to tell the rank-and-file air defense units for fear that it could hamper their ability to react quickly if the United States did attack.

“It was for the benefit of our national security because then our air defense system would be compromised,” Mr. Hajizadeh said in an interview with Iranian news media this week. “The ranks would be suspicious of everything.”

The military leaders created a secret investigative committee drawn from the Guards’ aerospace forces, from the army’s air defense, and from intelligence and cyberexperts. The committee and the officers involved in the shooting were sequestered and ordered not to speak to anyone.

The committee examined data from the airport, the flight path, radar networks, and alerts and messages from the missile operator and central command. Witnesses — the officer who had pulled the trigger, his supervisors and everyone involved — were interrogated for hours.

The group also investigated the possibility that the United States or Israel may have hacked Iran’s defense system or jammed the airwaves.

By Wednesday night, the committee had concluded that the plane was shot down because of human error.

“We were not confident about what happened until Wednesday around sunset,” General Salami, the commander in chief of the Guards, said later in a televised address to the Parliament. “Our investigative team concluded then that the plane crashed because of human errors.”

Ayatollah Khamenei was informed. But they still did not inform the president, other elected officials or the public.

Senior commanders discussed keeping the shooting secret until the plane’s black boxes — the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — were examined and formal aviation investigations completed, according to members of the Guards, diplomats and officials with knowledge of the deliberations. That process could take months, they argued, and it would buy time to manage the domestic and international fallout that would ensue when the truth came out.

The government had violently crushed an anti-government uprising in November. But the American killing of General Suleimani, followed by the strikes against the United States, had turned public opinion around. Iranians were galvanized in a moment of national unity.

The authorities feared that admitting to shooting down the passenger plane would undercut that momentum and prompt a new wave of anti-government protests.

“They advocated covering it up because they thought the country couldn’t handle more crisis,” said a ranking member of the Guards who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “At the end, safeguarding the Islamic Republic is our ultimate goal, at any cost.”

That evening, the spokesman for the Joint Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, told Iranian news media that suggestions that missiles struck the plane were “an absolute lie.”

On Thursday, as Ukrainian investigators began to arrive in Tehran, Western officials were saying publicly that they had evidence that Iran had accidentally shot down the plane.

A chorus of senior Iranian officials — from the director of civil aviation to the chief government spokesman — issued statement after statement rejecting the allegations, their claims amplified on state media.

The suggestion that Iran would shoot down a passenger plane was a “Western plot,” they said, “psychological warfare” aimed at weakening Iran just as it had exercised its military muscle against the United States.

But in private, government officials were alarmed and questioning whether there was any truth to the Western claims. Mr. Rouhani, a seasoned military strategist himself, and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, deflected phone calls from world leaders and foreign ministers seeking answers. Ignorant of what their own military had done, they had none to give.

Domestically, public pressure was building for the government to address the allegations.

Among the plane’s passengers were some of Iran’s best and brightest. They included prominent scientists and physicians, dozens of Iran’s top young scholars and graduates of elite universities, and six gold and silver medal winners of international physics and math Olympiads.

There were two newlywed couples who had traveled from Canada to Tehran for their weddings just days earlier. There were families and young children.

Their relatives demanded answers. Iranian social media began to explode with emotional commentary, some accusing Iran of murdering its own citizens and others calling such allegations treason.

Persian-language satellite channels operating from abroad, the main source of news for most Iranians, broadcast blanket coverage of the crash, including reports from Western governments that Iran had shot down the plane.

Mr. Rouhani tried several times to call military commanders, officials said, but they did not return his calls. Members of his government called their contacts in the military and were told the allegations were false. Iran’s civil aviation agency called military officials with similar results.

“Thursday was frantic,” Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman, said later in a news conference. “The government made back-to-back phone calls and contacted the armed forces asking what happened, and the answer to all the questions was that no missile had been fired.”

On Friday morning, Mr. Rabiei issued a statement saying the allegation that Iran had shot down the plane was “a big lie.”

Several hours later, the nation’s top military commanders called a private meeting and told Mr. Rouhani the truth.

Mr. Rouhani was livid, according to officials close to him. He demanded that Iran immediately announce that it had made a tragic mistake and accept the consequences.

The military officials pushed back, arguing that the fallout could destabilize the country.

Mr. Rouhani threatened to resign.

Canada, which had the most foreign citizens on board the plane, and the United States, which as Boeing’s home country was invited to investigate the crash, would eventually reveal their evidence, Mr. Rouhani said. The damage to Iran’s reputation and the public trust in the government would create an enormous crisis at a time when Iran could not bear more pressure.

As the standoff escalated, a member of Ayatollah Khamenei’s inner circle who was in the meeting informed the supreme leader. The ayatollah sent a message back to the group, ordering the government to prepare a public statement acknowledging what had happened.

Mr. Rouhani briefed a few senior members of his government. They were rattled.

Mr. Rabiei, the government spokesman who had issued a denial just that morning, broke down. Abbas Abdi, a prominent critic of Iran’s clerical establishment, said that when he spoke to Mr. Rabiei that evening, Mr. Rabiei was distraught and crying.

“Everything is a lie,” Mr. Rabiei said, according to Mr. Abdi. “The whole thing is a lie. What should I do? My honor is gone.”

Mr. Abdi said the government’s actions had gone “far beyond” just a lie.

“There was a systematic cover-up at the highest levels that makes it impossible to get out of this crisis,” he said.

Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting and drafted two statements, the first to be issued by the Joint Armed Forces followed by a second one from Mr. Rouhani.

As they debated the wording, some suggested claiming that the United States or Israel may have contributed to the accident by jamming Iran’s radars or hacking its communications networks.

But the military commanders opposed it. General Hajizadeh said the shame of human error paled compared with admitting his air defense system was vulnerable to hacking by the enemy.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Agency later said that it had found no evidence of jamming or hacking.

At 7 a.m., the military released a statement admitting that Iran had shot down the plane because of “human error.”

The bombshell revelation has not ended the division within the government. The Revolutionary Guards want to pin the blame on those involved in firing the missiles and be done with it, officials said. The missile operator and up to 10 others have been arrested but officials have not identified them or said whether they had been charged.

Mr. Rouhani has demanded a broader accounting, including an investigation of the entire chain of command. The Guards’ accepting responsibility, he said, is “the first step and needs to be completed with other steps.” His spokesman and lawmakers have demanded to know why Mr. Rouhani was not immediately informed.

Mr. Rouhani touched on that concern when he put out his statement an hour and 15 minutes later. The first line said that he had found out about the investigative committee’s conclusion about cause of the crash “a few hours ago.”

It was a stunning admission, an acknowledgment that even the nation’s highest elected official had been shut out from the truth, and that as Iranians, and the world, turned to the government for answers, it had peddled lies.

“What we thought was news was a lie. What we thought was a lie was news,” said Hesamedin Ashna, Mr. Rouhani’s top adviser, on Twitter. “Why? Why? Beware of cover-ups and military rule.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo blasts ‘shameful’ NPR reporter, claims she broke agreement reached before interview

Westlake Legal Group Mary-Louise-Kelly-Pompeo-NPR-AP Pompeo blasts 'shameful' NPR reporter, claims she broke agreement reached before interview fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 33c27828-0eab-5048-a4af-3c23d839ddd4

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded Saturday following media reports that said he scolded an NPR reporter after they sat for an interview — one that Pompeo claimed afterward had strayed from an agreement he had reached with the journalist.

In the statement, Pompeo claimed Mary Louise Kelly lied to him, called her behavior “shameful” and insinuated she mistook a country in South Asia for Ukraine on a map.

“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice,” Pompeo said in the statement. “First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.”

NPR REPORTER SAYS POMPEO SHOUTED, CURSED AT HER AFTER SHE PRESSED HIM ON UKRAINE DURING INTERVIEW

He called the confrontation another example of how an “unhinged” media wants to hurt the Trump administration.

“It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.”

“It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.”

— Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

After Pompeo’s statement, journalists and congressional Democrats rushed to Kelly’s defense.

Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post, for example, called Pompeo’s statement “a shameful assault on #PressFreedom.”

That comment drew a sharp rebuke from Andrew Surabian, a former special assistant to President Trump.

“In what universe is complaining about a reporter breaking an off the record agreement an ‘assault on press freedom’?” Surabian wrote.

“If @NPRKelly did indeed break an off the record agreement, she should be fired & her colleagues should be condemning her, not holding her up as a resistance hero.”

“If @NPRKelly did indeed break an off the record agreement, she should be fired & her colleagues should be condemning her, not holding her up as a resistance hero.”

— Andrew Surabian, former special assistant to President Trump

Pompeo concluded his statement by writing, “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”

The remark was an apparent reference to an interaction between Pompeo and Kelly in Pompeo’s office after the recorded interview ended.

“He shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted,” Kelly claimed on her show “All Things Considered” later Friday. “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”

Kelly said Pompeo asked her if she could find Ukraine on a map and when she said she could he had an aide pull out a blank map of the world and directed her to identify the country.

“I pointed to Ukraine,” she said. “He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this.’”

Pompeo said he agreed to discuss only Iran in the recorded interview, not Ukraine. But Kelly pressed him on Ukraine, including questions on the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yavonovitch.

Kelly told him she had confirmed with his staff the evening before that they would talk about both countries, which he disputed. And while Pompeo’s statement said Kelly promised the discussion in his office would be off the record, NPR reported Kelly was never told that.

“Nor would I have agreed,” she said.

NPR said it stands behind its report. “We will not be intimidated,” NPR CEO John Lansing said Saturday.

In December 2018, NPR was forced to issue a lengthy correction after falsely accusing Donald Trump Jr. of lying to the Senate about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, claiming his statements contradicted Michael Cohen’s plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Five Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — ranking member Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tim Kaine of Virginia — sent a letter to Pompeo on Saturday expressing their “profound disappointment” with his “irresponsible” statement.

“At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State,” it read.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Kelly has traveled extensively as a journalist — most recently to Iran — and has a master’s degree from Cambridge in European Studies.

Westlake Legal Group Mary-Louise-Kelly-Pompeo-NPR-AP Pompeo blasts 'shameful' NPR reporter, claims she broke agreement reached before interview fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 33c27828-0eab-5048-a4af-3c23d839ddd4   Westlake Legal Group Mary-Louise-Kelly-Pompeo-NPR-AP Pompeo blasts 'shameful' NPR reporter, claims she broke agreement reached before interview fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 33c27828-0eab-5048-a4af-3c23d839ddd4

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner

Westlake Legal Group 00iran-plane11-facebookJumbo Anatomy of a Lie: How Iran Covered Up the Downing of an Airliner Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Khamenei, Ali Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Defense and Military Forces Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

When the Revolutionary Guards officer spotted what he thought was an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport, he had seconds to decide whether to pull the trigger.

Iran had just fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at American forces, the country was on high alert for an American counterattack, and the Iranian military was warning of incoming cruise missiles.

The officer tried to reach the command center for authorization to shoot but couldn’t get through. So he fired an antiaircraft missile. Then another.

The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.

Within minutes, the top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards realized what they had done. And at that moment, they began to cover it up.

For days, they refused to tell even President Hassan Rouhani, whose government was publicly denying that the plane had been shot down. When they finally told him, he gave them an ultimatum: come clean or he would resign.

Only then, 72 hours after the plane crashed, did Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, step in and order the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.

The New York Times pieced together a chronology of those three days by interviewing Iranian diplomats, current and former government officials, ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and people close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and by examining official public statements and state media reports.

The reporting exposes the government’s behind-the-scenes debate over covering up Iran’s responsibility for the crash while shocked Iranians, grieving relatives and countries with citizens aboard the plane waited for the truth.

The new details also demonstrate the outsize power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which effectively sidelined the elected government in a moment of national crisis, and could deepen what many Iranians already see as a crisis of legitimacy for the Guards and the government.

The bitter divisions in Iran’s government persist and are bound to affect the investigation into the crash, negotiations over compensation and the unresolved debate over accountability.

Around midnight on Jan. 7, as Iran was preparing to launch a ballistic-missile attack on American military posts in Iraq, senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deployed mobile antiaircraft defense units around a sensitive military area near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.

Iran was about to retaliate for the American drone strike that had killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in Baghdad five days earlier, and the military was bracing for an American counterstrike. The armed forces were on “at war” status, the highest alert level.

But in a tragic miscalculation, the government continued to allow civilian commercial flights to land and take off from the Tehran airport.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guards’ Aerospace Force, said later that his units had asked officials in Tehran to close Iran’s airspace and ground all flights, to no avail.

Iranian officials feared that shutting down the airport would create mass panic that war with the United States was imminent, members of the Guards and other officials told The Times. They also hoped that the presence of passenger jets could act as a deterrent against an American attack on the airport or the nearby military base, effectively turning planeloads of unsuspecting travelers into human shields.

After Iran’s missile attack began, the central air defense command issued an alert that American warplanes had taken off from the United Arab Emirates and that cruise missiles were headed toward Iran.

The officer on the missile launcher near the airport heard the warnings but did not hear a later message that the cruise missile alert was a false alarm.

The warning about American warplanes may have also been wrong. United States military officials have said that no American planes were in or near Iranian airspace that night.

When the officer spotted the Ukrainian jet, he sought permission to fire. But he was unable to communicate with his commanders because the network had been disrupted or jammed, General Hajizadeh said later.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, fired two missiles, less than 30 seconds apart.

General Hajizadeh, who was in western Iran supervising the attack on the Americans, received a phone call with the news.

“I called the officials and told them this has happened and it’s highly possible we hit our own plane,” he said later in a televised statement.

By the time General Hajizadeh arrived in Tehran, he had informed Iran’s top three military commanders: Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the army’s commander in chief, who is also the chief of the central air defense command; Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Armed Forces; and Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Revolutionary Guards, an elite force charged with defending Iran’s clerical rule at home and abroad, is separate from the regular army and answers only to the supreme leader. At this point, the leaders of both militaries knew the truth.

General Hajizadeh advised the generals not to tell the rank-and-file air defense units for fear that it could hamper their ability to react quickly if the United States did attack.

“It was for the benefit of our national security because then our air defense system would be compromised,” Mr. Hajizadeh said in an interview with Iranian news media this week. “The ranks would be suspicious of everything.”

The military leaders created a secret investigative committee drawn from the Guards’ aerospace forces, from the army’s air defense, and from intelligence and cyberexperts. The committee and the officers involved in the shooting were sequestered and ordered not to speak to anyone.

The committee examined data from the airport, the flight path, radar networks, and alerts and messages from the missile operator and central command. Witnesses — the officer who had pulled the trigger, his supervisors and everyone involved — were interrogated for hours.

The group also investigated the possibility that the United States or Israel may have hacked Iran’s defense system or jammed the airwaves.

By Wednesday night, the committee had concluded that the plane was shot down because of human error.

“We were not confident about what happened until Wednesday around sunset,” General Salami, the commander in chief of the Guards, said later in a televised address to the Parliament. “Our investigative team concluded then that the plane crashed because of human errors.”

Ayatollah Khamenei was informed. But they still did not inform the president, other elected officials or the public.

Senior commanders discussed keeping the shooting secret until the plane’s black boxes — the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — were examined and formal aviation investigations completed, according to members of the Guards, diplomats and officials with knowledge of the deliberations. That process could take months, they argued, and it would buy time to manage the domestic and international fallout that would ensue when the truth came out.

The government had violently crushed an anti-government uprising in November. But the American killing of General Suleimani, followed by the strikes against the United States, had turned public opinion around. Iranians were galvanized in a moment of national unity.

The authorities feared that admitting to shooting down the passenger plane would undercut that momentum and prompt a new wave of anti-government protests.

“They advocated covering it up because they thought the country couldn’t handle more crisis,” said a ranking member of the Guards who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “At the end, safeguarding the Islamic Republic is our ultimate goal, at any cost.”

That evening, the spokesman for the Joint Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, told Iranian news media that suggestions that missiles struck the plane were “an absolute lie.”

On Thursday, as Ukrainian investigators began to arrive in Tehran, Western officials were saying publicly that they had evidence that Iran had accidentally shot down the plane.

A chorus of senior Iranian officials — from the director of civil aviation to the chief government spokesman — issued statement after statement rejecting the allegations, their claims amplified on state media.

The suggestion that Iran would shoot down a passenger plane was a “Western plot,” they said, “psychological warfare” aimed at weakening Iran just as it had exercised its military muscle against the United States.

But in private, government officials were alarmed and questioning whether there was any truth to the Western claims. Mr. Rouhani, a seasoned military strategist himself, and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, deflected phone calls from world leaders and foreign ministers seeking answers. Ignorant of what their own military had done, they had none to give.

Domestically, public pressure was building for the government to address the allegations.

Among the plane’s passengers were some of Iran’s best and brightest. They included prominent scientists and physicians, dozens of Iran’s top young scholars and graduates of elite universities, and six gold and silver medal winners of international physics and math Olympiads.

There were two newlywed couples who had traveled from Canada to Tehran for their weddings just days earlier. There were families and young children.

Their relatives demanded answers. Iranian social media began to explode with emotional commentary, some accusing Iran of murdering its own citizens and others calling such allegations treason.

Persian-language satellite channels operating from abroad, the main source of news for most Iranians, broadcast blanket coverage of the crash, including reports from Western governments that Iran had shot down the plane.

Mr. Rouhani tried several times to call military commanders, officials said, but they did not return his calls. Members of his government called their contacts in the military and were told the allegations were false. Iran’s civil aviation agency called military officials with similar results.

“Thursday was frantic,” Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman, said later in a news conference. “The government made back-to-back phone calls and contacted the armed forces asking what happened, and the answer to all the questions was that no missile had been fired.”

On Friday morning, Mr. Rabiei issued a statement saying the allegation that Iran had shot down the plane was “a big lie.”

Several hours later, the nation’s top military commanders called a private meeting and told Mr. Rouhani the truth.

Mr. Rouhani was livid, according to officials close to him. He demanded that Iran immediately announce that it had made a tragic mistake and accept the consequences.

The military officials pushed back, arguing that the fallout could destabilize the country.

Mr. Rouhani threatened to resign.

Canada, which had the most foreign citizens on board the plane, and the United States, which as Boeing’s home country was invited to investigate the crash, would eventually reveal their evidence, Mr. Rouhani said. The damage to Iran’s reputation and the public trust in the government would create an enormous crisis at a time when Iran could not bear more pressure.

As the standoff escalated, a member of Ayatollah Khamenei’s inner circle who was in the meeting informed the supreme leader. The ayatollah sent a message back to the group, ordering the government to prepare a public statement acknowledging what had happened.

Mr. Rouhani briefed a few senior members of his government. They were rattled.

Mr. Rabiei, the government spokesman who had issued a denial just that morning, broke down. Abbas Abdi, a prominent critic of Iran’s clerical establishment, said that when he spoke to Mr. Rabiei that evening, Mr. Rabiei was distraught and crying.

“Everything is a lie,” Mr. Rabiei said, according to Mr. Abdi. “The whole thing is a lie. What should I do? My honor is gone.”

Mr. Abdi said the government’s actions had gone “far beyond” just a lie.

“There was a systematic cover-up at the highest levels that makes it impossible to get out of this crisis,” he said.

Iran’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting and drafted two statements, the first to be issued by the Joint Armed Forces followed by a second one from Mr. Rouhani.

As they debated the wording, some suggested claiming that the United States or Israel may have contributed to the accident by jamming Iran’s radars or hacking its communications networks.

But the military commanders opposed it. General Hajizadeh said the shame of human error paled compared with admitting his air defense system was vulnerable to hacking by the enemy.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Agency later said that it had found no evidence of jamming or hacking.

At 7 a.m., the military released a statement admitting that Iran had shot down the plane because of “human error.”

The bombshell revelation has not ended the division within the government. The Revolutionary Guards want to pin the blame on those involved in firing the missiles and be done with it, officials said. The missile operator and up to 10 others have been arrested but officials have not identified them or said whether they had been charged.

Mr. Rouhani has demanded a broader accounting, including an investigation of the entire chain of command. The Guards’ accepting responsibility, he said, is “the first step and needs to be completed with other steps.” His spokesman and lawmakers have demanded to know why Mr. Rouhani was not immediately informed.

Mr. Rouhani touched on that concern when he put out his statement an hour and 15 minutes later. The first line said that he had found out about the investigative committee’s conclusion about cause of the crash “a few hours ago.”

It was a stunning admission, an acknowledgment that even the nation’s highest elected official had been shut out from the truth, and that as Iranians, and the world, turned to the government for answers, it had peddled lies.

“What we thought was news was a lie. What we thought was a lie was news,” said Hesamedin Ashna, Mr. Rouhani’s top adviser, on Twitter. “Why? Why? Beware of cover-ups and military rule.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

AOC bashes ICE, Sanders bashes Trump during Iowa rally

Westlake Legal Group sanders-AOC-AP AOC bashes ICE, Sanders bashes Trump during Iowa rally Nick Givas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8d897e6b-616d-5759-92b1-8808faadde67

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged supporters of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday night to start “tipping people off” if they see federal immigration authorities taking action against illegal immigrants in their communities.

It was just one of many tips the New York Democrat had for a crowd in Ames, Iowa, as she continued stumping for Sanders ahead of the state’s presidential caucuses on Feb. 3.

Unlike a Friday night event in Iowa City, in which Ocasio-Cortez promoted progressive causes like the Green New Deal, government-funded health care and immigration reform — but never mentioned the name of Sanders, who was absent because of Senate impeachment trial duties in Washington — the 30-year-old freshman congresswoman on Saturday, with the 78-year-old Sanders now in attendance, reminded the crowd who she supported.

BERNIE SANDERS SURGES IN LATEST POLLS AS IOWA CAUCUSES LOOM

“We need a true Green New Deal in this country,” she said. “Sen. Sanders has the largest plan in the field to address the climate crisis. I’m here because we need true immigration justice. And I’m not here to reform some of these systems when we talk about immigration, I’m here because Sen. Sanders has truly committed to breaking up ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Protection).”

As for Sanders himself, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont spent much of his speech in Ames blasting President Trump — just one week after Trump defended Sanders following an attack by his Democratic progressive rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

“What we can agree on is that in our great country, we should not have a president who is a pathological liar,” Sanders said. “We should not have a president who is running a corrupt administration. We should not have a president who is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot.”

“We can have our differences of opinion,” Sanders added. “But we do not need somebody like Donald Trump in the White House, who forces parents to turn off the TV when kids are in the room – who is an embarrassment to us all over the world.”

The Vermont progressive also referred to Trump as “the most dangerous president in the modern history of America” and claimed his policies on climate change threaten the entire world.

“Donald Trump is doing many bad things for our country,” he said. “In terms of climate change, he is rejecting science. We cannot have a government that rejects science.”

Sanders also echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s emphasis on engaging young voters and said increasing voter turnout is the only way to make a lasting impact, that transcends the ballot box.

“If you are tired of student debt — if you are sick and tired and scared about climate change — If you are disgusted with racism and sexism… if you believe health care is a human right, you can’t sit it out,” he said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“You can’t complain. You have to be involved. If young people were to vote in Iowa and in this national election at the same rate as older people — not only will we beat Trump, but we lay the groundwork for transforming this country.”

As for his policy agenda, Sanders echoed his previous calls for a Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, and the elimination of student debt.

“We can cancel all student debt in America with a modest tax on Wall Street speculation,” he proposed.

Westlake Legal Group sanders-AOC-AP AOC bashes ICE, Sanders bashes Trump during Iowa rally Nick Givas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8d897e6b-616d-5759-92b1-8808faadde67   Westlake Legal Group sanders-AOC-AP AOC bashes ICE, Sanders bashes Trump during Iowa rally Nick Givas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/iowa fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8d897e6b-616d-5759-92b1-8808faadde67

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Nearly 2,000 In China Now Infected With Coronavirus; 56 Dead

Westlake Legal Group 5e2d1d31240000310064c4be Nearly 2,000 In China Now Infected With Coronavirus; 56 Dead

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The ability of the new coronavirus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise, China’s National Health Commission said on Sunday, with nearly 2,000 people in China infected and 56 killed by the disease.

Health authorities around the world are racing to prevent a pandemic after a handful of cases of infection were reported outside China, including in Thailand, Australia, the United States and France.

The newly-identified coronavirus has created alarm because much about it is still unknown, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the incubation period for the virus can range from one to 14 days, during which infection can occur, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

SARS was a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.

“According to recent clinical information, the virus’ ability to spread seems to be getting somewhat stronger,” Ma told reporters.

The Lunar New Year holiday, traditionally celebrated by hundreds of millions of Chinese travelling around the country and abroad to see family, began on Friday but has been severely disrupted by the outbreak.

Ma said China would intensify its containment efforts, which have so far included transportation and travel curbs and the cancellation of big events.

The country may extend the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing a meeting hosted by Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Hong Kong has six confirmed cases.

The World Health Organization this week stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can contain the epidemic.

Chinese President Xi Jinping described the situation as “grave” on Saturday.

On Sunday, China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected as of midnight (1600 GMT) on Jan. 25, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 56, CCTV reported.

Health officials in Orange County, California, reported that a third case of the virus had been registered in the United States in a traveller from Wuhan, who was in isolation and in good condition.

On Saturday, Canada declared a first “presumptive” confirmed case in a resident who had returned from Wuhan. Australia confirmed its first four cases.

No fatalities have been reported outside China.

WILDLIFE SALES BAN

On Sunday, China temporarily banned nationwide the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms. Wild and often poached animals packed together in Chinese markets are blamed as incubators for viruses to evolve and jump the species barrier to humans.

Snakes, peacocks, crocodiles and other species can also be found for sale via Taobao, an e-commerce website run by Alibaba.

The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society called on China to make the ban permanent.

The U.S. State Department said it will relocate personnel at its Wuhan consulate to the United States, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was working with China to arrange a charter flight for Japanese nationals to return from Wuhan.

The outbreak has prompted widening curbs on movements within China, with Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on virtual lockdown and transport links all-but severed except for emergency vehicles.

CANCELLATIONS AND MISTRUST

Health authorities in Beijing urged people not to shake hands but instead salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture. The advice was sent in a text message that went out to mobile phone users in the city on Sunday morning.

Beijing also postponed the reopening of the city’s schools and universities after the Lunar New Year holiday, state radio reported. Hong Kong had already delayed the reopening of schools to Feb. 17.

China has called for transparency in managing the crisis, after a cover-up of the spread of the SARS virus eroded public trust, but officials in Wuhan have been criticised for their handling of the current outbreak.

“People in my hometown all suspect the real infected patients number given by authorities,” said Violet Li, who lives in the Wuhan district where the seafood market is located.

“I go out with a mask twice a day to walk the dog – that’s the only outdoor activity,” she told Reuters by text message.

Illustrating the extend of disruption to life in China, overall passenger travel declined by nearly 29% on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, from a year earlier, with air passengers down nearly 42%, a transportation ministry official said.

Many cinemas across China were closed with major film premieres postponed.

Cruise operators including Royal Caribbean Cruises <RCL.N>, and Costa Cruises <CCL.N> said they had cancelled a combined 12 cruises that had been scheduled to embark from Chinese ports before Feb. 2.

Hong Kong Disneyland and the city’s Ocean Park were closed on Sunday. Shanghai Disneyland, which expected 100,000 visitors daily through the holiday period, has already closed.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China, although some health officials and experts have questioned the effectiveness of these efforts. 

(Reporting by Yilei Sun, Samuel Shen, Huizhong Wu, Se Young Lee, Shivani Singh, Cheng Leng, Martin Pollard; Writing by Tony Munroe and Toby Chopra; Editing by Michael Perry and Frances Kerry)

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Good Not to Be In Washington’: Senators Return to Iowa for Burst of Campaigning

Westlake Legal Group 25dems06-facebookJumbo ‘Good Not to Be In Washington’: Senators Return to Iowa for Burst of Campaigning United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Midterm Elections (2018) Endorsements Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Axne, Cindy

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar dashed back to Iowa for a frenzied burst of campaigning on Saturday after a week in which they were confined to Washington for the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Their appearances took place amid signs of growing strength in Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, particularly a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely caucusgoers released Saturday that showed him leading the field in Iowa. Given the fears of some Democrats that he could be portrayed as too far to the left to defeat Mr. Trump, his show of strength is likely to alarm some of his detractors as much as it pleases his own supporters coming so close to the Feb. 3 caucuses.

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign sent a fund-raising email on Saturday warning that “Bernie Sanders could be the nominee of our party,” followed by another email that cast doubt on Mr. Sanders’s ability to beat Mr. Trump. And former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a tweet took an implicit jab at Mr. Sanders over his campaign’s promotion of an endorsement from Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host who has been criticized for comments he has made on race and about transgender people.

Mr. Sanders, sounding a bit congested, made it to Iowa in time to attend a rally in Marshalltown with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and the filmmaker Michael Moore.

He made no mention of his poll showing, but he didn’t have to.

“We’re taking on the establishment, and the establishment is getting a little bit nervous,” he told a modest but enthusiastic crowd.

But he did take a swipe at the impeachment trial for scrambling his campaign plans.

“As you well know, we have had to radically change our schedule in the last week — kind of toss it into the garbage can and begin anew,” he said. “But we are going to be back here in Iowa in the next week every moment that we possibly can.”

Mr. Sanders plans to hold events across the northwestern part of Iowa on Sunday before the trial resumes on Monday.

Before he settled into his familiar talking points, Mr. Sanders also issued something of a warning, suggesting he was aware of the renewed attacks from rivals as he continued to display strength in Iowa and other early voting states.

“In the last week of a campaign, a lot of stuff is going to be thrown around — that’s what happens in campaigns,” he said. “But I would hope that this state, New Hampshire and the country does not lose focus on what are the most important issues.”

The day also brought good news for Ms. Warren, who returned to Iowa for the first time since the impeachment trial with a town-hall-style event at a middle school in Muscatine. “Good not to be in Washington,” she told reporters.

She was working her way through her selfie picture line when the news broke that she had received the coveted endorsement of The Des Moines Register. In other endorsements Saturday, The New Hampshire Union Leader backed Ms. Klobuchar, and The Sioux City Journal in Iowa gave its support to Mr. Biden.

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who has struggled to gain traction in the primary race and has also been tethered to Washington because of the impeachment trial, traveled to New Hampshire on Saturday and planned to campaign there through the weekend.

Two other leading contenders, Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, were not stuck in Washington this past week. Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., arrived in Iowa for the beginning of a 10-day sprint across the state before the caucuses. His first stop was a town-hall-style event before about 300 people inside of an old opera house in Fort Dodge.

Mr. Buttigieg began his remarks by reminding the audience that, after 13 months of candidate events, they were in “the final days” of the race in which he has outlasted a handful of adversaries who began the race better-known and better financed than the mayor of South Bend.

After a town-hall-style event in Storm Lake, he was asked about his campaign’s reference to Mr. Sanders in one of the fund-raising emails as “a risk we can’t take.”

“I believe that we should be very mindful that one of the worst risks we can take at a time like this is to recycle the same Washington-style political warfare that brought us to this point,” he said. “If we believe it’s important to win, then the best thing we can do is put forward a candidate who offers something new, something different and something that will break us through the dynamics that have gotten us into this era that’s just got to change.”

Mr. Biden flew to Iowa after beginning his day with an event in Salem, N.H. Speaking in an elementary school gym, Mr. Biden alluded to the impeachment trial that is playing out in Washington and reminded the crowd that he had come under relentless attack from Mr. Trump.

“My guess if you go back and turn your TV on today, you’re going to find the name ‘Biden’ mentioned many, many, many times,” Mr. Biden said. “I wonder why he doesn’t want to run against me.”

Mr. Biden also received a boost on Saturday when he picked up the endorsement of Representative Cindy Axne of Iowa, a freshman Democrat who unseated a Republican incumbent.

“He is who I believe is the one sure bet to beat Donald Trump,” Ms. Axne said in an interview.

Ms. Axne hails from the kind of swing district that was key to the party’s takeover of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, and will be crucial to its continued control of the chamber.

Ms. Axne appeared with Mr. Biden on Saturday night at an event in her district in Ankeny, a suburb of Des Moines.

“It’s not just that Joe’s been there, and he’s been in the Situation Room,” she told the crowd in Ankeny. “We also need somebody who’s running on a message of hope, a message of unification of this country.”

Mr. Biden has now been endorsed by two of Iowa’s three Democrats in Congress. Representative Abby Finkenauer, another freshman who flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018, endorsed him in early January. The state’s other House Democrat, Representative Dave Loebsack, has endorsed Mr. Buttigieg.

Ms. Axne’s district includes Iowa’s most populous city, Des Moines, and covers the southwestern corner of the state. President Barack Obama won the district in 2012, but Mr. Trump carried it in 2016. Two years later, in the midterm elections, Ms. Axne unseated a two-term Republican, David Young.

Ms. Axne said she believed that Mr. Biden would drive turnout in districts like hers, and emphasized the importance of protecting the Democratic majority in the House.

She also nodded to what she suggested was Mr. Biden’s broad appeal. “I truly believe that there are Iowans that would have some difficulty with some of the positions by other people running in this party,” she said.

Sydney Ember reported from Marshalltown, and Thomas Kaplan from Salem, N.H. Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting from Muscatine, Iowa; Reid J. Epstein from Fort Dodge, Iowa; and Maggie Astor from Ankeny, Iowa.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Des Moines Register Endorses Elizabeth Warren as Iowa Caucuses Approach

Westlake Legal Group 25iowa-endorsement-warren-facebookJumbo Des Moines Register Endorses Elizabeth Warren as Iowa Caucuses Approach Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Endorsements Des Moines Register Democratic Party

DES MOINES — The Des Moines Register endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday night, calling her “the best leader for these times.”

The newspaper, Iowa’s largest and most influential, gave Ms. Warren a boost just over a week before the caucuses on Feb. 3, when Iowans will take part in the first nominating contest of the primary cycle.

In its editorial, the Register praised Ms. Warren as “a thinker, a policy wonk and a hard worker.”

“Warren’s competence, respect for others and status as the nation’s first female president would be a fitting response to the ignorance, sexism and xenophobia of the Trump Oval Office,” the editorial stated.

After more than a year of campaigning, the Democratic race is extraordinarily volatile in Iowa, as residents continue to fret over which candidate can beat President Trump.

In recent days, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has shown momentum in the state, and he led a poll of likely caucusgoers published Saturday by The New York Times and Siena College, which showed him earning 25 percent support and his three top rivals clustered behind him.

His rise in Iowa has come at the expense of Ms. Warren, his fellow progressive, who dropped to 15 percent in the survey, down from 22 percent in the last survey conducted by the organizations, in late October, when she led the field.

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was at 18 percent in the poll, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was at 17 percent. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was the only other candidate approaching double digits, at 8 percent.

The Register’s endorsement landed as Ms. Warren worked her way through her selfie line after a town-hall-style event in Muscatine, Iowa.

She did not find out until after she took the final picture, when her communications director, Kristen Orthman, pulled her aside to share the news.

Ms. Warren leapt back in excitement — pulling her hands to her chest, as if to say, “what, me?” — and then pumped both hands in the air and did a little dance. Ms. Orthman then appeared to show Ms. Warren the editorial on her phone.

Ms. Warren gulped down a sip of coconut water, one of her campaign trail staples, and headed over to a gathered group of reporters and microphones with a smile.

“I just heard and I’m delighted,” Ms. Warren said of the endorsement. “It really means a lot to me. I’m very happy.”

In a tweet thanking The Register for the endorsement, she wrote that “Iowans are ready to make big, structural change — and I’m going to fight my heart out for everyone in Iowa and across the country.”

In its editorial, the Register praised Ms. Warren’s approach to the economy, health care, climate change and other issues.

“She says corporations should have less Washington influence, children should be protected from gun violence, child care should be affordable, immigrants deserve compassion, mass incarceration should end and the wealthy should pay more in taxes,” the editorial stated. “Those ideas are not radical. They are right.”

It also argued that any of the Democrats campaigning in Iowa would be “more inclusive and thoughtful than the current occupant of the White House.”

In making its decision, The Register’s editorial board interviewed nine current Democratic candidates who have spent considerable time campaigning in Iowa, several candidates who have since left the race, and two Republicans who are challenging Mr. Trump. The Register is not endorsing in the Republican race.

The newspaper made clear that the endorsement was the product of its editorial board, and that its news staff, including the editors and reporters who cover the presidential race, had no involvement in the process.

The Register’s endorsements, which began in 1988, are not predictions and have had a mixed record of swaying the caucuses. In 2016, the paper backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican primary, and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic one, when she was in a tight race against Mr. Sanders.

Nevertheless, the endorsements make national news. The paper also sponsors a closely watched poll of Iowa caucusgoers — the last of which is set to be released on Feb. 1, two days before the caucuses.

The Register, along with CNN, also sponsored a Democratic debate this month, the last before caucusing and voting begin in February.

Sydney Ember reported from Des Moines, and Michael Levenson from New York. Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting from Muscatine, Iowa.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Freed From Washington, Senators Return to Iowa for Burst of Campaigning

Westlake Legal Group 25dems06-facebookJumbo Freed From Washington, Senators Return to Iowa for Burst of Campaigning United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Midterm Elections (2018) Endorsements Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Axne, Cindy

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar dashed back to Iowa for a frenzied burst of campaigning on Saturday after a week in which they were confined to Washington for the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Their appearances took place amid signs of growing strength in Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, particularly a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely caucusgoers released Saturday that showed him leading the field in Iowa. Given his base in the party’s most progressive wing, his show of strength was reflected equally in his camp and in that of his opponents ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses.

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign sent a fund-raising email on Saturday warning that “Bernie Sanders could be the nominee of our party,” followed by another email that cast doubt on Mr. Sanders’s ability to beat Mr. Trump. And former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a tweet took an implicit jab at Mr. Sanders over his campaign’s promotion of an endorsement from Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host who has been criticized for comments he has made on race and about transgender people.

Mr. Sanders, sounding a bit congested, made it to Iowa in time to attend a rally in Marshalltown with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and the filmmaker Michael Moore.

He made no mention of his poll showing, but he didn’t have to.

“We’re taking on the establishment, and the establishment is getting a little bit nervous,” he told a modest but enthusiastic crowd.

But he did take a swipe at the impeachment trial for scrambling his campaign plans.

“As you well know, we have had to radically change our schedule in the last week — kind of toss it into the garbage can and begin anew,” he said. “But we are going to be back here in Iowa in the next week every moment that we possibly can.”

Mr. Sanders plans to hold events across the northwestern part of Iowa on Sunday before the trial resumes on Monday.

Before he settled into his familiar talking points, Mr. Sanders also issued something of a warning, suggesting he was aware of the renewed attacks from rivals as he continued to display strength in Iowa and other early voting states.

“In the last week of a campaign, a lot of stuff is going to be thrown around — that’s what happens in campaigns,” he said. “But I would hope that this state, New Hampshire and the country does not lose focus on what are the most important issues.”

The day also brought good news for Ms. Warren, who returned to Iowa for the first time since the impeachment trial with a town-hall-style event at a middle school in Muscatine. “Good not to be in Washington,” she told reporters.

She was working her way through her selfie picture line when the news broke that she had received the coveted endorsement of The Des Moines Register.

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who has struggled to gain traction in the primary race and has also been tethered to Washington because of the impeachment trial, traveled to New Hampshire on Saturday and planned to campaign there through the weekend.

Two other leading contenders, Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, were not stuck in Washington this past week. Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., arrived in Iowa for the beginning of a 10-day sprint across the state before the caucuses. His first stop was a town-hall-style event before about 300 people inside of an old opera house in Fort Dodge.

Mr. Buttigieg began his remarks by reminding the audience that, after 13 months of candidate events, they were in “the final days” of the race in which he has outlasted a handful of adversaries who began the race better-known and better financed than the mayor of South Bend.

After a town-hall-style event in Storm Lake, he was asked about his campaign’s reference in one of the fund-raising emails to Mr. Sanders as “a risk we can’t take.”

“I believe that we should be very mindful that one of the worst risks we can take at a time like this is to recycle the same Washington-style political warfare that brought us to this point,” he said. “If we believe it’s important to win, then the best thing we can do is put forward a candidate who offers something new, something different and something that will break us through the dynamics that have gotten us into this era that’s just got to change.”

Mr. Biden flew to Iowa after beginning his day with an event in Salem, N.H. Speaking in an elementary school gym, Mr. Biden alluded to the impeachment trial that is playing out in Washington and reminded the crowd that he had come under relentless attack from Mr. Trump.

“My guess if you go back and turn your TV on today, you’re going to find the name ‘Biden’ mentioned many, many, many times,” Mr. Biden said. “I wonder why he doesn’t want to run against me.”

Mr. Biden also received a boost on Saturday when he picked up the endorsement of Representative Cindy Axne of Iowa, a freshman Democrat who unseated a Republican incumbent.

“He is who I believe is the one sure bet to beat Donald Trump,” Ms. Axne said in an interview, describing Mr. Biden as “a person who can bridge the divisiveness in this country.”

Ms. Axne hails from the kind of swing district that was key to the party’s takeover of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, and will be crucial to its continued control of the chamber.

Ms. Axne appeared with Mr. Biden on Saturday night at an event in her district in Ankeny, a suburb of Des Moines.

“It’s not just that Joe’s been there, and he’s been in the Situation Room,” she told the crowd in Ankeny. “We also need somebody who’s running on a message of hope, a message of unification of this country.”

Mr. Biden has now been endorsed by two of Iowa’s three Democrats in Congress. Representative Abby Finkenauer, another freshman who flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018, endorsed him in early January. The state’s other House Democrat, Representative Dave Loebsack, has endorsed Mr. Buttigieg.

Ms. Axne’s district includes Iowa’s most populous city, Des Moines, and covers the southwestern corner of the state. President Barack Obama won the district in 2012, but Mr. Trump carried it in 2016. Two years later, in the midterm elections, Ms. Axne unseated a two-term Republican, David Young.

Ms. Axne said she believed that Mr. Biden would drive turnout in districts like hers, and emphasized the importance of protecting the Democratic majority in the House.

She also nodded to what she suggested was Mr. Biden’s broad appeal. “I truly believe that there are Iowans that would have some difficulty with some of the positions by other people running in this party,” she said.

Sydney Ember reported from Marshalltown, and Thomas Kaplan from Salem, N.H. Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting from Muscatine, Iowa; Reid J. Epstein from Fort Dodge, Iowa; and Maggie Astor from Ankeny, Iowa.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Democracy 2020 Digest: Longtime RNC committee member in New Hampshire ousted by grassroots

Westlake Legal Group SteveDuprey Democracy 2020 Digest: Longtime RNC committee member in New Hampshire ousted by grassroots Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f551324f-d70a-56c6-b63b-f052d76815b6 article

File this as another sign of the changing nature of the Republican Party.

Steve Duprey — the longtime Republican National Committee (RNC) member from New Hampshire — was defeated Saturday as he attempted to win a fifth four-year term representing his home state on the national committee.

Duprey — the former longtime state Republican Party chair who was a close friend to John McCain and a trusted N.H. and national adviser on the senator from Arizona’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns (McCain won the N.H. primary in both of his White House bids) — was defeated by grassroots activist and Hillsborough County Republican chair Chris Ager of Amherst, N.H.

The vote took place today at a meeting of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. The secret ballot vote totals were kept private by state party officials, but sources told Fox News it wasn’t a close vote.

Duprey had the backing of much of the state’s GOP establishment, including popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. And Duprey — who had served on the RNC’s all-important Rules Committee for much of his 16-year tenure on the national committee — was known for his tireless efforts to make sure the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary stayed first in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. That’s a crucial part of his job as an RNC committee member. And the fight to keep the state’s primary status as the first-in-the-nation may be tougher than ever moving forward.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

But none of that was obviously enough, as grassroots conservatives in the state didn’t trust Duprey. They questioned whether he was sufficiently faithful to President Trump and questioned his conservative values. (Duprey supports abortion rights.)

After the vote, Duprey stepped down immediately from his post rather than waiting until his four-year term ends following the Republican National Convention in August.

Westlake Legal Group SteveDuprey Democracy 2020 Digest: Longtime RNC committee member in New Hampshire ousted by grassroots Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f551324f-d70a-56c6-b63b-f052d76815b6 article   Westlake Legal Group SteveDuprey Democracy 2020 Digest: Longtime RNC committee member in New Hampshire ousted by grassroots Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f551324f-d70a-56c6-b63b-f052d76815b6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com