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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 337)

Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St.

This was supposed to be the year when America’s biggest start-ups would finally make their triumphant debut on the stock market.

Billionaire Silicon Valley investors, sneaker-clad founders and button-down bankers all expected enormous stock sales to turn companies like Uber, Lyft and WeWork into a new generation of corporate giants.

It hasn’t quite turned out that way. Last week, WeWork postponed its planned initial public offering. Uber and Lyft sold shares earlier this year only to see their prices collapse. Investors took a look and backed away, seeing overpriced companies with no prospect of making money any time soon, in some cases led by untested executives.

The rejection threatens Silicon Valley’s favored approach to building companies. The formula relies on gobs of money from venture capitalists to paper over losses with the expectation that Wall Street investors will eventually buy shares and make everybody rich. If mutual funds and pension funds are no longer willing to buy once the companies go public, fledgling companies are unlikely to find funding in the first place.

“When the I.P.O. market is hurting, it has a domino effect on valuations and venture capital deals,” said Steven N. Kaplan, a professor of finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. If it persists, that could make it harder for start-ups to raise money, he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152778405_ddfd5255-7381-4a06-9449-64153c36e575-articleLarge Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St. WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Uber Technologies Inc Stocks and Bonds Start-ups Pinterest Peloton Interactive Inc Neumann, Adam Lyft Inc Initial Public Offerings airbnb

Lyft, once said to be worth more than $15 billion as a private company, now has a market capitalization of roughly $12 billion. CreditAlex Welsh for The New York Times

Much of the recent concern has been directed at WeWork, a shared office space company based New York. As it began to approach stock market investors, the company revealed losses of $1.37 billion in the first half of 2019. Investors also questioned financial dealings of WeWork’s chief executive, Adam Neumann, and the company’s accounting.

On Tuesday, Mr. Neumann stepped down under pressure from directors and investors. It is now uncertain when the company will return to the market.

Read more about WeWork’s problems:
WeWork C.E.O. Adam Neumann Steps Down Under Pressure

Sept. 24, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 25wework-silo-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v3 Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St. WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Uber Technologies Inc Stocks and Bonds Start-ups Pinterest Peloton Interactive Inc Neumann, Adam Lyft Inc Initial Public Offerings airbnb
SoftBank Bet Big on Disruptive Companies. Many Have Not Paid Off.

Sept. 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 25softbank-print-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St. WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Uber Technologies Inc Stocks and Bonds Start-ups Pinterest Peloton Interactive Inc Neumann, Adam Lyft Inc Initial Public Offerings airbnb

Uber, by comparison, cut its expected price in May. Even so, its shares have fallen about 30 percent as the company’s financial losses have deepened. In the three months through June, the company said it lost more than $5 billion and reported its slowest revenue growth in its history.

Shares of its rival Lyft have fallen 40 percent since the company’s debut in March.

The fitness start-up Peloton has also reported deep losses on its business of selling high-end exercise bikes and live-streaming classes into users’ homes. On the stock’s first day of trading Thursday, it ended 11 percent lower than its I.P.O. price. Such a sharp drop in a first day is a rare occurrence for a new listing.

“It’s becoming a tough time to go public, there’s no question,” said John Foley, chief executive of Peloton. “I’m happy we got out, but I think it’s going to get pretty tight.”

Other companies have delayed their plans. Airbnb, the vacation-rental business, said last week that it did not plan to go public until 2020, later than expected. Palantir Technologies, the data mining firm the billionaire investor Peter Thiel helped found, now does not expect to go public for years, because it can continue to raise money from private investors, two people familiar with its plans said.

Read more about the start-ups pursuing I.P.O.s
Inside Airbnb, Employees Eager for Big Payouts Pushed It to Go Public

Sept. 20, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 20airbnb2-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St. WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Uber Technologies Inc Stocks and Bonds Start-ups Pinterest Peloton Interactive Inc Neumann, Adam Lyft Inc Initial Public Offerings airbnb
Peloton Is a Phenomenon. Can It Last?

Aug. 28, 2019

Westlake Legal Group NYT-Peloton-Illustration-Still-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Start-Ups Like WeWork and Peloton Feel a Chill on Wall St. WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Uber Technologies Inc Stocks and Bonds Start-ups Pinterest Peloton Interactive Inc Neumann, Adam Lyft Inc Initial Public Offerings airbnb

Not every prominent offering has floundered. Many smaller listings have soared. Among the larger ones is the online pinboard company Pinterest. Its shares are up 44 percent since it went public in April.

But Pinterest priced its I.P.O. conservatively, told investors that it was close to profitability, and has narrowed its losses in the months since it became publicly traded. And the company is increasing revenue — which comes from advertising — fast.

“Investors are buying the future, so help them pencil out the future,” said Rett Wallace, whose firm, Triton Research, analyzes tech companies that are going public. “You can do that with Pinterest. You can’t do that with WeWork. You can’t do that with Uber or Lyft either.”

Charles Kantor, a senior portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman responsible for managing more than $5 billion, said he asks a few simple questions when considering an I.P.O. investments, including: can a company’s profit margins hold up, what kind of competition does it face, and can executives be counted on to deliver results?

“The ones that we pass on, we don’t feel comfortable with the answers that we get,” said Mr. Kantor. “It’s got to be really obvious, really quickly that they can grow.”

He did not invest in Uber or Lyft, or Pinterest, for that matter. But he did buy shares of the online pet store Chewy, which went public in June. He said its profit margins, a large potential market, and solid executive team were all reasons he was persuaded to buy.

In many ways, the current standoff between Wall Street and these giant start-ups comes down to a simple issue: price.

Because of expectations set by venture capitalists, and given the risks they face, the companies simply asked for too much.

Uber, which private investors valued at roughly $72 billion before its I.P.O., is now worth about $54 billion in the public market. Lyft, once said to be worth more than $15 billion as a private company, now has a market capitalization of roughly $12 billion.

Uber shares have fallen about 30 percent since its public debut as the company’s financial losses have deepened. CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

WeWork was last valued at $47 billion in the “late stage” market of mature private companies. In the run-up to its failed attempt to list shares, executives and bankers had discussed slashing the valuation to $15 billion — but were still unable to gin up enough interest.

The tepid response to these companies stands in stark contrast to the dot-com bubble of 20 years ago, when shares of start-ups with little revenue or prospects for profit — like Webvan and Theglobe.com — were greedily bid up in their market debuts.

“Everyone feared this would be another bubble like in 1999 and 2000,” said Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, which provides research on I.P.O.s and manages exchange-traded funds that track their performance. “But there is a lot more sanity in the reaction of investors to these deals.”

Now, the verdict from the stock market is that it’s the private investment binge that has gone too far. With a flood of cash, private investors backing the hottest start-ups have inflated their valuations to a point that public investors cannot tolerate.

“Things have gone a bit nutty,” said Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures, a New York based tech investor. This moment could be a turning point in what public market investors will accept from highly valued, money-losing start-ups, he said.

“I think that’s very important for private markets,” Mr. Wilson said.

The recent troubles may stem from the long incubation period the largest start-ups have had. Flush with funding from venture capital and other private investors, the companies have not been forced to go to the public markets to secure financing like they might have in the past.

It was not always this way.

Traditionally, the I.P.O. market has allowed investors to put their money into relatively small, higher-risk firms with enough potential for fast growth that stock buyers are willing to overlook their often numerous warts.

Amazon.com sold shares to the public just three years after its founding in 1994, raising just $62 million in a deal that valued the company at more than $400 million. The company has a value of more than $800 billion now.

Google was a much bigger, and older, company when it went public in 2004, valued at roughly $23 billion, a deal that was enormous by the standards of the time. But it was also incredibly profitable — with an annual profit of more than $400 million the year it went public —  and still fast growing.

That last part is particularly important, says Jeff James, who manages more than $1.7 billion for clients at Driehaus Capital Management, a Chicago-based investment adviser, who bought shares of Pinterest in its I.P.O.

“Growing above expectations, that really cures valuation and other faults,” he said.

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Today on Fox News, Sept. 27, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general; “Kurt the CyberGuy” Knutsson; Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine”; Gianno Caldwell, Fox News political analyst; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Stephen Moore, economist and distinguished visiting fellow for Project for Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Lara Trump, senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: “Trump Has ‘Met His Match’: Judge Napolitano on Whistleblower Complaint” – Joseph Maguire, acting director of National Intelligence, pushed back on accusations that he mishandled the whistleblower complaint alleging President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Democrats have claimed there is a cover-up,  while the president has called the controversy a “fantasy” intended to hurt the Republican Party. Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, weighs in.

Also on the Rundown: This week Democrats ramped up their calls for impeachment with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel gives her take on the week’s events. Don’t miss the “good news” with Fox News’ Tonya J. Powers. Plus, commentary by Todd Starnes, host of “The Todd Starnes Show.”
 
Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large; retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, operating executive with the Carlyle Group; Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News @ Night”; Gen. Jack Keane, retired four-star general and former vice chief of staff of the United States Army.

Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Sept. 27, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 1c8b418b-5555-5040-b36c-de14903b864f   Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Sept. 27, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 1c8b418b-5555-5040-b36c-de14903b864f

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‘Game Recognizes Game’: A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 2019-09-26-civilityaward-ms-04_custom-6fbe978c92799fe13058c1046ee7a5ea3bbbca52-s1100-c15 'Game Recognizes Game': A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

From left, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., are receiving the 2019 Civility Award by Allegheny College. Mhari Shaw /NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Mhari Shaw /NPR

Westlake Legal Group  'Game Recognizes Game': A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

From left, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., are receiving the 2019 Civility Award by Allegheny College.

Mhari Shaw /NPR

House lawmakers Hakeem Jeffries and Doug Collins couldn’t be more different.

Jeffries is a Democrat and an avid hip-hop devotee, while Collins is a Republican who favors country music. Jeffries hails from a largely urban New York district, and much further south, Collins represents a largely rural pocket in northeast Georgia.

Yet, somehow this duo found common ground to pass a major policy initiative this past year. And now one of the oldest schools in the country will award them with its College Prize for Civility in Public Life.

They sat down with NPR exclusively Thursday, a day before Allegheny College awards them the joint prize at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Game recognizes game,” Collins says signaling Jeffries in a hip-hop reference from his Capitol Hill office. “This man right here. You want to … partner with him.”

Jeffries returns the favor.

“Although I appreciate Doug Collins quoting … one of the philosophical underpinnings of hip hop — which is game recognizes game,” Jeffries says between Collins’ laughs. It “shows you how much game Doug Collins has at the end of the day.”

As they sit recounting their bipartisan bond, it’s a brief respite from the controversy broiling just outside Collins’ office door.

Moments earlier, a whistleblower complaint against President Trump had been released detailing concerns that the White House attempted to lock down transcripts of calls with the president of Ukraine and other foreign officials. That release was followed by hours-long committee testimony of Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence.

Collins and Jeffries both sit on the House Judiciary Committee, ground zero for an ongoing House impeachment inquiry into Trump and on opposite sides of a bitter, partisan fight. Yet, they were able to score a major legislative win this year.

Their first was a bill to protect songwriters in 2013 — and later the two even posted a joint Spotify list of their favorite songs. However, their much tougher work collaboration came with criminal justice reform signed into law in December that helped shorten sentences for some inmates.

Westlake Legal Group 2019-09-26-mshaw-civilityaward-mshaw-03_custom-3d493f8a66fa5343e1c53629d13fc24e89a2a1a5-s1100-c15 'Game Recognizes Game': A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

Tim Reeves, serves as a member for the Allegheny College board of trustees. Reeves will be awarding Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Doug Collins with the 2019 Civility Award. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Mhari Shaw/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  'Game Recognizes Game': A Bipartisan Bond In The Age Of Impeachment

Tim Reeves, serves as a member for the Allegheny College board of trustees. Reeves will be awarding Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Doug Collins with the 2019 Civility Award.

Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jeffries and Collins say the Allegheny prize for that work is a major honor.

“It’s reflective of the fact that we were able to come together, which meant leadership from Doug Collins, to get things done and make a difference in the lives of the American people in both criminal justice reform and as it relates to the Music Modernization Act,” Jeffries said. “And I was proud to partner with him in that regard.”

Allegheny College President Hilary Link says Jeffries and Collins exemplify something in dire need today: Civility.

“They come from drastically different backgrounds, geographic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, political backgrounds and socioeconomic background. And they know that they stand a very opposite sides of the political spectrum from each other,” she said “But they also know that by finding some form of commonality — whether that’s their faith, their taste in music or an appreciation of what the other side for lack of a better term is trying to do — they know that through finding some form of commonality they can overcome those differences to really make a difference for our political landscape and really for the country as a whole.”

She says her school found a dramatic decline in students’ interests to serve in public life in recent years. Rather, those same students would volunteer at a shelter, than work in city hall.

And that public service, and corresponding need for civility, must continue to be spotlighted. The school is in its ninth year of issuing the award.

“I think what we’re trying to do with the civility prize is really draw attention to people who are not falling prey to the incivility and the demonization,” Link said, “so that we can present models to our students that Allegheny as well as to anyone else that it is possible to do this and to solve really big issues working with someone with whom you don’t you may not agree at all.”

Collins and Jeffries will follow in the footsteps of previous recipients like the the late Sen. John McCain and former Vice President Joe Biden as well as Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the late Antonin Scalia.

They met after joining the same freshman class of House lawmakers in 2013 and serving on the Judiciary Committee. Jeffries remembers it was Collins who reached out to work together.

And it’s that bond that makes this duo think their bipartisan bond can survive even a bitter, partisan fight over impeachment.

“We are obviously in a very intense hyper-partisan era. But that’s not unlike previous moments in American history where there were intense disagreements,” Jeffries said. And “the resiliency and the power of American exceptionalism has always gotten us through prior instances of intense internal conflict. And so I’m confident that the same will happen as we move forward.”

Collins agrees.

“If I was no longer serving tomorrow … the ability that we’ve had to work together, to get this prize together,” he said, “is just one of the pinnacles of my time in public service.”

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This Day in History: Sept. 27

On this day, Sept. 27 …

2018: During a day-long hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford says she is “100 percent” certain that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were teenagers, and Kavanaugh then tells senators that he is “100 percent certain” he had done no such thing.

Also on this day:

  • 1779: John Adams is named by Congress to negotiate the Revolutionary War’s peace terms with Britain.
  • 1825: The first locomotive to haul a passenger train is operated by George Stephenson in England.
  • 1854: The first great disaster involving an Atlantic Ocean passenger vessel occurs when the steamship SS Arctic sinks off Newfoundland; of the more than 400 people on board, only 86 survive.
  • 1935: Judy Garland, at age 13, signs a seven-year contract with MGM.
  • 1942: Glenn Miller and his Orchestra perform together for the last time, at the Central Theater in Passaic, N.J., prior to Miller’s entry into the Army.
Westlake Legal Group lee-harvey This Day in History: Sept. 27 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 278680e7-8437-5bb4-be64-95b1e0908855

Authorities say Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman responsible for John F. Kennedy’s death. (AP)

  • 1964: The government publicly releases the report of the Warren Commission, which concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
  • 1979: Congress gives its final approval to forming the U.S. Department of Education.
  • 1991: President George H.W. Bush announces in a nationally broadcast address that he is eliminating all U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons, and calls on the Soviet Union to match the gesture. 
  • 1991:The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocks, 7-7, on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1994: More than 350 Republican congressional candidates gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sign the “Contract with America,” a 10-point platform they pledge to enact if voters send a GOP majority to the House.
  • 2014: President Barack Obama, in an address to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, says a widespread mistrust of law enforcement that was exposed by the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., exists in too many other communities and is having a corrosive effect on the nation, particularly its children.   
Westlake Legal Group BlaseyFord092719 This Day in History: Sept. 27 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 278680e7-8437-5bb4-be64-95b1e0908855   Westlake Legal Group BlaseyFord092719 This Day in History: Sept. 27 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 278680e7-8437-5bb4-be64-95b1e0908855

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Virginia forestry officials seek acorn donations

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Virginia forestry officials seek acorn donations

The department is seeking acorns and nuts from a dozen species of hardwoods, including black oak, black walnut, Chinese chestnut, chestnut oak, Northern red oak, pin oak, sawtooth oak, Southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak, white oak and willow oak.

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As whistleblower report on Trump and Ukraine reverberates through Washington, scandal will test Pence

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close As whistleblower report on Trump and Ukraine reverberates through Washington, scandal will test Pence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Donald Trump tried to “shake down foreign leaders” and conceal it, undermining national security and forcing Congress to pursue his impeachment. (Sept. 26) AP Domestic

WASHINGTON – The Ukraine scandal enveloping President Donald Trump’s administration could provide the biggest test yet for one of his most loyal soldiers.

Vice President Mike Pence‘s name has surfaced in the appendix of the explosive whistleblower report released this week. And Trump pointed out Wednesday that Pence had his own interactions with Ukraine’s leaders.

As the Democratic impeachment inquiry focused on Urkaine moves forward, Pence could be pressed to disclose what he knows about the Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the effort to push Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s actions show he betrayed his oath of office, the nation’s security and the integrity of elections.

White House officials deny that Trump pressured Ukraine to do anything and note that the whistleblower said he did not witness most of the events described in the nine-page report.

Here’s how Pence has been brought into the debate:

Whistleblower complaint

Pence is mentioned once in the declassified version of the whistleblower complaint, in an appendix giving more information about the events leading up to Trump’s July call with Zelensky. 

In mid-May, the whistleblower learned from U.S. officials, Trump instructed Pence to cancel his plans to attend Zelensky’s May 20 inauguration. Energy Secretary Rick Perry went instead.

That detail was given in the context of officials telling the whistleblower that it had been “made clear” to them that Trump didn’t want to meet with Zelensky until he saw how the new leader “chose to act” in office.

Trump mentions Pence

After the White House released Wednesday a summary of the July call, Trump said the summary exonerated him and reporters should also review an earlier call with Zelensky as well as Pence’s communications with the Ukrainian president.

“I think you should do that,” he said during a news conference at the United Nations. “And I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation because he had a couple conversations also.”

Trump said nothing of import was mentioned in the calls other than congratulations to the newly-elected Zelensky.

“They were perfect,” Trump said of the calls. “They were all perfect.”

But Trump’s remarks prompted some commentators to wonder if the president was trying to tar one of his most loyal defenders with the developing scandal.

“Why is Trump throwing Pence under the bus? Trying to keep him quiet?” tweeted Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post and a critic of both Trump and Pence.

Democrat Ron Klain, who worked for Biden and former Vice President Al Gore, brought up a popular game theory example showing how two people might not cooperate, even if it’s in their best interests to do so. The participants may think they’re protecting themselves at the expense of the other person, but instead find themselves worse off.

“If you had ‘fail’ in your office pool on how Trump would play the prisoner’s dilemma game with Pence, you were correct,” Klain tweeted.

Pence met with Zelensky

When Pence substituted for Trump at the last minute on a trip to Poland this month, he had a private meeting with Zelensky. During a news conference the next day, Pence was asked whether he discussed Biden with Zelensky.

“The answer is no,” Pence said.

He gave a less direct response to the question of whether he could assure Ukraine that a hold up of military assistance was not related to efforts by Trump allies to try to dig up dirt on Biden.

Pence said Trump had asked him to talk to Zelensky “about the progress that he’s making on a broad range of areas.” That included, Pence said, steps Zelensky has taken to address public corruption and restore integrity to the public process.

“As President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption,” Pence said as part of his lengthy answer.

Viola Gienger, a research scholar at the New York University School of Law, found Pence’s response interesting.

“He essentially demurred,” Gienger wrote in an essay for JustSecurity.org, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy.

Pence’s recent responses

Pence hasn’t publicly commented on his inclusion in the whistleblower’s report.

He ignored reporters’ shouted questions to him about the report as he deplaned in Indianapolis Thursday morning for a two-day visit to his home state.

Appearing on the Fox Business Network Wednesday night, Pence told host Lou Dobbs that Trump had spoken with Zelensky “about issues that were appropriate.”

“The president was concerned about corruption,” Pence said. “And seeing this new leader rise – in President Zelensky on a message of anti-corruption, the president raised that issue, they both spoke about it.”

More: GOP group slams Mike Pence for ‘who cares?’ comment about business conflicts

Pence’s past views on foreign involvement

As Pence defended Trump’s conduct this week, critics circulated a clip from the 2016 vice presidential debate showing Pence taking a tougher line on foreign involvement in U.S. elections. Pence called it improper for the Clinton Foundation to have accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.

“Foreign governments cannot participate in the American political process,” candidate Pence said then.

In Trump’s case, multiple government officials relayed to the whistleblower that the president “is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” according to the complaint.

Pence and the Mueller investigation

Pence was on the periphery of the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. His exposure was primarily through statements he’d made that were later contradicted.

Pence was not asked by Mueller’s team for an interview but provided documents, racking up about $500,000 in legal bills in the process.

House Democrats have been following up on aspects of Mueller’s report. But Pelosi emphasized Thursday that the impeachment inquiry she announced Tuesday is focused – at least for now – on Trump’s action regarding Ukraine.

Impeachment inquiry timeline: A diagram of events in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump

What’s next?

Congressional Democrats have not gone after Pence so far. But he’s likely to face questions about his interactions with Zelensky.

If both the president and vice president are removed from office, the House chooses the next president. Some noted Wednesday that “President Pelosi” was trending on Twitter.

If the House were to impeach Trump, Democrats would then have to persuade at least 20 Senate Republicans to vote for his conviction for Trump to be removed from office.

Some conservative commentators are wondering if Republican lawmakers will turn on Trump and turn to Pence for self-preservation.

“Why wouldn’t (Sens. Ben) Sasse, (Mitt) Romney and others invite Pence in for a chat?” Rubin tweeted. “Trump has to go. Pence can be president for 18 mos and agree not to run for re-election (he’d lose anyway). All of them can run for POTUS instead.”

Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger and radio talk show hosts, tweeted that Republicans have put up with a lot but senators may reach a breaking point “and just decide they’ll take their chances with President Pence and an angry base they won’t have to face till 2022 or later.”

New book: ‘What are we going to do, Mike?’ Trump’s victory posed problems for Pence and his wife

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Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox stretchered out after hard hit from teammate in fourth quarter

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox had to be stretchered out of Lambeau Field Thursday night after he took a brutal hit from teammate Andrew Sendejo late in the fourth quarter.

Maddox was covering Green Bay Packers receiver Robert Tonyan who caught a pass from quarterback Aaron Rogers. Sendejo tried to tackle him but got Maddox instead, Deadspin reported.

Westlake Legal Group AP19270149700695 Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox stretchered out after hard hit from teammate in fourth quarter fox-news/sports/nfl/philadelphia-eagles fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc d9cef9dc-9d16-59cf-ad54-61036d259d5e Brie Stimson article

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox lies injured on the field during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. Philadelphia won 34-27. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

PATRIOTS RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN LEAVES WITH CHEST INJURY

Maddox laid on the ground for a while but appeared alert when he was carried out.

“Avonte Maddox has movement in all extremities. For precautionary reasons he has been sent to the hospital for further evaluation,” the Eagles posted on Twitter just after midnight.

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Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams also had to be stretchered out after an illegal hit to the head in the first quarter, according to Deadspin.

The Eagles won 34-27.

Westlake Legal Group AP19270149700695 Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox stretchered out after hard hit from teammate in fourth quarter fox-news/sports/nfl/philadelphia-eagles fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc d9cef9dc-9d16-59cf-ad54-61036d259d5e Brie Stimson article   Westlake Legal Group AP19270149700695 Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox stretchered out after hard hit from teammate in fourth quarter fox-news/sports/nfl/philadelphia-eagles fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc d9cef9dc-9d16-59cf-ad54-61036d259d5e Brie Stimson article

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Ukrainian official appears to cast doubt on quid pro quo claim

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089852003001_6089850258001-vs Ukrainian official appears to cast doubt on quid pro quo claim Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 3ca04d6a-0471-5780-9909-aea01bd3472e

An unnamed Ukrainian official said that Kiev was not made aware that the U.S. suspended security funds until a month after President Trump‘s call with his counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, which calls into question the whistleblower’s account and Democrats’ arguments that there was a quid pro quo for the aid.

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The official told the New York Times that Zelensky’s government was unaware about the aid issue up until a month after Trump’s July 25 phone call where he discussed Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The whistleblower complaint—citing U.S. officials—claimed that officials in Kiev were aware that the military aid could be in jeopardy in early August, but the whistleblower admitted to not knowing “how or when they learned of it.”

Republicans may seize on the apparent timeline inconsistencies and claim that if a quid pro quo was in place for the roughly $391 million in frozen aid, Ukrainian officials would know about it.

Zelensky said earlier this week that he never felt pressured by Trump to investigate the Bidens. Trump insisted that he wanted to make sure the country was weeding out corruption before providing the funds.

Democrats insist that Trump was wrong to bring up a political opponent to a foreign leader, and even if he didn’t explicitly make a demand, the innuendo was there. Democrats also took issue with the complaint’s claim that Trump employed his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the matter.

The whistleblower’s complaint named Giuliani and claimed diplomats were upset about by his role in pushing Kiev to open an investigation into the Bidens.

According to the whistleblower complaint, by mid-May, U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker sought to “contain the damage” from Giuliani’s outreach to Ukraine.

But a July 19 text message conversation from Volker to Giuliani, provided to Fox News on Thursday, showed that Volker had in fact encouraged Giuliani to reach out to Ukraine — even sending Giuliani a message reading, “connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky.”

Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, said Thursday that, “My only knowledge of what Mr. Giuliani does—I have to be honest with you—I get from the TV or the news media. I’m not aware of what he does for the president.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,  D-Calif., has started an official inquiry into whether the House should pursue impeachment proceedings, but Democrats have refused to hold a roll call vote to authorize the effort.

“Impeaching a President means nullifying the results of a presidential election, which is the core act of American democratic legitimacy,” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page wrote on Friday. “If Democrats are going to do this, they have an obligation to stand up and be counted in a way that the public can examine.”

Trump noted that the whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of alleged abuse.

“Who’s the person that gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said. “You know what we used to do in the old days, when we were smart, right? The spies and treason? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

The Los Angeles Times obtained and released a recording of the president’s comments.

The Trump administration reportedly began placing transcripts of Trump’s calls with several foreign leaders in a highly classified repository after leakers publicly divulged the contents of Trump’s private calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia in 2017.

The complaint stated that Trump made a “specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike” — a request that does not appear in the declassified transcript of the call released by the Trump administration on Tuesday. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike, but did not demand the server.

Additionally, the complaint said Trump “suggested that Mr. Zelensky might want to keep” his current prosecutor general, a claim not supported by the transcript.

CBS News reported late Thursday that the whistleblower complaint further inaccurately claimed that a State Department official was on the call with Zelensky.

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The memo was not a “verbatim transcript” but was based on “notes and recollections” of those memorializing the call.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said, “Nothing has changed with the release of this complaint.” The president “has nothing to hide.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089852003001_6089850258001-vs Ukrainian official appears to cast doubt on quid pro quo claim Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 3ca04d6a-0471-5780-9909-aea01bd3472e   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6089852003001_6089850258001-vs Ukrainian official appears to cast doubt on quid pro quo claim Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Edmund DeMarche article 3ca04d6a-0471-5780-9909-aea01bd3472e

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Rudy Giuliani blasts ‘bitter’ Romney over response to Trump-Ukraine case

Westlake Legal Group admin-ajax-2019-08-07T225655.335a Rudy Giuliani blasts 'bitter' Romney over response to Trump-Ukraine case fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 888538ba-658f-519d-878c-611289dc50cc

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani slammed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for what he called a weak response to the Ukraine phone call whistleblower’s complaint against President Trump.

Giuliani said Thursday on “The Ingraham Angle” that Romney — the 2012 Republican presidential nominee — is still upset he lost his election, while Trump won his own White House bid — as he rejected the former Massachusetts’ governor’s reaction to the Ukraine news.

On Sunday, Romney tweeted, “If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out.”

MITT ROMNEY CALLS FOR ‘FACTS TO COME OUT’ AFTER UKRAINE SCANDAL

Giuliani dismissed Romney’s concern.

“I don’t know, maybe he is as confused about this as he was when [CNN debate moderator] Candy Crowley contradicted him and his campaign fell apart,” Giuliani said.

At a 2012 debate with then-President Barack Obama in Hempstead, N.Y., Romney questioned whether Obama had called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” rather than “spontaneous” violence that grew out of a protest against an anti-Islam video. Crowley then intervened: “He did in fact, sir … call it an act of terror.”

However, after the debate, Crowley conceded that Mitt Romney was “right” on the broader point — that the administration for days insisted it was a spontaneous act.

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“He was right in the main. I just think he picked the wrong word,” she said at the time.

On “The Ingraham Angle,” Giuliani continued in his reaction to Romney’s tweet.

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“I wouldn’t count on him. And he’s bitter about Donald Trump.”

“Look, Mitt, Trump did what you couldn’t do. Trump has an ability to relate to people — you don’t,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group admin-ajax-2019-08-07T225655.335a Rudy Giuliani blasts 'bitter' Romney over response to Trump-Ukraine case fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 888538ba-658f-519d-878c-611289dc50cc   Westlake Legal Group admin-ajax-2019-08-07T225655.335a Rudy Giuliani blasts 'bitter' Romney over response to Trump-Ukraine case fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/presidential-debate fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 888538ba-658f-519d-878c-611289dc50cc

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Stephon Clark shooting: No civil rights charges, officers will return to active-duty in Sacramento

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-18d58d10f98f4b2184aeb3a839490a0b Stephon Clark shooting: No civil rights charges, officers will return to active-duty in Sacramento fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 2ebd3022-049e-54af-9b08-b09d190c15fa

Two Sacramento police officers who fatally shot an unarmed black man last March will not face federal civil rights charges and will be returned to active duty after an internal investigation conducted by the department cleared them of any wrongdoing, officials said Thursday.

CALIFORNIA OFFICERS WHO KILLED STEPHON CLARK WON’T FACE CHARGES, STATE AG SAYS

U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott and the FBI announced Thursday that a federal review of the 2018 shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark found “insufficient evidence” to pursue civil rights charges against Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet. Mercadal is also black. Robinet is white.

The probe did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either officer “acted willfully, with the purpose of using objectively unreasonable force,” Scott’s office told The Sacramento Bee.

The announcement came minutes before the Sacramento Police Department also said an internal investigation found no policy or training violations in Mercadal and Robinet’s actions leading up to Clark’s death. The two will be returned to active duty. Both were placed on desk duty after the shooting.

“This incident has been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in a statement. “Every one of these independent examinations has reached the same finding – the use of deadly force in this case was lawful.

“Although no policy violations occurred in this incident or in the events leading up to it, we are committed to implementing strategies that may prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Hahn said.

Clark was shot seven times in his grandparent’s backyard in Sacramento’s Meadowview neighborhood in March 2018 after he ran from officers. The two officers were pursuing Clark after receiving calls about a man breaking car windows and an elderly neighbor’s sliding glass door in the area.

Authorities said the officers believed Clark was advancing toward them with a gun in hand.  The object was later determined to be a cell phone. His death sparked a year’s worth of protests as civil rights groups claimed that race played a role in the shooting.

The California attorney general’s office announced in March around the one year anniversary of Clark’s death that it concluded its own investigation and declined to issue state criminal charges against the two officers. Attorney General Xavier Becerra said then evidence showed the officers had reason to believe their lives were in danger.

The city of Sacramento agreed in June to a tentative $20 million settlement in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Clark’s minor sons, parents and grandparents, The Bee reported.

Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, posted on Facebook Thursday that he was in a meeting with federal and local authorities. “These people have failed when it comes to #Accountability,” he wrote.

“My job as my brother’s keeper is to keep fighting for accountability and justice. My job is to make sure nothing like this happens ever again in our city,” Stevante Clark told reporters after the police department announced it cleared the officers of wrongdoing.

“We don’t want killer cops on our streets, we’re not going to have killer cops on our streets,” Clark continued. “Sacramento police should know the difference between a gun and a cell phone and my brother should be with us today.”

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Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a statement: “This incident has been investigated at every level and each agency came to the same conclusion. Those conclusions, however, will never change the fact that this was a tragedy and the Clark family lost a loved one.

“As a city and as a police department, we have made many important changes. We changed our foot pursuit policy, our body worn camera policy and will continue to make the changes necessary to make our city safer for our community and our officers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-18d58d10f98f4b2184aeb3a839490a0b Stephon Clark shooting: No civil rights charges, officers will return to active-duty in Sacramento fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 2ebd3022-049e-54af-9b08-b09d190c15fa   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-18d58d10f98f4b2184aeb3a839490a0b Stephon Clark shooting: No civil rights charges, officers will return to active-duty in Sacramento fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 2ebd3022-049e-54af-9b08-b09d190c15fa

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