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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 376)

Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police

An Alabama mom has been charged with murder in connection with the death of her infant son after he was left in a car overnight, police said.

Elizabeth Case, 36, was arrested in Athens, Ala. Saturday and was held without bond. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had a lawyer.

Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article

Police say Elizabeth Case “is a known drug user” and was out on bond in connection to first-degree robbery. (Limestone County Jail)

Limestone County sheriff’s deputies said Case left home with the 13-month-old boy Friday evening to go “dumpster diving.” They said she left the child in the car when she returned home around 5:40 a.m. Saturday.

She awoke around 1:30 p.m. Saturday when her mother arrived, and they found the boy still in the car. Deputies said Case put the child in the shower and her mother called 911.

CALIFORNIA MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER AFTER TODDLER LEFT IN CAR FOR HOURS WITH HEATER ON

The boy was taken to Athens-Limestone Hospital where he was pronounced dead, officer Stephen Young told the News Courier.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Young told the paper that Case “is a known drug user” and was out on bond in connection to first-degree robbery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group ALABAMA Alabama mom charged with murder in death of infant left in car: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc ece74a8f-121a-56ac-9dc5-ef4b6fe425ba Bradford Betz article

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Trump impeachment investigation: Here is what will happen this week

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump impeachment investigation: Here is what will happen this week

Impeaching a U.S. president might not be the be-all-end-all for their career. We explain why this is the case. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – This week will be packed with activity in the House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, as committees subpoena more documents about the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, and lawmakers depose State Department officials as Trump responds with two political rallies.

The fast-paced developments can be a confusing jumble of foreign names and officials who don’t typically show up in news stories. But the key elements continue to focus on Trump urging Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a call July 25 to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, while crucial military aid to that country was frozen. Trump insists he was justified to fight corruption in Ukraine.

Three House panels – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform – subpoenaed the White House and State Department for documents about dealings with Ukraine. The panels are also interviewing State Department officials and intermediaries who helped Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, encourage the investigation of Biden.

But Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt and vowed to fight all subpoenas. The president called Sunday for the impeachment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for treason, for investigating him.

More: A visual timeline of the text messages in the Trump-Ukraine affair

Here is a roundup of the key players and events this week, although timing for some is still in flux:

MONDAY

A federal judge in New York dismissed Trump’s lawsuit to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from gaining access to eight years of tax returns. Trump immediately filed notice he would appeal the decision. Four House committees are also pursuing Trump’s tax returns for evidence of possible corruption in three different federal lawsuits.

Three committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight – subpoenaed the Pentagon and White House Office of Management and Budget for documents about the administration’s temporary freeze on military aid for Ukraine. The administration froze $400 million in aid in July and released the funding in September. Lawmakers said they are exploring reasons for the cutoff. The deadline for the documents is Oct. 15.

The three panels earlier subpoenaed Ukraine documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Giuliani. But the department missed a Friday deadline that the panel set for documents. Pompeo has accused lawmakers of bullying department staffers.

TUESDAY

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is scheduled to give a deposition to the three committees. The whistleblower said Sondland, along with Kurt Volker, the special representative to Ukraine, who gave a deposition Thursday, had met with Giuliani to try to “contain the damage” his efforts on Biden were having on U.S. national security.

The whistleblower said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the “differing messages” they were getting through official U.S. government channels and Giuliani’s private outreach. Texts that the committees released showed Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, asking: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland texted back: “Call me.”

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell scheduled arguments for the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for grand-jury evidence behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The committee seeks the evidence for Trump’s possible obstruction of Mueller’s 22-month investigation. But the Justice Department opposed the request and said it could jeopardize ongoing cases. House Republicans contend the committee doesn’t qualify for grand-jury evidence unless the full House votes to authorize an impeachment investigation, but Pelosi has said no vote is necessary.

THURSDAY

The three panels also scheduled a deposition with Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born businessman who helped introduce Giuliani to the Ukrainian prosecutor sought to provide dirt on Biden.

Trump scheduled a political rally in Minneapolis. The rally has already sparked controversy because the police department prohibited officers from wearing their uniforms at political events or in ads. The police union struck back by creating “Cops for Trump” T-shirts.

FRIDAY

The three committees scheduled a deposition with Marie Yovanovitch, a career diplomat and the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was pulled from her post in May after working years under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” in his July phone call with the Ukrainian president, which followed reports in conservative media that Yovanovitch was disloyal to Trump.

The three committees scheduled a deposition with Igor Fruman, a Ukrainian-born business partner of Parnas, who helped introduce Giuliani to the Ukrainian prosecutor.

Trump will rally supporters in Lake Charles, La. This would be the third event in a week in the state where members of the Trump administration have rallied voters, including Friday with Vice President Mike Pence in Kenner and Monday with the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., in Lafayette.

More about the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump:

Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here’s the plan, timeline and key players

What’s going on with Trump and Ukraine? And how does it involve Biden and a whistleblower complaint?

Read the full declassified text of the Trump whistleblower complaint

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4 reasons the corporate pension is on its deathbed

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 4 reasons the corporate pension is on its deathbed

Buzz60’s Elizabeth Keatinge tells us what plans some millennials have for retirement. Buzz60

General Electric’s move to significantly lower its pension liabilities is simply the latest in a sweeping corporate pivot away from guaranteed retirement benefits.

GE on Monday announced that it would offer lump-sum pension buyouts to about 100,000 former U.S. employees who have not yet begun receiving their pensions. 

The company, which has been facing pressure to bolster its finances, also announced plans to freeze pension benefits for about 20,700 salaried pensioners at current levels.

Taken together, the moves illustrate how corporate America has largely ditched pensions, which are swiftly becoming a thing of the past for active employees who don’t work for the government.

“In the bigger picture, GE is just going the way that most of the private sector in the United States has gone,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “It’s really over in the private sector. The question is just when does the last plan close down?”

GE freezes pensions: General Electric offers pension buyouts to reduce debt

Why put off retiring?: 5 reasons to retire as early as you can

The number of pension plans offering defined benefits – which means the payouts are guaranteed – plummeted by about 73% from 1986 to 2016, according to the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Here are four key reasons why:

1. Pensions are seen as expensive, risky

Defined-benefit pension plans are viewed as expensive and risky to maintain: Corporations are making promises to pay out benefits for decades but may not be able to guarantee their own financial success for the same period of time. If they fall on hard times, pension promises can become burdensome.

As a result, they have largely shifted investment risk to individual workers. Instead of managing investments on behalf of employees in the form of corporate pension funds, companies have formed defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s, which typically require tax-free withdrawals from people’s paychecks.

If the worker’s money is invested successfully, the payoff can be lucrative. But if the investments sour or the market tanks, workers, not the company, are on the hook for finding additional income.

“A pension is a promise to pay monthly benefits for as long as the employee lives after retirement,” Munnell said. “For employers, a system where they bear all the costs and all the risks is not appealing.”

2. Union power has diminished

As private-sector unions have withered, so have private-sector pensions. Unions have historically championed defined-benefit pensions for their members. For example, the United Auto Workers union is currently bargaining for improved pension benefits as it continues a strike against General Motors.

But the percentage of American private-sector workers in a union was only 6.4% in 2018, compared with 33.9% in the public sector, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The nation’s overall unionized rate of 10.5%, which includes public workers, is down from its all-time high of 20.1% in 1983, the first year comparable BLS figures are available.

3. 401(k)s have been normalized

A series of tax law changes in recent decades has enabled the rise of defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s.

Until the 1980s, this was not a normal employee benefit. Today it is. More than 100 million people have 401(k)-style benefits, according to the Department of Labor.

Critics say it’s not enough. The Economic Policy Institute says 401(k)s are a “poor substitute” for defined-benefit pensions, in part because many people simply aren’t saving enough and small businesses are less likely than large companies to offer them.

But advocates say the defined-contribution approach gives workers more control over their money and they point out that defined-benefit pensions are vulnerable to corporate bankruptcy, mismanagement, and corruption.

Also, in the modern economy, many workers prize the ability to move from company to company, instead of accruing benefits at a single employer. That emphasis on mobility tends to favor 401(k)-style plans.

“It’s really only the older companies that have residual defined-benefit plans,” Munnell said.

4. Public companies are under pressure to reduce pension debt

As public companies face pressure to deliver positive quarterly earnings, one area they often seek to improve is their general liabilities. That can involve slashing debt to earn a better credit rating, which typically makes it cheaper to borrow or win over investors.

When GE announced its pension moves Monday, analysts welcomed the plan. 

“This move shows that GE is looking to pull any and all levers to restore its financial health,” CFRA Research stock analyst Jim Corridore said in a research note. 

The major ratings agencies often praise companies for reducing their pension liabilities. And despite the pivot away from defined-benefit plans, corporations still owe a lot.

The top 100 private plans alone owe their workers $1.66 trillion, according to actuarial firm Milliman. In other words, while most active employees won’t be getting a pension, the legacy of America’s pension system will live on for decades.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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Pentagon And Budget Office Subpoenaed In House Impeachment Probe

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b76c12100009004ab93a9 Pentagon And Budget Office Subpoenaed In House Impeachment Probe

The chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed documents on Monday from the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump

All the documents requested from Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and OMB Acting Director Russell Vought concern Trump pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Trump’s motives for withholding military aid from Ukraine at the time.

“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the Committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” the congressmen wrote.

The chairmen behind the subpoena are Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of the Intelligence Committee; Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) of the Oversight Committee; and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

The House has already sent out a number of other subpoenas, including ones to the White House, Vice President Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.

The Pentagon and the OMB have until Oct. 15 to comply with the subpoenas. 

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Cory Booker Wants To Be More Than Every Voter’s 3rd Choice

MANCHESTER, N.H. ― It is early September, and Cory Booker is telling me he is done with stunts. 

When the New Jersey senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate was a council member and then mayor of Newark, one of his major goals was to bring attention to the problems of his poor, majority-minority 277,000-person city ― a feat he often excelled at with his outsize charisma and his savvy use of social media. Booker once held a hunger strike in the courtyard of a housing project to protest gang violence. He started a feud with Conan O’Brien after the late night host joked about wanting to flee Newark. He was one of the first Democrats ever to complete the food stamp challenge.

But now, in a campaign-rented recreational vehicle departing the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention and heading north toward the Maine border, Booker says he doesn’t need to turn himself into a shiny object for the benefit of the media. 

“When I became mayor of a city that everybody was trying to get away from, or when I was trying to beat a machine, getting attention was what I needed to do,” Booker says. “I got very good at getting this small city ― maybe bigger than some cities that other people are mayors of ― my job was to get resources and attention.”

But “when I became a senator, my first year, I wouldn’t do interviews, I didn’t talk in caucus,” he continues. “I didn’t need to draw attention to myself as a United States senator. What I wanted to do was to pass criminal justice reform, work across the aisle.”

The Booker campaign is seemingly pursuing the same heads-down approach, doing everything you are supposed to do to win a presidential nomination: barnstorming through Iowa and New Hampshire; building up ground games to rival those of the leading candidates; generating big ― if not game-changing ― moments at debates; and releasing policy papers that earned plaudits from wonks. He’s garnered more endorsements from state legislators than any other candidate has. The other campaigns are watching for his breakout moment. 

Sure, the Booker team members are frustrated with his place in the polls. But they are, perhaps surprisingly, Zen about the future of the race and their man’s place in it.

“We just have to keep raising money, and I will be the nominee,” Booker says, confident enough that he openly muses about what kind of general election campaign he would run. (He wants to go to states you don’t expect Democrats to campaign in during the general, like South Carolina and West Virginia.) 

“Organize like hell and hope you get hot at the end,” is how his campaign manager Addisu Demissie described the campaign’s strategy in a conference call with reporters in the spring. Booker recently expressed it in emoji form: turtle emoji, greater-than sign, rabbit emoji.

Just two weeks later, that tone radically changed: The Booker campaign announced it needed to raise $1.7 million in 10 days to give him a hope to compete. Instead of quietly making this appeal to top donors, the campaign put their desperation on full blast. The team leaked a memo from Demissie to NBC News, then held a press conference call to discuss it.

“If we’re not able to build the campaign organization, which means raise the money that we need to win the nomination, Cory’s not going to continue running and consuming resources that are better used on focusing on beating Donald Trump,” Demissie told the reporters on the call.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b64dc2100002e0433032d Cory Booker Wants To Be More Than Every Voter’s 3rd Choice

Scott Eisen via Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention in Manchester on Sept. 7.

The alarmist tone of the note immediately generated skepticism among both reporters and the other campaigns, leading them to believe it was a carefully orchestrated political stunt to generate attention and dollars from a candidate that had no real intention of quitting. (Demissie’s memo included a preemptive rebuttal of this argument, noting, “This isn’t an end-of-quarter stunt or another one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press.”)

In the end, Booker’s campaign succeeded. It raised $1.7 million in the final 10 days, the most successful 10-day period of his campaign to date, and hit more than $6 million in the quarter overall. Booker also qualified for the next two presidential debates.

Stunt or not, the episode raised a larger question: Just how did Cory Booker find himself in this position in the first place?

Booker has been receiving presidential hype since before he even entered the Senate, when he dazzled the national press with heroic anecdotes from his term as mayor: He ran into a burning building to save a constituent and, guided by Twitter, went around shoveling the sidewalks and driveways of elderly residents after snowstorms. In 2012, the Obama campaign regularly deployed him as a surrogate. The Clinton team did the same in 2016, and strongly considered him for vice president, to the point where Clinton-Booker placards had been printed. In the summer of 2018, The New York Times identified him ― along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ― as one of the five leading contenders for the Democratic nomination.  

Suffice it to say, the first eight months of the Booker campaign have fallen short of those expectations. Voters in the early states, ticking off which candidates they’re considering, routinely list Booker as the second or third choice, often behind Warren or Biden. But, if you look at the horse race numbers from those same polls, only between one out of every 100 and one out of every 20 voters considers him their top choice. Even in the areas where he theoretically should excel ― with black voters, with young people ― Booker polls, at best, in the high single digits.   

Jim Demers, a former New Hampshire state legislator who is now Booker’s campaign chairman ― his duties include driving the aforementioned RV ― said Booker’s campaign at the moment resembles former President Barack Obama’s at the same point in 2007. (Demers would know, since he was Obama’s New Hampshire campaign chair.)

“The size of the field has made it very difficult to process the candidates beyond the two or three who had the highest name recognition right now,” Demers said, dismissing candidates who have spiked in the polls before Labor Day. “The real voters start paying attention. This is movement time.”

Demers is right: With just a few debates left, the number of chances to make a shock-and-awe impression to move the polls is dwindling, and the top three candidates ― Biden, Warren and Sanders ― have displayed vulnerabilities aplenty without another candidate rising to challenge them. If it’s movement time, then time is running out for Booker to be more than everyone’s second or third choice. 

That morning in September, Booker strolls onto the stage at Southern New Hampshire University at 10 a.m. Biden spoke before him and failed to rouse the still-drowsy crowd. Booker begins with a version of his stump speech, which opens with the story of how his family, turned away from buying homes in a suburb of Newark because they were Black, was eventually able to purchase one with the help of white activists inspired by the civil rights movement. About three minutes into the speech, Booker’s lines start generating audible cheers from the crowd. 

Six minutes in, Booker delivers one of his favorite lines ― “We gotta beat Donald Trump. But beating Donald Trump is the floor. It is not the ceiling.” ― and the applause and cheers are loud enough that he has to pause before continuing. By the 10-minute mark, Booker has the crowd echoing another one of his signature lines ― “We will rise” ― in a call-and-response pattern. He leaves to a standing ovation. 

In a different race, one where there weren’t more than a dozen candidates still running, the post-event headlines might have focused on Booker’s strong performance.

But Booker isn’t running in that race. He’s running in the race where Warren got a standing ovation that lasted more than two minutes before she even said a word, and where her picture was splashed across the top of the New Hampshire Union Leader the next morning. 

In Iowa, this is what it takes. Bernie doesn’t do it. Joe hasn’t done it so far. Right now, they’re winning on name recognition. But once the rubber hits the road, that’s not going to cut it. Tom Courtney, a former Iowa state senator

After his speech, a pair of cable news interviews and a gaggle with reporters who peppered him with questions about his low standing in the polls ― “We do not want to win the summer news cycle, we want to win the election,” he says ― Booker is off to a volunteer thank-you event at a pub across the street from the arena. Outside, he greets a group of volunteers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, one of whom is wearing a cow outfit and holding a sign declaring: “Climate change cow says: Go vegan or we all die.” 

“My vegan people!” he calls out, before taking a selfie with the group. (While Booker is a vegan, the PETA group members say they have been attending events with all the candidates to talk to voters about how a vegan diet can help the environment.)

Inside is a gathering of relatively rare creatures in Democratic politics: Booker loyalists. While Warren, Biden, Harris, Sanders and even the unorthodox entrepreneur Andrew Yang have their legions of devoted online followers, Booker does not. It’s a puzzling development for a man who came to national attention, in no small part, because of his ability to grab attention on Twitter.

“I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Cory Booker,” said one Democratic operative, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about one of the party’s brightest lights. “But he isn’t anybody’s first or second choice. There are only so many voters of so many persuasions, and his ability to draw those voters is limited when he doesn’t have a core constituency of his own.” 

Booker’s campaign, during its scramble to raise the self-imposed requirement of $1.7 million, seemed to acknowledge his difficulty building a uniquely loyal constituency. Many of its email pleas focused not on helping Booker win but simply on keeping him in the race. And many of the big names who endorsed keeping Booker in the race – former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Iowa Auditor Rob Sand and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser – have not actually endorsed his candidacy. 

“It would be a loss for not only our party but for our country if someone like him was shut out of this race because he couldn’t raise enough money to compete,” Demissie wrote in one email. Booker asked for donations even “if you haven’t settled on a candidate but you think I bring an important perspective to this campaign.”

Talking to the assembled Booker supporters, there is no uniform reason for their support: Some like his emphasis on combating gun violence, others his promise to unify the country, another says he could replicate Obama’s path to victory in 2008. But they all have one thing in common: They have met Booker in person. The Booker campaign hopes a lot more voters can do the same.

During one trip to the Hawkeye State in early June, Booker stopped in Keokuk, Iowa, an 11,000-person city on the Mississippi River in the state’s far southeastern corner, where he gathered 50 people at a coffee shop, and then hung around to take selfies, record videos for friends of attendees who couldn’t make the event, listen to the whispered concerns of seniors and eventually leave with a piece of coffee cake he would give to a staffer. (The frosting wasn’t vegan.) He then spent 40 minutes at a house in nearby Burlington, where a group of less than a dozen women discussed the closure of a Planned Parenthood in the city. “Each one of the people here is going to tell 20 people about what happened,” said Tom Courtney, a former Iowa state senator who hosted the event.

“In Iowa, this is what it takes,” Courtney continued. “Bernie doesn’t do it. Joe hasn’t done it so far. Right now, they’re winning on name recognition. But once the rubber hits the road, that’s not going to cut it.” 

Booker is betting a lot on Iowa. Even Demers acknowledged one of the two candidates from New England ― Sanders or Warren ― is more likely than not to win the New Hampshire primary. That leaves Iowa as Booker’s only major chance to make an impact before African American voters ― a key part of his theoretical winning coalition ― begin voting in larger numbers in Nevada and then South Carolina. 

Booker said he personally considers his team’s Iowa operation ― he has 50 paid employees in the state ― to be as strong as any campaign’s, save Warren’s. Ditto with his team in New Hampshire, where he has 30 staffers on the ground.

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b640b200000d0024ebf35 Cory Booker Wants To Be More Than Every Voter’s 3rd Choice

Boston Globe via Getty Images Booker records a video of himself using Celia Botto’s phone as she cheers behind him during a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 13.

Back in Manchester, Booker makes his way through the crowd, feeling the love, grabbing people’s phones to quickly snap a selfie. (Booker always takes the selfies himself. “You can always take the picture quicker than they can,” he says. “Most people don’t know the volume down button on iPhones is a picture taker.”) 

Booker delivers a quick speech to the gathered supporters. “We are building this campaign brick by brick by brick!” he exclaims. “We’re going to make sure the next president of the United States is bald!”

Booker’s next stop in Manchester is at Brookside Congregational, part of the liberal-leaning United Church of Christ, with a Black Lives Matter sign out front and a crowd of about 30 inside. Booker’s here for a question-and-answer session sponsored by the Granite State Organizing Project, which is focused on criminal justice reform, affordable housing and immigration. The questions start coming, and they are coming from the left end of the political spectrum.

Throughout the campaign, Booker has announced his occasional “frustration” with the primary conversation. He first shared it onstage at an event with Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and has repeated it several times since. I asked Booker to explain what he meant.

“I get people asking me about Greenland!” Booker said, referring to Trump’s desire to purchase the North Atlantic island. “That same week, Title X funding was being cut. Nobody asked me about that.” 

“It frustrates me, as the guy who lives in the inner city, when people ask ― almost as a litmus test ― first, it was ‘Is Donald Trump a racist?’ Then, it was ‘Is he a white supremacist?’” he continued. “That’s not the issue. The issue is we have a problem with white supremacy in this country. And yeah, he’s a problem. But the bigger problem is white supremacy in this country. And what’s your plan for that?”

Booker’s annoyance, at times, can seem a little convenient. He entered the race under fire from the left because of his support for charter schools, his past embrace of technology companies and his ties to his home state’s powerful pharmaceutical industry. But it’s the newer debates that seem to get under his skin. He bristles when he thinks progressives are getting ahead of the country, and complicating both campaigning and governance. Questions about whether prisoners should be allowed to vote annoy him, he has said, because the focus should be on getting people out of prison in the first place. 

I’m a guy that’s really good at pulling people together for a common cause. That doesn’t mean I don’t stand my ground. I’m not a kumbaya guy. Cory Booker

The overall effect is that Booker is in a bit of a never-never land, ideologically. He’s assembled a liberal voting record in the Senate, but declines to engage in either an out-and-out race to match Sanders on the left or the name-and-shame tactics Warren employs against Facebook and other modern-day malefactors of great wealth. But he also declines to engage in the hippie-punching many of the moderate candidates frequently deploy ― think Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s criticisms of “Medicare for All,” or Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s attacks on proposals to wipe away student debt. 

At the church, the litmus test question is about defunding Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Booker doesn’t directly engage, turning down the opportunity to provide a quick sound bite that would please activists and the media. Instead, he turns in a 15-minute answer that touches on the “deep hypocrisy” of some devout Americans, “the radical work of love,” cruelty to animals, environmental racism and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and ultimately the fear Latinos living in Booker’s inner-city neighborhood in Newark feel. 

“All the issues we’re talking about are deeply interrelated,” Booker says. The crowd is nodding, listening intently.

But just a few minutes later, Booker has the once-somber crowd in stitches. He’s recounting the story of his clash with O’Brien, noting he once banned the late night host from Newark Liberty International Airport, and their faux-feud ended with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton forcing them to negotiate a truce.

The abrupt switch from wonky and serious to gut-busting points to another critique of Booker’s campaign frequently tossed around in D.C. circles: that he’s “goofy.” Booker has at times embraced this, giving interviews about his love of Star Trek and making a surprise appearance at Comic-Con. But some operatives think it undercuts Booker’s more serious moments. 

It, along with Booker’s general love of hope-and-change-and-love-and-togetherness rhetoric, presents another challenge the Booker team is striving to overcome. Booker routinely tells audiences to watch “Street Fight,” the Oscar-nominated documentary depicting his first rough-and-tumble campaign against then-Newark Mayor Sharpe James, to get a taste of how he would handle a campaign against Trump.  

“I’m a guy that’s really good at pulling people together for a common cause,” Booker says. “That doesn’t mean I don’t stand my ground. I’m not a kumbaya guy.” 

But even as Booker tells voters to turn on Netflix and watch an 83-minute-long testament to his toughness, he can’t help but sprinkle in a joke. He typically notes “Street Fight” lost the Academy Award for Best Documentary that year to “March of the Penguins.”

“Penguins aren’t even that cute,” he tells audiences, in another line that usually wins laughs. “I’m cuter than a penguin.” 

Last Tuesday morning, the Booker campaign held a conference call to announce it had raised $6 million, with a third of that coming after their desperate ask for more cash. With that funding it was able to hire 40 more staffers, in the early states and at its headquarters in Newark. 

Demissie insisted again that most voters were undecided. After the success of their big fundraising ask and in the service of “radical transparency” ― a radical transparency that did not extend to releasing the campaign’s average donation size or cash-on-hand number ― he said they were setting a $3 million fundraising goal for the month of October. 

“We’ve seen in the last 10 days that voters want Cory to be one of their choices,” Demissie said. “If you tell people the truth, and you let them know what you need, they’ll come to your aide, because they want Cory to be in this race until the end.”  

Whether they want him to win is an entirely different matter. 

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Pentagon, budget office subpoenaed by House Democrats in impeachment inquiry

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Impeaching a U.S. president might not be the be-all-end-all for their career. We explain why this is the case. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – House Democrats issued subpoenas to the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget on Monday — the latest in a string of such demands as Congress continues to escalate its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

The subpoenas, issued to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Acting Director of Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, demand documents pertaining to the delay in military funds to Ukraine — a key component in the inquiry examing whether Trump used his power to force an investigation by a foreign government into Vice President Joe Biden, one of his key political foes in the 2020 election. 

Chairmen of the three congressional committees heading the investigation into Trump’s contacts with Ukraine and the delay in needed military funding — Reps. Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel — asked in the subpoena for documents that could shed light on the sequence of events that led to the delay in funds aimed at countering Russia aggression in the country. 

The committees gave until Oct. 15 to produce the documents and included a warning should officials deny the subpoena. 

“Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the direction or behest of the President or the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the president,” both letter state. 

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Explainer: Biden, allies pushed out Ukrainian prosecutor because he didn’t pursue corruption cases

More: Senator says he was blocked by Trump from telling Ukraine foreign aid was coming

The documents could help congressional investigators better determine the rationale behind holding up $400 million in U.S. military aid that Trump had put on hold, even after bipartisan congressional approval. The administration has given various explanations, including wanting Europe to provide more funds and being wary of possible corruption within Ukraine’s new administration. 

Democrats are investigating whether the administration dangled the money in exchange for Ukraine investigating Biden, one of Trump’s primary political opponents, and unfounded theories about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election. 

A summary of a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky raised questions about the president’s intentions after he brought up Biden and his son, Hunter, after discussing the military aid. 

Those questions intensified after a series of text messages were made public last week, showing key U.S. diplomats in the region were wary that the aid and a meeting between the two leaders might be contingent on Ukraine investigating issues that would help Trump politically. 

The subpoenas issued Monday are just the latest in a number of demands Congressional Democrats have made in the last several weeks, including subpoenas issued to the White House, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Pompeo failed to meet a Friday deadline for documents outlined in his subpoena but is in communication with the committees. 

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responding to the ongoing impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump says President Donald Trump is “unhinged.” (Oct. 4) AP, AP

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Official Who Heard Call Says Trump Got ‘Rolled’ By Turkey and ‘Has No Spine’

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Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official

European authorities say they arrested more than 250 climate activists Monday as the Extinction Rebellion group kicked off its latest wave of protests, staging a series of demonstrations that one top German official criticized as being partly “dangerous.”

The group, which is seeking urgent action against climate change, is trying to block roads in major European cities to draw attention to its demands. In London, officials say they have taken 276 demonstrators into custody, while three have been arrested in Spain for allegedly resisting orders from anti-riot police.

“We all share an interest in climate protection, and the Paris climate targets are our standard in this,” Helge Braun, the chief of staff for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told ZDF television.  “If you demonstrate against or for that, that is OK.

“But if you announce dangerous interventions in road traffic or things like this, of course that is just not on,” he added. He also dismissed the protesters’ idea of declaring a “climate emergency,” saying that the German constitution doesn’t provide for such a thing and it doesn’t translate into “concrete action.”

Westlake Legal Group extinction-rebellion Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/world/environment fox news fnc/world fnc article a89f5c68-43a1-5d0f-9645-45758e8cdf76

Police arrest a climate protestor after demonstrators blocked Trafalgar Square in central London on Monday. (AP)

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTESTERS SPRAY UK’S TREASURY BUILDING WITH FAKE BLOOD

In Berlin, around 1,000 people blocked the Grosser Stern, a traffic circle in the middle of the German capital’s Tiergarten park dominated by the landmark Victory Column. That protest began before dawn.

At lunchtime on Monday, another 300 people blocked Berlin’s central Potsdamer Platz, placing couches, tables, chairs and flowerpots on the road. Police said the protests were peaceful.

In London, demonstrators playing steel drums marched as they kicked off two weeks of activities designed to disrupt the city.

“In the UK, we will peacefully shut down all roads into Westminster in Central London and non-violently disrupt the government until our leaders agree to TAKE EMERGENCY ACTION NOW,” the group says on its website. “Other non-violent actions will target corporations, ministries and infrastructure that maintain our toxic system.”

91-YEAR-OLD AMONG THOSE ARRESTED DURING EXTINCTION REBELLION PROTEST AT BRITISH PORT

Westlake Legal Group extinction-rebellion-2 Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/world/environment fox news fnc/world fnc article a89f5c68-43a1-5d0f-9645-45758e8cdf76

Climate protestors block Lambeth bridge leading to Britain’s Parliament in central London on Monday. (AP)

For months, Extinction Rebellion has been demanding that the British Parliament “act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.” They also have pushed lawmakers there to “create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”

London police say they arrested members of the group as they blocked Victoria Embankment, outside the Ministry of Defense.

Among those arrested was 81-year-old Sarah Lasenby, a retired social worker from Oxford.

“It is imperative the government should take serious actions and put pressure on other states and global powers to radically reduce the use of fossil fuels,” she told the Associated Press.

In Amsterdam, hundreds of demonstrators blocked a major road outside the Rijksmuseum, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and set up tents. The protest went ahead despite a city ban on activists gathering on the road and the protesters ignored police calls for them to move to a nearby square.

Westlake Legal Group extinction-rebellion-paris Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/world/environment fox news fnc/world fnc article a89f5c68-43a1-5d0f-9645-45758e8cdf76

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion block a bridge Monday in Paris. (AP)

In Spain, a few dozen activists briefly chained themselves to each other and to an elevated road over a major artery in Madrid, snarling traffic during the morning rush hour. The National Police said three were arrested for resisting orders by anti-riot officers.

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A few hundred other protesters camped out in 40 tents at the gates of Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition.

And around 1,000 protesters blocked the area around Chatelet in central Paris and vowed to stay at least the night in the makeshift camp they had pitched. Some were seated, some chained to a barrel.

Fox News’ Thairy Lantigua and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group extinction-rebellion Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/world/environment fox news fnc/world fnc article a89f5c68-43a1-5d0f-9645-45758e8cdf76   Westlake Legal Group extinction-rebellion Climate protests in Europe result in more than 250 arrests, criticism from German official fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/world/environment fox news fnc/world fnc article a89f5c68-43a1-5d0f-9645-45758e8cdf76

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IG could not explain 18-day window between Ukraine call and whistleblower complaint: sources

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092880579001_6092878241001-vs IG could not explain 18-day window between Ukraine call and whistleblower complaint: sources Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge c53dc8a2-16aa-536c-a0ce-2490a7d5d405 article

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, in testimony to House lawmakers about the whistleblower complaint on President Trump‘s controversial phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, could not explain what accounted for the 18-day window between the July 25 call and the Aug. 12 complaint filing — or when exactly the whistleblower contacted a key Democrat’s staff, sources familiar with the testimony told Fox News.

The whistleblower’s contact with Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s staff before filing the complaint in mid-August has prompted renewed scrutiny of Schiff.

The top Democrat previously said “we have not spoken directly to the whistleblower,” but his office later revised the claim, saying that Schiff himself “does not know the identity of the whistleblower, and has not met with or spoken with the whistleblower or their counsel” for any reason.

Sources familiar with Atkinson’s closed-door, transcribed interview Friday with members of the House Intelligence Committee also noted that Atkinson said the whistleblower did not disclose the contact – during that 18-day window – with Schiff’s office, as Fox News first reported Friday. Sources said Atkinson testified that the whistleblower, in filing the complaint, left “blank” a section in which he or she could have disclosed that congressional contact.

WHISTLEBLOWER DID NOT DISCLOSE CONTACT WITH SCHIFF’S COMMITTEE TO INSPECTOR GENERAL, SOURCES SAY

Atkinson revealed that his only knowledge of the contact came from media reports, sources said.

Sources further have told Fox News that Atkinson revealed the whistleblower volunteered he or she was a registered Democrat and had a prior working relationship with a prominent Democratic politician. Attorneys for the whistleblower at the firm Compass Rose did not respond to requests for comment on this work history or on the lack of disclosure about the contact with Schiff’s office.

Republicans have criticized Schiff for not initially revealing the committee’s early contact with the whistleblower, with President Trump going so far as to allege that Schiff may have “helped write” the complaint. GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe said there is an inherent conflict because the only entities that can explain the contact are Schiff and his Democratic staff, who are also running the investigation.

Democrats counter that House Republicans are obsessing over process, rather than the underlying issue of the president’s request to Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

The whistleblower’s attorneys, meanwhile, maintain the whistleblower did not receive assistance from congressional sources in writing the complaint, which was a detailed nine-page document including an appendix — a factor that could account in part for the 18-day window between Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the filing of the thorough complaint.

The emergence of the complaint, which alleged that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in the country, prompted a formal impeachment inquiry last month.

While the revelation about the aide’s contact with Schiff’s office spurred GOP criticism, Schiff’s office denied that the intelligence committee had reviewed or received the complaint in advance.

In order to assess the credibility of the complaint, Atkinson’s office conducted a preliminary investigation that included interviews with a handful of witnesses, sources said, including two of the whistleblower’s supervisors. One witness was described as having direct knowledge of the transcript process and handling, Fox News is told.

In a statement after Friday’s session with the inspector general, Schiff fired back at Republicans, saying they have “continued the president’s strategy of deflection by making the absurd claim that because a whistleblower contacted the committee seeking guidance, the committee cannot conduct an investigation into the complaint.”

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“If that were true, no whistleblower could contact Congress, and no committee could conduct an investigation,” Schiff said.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092880579001_6092878241001-vs IG could not explain 18-day window between Ukraine call and whistleblower complaint: sources Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge c53dc8a2-16aa-536c-a0ce-2490a7d5d405 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092880579001_6092878241001-vs IG could not explain 18-day window between Ukraine call and whistleblower complaint: sources Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge c53dc8a2-16aa-536c-a0ce-2490a7d5d405 article

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Twitter Users Drag Trump For Touting His ‘Great And Unmatched Wisdom’

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b697b2100009504ab9227 Twitter Users Drag Trump For Touting His ‘Great And Unmatched Wisdom’

President Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed “stable genius,” showed on Monday his humility no bounds when he threatened Turkey not to do anything that goes against his “great and unmatched wisdom.”

On Sunday night, the White House announced that U.S. forces would “no longer be in the immediate area,” allowing Turkey forces to invade northern Syria ― a move that endangers Kurdish forces who have been U.S. allies and that sparked fierce criticism from even some of Trump’s staunchest defenders.

On Monday, the president warned Turkey not to do anything he considers “off limits,” lest he destroy their economy.

Some Twitter users took note that the hyperbolic phrasing went beyond even typical Trump hyperbole ― and was reminiscent of lines from beloved movie musicals.

A few begged to differ with the president’s assessment of his own abilities.

Some wondered if the tweet was actually sent out by the president since it was spelled correctly.

Others wondered if there was a particular reason for the timing of the tweet:

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