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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 425)

Trump impeachment: How the Senate trial’s first day may proceed, hour by hour

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124172211001_6124172716001-vs Trump impeachment: How the Senate trial's first day may proceed, hour by hour fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 91593743-4028-59b0-a839-9a027b406934

Here is how things are expected go down Tuesday in the Senate for President Trump’s impeachment trial.

By rule, the trial session begins at 1 p.m. ET. Expect to see Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger reprising his role from last week, bringing order to the Senate. Stenger may appear at other points along the way, too.

The first order of business for the Senate will be to swear-in Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. Inhofe wasn’t present last week when all other senators were sworn in. He was attending to a family emergency.

Then, there will be some short, administrative activity for documents, et al.

Viewers are likely to see two women on the dais, whispering to Chief Justice John Roberts, giving advice and passing messages. They are Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough and Assistant Parliamentarian Leigh Hildebrand.

Once the Senate gets through the basics, it’s time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to offer his resolution dictating the parameters of the trial. McConnell’s proposal is formally known as a “motion” in Senate parlance. And, by rule, the Senate then has two hours per side to debate the McConnell plan. The Senate will have to eat up all of that two hours, unless there is unanimous consent – meaning all 100 senators agree — to cut things short.

The seven House managers and members of Trump’s defense team – not any senators – would debate the proposal.

Timing: So, barring anything strange, this probably gets us close to 3:30 p.m. ET.

Then, it’s up to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to offer his counter-proposal.

The Senate has something known as “the amendment tree.” One could think of the McConnell proposal as the “trunk” of the tree. Schumer’s proposal is a “branch” of the tree. Schumer’s proposal, or proposals – so, sprigs growing off of the Schumer branch of the tree – all would represent possible amendments on which the Senate likely will have to debate and conduct a roll call vote on Tuesday evening.

What will Schumer propose? Different time allocations for the trial? Different times when they start or stop the arguments? Proposals on witnesses and documents?

By rule, Schumer’s proposal gets two hours of debate as well, with no senators participating in the debate — just the impeachment managers and the president’s counsel.

Timing: If they do this by the book, we probably get 5:30 or 6 p.m. ET, if not later.

However, a potential wild card is afoot.

Fox News is told to expect a closed Senate session after these two debates, meaning lawmakers essentially would kick everyone out of the chamber: the public, the media, the president’s legal team and the impeachment managers. The only people left: senators, Roberts and essential floor staff. Fox News has no idea how long this could go, but it would happen in the Senate chamber itself, not the Old Senate Chamber.

In addition, this would be a deviation from what happened in 1999. Prior to then-President Clinton’s impeachment trial, all 100 senators met in the Old Senate Chamber to forge an agreement on how to proceed in the trial. Here, the trial already has begun. Thus, in this circumstance, the Senate is debating how it will grapple with Schumer’s proposal or proposals – and, to some degree, McConnell’s. Senators need to do this because they have a series of trial proposals on the floor. The debate time would be allocated to the impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers, so senators would have to sort this out on their own.

Maybe this will take an hour, or two or three. Who knows?

KARL ROVE EXPLAINS WHY SOME DEMS MAY VOTE TO ACQUIT TRUMP

At some point in the evening, the Senate will return to open session with an agreement – or no agreement – and have to deal with the McConnell and Schumer proposals. Remember the amendment tree? Well, by rule, the Senate works backwards when voting on what’s on the amendment tree. That means the various Schumer proposals, the sprigs and branches come first. Then finally, at the end, the McConnell proposal – which is the trunk of the tree.

The results of the votes on the Schumer, and, vis-à-vis, the McConnell proposals, will establish the framework for the trial.

Remember, even though McConnell said he had votes to approve his resolution, mirroring the Clinton impeachment model of 1999, it’s possible the Senate could adopt some of the Schumer proposals. That would modify the base plan.

The McConnell plan would provide for a total of 24 hours for the House managers to present their case, and 24 hours for the president’s defense team. Then, 16 hours for written questions, submitted by senators, through the chief justice. Then, consideration of witnesses and documents, potentially during the middle of next week.

The final vote of the night would be on the “trunk,” or the McConnell plan. Only that roll call vote will dictate how the Senate will conduct the trial. This vote will be the most important thing all day.

Timing: Impossible to judge. It depends on how many votes are called, how many proposals are in play, how long the closed session lasts.

Important to note on the votes: Some will be straight, up or down tallies on one of the actual proposals in play. For example, is there more debate time? Do they subpoena John Bolton?

However, many of the votes Tuesday night likely will occur on “a motion to table.” Or, a motion to appeal the ruling of the chair.” Or, “the motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair.”

A motion to table is simply a vote to set aside or kill an item. A motion to appeal the ruling of the chair is just that: disapproving how the chair ruled. The “motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair” is a way to set or side or immediately kill the appeal.

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Expect several of these votes in play Tuesday. They may have the consequence of euthanizing a particular proposal.

In short: This is going to be a lengthy session which will likely drift well into the night Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124172211001_6124172716001-vs Trump impeachment: How the Senate trial's first day may proceed, hour by hour fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 91593743-4028-59b0-a839-9a027b406934   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124172211001_6124172716001-vs Trump impeachment: How the Senate trial's first day may proceed, hour by hour fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 91593743-4028-59b0-a839-9a027b406934

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Jesse Watters on impeachment witnesses: ‘Think about how far they’re willing to go to protect Hunter Biden’

Westlake Legal Group Watters-Williams_FOX Jesse Watters on impeachment witnesses: 'Think about how far they're willing to go to protect Hunter Biden' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc fae9b786-10f5-51dc-8c17-1f54fb00ed2f article

“The Five” co-hosts Jesse Watters and Juan Williams debated Monday whether or not Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter was a relevant witness for Republicans to call during the Senate impeachment trial.

“Think about how far they’re [Democrats] willing to go to protect Hunter Biden. Why does Hunter Biden need so much protection? It’s because this whole situation that he’s involved in is a complete disaster,” Watters said. “They’re saying he’s not a relevant witness. Well, the Supreme Court has granted wide latitude for defense counsel to call whoever they want to set out whatever fact case they can to set up a strong and robust defense to protect their constitutional rights.”

GRAHAM CALLS FOR SWIFT END TO IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, WARNS DEMS AGAINST CALLING WITNESSES

Hunter Biden’s involvement with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings was the subject of President Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, which sparked the Democrats’ impeachment push.

Watters spoke out against impeachment manager and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who dismissed on Sunday any notion that Democrats would be willing to negotiate calling witnesses during the Senate trial.

“It doesn’t matter what Nadler says is relevant or not, it’s whether the Supreme Court says it is and it is so,” Watters said. “Hunter Biden is a material witness to the defense.”

Nadler said on “Face The Nation” Sunday that “Hunter Biden has no knowledge of the accusations against the president.”

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Williams disagreed with Watters saying, “This has nothing to do with Hunter Biden” prompting a back and forth between the two.

“So you’re going to deny the president due process in the House and in the Senate?” Watters interjected

“He was not denied due process!” Williams responded.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Watters-Williams_FOX Jesse Watters on impeachment witnesses: 'Think about how far they're willing to go to protect Hunter Biden' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc fae9b786-10f5-51dc-8c17-1f54fb00ed2f article   Westlake Legal Group Watters-Williams_FOX Jesse Watters on impeachment witnesses: 'Think about how far they're willing to go to protect Hunter Biden' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc fae9b786-10f5-51dc-8c17-1f54fb00ed2f article

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‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-assess-facebookJumbo ‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Law and Legislation impeachment Federalist Papers Ethics and Official Misconduct Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — As President Trump’s impeachment trial opens, his lawyers have increasingly emphasized a striking argument: Even if he did abuse his powers in an attempt to bully Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election on his behalf, it would not matter because the House never accused him of committing an ordinary crime.

Their argument is widely disputed. It cuts against the consensus among scholars that impeachment exists to remove officials who abuse power. The phrase “high crime and misdemeanors” means a serious violation of public trust that need not also be an ordinary crime, said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.

“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has that been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”

But the argument is politically convenient for Mr. Trump. For any moderate Republican senator who may not like what the facts already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, the theory provides an alternative rationale to acquit the president.

Indeed, if it were true, then there would also be no reason to call witnesses like John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, because what he and others know about Mr. Trump’s motivations and intentions in his Ukraine dealings would not affect the outcome of the trial.

Mr. Trump’s legal team hammered away at the argument in its 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday. “House Democrats’ newly invented ‘abuse of power’ theory collapses at the threshold because it fails to allege any violation of law whatsoever,” the president’s lawyers wrote.

Many legal scholars say senators should not take this argument seriously. They point, among other things, to evidence that for centuries before the American Revolution, the British Parliament impeached officials for “high crimes and misdemeanors” that constituted abuses of power but were not indictable offenses. The pattern informed the framers of the Constitution, who echoed that concept.

One precedent — a high-profile case against a former British governor-general in India named Warren Hastings accused of mismanagement, mistreatment of locals and military misconduct — unfolded during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and was reported in American newspapers.

His chief prosecutor, the famous parliamentarian Edmund Burke, argued that Mr. Hastings’s actions violated the public trust even though they were not indictable. (Mr. Hastings was acquitted, but only many years later.)

The original draft of the Constitution had made only treason and bribery a basis for impeachment. But according to James Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention, George Mason brought up the Hastings case and proposed expanding the definition of impeachment to cover something like it. After rejecting the term “maladministration” as too broad, the convention participants decided to add the English term “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Mr. Bowman — whose scholarship on impeachment law is cited in a footnote in the Trump legal team brief — called the arguments in that brief “a well-crafted piece of sophistry that cherry-picks sources and ignores inconvenient history and precedent.” For example, he noted, it makes no mention of how the Hastings case involved allegations of abuses of power that were not indictable crimes.

Scholars pointed to other major landmarks. In 1788, as supporters of the Constitution were urging states to ratify the document, Alexander Hamilton described impeachable conduct in one of the Federalist Papers as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” and “political” offenses that injure society.

Mr. Hamilton also wrote that impeachments would differ from common trials in part because prosecutors and judges would not be as limited “in delineation of the offense.”

Critics of the Trump team’s theory have also noted that when the Constitution was drafted, hardly any federal criminal laws had been written. And several early impeachment proceedings — including against a judge who got drunk while presiding over cases — did not involve indictable offenses.

“It is just quite clear that the commission of a crime is neither necessary nor sufficient for an act to be impeachable,” said John Mikhail, a Georgetown University law professor. He portrayed the Trump legal team’s argument as not merely wrong, but as not even worthy of being deemed serious.

But Alan Dershowitz, a leading proponent of the theory, disagreed. An emeritus Harvard Law School professor and a celebrated criminal defense lawyer, he has joined Mr. Trump’s legal team and is preparing a presentation about the idea that he said he expects to make to the Senate on Friday.

Among other things, Mr. Dershowitz said in an interview, he interpreted Mr. Hamilton to be saying not that any violation of the public trust is impeachable, but that only crimes that are also violations of the public trust meet that standard.

He also said that there were some common-law crimes at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, and that the framers expected Congress to eventually enact criminal laws that could serve as the basis for impeachments.

Mr. Dershowitz said he intended to model his presentation on an argument put forward at the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson by his chief defense counsel, Benjamin Robbins Curtis, a former Supreme Court associate justice.

Mr. Johnson was saved from conviction and removal when the vote fell one short of the necessary supermajority. Mr. Curtis had argued that Mr. Johnson was not accused of committing a legitimate crime, and that removing him absent one would subvert the constitutional structure and make impeachment a routine tool of political struggle.

But other legal scholars, like Laurence Tribe, a constitutional specialist at Harvard Law School and an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, have argued that Mr. Dershowitz is overreading and misrepresenting this aspect of the Johnson trial, especially against the backdrop of other evidence about the original understanding of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the range of factors that went into Mr. Johnson’s narrow acquittal.

In an opinion article in The Washington Post, Mr. Tribe accused Mr. Trump’s legal team of using “bogus legal arguments to mislead the American public or the senators weighing his fate.”

From one perspective, the argument might not matter. Mr. Bowman noted that while the House article refers to no criminal statute, the conduct described in the abuse-of-power one “plainly draws from” the crime of soliciting a bribe.

(The Government Accountability Office has also concluded that the Trump administration’s freezing of a congressionally appropriated military aid package to Ukraine amounted to an illegal impoundment of funds, but there are no criminal penalties associated with violating that law.)

But Mr. Dershowitz said that if the House had the evidence and the votes to charge Mr. Trump with bribery, then it needed to say so explicitly.

Some of Mr. Dershowitz’s critics have questioned whether he really believes what he is now saying, noting that in 1998, during the Clinton impeachment, he said: “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime, if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”

Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position today was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that there needs to be “crime-like” conduct. He also said he did not know about Mr. Curtis’s 1868 argument during the Clinton impeachment era, and reading it had affected his thinking.

Still, he acknowledged that his interpretation is an outlier.

“My argument will be very serious and very scholarly,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “The fact that other scholars disagree, that’s for the Senate to consider. There is a division — most of the scholars disagree with me. I think they’re wrong.”

But Mr. Mikhail said Mr. Dershowitz and the Trump legal team were wrong, and he noted that many senators of both parties went to law school.

“These are very smart, legally informed people,” he said. “They understand the law. They can certainly see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert.”

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Rep. Doug Collins: Democrats trying ‘to find anything shiny’ to distract Americans from ‘how poorly they did their job’

Westlake Legal Group CollinsOutnumbered Rep. Doug Collins: Democrats trying 'to find anything shiny' to distract Americans from 'how poorly they did their job' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/jerrold-nadler fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc cb1b098c-8a7b-5a25-b3b1-3a3fa24c55ad article

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., appeared on “Outnumbered Overtime” Monday and criticized Democrats for continuing to make demands about the conduct of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, which begins this week.

“Their case is falling apart and the American people are seeing that their rush to judgment is actually going to cause the people to see that they really did not do their job,” Collins told guest host Dagen McDowell. “And it’s not fair to say the Senate should do their job for them.”

DEMOCRATS CLASH WITH GOP OVER PROSPECT OF CALLING HUNTER BIDEN IN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

Trump’s legal team called the House’s impeachment case “flimsy” and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution” in a trial memo filed Monday morning.

The 110-page filing claimed that the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – do not amount to impeachable offenses and that the Democrat-led House inquiry was not a quest for the truth.

Collins spoke out against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who told CBS’ “Face the Nation” this past weekend that “any Republican senator who says there should be no witnesses, or even that witnesses should be negotiated, is part of the cover-up” to help the president.

“It’s not the way Chairman Schiff worked. It’s not what they did in the House. And so they understand this, that they’re trying to now to find anything shiny for the people [not] to see how poorly they did their job, how much they ransacked the House rules to get to an outcome that they wanted,” Collins said. “This is just a travesty perpetrated upon the American people.”

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The congressman also commented on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment signing ceremony and her demeanor during the process, including her appearance this weekend on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

“Don’t me hand me that anymore, Speaker Pelosi,” Collins said. “You’ve shown that you’re willing to lead a House off of a cliff of due process wrongs, of trashing the rules of the House to get to a president that you can’t stand.”

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group CollinsOutnumbered Rep. Doug Collins: Democrats trying 'to find anything shiny' to distract Americans from 'how poorly they did their job' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/jerrold-nadler fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc cb1b098c-8a7b-5a25-b3b1-3a3fa24c55ad article   Westlake Legal Group CollinsOutnumbered Rep. Doug Collins: Democrats trying 'to find anything shiny' to distract Americans from 'how poorly they did their job' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/jerrold-nadler fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc cb1b098c-8a7b-5a25-b3b1-3a3fa24c55ad article

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The Davos Plutocrats Warm Up to Trump

Westlake Legal Group 20db-sorkin1-facebookJumbo The Davos Plutocrats Warm Up to Trump World Economic Forum United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Economic Conditions and Trends Davos (Switzerland)

DAVOS, Switzerland — The last time President Trump arrived at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, his trip was treated with deep skepticism, if not disdain, by the business and political leaders who gather once a year in this ski town in the Swiss Alps. It was 2018 and even with his newly enacted tax cuts, his populist, antiglobalist rhetoric and Twitter outbursts were more than enough to make the event’s collection of plutocrats uneasy.

This time is likely to be different.

With the stock market at record highs, two trade deals announced and the possibility that Mr. Trump may be in office for another four years, there is an increasing sense that he will be accepted, if not embraced (although some attendees may roll their eyes behind his back) when he arrives on Tuesday, even as he faces an impeachment trial.

As anathema as it may be to some participants, Mr. Trump may be the new Davos Man.

The Davos forum, marking its 50th year, has always sought to foster a sense of multilateral unity. But Mr. Trump, along with his counterpart in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is seemingly moving the world into a tariff based, decoupled universe, based on bilateral negotiations and diplomacy by tweet.

To the surprise of many Davos regulars, the economic results have yet to prove as disastrous as they expected — and, at least in the short term, have seemingly proven to be quite positive. (The long-term effects, of course, are still unknown.)

Even Mr. Trump’s most ardent detractors acknowledge that an acceptance of the president is settling in among the Davos crowd.

“We are all adjusting to his abnormal behavior,” said the investor Anthony Scaramucci, Mr. Trump’s onetime spokesman turned enemy who has been a Davos regular for over a decade and hosts a wine tasting party that has become a hot ticket for the boldfaced names. “The economic strength helps their cognitive dissonance,” he said.

Just last week, a lineup of some executives who will attend the Davos forum were in the audience at the White House when Mr. Trump signed the initial China trade deal. They more than politely applauded.

“Will you say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President’ at least? Huh?” Mr. Trump asked Mary Erdoes, the chief executive of JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management division and a Davos regular, along with Jamie Dimon, the bank’s C.E.O. “They just announced earnings, and they were incredible,” Mr. Trump said about JPMorgan. “They were very substantial. I made a lot of bankers look very good. But you’re doing a great job. Say hello to Jamie.”

Stephen Schwarzman, the co-founder of Blackstone, who often gets calls from global C.E.O.s seeking advice on how to manage relations with Mr. Trump because of his close relationship with him, said there has been a shift among the C-suite crowd.

“The attitude of the business community toward the Trump Administration appears quite positive,” said Mr. Schwarzman, who runs one of the world’s biggest investment funds. Among the reasons for the warm feelings, he said, are the strength of the economy, trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada, the tax bill and the elimination of regulations.

Still, if there is one topic expected to dominate the week here besides Mr. Trump himself, it will be an issue that he and the Davos community vehemently disagree about: climate change

Just last week, Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft — and a Davos participant — announced the company would be carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 it would seek to remove all of the carbon it has ever emitted since its founding in 1975. The World Economic Forum itself announced the meeting would be carbon neutral after it bought carbon credits to offset carbon emission from the event.

Of course, Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in climate change and pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement to the horror of most of the executives and attendees of Davos.

He is likely to hear criticism from activists like Greta Thunberg, the high school phenom who has become a global icon for the climate. And he may get some nudging from C.E.O.s, but, unlike the activists, they will be unlikely to confront him publicly out of fear that he might turn on them or their companies.

“The Davos crowd are well respected followers of fashion and love whomever is in power,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management and an expert on corporate leadership. “They celebrate when the people are rich and powerful.”

Mr. Sonnenfeld pointed out that, despite the stock market run-up, only “12 percent anticipate economic conditions will improve over the next six months, up from just 4 percent in the third quarter,” according to the Conference Board’s most recent survey of chief executives.

While the business community has come to accept Mr. Trump — one executive described the view by saying “life is relative” — Mr. Sonnenfeld noted that a poll he conducted three weeks ago found that 56 percent of C.E.O.s favored the president’s impeachment and removal from office.

Mr. Trump may find himself flattered by the Davos audience. Whether it is genuine flattery or something else remains an open question. Whatever the answer, Mr. Scaramucci is convinced it is all self-interested: “The unspeakable truth is that C.E.O.s and their staff are horrified.”

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Second-Largest Doctor Group Endorses National Health Insurance

Westlake Legal Group 5e25ba422400003100dd12cc Second-Largest Doctor Group Endorses National Health Insurance

The campaign to create a government-managed, truly universal health care system may have just picked up an important new ally: the nation’s second-largest physician organization.

The American College of Physicians, which represents 159,000 doctors with training in internal medicine, on Monday said the federal government should assert more control over national health spending and guarantee insurance for all Americans, either by covering everybody directly (through what advocates call “Medicare for All”) or by creating a new public program that can compete with private plans (through what’s come to be known as a “public option”).

ACP’s announcement could prove to be a milestone in the century-long quest to make health care a universal right, considering how frequently and effectively physicians have resisted ambitious reforms. And it comes at a time when such reforms are once again a focus of national debate, because so many Americans are still struggling with the cost of medical care and because the two political parties are calling for such radically different responses.

Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, are still trying to repeal or roll back the Affordable Care Act, which dramatically reduced the number of uninsured people and established key principles of universal coverage such as guaranteed insurance for people with preexisting conditions. Insofar as Republicans support new initiatives, they have in mind reforms that would relax or eliminate these regulations on insurance companies and shrink government insurance programs on which tens of millions rely.

Democrats want government to do more than it does today ― by reaching the remaining uninsured, providing everybody with more protection from medical bills, and addressing health care spending more aggressively. Inside the party, the debate is all about whether Medicare for All or the public option is the best way to achieve those goals.

What They Are Saying About Government And Health Care

After more than a year of study and internal deliberations, ACP’s governing boards and policy committees have concluded that either Medicare for All or a strong public option could work, though it doesn’t use those terms. The overriding goal, the organization says, should be to give the government much more sway over health care, like other developed countries have long done, rather than to rely on some combination of patchwork reforms and the free market.

And in a series of articles that appear in the new Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP officials and affiliates make a detailed case for why. The package includes a thorough review of national health systems abroad, along with summaries of what American politicians are now proposing.

“The U.S. health care system is like a chronically ill patient, and ACP is proposing a new prescription,” three of the group’s officials say in the lead essay. “Simple market solutions have been unsuccessful elsewhere, and we do not believe that health care is a commodity.”

ACP, which supported the Affordable Care Act and has fought efforts to repeal it, has always been among the most liberal physician organizations. But this is the first time the organization has formally called for the government to create a new insurance program, be it mandatory or optional, and to exert so much more power over health care spending, according to Robert McLean, an internist and the group’s president.

“We have said in the past, ‘Hey, maybe we need to consider or look at single-payer financing as an option,’ but we didn’t fully come out and boldly endorse it,” McLean told HuffPost. “We are doing that now. This is a really assertive endorsement with much more detail on how this approach has been shown to be effective for these various reasons. … That is new for us.”

What It Means For The 2020 Election

The ACP articles assiduously avoid endorsing any politician or party. But ACP’s positions line up with some well-known advocates.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is Medicare for All’s most visible champion, having written the damn bill, as he likes to say, and endorsed it for nearly his entire life in politics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has also endorsed Medicare for All, though she has said she would seek to get there through a two-step process, starting with a law to create a public option.

Other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ― including former Vice President Joe Biden; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) ― have warned that Medicare for All represents too dramatic a change. They have said they would prefer simply to pass public option reforms, at least for now, although the specific initiatives those candidates have put forward would appear to be less ambitious than what ACP has in mind. 

In its review of public option proposals, ACP cited plans from the Center for American Progress and Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker. The closest analogue to those plans is proposed ”Medicare for Americalegislation from Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) that would envision, among other things, more federal intervention to control prices.

And that element of the ACP endorsement, the interest in letting government get more involved with the price of health care through either Medicare for All or a public option, may ultimately be the most important part of its endorsement. 

How And Why Physician Opinion May Be Shifting

Physicians, like most providers of health care, have a long history of fighting ambitious reforms, going back to the Progressive Era when state medical societies fought the first, embryonic efforts at “compulsory health insurance.” Thirty years later, the American Medical Association, which was and remains the largest U.S. organization representing doctors, led the fight to defeat Harry Truman’s universal coverage plan.

Since that time, however, physician opposition to sweeping health reforms has softened. 

The AMA, like the ACP, supported the Affordable Care Act and has opposed efforts to repeal it. Last year, the AMA’s House of Delegates came within a few percentage points of voting to rescind its historic opposition to single-payer schemes like Medicare for All. It also withdrew from the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a health industry group that has fought both Medicare for All and the public option.

The evolution of physician sentiment likely reflects a variety of factors, including a generational shift. Older physicians came into the profession with expectations of operating in solo practices or as small groups, with minimal outside interference. 

Younger doctors are more accustomed to working in large organizations and in many cases see government as a necessary, even welcome force to counter the influence of insurance companies and guarantee access in a way that private plans do not.

“First, there is widespread recognition of the harm that our health care financing system inflicts on our patients’ health,” said Adam Gaffney, a pulmonology specialist who is president of Physicians for a National Health Program. “But second, there’s also growing recognition of the ways that the system fails physicians too — endless hours glued to the electronic medical record, enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources expended on billing, documentation, and other onerous clerical tasks. We’re recognizing more and more that patients and doctors are in this together.”   

What The Endorsement Doesn’t Say

PNHP is a longtime champion of Medicare for All and recruited more than 2,000 doctors to sign an open letter, set to run as an advertisement in The New York Times on Tuesday, endorsing the idea. Together with ACP’s announcement, the letter suggests that Medicare for All is gaining mainstream credibility.

The fact that the largest medical specialty society in the country explicitly and officially endorsed Medicare for All is a huge deal — even if they also endorsed another option,” Gaffney said. 

ACP’s support of both Medicare for All and strong public option reforms comes with warnings that limiting provider payments too aggressively could hurt doctors and hospitals that operate with low margins, ultimately hurting patients. This is no small thing.

Actual legislation to create either a Medicare for All or ambitious public option system could entail limits on provider income that many physicians would find objectionable. Yet without enough control over health spending, the math of reform gets tricky and it’s difficult to deliver the benefits advocates promise.

But though it’s a tough problem to solve, as policy and politics, McLean says more and more physicians understand it’s worth the effort. “We can do better, our patients deserve better,” he said. “No system is perfect but we can get a lot closer than we are.”

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Bloomberg willing to spend ‘whatever it takes’ in 2020 White House bid: campaign manager

Westlake Legal Group AP20019758958515 Bloomberg willing to spend 'whatever it takes' in 2020 White House bid: campaign manager Louis Casiano fox-news/shows/fox-news-reporting fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 19d83aea-2688-5cf2-8f17-a7e34c165a03

Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg is willing to “spend whatever it takes” to get his message out and broaden his support to secure the party’s nomination, campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told Fox News’ “Bill Hemmer Reports” on Monday.

During Monday’s interview, Hemmer questioned Sheekey over how much of Bloomberg’s own money the former New York City mayor is willing to spend to unseat President Trump.

“Fox Business headline here it is and it’s big one: ‘Two billion reasons Bloomberg could unseat Trump,'” Hemmer said. “Is he willing to go deep, two billion, or is that just a headline?”

BLOOMBERG, IN OKLAHOMA, PUSHES PLAN TO FIGHT RACIAL INCOME INEQUALITY

“Mike’s view is, ‘Hey I want to spend whatever it takes to put myself in a position to make a difference,'” Sheekey responded,” before touting Bloomberg’s record as the three-term mayor of America’s largest city.

“He was able to make an enormous difference in New York through three terms as mayor,” Sheekey added. “There’s no one who doesn’t say that he didn’t bring this city back from 9/11, that he didn’t improve education, that he didn’t make the streets safer, that he didn’t rebuild the economy of New York after the worst tragedy ever to occur on American soil.”

In an earlier segment on the show, Hemmer interviewed Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who said he wasn’t worried about Bloomberg’s candidacy until he outpolls the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

“Brad is not running a national campaign,” Sheekey responded. “Brad is running a campaign in six states… and right now if the election was held, I think President Trump is re-elected and that’s one of the reasons Mike Bloomberg got into this campaign.”

BLOOMBERG PANS DEMOCRATIC FIELD FOR FAILING TO ADDRESS ISSUES, SAYS HE ‘DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING’

Bloomberg, a former Republican, will skip key nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire to focus on California and other states in an effort to broaden Democratic support.

“We’ve allowed two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, to pick our nominee… to the exclusion of people around the country,” Sheekey said. “So Mike Bloomberg has said ‘What if we actually got everyone involved… what if we actually empowered people to play a role in this campaign and what if we got the ideas?'”

Hemmer pointed put that when Bloomberg’s predecessor as mayor, Rudy Giuliani, tried the same strategy during his failed White House bid in 2008, it backfired.

“When he skipped Iowa and he showed up in New Hampshire, reporters were not asking him, ‘What is your campaign about?’ They were asking him, ‘Where have you been?'” Hemmer said.

Sheekey dismissed the comparison, noting that Giuliani focused mostly on Florida, while Bloomberg has volunteers campaigning across 36 states on his behalf.

Hemmer then asked whether Bloomberg will divest himself from his media empire, Bloomberg Media Group, and other assets should he be elected in 2020.

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“So if he’s the nominee it’s billionaire versus billionaire. And we’ve seen President Trump break the rules of precedent of the past. Does Michael Bloomberg plan to do the same?” asked Hemmer.

“No, I think Mike Bloomberg is the candidate that can take Donald Trump on and take this country in the right direction. I don’t think there’s another candidate in the Democratic primary that can do that,” Sheekey said. “Mike has said that if he was elected, he would take that company and all of his assets and put it in a blind trust.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20019758958515 Bloomberg willing to spend 'whatever it takes' in 2020 White House bid: campaign manager Louis Casiano fox-news/shows/fox-news-reporting fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 19d83aea-2688-5cf2-8f17-a7e34c165a03   Westlake Legal Group AP20019758958515 Bloomberg willing to spend 'whatever it takes' in 2020 White House bid: campaign manager Louis Casiano fox-news/shows/fox-news-reporting fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 19d83aea-2688-5cf2-8f17-a7e34c165a03

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Virginia Gun Rally Live Updates: 22,000 Protesters Oppose New Gun Laws

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167455953_f4394824-606a-42ea-bd2a-15b938795530-articleLarge Virginia Gun Rally Live Updates: 22,000 Protesters Oppose New Gun Laws Virginia Van Cleave, Philip Second Amendment (US Constitution) RICHMOND, Va. Richmond, Va, Gun Rally (January, 2020) Politics and Government gun control Fringe Groups and Movements Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Elizabeth Szmurlo and Hunter Mitchell of Richmond, Va., gathered with gun-rights advocates at the State Capitol on Monday to oppose proposals for gun control.Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Thousands of pro-gun advocates, many of them armed, converged on the Virginia State Capitol on Monday, flooding a secure area around the building and packing the surrounding streets with firearms, flags and political posters in a pointed message to state lawmakers who are weighing new gun control proposals.

The rally in Richmond, organized to oppose a series of measures being considered in the State Legislature, became a rallying cry for Second Amendment rights nationwide, inspiring cross-country flights from Colorado and road trips from Texas and attracting a crowd of about 22,000 people.

A threat of potential violence had been looming over Virginia’s capital city for days, fueled by reports that white supremacists, armed militia groups and other extremists planned to attend. But there were no official reports of skirmishes or major incidents as of Monday afternoon.

Hoping to head off trouble, the state set up a security perimeter around the Capitol grounds and banned weapons — including firearms — from the area inside. Police officers guarded the area with the help of bomb-sniffing dogs, and people entering the perimeter through the single entrance were screened with metal detectors.

The organizers of the rally, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and other participants said they tried to keep the event peaceful.

Vincent Carter, 36, who was picking up trash at the end of the event, said that participants were well aware that “the world was watching” and that any violence would have been blamed on gun rights groups.

“A lot of time was spent in planning for safety — to not let a certain type of person sort of mingle in with us,” he said. “If we didn’t know them, we didn’t let them come with us. We have a lot of guys who are ex-military, so that helped keep things in order.”

Even so, plenty of demonstrators came armed to Richmond, and officials worried that confrontations could develop just outside the perimeter entrance or in the surrounding streets where weapons were allowed.

During the rally, David Triebs and his two sons held a giant banner across the street from the perimeter entrance, reading “Come and Take It,” a reference to a defiant slogan used by Texan revolutionaries in 1835 when the Mexican authorities demanded the handover of a cannon.

Mr. Triebs and his sons drove for 24 hours straight through to Richmond from Fredericksburg, Texas, he said, drinking Red Bulls along the way to stay awake. He said relatives were worried about him coming to Virginia.

“The internet stuff I read made it sound like tanks were rolling in the streets and neo-Nazis were marching and antifa has descended,” he said. “But none of that stuff happened. It was like a family gathering.”

As they packed up their banner to leave after the rally, one of his sons struggled with two tall flagpoles, nearly knocking into a passing pedestrian.

“Careful — don’t hit anybody in the last five minutes,” Mr. Triebs said. “If you assault someone with a flagpole, that would be the only thing that made the news.”

The landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision holding that the Second Amendment protected an individual’s right to keep and bear arms is known as the Heller decision, after Dick Heller, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that overturned a gun-control law in the District of Columbia.

When Mr. Heller addressed the rally in Richmond on Monday, the crowd listened with rapt attention.

He got a big reaction when he quoted part of the amendment’s text: “Let’s yell it to them, so the media and left legislature can hear it: The right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed!” The crowd roared the end of the sentence along with him.

And when he asked the crowd, “Do we need gun control in Virginia?,” the crowd roared back, “No!”

Another speaker, Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, Va., who has long been outspoken in advocating gun rights, told the crowd, “I ask that you all return to your homes and ask your elected officials, where is the line they will not cross?”

After the official speeches, as people began to leave the secure perimeter, participants made impromptu speeches in the street, denouncing abortion and the governor in addition to gun control. Some participants picked up litter and scraped discarded orange “Guns save lives” stickers off the pavement. “No confiscation! No registration!” the crowd chanted.

While armed men and women thronged the capital’s streets, gun-control advocates mostly stayed away. Organizers of an annual vigil in support of gun restrictions, which was scheduled for Monday, called it off this year.

Lori Hass, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s state director for Virginia, said in a news release that gun-rights activists “have amplified and fanned the flames of insurrectionism and civil war in a way that is irresponsible and dangerous.”

“Now, citizens who represent the overwhelming majority of Virginians are prevented from lobbying their officials because of credible threats to their safety,” Ms. Hass said.

But hours after the pro-gun rally ended, a crowd of about 30 gun control activists, many of them college students, went inside the Capitol grounds. Several of the students, including some who had survived school shootings, drove in from various locations in Virginia and slept at the office of a state legislator, Dan Helmer, on Sunday night.

The group had initially planned to hold a vigil earlier on Monday, but it moved the event to later in the afternoon after reports that white nationalists and militia members would attend the pro-gun rally. The advocates stayed in Mr. Helmer’s office throughout the morning.

“We heard them screaming from the office,” said Mollie Davis, 19, who survived a shooting at Great Mills High School in 2018. “That really scared me.”

Andrew Goddard, a gun control activist, asked the group to have a moment of silence for the thousands of people who have been killed by gun violence. “What would it be like if 10,000 of those people were standing with us and beside and behind us today?” Mr. Goddard said.

Though no incidents were reported at the gun rights rally on Monday, Mr. Goddard said it did not feel peaceful to see so many armed people marching in the streets. “Intimidation is not peaceful.”

He added, “They were looking for someone to scream at and shout at, and we weren’t going to provide that.”

Nupol Kiazolu, 19, the president of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, said she was compelled to attend the vigil for shooting victims “because oftentimes black and brown voices are left out of these issues.”

One gun-control advocate who did go to the rally on Monday morning to confront pro-gun demonstrators was Paul Karns, 49, a writer from Richmond. Mr. Karns said he had been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was shot 13 years ago while defending his neighbor during a robbery.

He got into a heated debate with a pro-gun demonstrator who said schools were vulnerable to violence because of the lack of guns on campus. Mr. Karns yelled and stormed off. “One thing I don’t see from that side of the spectrum is empathy for the rest of us,” he said.

On a day when guns and Second Amendment grandeur took center stage, the atmosphere also took on an overtly political tone at times, as pro-gun groups criticized the state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam.

Demonstrators circulated a racist photograph from Mr. Northam’s medical school yearbook, which showed a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe, an image that nearly destroyed Mr. Northam’s political career. An investigation last year could not conclusively determine whether Mr. Northam appeared in the photo, and he now leads a state government that is fully controlled by Democrats and focused on enacting gun control.

“The man behind the sheet wants your guns,” read one poster, which had reprinted the photograph. In another case, a pamphlet using the photograph called on liberals and conservatives to “fight back” against “slave masters” in the state legislature.

Support for President Trump was apparent among many of the gun rights activists in attendance.

A large “Make America Great Again” flag whipped above the crowds that gathered outside the State Capitol perimeter. A bus adorned in pro-Trump posters, including a “Women for Trump” flag and a flag with the president’s head photoshopped on Rambo, occasionally drove passed the entrance of the capitol grounds and was greeted with cheers from the crowd.

“Trump 2020, baby!” one man shouted. “Amen,” a man wearing a camouflage hat replied.

Despite concerns about potential violence, which led the governor to declare a state of emergency ahead of the rally, the authorities said they were not aware of any major incidents or arrests by late afternoon. The Richmond police estimated the crowd at about 22,000, with 6,000 inside the perimeter and 16,000 outside.

Organizers had said they expected 120,000 people to attend. The Virginia Citizens Defense League noted online that it had failed to meet its fund-raising goal. Its website indicated that some 1,200 people had given a total of $71,533 by late afternoon Monday, short of the target of $100,000.

“The real fight is yet to come,” the group said in a Facebook post. “Can you throw a few bucks our way? We are behind in our goal.”

Inside the Capitol grounds on Monday morning, a peaceful crowd held banners and flags, and shouts of “U.S.A.” swelled in the background.

At the same time, a swelling crowd jammed the surrounding streets.

Weapons were allowed outside the security perimeter, and demonstrators walked through the area carrying firearms and flags, as if on parade. There were military-style rifles, shotguns, 9-millimeter handguns, .45- and .22-caliber pistols, and even a man carrying .50-caliber sniper rifle.

Chris Dement, 22, said he brought a 9-millimeter carbine to stand in solidarity, but was prepared to use it for self-defense in case of violence.

“It’s never out of the realm of possibility,” he said.

Richmond was alive with activity as early as 6 a.m. as clusters of people made their way toward the Capitol. The traffic downtown included a Jeep flying an American flag, and numerous pickup trucks.

Logan Smith, 25, a transmission plant worker from Indianapolis, said he set out Saturday night and drove in his black Dodge Charger for 9 hours and 46 minutes to reach Richmond on Sunday. Standing in a teal sweatshirt in the early morning cold on Monday, his hands in his pockets, he watched the line for entrance to the Capitol grounds start to snake around the block.

“I see how it matters — it matters to me back home,” Mr. Smith said of gun rights. Referring to the gun regulations bills before the Virginia legislature, he said, “Seeing stuff like this being pushed, it doesn’t sit well.”

Around the corner, a whoop went up from a small crowd when several men unfurled a large cloth banner with a long gun emblazoned on the front.

Teri Horne, 51, stood on the sidewalk directly across from the entrance to the Capitol grounds, with a Smith & Wesson M&P15T rifle straddled around her shoulder and a Texas flag at her side. Ms. Horne, of Quitman, Texas, said she and about three dozen others from the women’s chapter of Open Carry Texas attended “to support the people in Virginia.”

“This is where freedom began, right here, and this is what they’re doing to the people of Virginia,” Ms. Horne said. “Thomas Jefferson, he was a very livid character, he would have some strong words to say.”

The rally has been a frequent topic of discussion on internet platforms that are popular among anti-government militia groups and white supremacists. Many users expressed interest in attending the rally. But over the weekend, white-supremacist chat rooms began to overflow with warnings against attending.

Many suggested that participants were being set up for a government trap where they would either be blamed for any violence that broke out, or would even be the targets of violence themselves.

Those warnings continued on Monday from members of anti-government militias, white supremacists and others who were in Richmond. The message “Don’t go in the cage” was posted repeatedly on Twitter, along with comments like “Flood the rest of Richmond instead.”

For years, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, which falls early in the legislative session, has been a day for ordinary Virginians and advocacy groups to talk with state legislators about issues that concern them, in a tradition known as “Lobby Day.”

This year, gun rights groups made especially big plans, after control of the legislature flipped in the November election.

After a generation of dominance by Republicans sympathetic to gun rights, the State Senate and House of Delegates are now run by Democrats who want to impose tighter regulations — measures that have become increasingly popular in the state, especially after a gunman fatally shot 12 people last May in Virginia Beach.

The State Senate approved three gun control bills last week that the House of Delegates could approve as early as this week.

The prospect of new laws restricting firearms has met with stiff opposition in the state’s rural areas. Since November, more than 100 municipalities have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” — a purely symbolic step, but one that highlights the widening rift in Virginia between its cities and its rural areas, which have been losing population and political power for years.

Timothy Williams, Sabrina Tavernise and Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported from Richmond, Va., and Sarah Mervosh from New York. Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from New York.

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New Disneyland Star Wars reportedly suffering breakdowns, long wait times

Westlake Legal Group Rise-of-the-Resistance-opening New Disneyland Star Wars reportedly suffering breakdowns, long wait times Michael Hollan fox-news/travel/general/theme-parks fox-news/travel/general/disney fox news fnc/travel fnc article 507fc705-3e10-5c22-b821-627675b5bbc6

Being part of a resistance is never easy.

Disneyland in California recently opened Rise of the Resistance, its latest addition to its Star Wars land. While fans have given the ride positive reviews, there are reports of issues with the virtual queue and breakdowns.

On opening day, the boarding group passes for the ride sold out within six minutes, The Orange County Register reports. Fans reportedly starting lining up starting at midnight for a chance to experience the new ride. The virtual queue opened at 8 a.m.

DISNEY TRYING TO STOP BABY YODA KNOCKOFF SOLD ON ETSY: REPORT

Fans could sign up for the virtual queue on the Disneyland app, where they would be assigned a boarding group number, which ranged from one to 160. Guests assigned a group number higher than 81 were reportedly placed on a “standby” status.

The ride reportedly broke down just before 10 a.m. and did not come back online for 50 minutes. Another breakdown occurred around 2:30 p.m. By this point, 61 boarding groups had moved through the ride, according to The Orange County Register.

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The news outlet reported that at around 5 p.m., guests registered for boarding groups 115 and above were told it was unlikely they would experience the ride that day.

The new ride experienced similar delays on Sunday, WDW News Today reports. According to the outlet, the park notified guests from certain “standby” groups around 1:30 p.m. that they would not be experiencing the ride that day.

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Fox News reached out to Disneyland for comment but did not immediately get a response.

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Avenatti allegedly took settlement money from football fans

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092449950001_6092450544001-vs Avenatti allegedly took settlement money from football fans Lee Ross fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/person/michael-avenatti fox news fnc/us fnc article 81f27020-fbca-58e6-b85c-6c2943526179

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti is accused of stealing money from dozens more clients than previously known, according to newly unsealed documents and recent interviews with Fox News.

It’s alleged that Avenatti, currently behind bars awaiting trial in New York on unrelated charges, directed up to $1.3 million in settlement funds – intended for approximately 170 clients – to cover his own expenses. It’s the latest example of alleged malfeasance by the lawyer who was once a fixture on cable news and flirted with a presidential run.

“We didn’t receive any of that,” Donald Albaugh, one of Avenatti’s clients, said by phone Monday.  Albaugh said he and his wife, Tracy, went to the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas but, like hundreds of other ticket holders, had problems with their seats and sued the NFL.

“The whole thing is so ludicrous,” Arianne Dar told Fox News about taking her son to the game as a graduation present. Dar said she made sure to buy tickets that were not “obstructed view” but they ended up behind a metal pole. “I never heard about a settlement.”

H. Dean Steward, who Avenatti hired to represent him last year, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The Albaughs and Dar said they each submitted itemized costs to Avenatti and his legal team seeking reimbursement for about $10,000, but they haven’t seen a penny.

In May 2017, Avenatti, representing the ticket holders, entered into an agreement with the NFL for a settlement of about $1,550,000 and a dismissal of all legal claims. But, in a request for a search warrant of Avenatti’s computers and phones seized following his March 2019 arrest, IRS Special Agent Remoun Karlous told a federal judge that Avenatti paid out only a small fraction of that settlement.

“Avenatti used the remainder of the approximately $1.31 million dollars [he] and his law firm received from the settlement of the Super Bowl Litigation for [his] own personal and business purposes,” Karlous wrote.

AVENATTI TRIES TO SUE STORMY DANIELS FOR OVER $2 MILLION

Avenatti has not been charged with defrauding his clients in the Super Bowl case, but Karlous wrote, “The government will be seeking to admit this evidence at trial on the basis that this criminal conduct falls squarely within and is inextricably intertwined with” an already existing 36-count federal fraud indictment in Orange County, Calif. In one of those charges, Avenatti stood accused of hiding the existence of the NFL settlement from a bankruptcy court dealing with his now-former law firm.

Avenatti’s office manager had witnessed the behavior, Karlous alleged, writing, “In response to a question as to whether she was aware of Avenatti taking money from client funds, [the manager] said that the plaintiffs in the Super Bowl litigation had not all been paid out … even though there had been money available to pay them.”

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Paul Colavecchi said he did get money back from Avenatti, but only after his sister, who went with him to the Super Bowl, threatened to report Avenatti to the State Bar of California. None of the Avenatti clients reached by Fox News said they saw any paperwork from Avenatti or his firm after the settlement.

The California fraud case is just one of three criminal cases Avenatti has been facing. He’s scheduled to go to trial in New York next week on charges that he tried to extort $25 million from Nike. But, the timing of that case was thrown into question when Avenatti was arrested in Los Angeles last week on allegations of violating his bond. Avenatti also stood accused of stealing money from adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who he represented in her litigation against President Trump.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092449950001_6092450544001-vs Avenatti allegedly took settlement money from football fans Lee Ross fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/person/michael-avenatti fox news fnc/us fnc article 81f27020-fbca-58e6-b85c-6c2943526179   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092449950001_6092450544001-vs Avenatti allegedly took settlement money from football fans Lee Ross fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/person/michael-avenatti fox news fnc/us fnc article 81f27020-fbca-58e6-b85c-6c2943526179

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