web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 466)

Undocumented workers gets busted, but employers often don’t. What we learned from 6 ICE raids

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Undocumented workers gets busted, but employers often don't. What we learned from 6 ICE raids

“We been spending our life here, and we’re helping this country, like the president says, to be great.” Sarah Warnock, Clarion Ledger

JACKSON, Mississippi — Federal prosecutors have indicted 99 poultry workers arrested in Mississippi immigration raids in August. 

Court documents allege clear signs the companies knew who they were hiring.

But the four companies targeted in the operation have yet to face charges for hiring undocumented employees — and similar cases from across the country show they could avoid prosecution altogether.

A Clarion Ledger review of past large-scale worksite immigration raids throughout the United States — including six under the Trump administration — shows investigations into employers often last more than a year, and criminal charges seldom materialize.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 680 migrant workers at six chicken processing plants in Mississippi on Aug. 7, the largest single-state worksite raid in agency history. Agents seized computers and documents to build their case that the four companies knowingly hired unauthorized workers. 

“The fact that we haven’t seen (any employers) indicted, and nobody hauled out the day of raids, doesn’t surprise me,” said Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at Ole Miss and a former assistant U.S. attorney. “You want to spend time with the documents obtained in the raid before making any ultimate charging decisions.” 

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst declined to comment on the status of his investigation into the poultry companies, though he has previously pointed to a track record that includes prosecuting employers. 

But while the 99 migrant poultry workers face a variety of charges and the threat of deportation, plants operated by the two companies where the most employees were arrested are back up and running.

POLL: 68% of Mississippians want owners of ICE raided chicken plants prosecuted

Feds rarely go after employers

Just 11 managers and no companies were prosecuted from April 2018 to March 2019, a Syracuse University analysis found. Annual prosecutions of employers almost never climbed above 15.

While prosecuting companies has always been rare, even fewer cases have been filed under Trump compared to the Obama administration, according to a recent Washington Post report, which examined data from Duke University and the University of Virginia. The slowdown comes as the Trump administration drastically increases the number of undocumented immigrants it’s arresting.

Under Trump, a series of worksite raids kicked off in early 2018, after ICE’s then-Acting Director Thomas Homan pledged such operations would increase by “400 percent.” Several times since then, authorities touted the latest raid as the largest in years, or in ICE history.

Six examples of large-scale ICE raids under the Trump administration

April 5, 2018: Tennessee meatpacking plant raid

  • Arrests: 97 
  • The case: The family-run plant northeast of Knoxville was the largest workplace immigration enforcement operation in almost a decade. The raid followed an IRS investigation of the business, where agents said they were looking into tax evasion, false tax returns and hiring undocumented immigrants. A bank had noticed the company was regularly withdrawing large sums of cash, and officials said it was being used to pay undocumented workers.  
  • What’s happened? The former owner of the plant, James Brantley, was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion, wire fraud and knowingly hiring undocumented workers, according to court documents. Two floor supervisors were also sentenced to probation.  

June 5, 2018: Ohio Corso’s Flower and Garden Center raids 

  • Arrests: 114 
  • The case: About 200 ICE agents descended on two facilities in the Sandusky area. One agent said officials believed a “criminal network” had brought many of the undocumented workers to Ohio. ICE officials told a television station last year it was pursuing charges against the employer.
  • What’s happened? Not much — an Ohio U.S. attorney spokeswoman said the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed. 

June 19, 2018: Ohio Fresh Mark raid

  • Arrests: 146 
  • The case: Authorities called the operation at a meat processing plant in northeast Ohio the largest workplace raid in recent history. Fresh Mark was raided despite six years earlier being the first Ohio company to partner with ICE on a program to prevent hiring unauthorized workers. Officials said they had been investigating the company for a year, including whether it was knowingly hiring undocumented workers. 
  • What’s happened? Not much — a U.S. attorney spokesman said the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed. 

Aug. 18, 2018: Nebraska and Minnesota vegetable processing plant raids

Aug. 28, 2018: Texas Load Trail trailer manufacturer raid 

  • Arrests: 160
  • The case: More than 300 ICE agents descended on the trailer company northeast of Dallas after receiving information that the company “knowingly hired illegal aliens.” The operation, once again, was the largest workplace raid in years. And it wasn’t the first time the company faced federal scrutiny for its hiring: In 2014 Load Trail was fined $445,000 for employing more than 170 undocumented immigrants. 
  • What’s happened? Not much — the investigation into the company is ongoing, a Texas U.S. attorney spokeswoman said. Media reports indicate a settlement could be on the horizon. The company remains open but the CEO recently complained to NPR about a severe shortage of welders due to the raid, as other competing trailer companies in the area continue to employ them. 

April 3, 2019: Texas CVE Technology raid 

  • Arrests: 280 
  • The case: Once again, officials said the raid of a cellphone refurbishing company in Allen was the largest single site operation in a decade. Investigators said they had received tips the company “knowingly hired illegal aliens,” and many had fraudulent documents.
  • What’s happened? Steve Kardell, a lawyer who specializes in corporate whistleblower law, told the Dallas Morning News the scope of the raid was an example of the Trump administration “trying to make some examples out of the companies,” not just employees. But a Texas U.S. attorney spokeswoman said the investigation into CVE is ongoing and charges haven’t been filed. 

Regardless of where they are, companies use similar defense against ICE prosecutions

Companies often use a similar playbook when caught up in immigration raids. They point out publicly they always used E-Verify. Or, they mention many of their employees were vetted through a third-party staffing agency, so they had no way of knowing if they were unauthorized.

The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 made it illegal for employers to “knowingly” hire unauthorized immigrants, which experts say can be utilized as a loophole by companies, if they can make the case that they weren’t aware. 

Koch sued following the raid, alleging the government failed to show it had “knowingly” hired unauthorized workers. It said the company always followed employment verification protocols including E-Verify. 

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Peco officials also said they had processed every applicant through E-Verify for “more than a decade.” The company said it hired an immigration law specialist after the raids to audit the plants and their hiring procedures, including checking identification documents and running E-Verify.

“All these facilities, including the raided ones, have passed the audit,” Peco said in a statement, adding it continues to cooperate with the federal investigation. 

When 114 employees at Corso’s, the Ohio garden center, were arrested last year, the company released a similar statement: “If anyone used false, fraudulent, or otherwise disingenuous identification documents or other documents to secure employment at Corso’s, the company was not aware of those things.”

Koch Foods, with 243 workers arrested at its Morton plant, said it was operational the day after the raid, and continues to seek job applicants for various positions. 

Spokesman Jim Gilliland recently said it was “business as usual,” though he declined to comment on hiring challenges created by the raids. “We’re meeting our customers’ orders,” he said. “Our employees are showing up to work and doing a great job.” 

In a statement, Peco said it “lost talented team members” in the raids, and continues to seek out applicants who “have the legal right to work in the United States.” It said it has “worked to improve production levels and efficiencies since the August plant raids.” 

Two other raided companies, PH Foods and Pearl River Foods, did not respond to Clarion Ledger inquiries about their status. Morton Mayor Gerald Keeton said the PH plant is again operational, though not at full speed. 

ICE RAIDS: Chicken plants lured them. Feds jailed them. How Mississippi’s immigration crisis unfolded

How high up corporate ladder will prosecutors go? 

Experts say criminal charges probably will be filed in the Mississippi chicken plant cases. They point to the sheer size of the investigation and evidence contained in search warrant affidavits that suggest at least some company officials were aware of who they hired. 

“I would be surprised if there are no indictments against corporate officials and the corporations themselves,” said Johnson, the Ole Miss professor, who has been volunteering with a group called the Mississippi Immigration Coalition, assisting migrant workers and their families affected by the raids. He said a key question will be: How high up the corporate ladder will prosecutors “be willing and able to go?” 

“This was a criminal case,” said Mark Reed, a former senior official for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, ICE’s predecessor. But, he added, there are outside political factors — such as the long-term employment impact on small communities — that can limit how aggressively prosecutors are allowed to go after companies.

“Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes with this case,” he said. 

Companies often negotiate a fine and avoid prosecution, at least for higher-ups, including in two past prominent Mississippi cases.

The Country Club of Jackson acknowledged hiring undocumented immigrants more than a decade ago but no leaders there were charged; it eventually paid a $214,500 fine.

After about 600 were arrested in a 2008 raid at Howard Industries in Laurel — then the largest single-workplace raid in U.S. history — the company waived indictment and paid a $2.5 million fine. Only one company official, Jose Humberto Gonzalez, the former human resources manager, was charged. He was sentenced to six months house arrest and probation. 

And two years earlier, top Swift & Company meatpacking officials avoided prosecution after some 1,300 workers accused of immigration violations were swept up at six of the Colorado-based company’s plants around the country. 

Load Trail, the Texas trailer company, similarly paid a fine for its immigration violations in 2014. For its current case, Load Trail attorney Gene Besen said the company is in a “cooperative stance” with the feds and is holding ongoing conversations with prosecutors about a resolution to the current case. In another prominent Texas case, Waste Management recently agreed to pay the feds $5.5 million under a non-prosecution agreement for similar immigration violations in 2012. 

Criminal cases against employees rounded up in the Mississippi raids — and potentially their employers — could drag on for years, experts say. Meanwhile, the largest worksite immigration raid in the country’s history will likely soon be replaced by a larger one under a Trump administration that has made clear its intentions to crack down on undocumented immigrants. 

Days after the Mississippi raids, CNN reported, the White House directed ICE officials to carry out “dozens” more workplace operations this year. ICE offices around the country were told to identify two locations in their regions as “potential targets.”

Contact Luke Ramseth at 601-961-7050 or lramseth@gannett.com. Follow @lramseth on Twitter. 

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/18/immigration-raids-cases-show-employers-seldom-face-charges/4022410002/

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

Patrick Mahomes to miss at least 3 weeks after suffering knee injury: reports

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is expected to miss at least three weeks after suffering a knee injury during the second quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.

An MRI confirmed Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap, but luckily there was no significant additional damage, according to media reports.

PATRICK MAHOMES INJURY COULD MEAN ‘MADDEN’ CURSE STRIKES AGAIN

Westlake Legal Group NFL-Patrick-Mahomes11 Patrick Mahomes to miss at least 3 weeks after suffering knee injury: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc fa87996e-0ac8-56ef-a334-1887df087897 David Aaro article

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is helped by trainers after getting injured against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and James Palmer both reported that last year’s MVP will seek another opinion for his injured right knee and after initial fears of an ACL tear. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the MRI results are the “best-case scenario” for both Mahomes and the Chiefs, according to NFL.com.

The injury initially looked bad.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce talked to reporters about the injury after the game last night, describing the unsettling sight.

“His knee didn’t even look like a knee. It was all out of whack,” he said, according to ESPN.

PATRICK MAHOMES INJURY DRAWS UNSETTLING REACTIONS FROM CHIEFS TEAMMATES: ‘IT LOOKED DEFORMED’

Mahomes, 24, was reportedly walking around cautiously, but in good spirits following the Chiefs 30-6 victory on Thursday, according to NFL.com.

With the previous injury timeline, the best-case scenario for him is returning for their week 11 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but with a bye week looming after that game, the team may hold him out until the week 13 game against the Oakland Raiders.

CLICK FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

With Mahomes out, Matt Moore will be the quarterback going forward for the Chiefs. Next up is Sunday Night Football against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27.

Westlake Legal Group NFL-Patrick-Mahomes11 Patrick Mahomes to miss at least 3 weeks after suffering knee injury: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc fa87996e-0ac8-56ef-a334-1887df087897 David Aaro article   Westlake Legal Group NFL-Patrick-Mahomes11 Patrick Mahomes to miss at least 3 weeks after suffering knee injury: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc fa87996e-0ac8-56ef-a334-1887df087897 David Aaro article

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

Trump Writes Unhinged ‘Legal’ Letter Demanding That CNN Pay Him Money

Westlake Legal Group szotmqUAhcv43djUhLdoV2POetZHeDdh2GcErUgV4EM Trump Writes Unhinged ‘Legal’ Letter Demanding That CNN Pay Him Money r/politics

The letter references the Lanham Act. We are truly in an age of projectionistic history.

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities, shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

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

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich backs Trump impeachment

Westlake Legal Group HJcq-SlOO_QKnsZO_e5rXn3k2VL6RUij7ULksfm19i0 Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich backs Trump impeachment r/politics

Honestly he should run as a Republican.

This is crass political calculus, but the reality is, if you’re a key Republican figure with presidential ambitions, there’s at least an outside chance that Trump actually gets removed from office prior to 2020. And also at least some probability he loses in 2020 which will immediately result in massive party defections where they place all of the blame and sins of the party over the past 4 years on Trump.

So from a simple evaluating options standpoint, if you run an actual primary bid against Trump, you’re not banking on actually out-primary’ing Trump. You’re banking on

  • Outside chance of Trump getting removed/ (being forced to) resigning. In which case the Republicans have to run someone and Pence is tarnished, so the next most popular, organized Republican ready to roll almost certainly gets the nod

  • Better chance that even if Trump limps through this, if he loses in the 2020 election, the entire Republican 1 turns on him and heaps scorn and blame on him as failure (like they did to Dubya), meaning the face of Trump opposition is well positioned to be the standard bearer

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

7 super high-tech gadgets for fall excursions

The leaves are falling, and so are the temperatures across much of the U.S. Fortunately, these high-tech gadgets will help you explore your surroundings, stay connected, and keep moving outside in the cold weather this fall. These are the top picks for anyone who wants to go hiking, capture images and video, or keep your gadgets charged up.

1. Logitech Rugged Folio ($140)

A military-grade protective case for the most recent Apple iPad, the Logitech Rugged Folio is spill-resistant and can withstand short drops. The keyboard is super silent and there’s a stand on the back of the case for spontaneous typing sessions.

2. Fossil Gen 5 Watch ($295)

The latest smartwatch for either Apple iPhone or Android users, the Fossil Gen 5 has a built-in speaker for making calls and talking to bots like Google Assistant to ask about the weather. The watch is waterproof and lasts one full day.

10 USEFUL GADGETS FOR THE MODERN OFFICE

3. GoPro Hero8 ($400)

GoPro went all out on the latest action camera, which now lets you add accessories easily. There’s a new mod for a shotgun mic and an LED light (available in December). Image stabilization works much better at leveling the horizon.

4. Canon Ivy Camera ($130)

One of the coolest new pocket cameras, the Canon Ivy has a built-in carabiner that attaches to your belt or a backpack. It’s waterproof and shockproof, captures 13-megapixel photos and shoots 1080p high-def video. The camera syncs to your phone to transfer images.

5. Kyocera Duraforce Pro 2 ($450)

A rugged smartphone for fall excursions means you don’t have to worry about the rain and snow, dirt and grime, or dropping the phone on cement. Kyocera Duraforce Pro 2 has a built-in 13-megapixel and 4K camera so it doubles as an action cam.

7 BACK-TO-SCHOOL GADGETS FOR AN EPIC COLLEGE DORM ROOM

6. Jasco EcoSurvivor Earbuds ($35)

The low-cost Jasco EcoSurvivor earbuds are fully waterproof so you can swim with them or hike in the rain. The ear loops hold the earbuds in place when you go for a run. They last for ten hours per charge and sync to your phone over Bluetooth.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

7. Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD ($170)

A portable backup battery for outdoor use, the Sherpa 100PD has a wireless charging pad on top, plus multiple charge ports for wired devices (including the latest USB-C). For smartphones, you can expect to recharge about eight times and twice for a USB-C powered laptop.

Westlake Legal Group CanonIvy 7 super high-tech gadgets for fall excursions John Brandon fox-news/tech/topics/innovation fox-news/tech/technologies/wearable-tech fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/technologies/cameras fox news fnc/tech fnc fd5ec81e-bdf3-5ea2-8176-c2c1af98b816 article   Westlake Legal Group CanonIvy 7 super high-tech gadgets for fall excursions John Brandon fox-news/tech/topics/innovation fox-news/tech/technologies/wearable-tech fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/technologies/cameras fox news fnc/tech fnc fd5ec81e-bdf3-5ea2-8176-c2c1af98b816 article

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

84-year-old US Army vet challenges TSA agent to 10 push-ups before Honor Flight

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977450001_6095979078001-vs 84-year-old US Army vet challenges TSA agent to 10 push-ups before Honor Flight fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/travel/general/airports fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 51f5ed5b-a25b-5ea5-be08-cbb3931b7a72

An 84-year-old U.S. Army veteran nurse proved age is nothing but a number on Tuesday after she dropped to perform 10 push-ups — after challenging a TSA agent to join — before boarding her Honor Flight from Phoenix to Washington, D.C.

WOMAN’S ‘GENIUS’ TRICK TO AVOID AIRLINE BAGGAGE FEE GOES VIRAL

Lt. Col. Maggie DeSanti challenged a TSA agent to do 10 push-ups on the floor of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport before boarding her Honor Flight, which was scheduled to take DeSanti and other war veterans to memorials in Washington D.C. at no cost.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

DeSanti, who rappelled from helicopters to treat wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War, showed off her muscles on camera while she performed 10 full push-ups without stopping, all while dressed in her uniform, FOX 10 reported.

When she was done, another agent helped the octogenarian to her feet.

DeSanti and the TSA agent were all smiles as they posed for photos after the calisthenics match.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

DeSanti and her group set off on the Honor Flight Oct. 15. They’re due to return to Arizona on Thursday.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977450001_6095979078001-vs 84-year-old US Army vet challenges TSA agent to 10 push-ups before Honor Flight fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/travel/general/airports fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 51f5ed5b-a25b-5ea5-be08-cbb3931b7a72   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977450001_6095979078001-vs 84-year-old US Army vet challenges TSA agent to 10 push-ups before Honor Flight fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/travel/general/airports fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 51f5ed5b-a25b-5ea5-be08-cbb3931b7a72

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

Mom of children found hanging told 911 dispatcher son was bullied, ‘didn’t want to go alone’

The mother of an 8-year-old boy who was found hanging in a Pennsylvania basement last month alongside his 4-year-old sister told a 911 dispatcher he had been bullied and had made threats of doing this but didn’t want to go alone.”

The dispatcher further quoted the mother as saying that sadly the boy, Connor Snyder, “may be the aggressor,” Fox 10 Philadelphia reported Thursday.

Lisa Snyder, 36, called 911 after reporting finding Connor and her daughter Brinley hanging from the basement rafters of their home in Albany Township with a dog leash on Sept. 23.

CALIFORNIA GIRL, 10, COMMITS SUICIDE; POLICE INVESTIGATING WHETHER BULLYING TO BLAME

Westlake Legal Group Kempton-PA-Google-Maps Mom of children found hanging told 911 dispatcher son was bullied, 'didn't want to go alone' Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/health/education/bullying fox news fnc/us fnc article 54022e48-5b17-51c8-a98e-9c9752a6d3c3

Connor Snyder, 8, and his 4-yer-old sister Brinley were found hanged in the basement of their home in Albany Township, Pa., last month. (Google Maps)

Connor and his sister died after being kept alive on life support for three days, according to reports.

TEXAS BOY, 8, BEATEN UNCONSCIOUS BY SCHOOL BULLIES, SUFFERED BRAIN BLEED, FAMILY SAYS

The case detectives seized an X-box, the dog leash and two cell phones that belonged to Snyder, the station reported, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

The coroner hasn’t ruled on the cause of death, according to the Allentown Morning Call.

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The paper reported that after her children died, Snyder changed her Facebook profile with a photo and the saying, “Words scar, rumors destroy, bullies kill.”

Westlake Legal Group Kempton-PA-Google-Maps Mom of children found hanging told 911 dispatcher son was bullied, 'didn't want to go alone' Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/health/education/bullying fox news fnc/us fnc article 54022e48-5b17-51c8-a98e-9c9752a6d3c3   Westlake Legal Group Kempton-PA-Google-Maps Mom of children found hanging told 911 dispatcher son was bullied, 'didn't want to go alone' Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/health/education/bullying fox news fnc/us fnc article 54022e48-5b17-51c8-a98e-9c9752a6d3c3

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

Ken Starr: Mulvaney was ‘pretty close’ to admitting Ukraine quid pro quo, may be ‘under oath’ soon

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-18-at-1.38.09-PM Ken Starr: Mulvaney was 'pretty close' to admitting Ukraine quid pro quo, may be 'under oath' soon Joshua Nelson fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/media fnc article 93634130-fcc7-5d17-afd5-2d096cbeef0b

Fox News contributor Ken Starr said on Friday that acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was “pretty close” to admitting President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenksy did involve a “quid pro quo.”

Starr went on to say, “But now Mick Mulvaney may find himself under oath and instead of just the give-and-take with the press, he’s going to now have to say precisely what happened,” the former independent counsel told “America’s Newsroom.”

Mulvaney seemed to contradict Trump’s claim that there had been no “quid pro quo” during his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, by telling reporters at the White House Thursday that the release of military aid to Ukraine was tied to the administration’s demands that Kiev investigate purported corruption by the Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

FLEISCHER: MICK MULVANEY MADE A ‘TERRIBLE MISTAKE’ BY CONTRADICTING THE PRESIDENT

When questioned by reporters about the administration’s decision to withhold $400 million in aid from Ukraine, Mulvaney said that Trump told him at the time: “This is a corrupt place. Everyone knows this is a corrupt place … Plus, I’m not sure that the other European countries are helping them out either.”

Mulvaney added: “Did [Trump] also mention to me, in the past, the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money … The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.”

MULVANEY COMMENTS SEIZED ON BY CRITICS SAYING IT’S PROOF OF UKRAINE QUID PRO QUO

Mulvaney later walked back the statements, stating clearly that there was no “quid pro quo.”

Starr said that there needed to be greater discipline in the messaging in regard to the impeachment inquiry of Trump.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Self-discipline; the stakes are extremely high. The impeachment train is on the tracks and it’s rolling toward the station. Everyone needs to be watchful and careful and guarded,” he said.

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

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-18-at-1.38.09-PM Ken Starr: Mulvaney was 'pretty close' to admitting Ukraine quid pro quo, may be 'under oath' soon Joshua Nelson fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/media fnc article 93634130-fcc7-5d17-afd5-2d096cbeef0b   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-18-at-1.38.09-PM Ken Starr: Mulvaney was 'pretty close' to admitting Ukraine quid pro quo, may be 'under oath' soon Joshua Nelson fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/media fnc article 93634130-fcc7-5d17-afd5-2d096cbeef0b

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

Trump says Kurds are ‘very happy’ with U.S.-brokered deal and U.S. has ‘taken control’ of oil

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump says Kurds are 'very happy' with U.S.-brokered deal and U.S. has 'taken control' of oil

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces it was battling to safely withdraw from an area in northern Syria. (Oct. 17) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday defended a U.S.-brokered halt to Turkey’s military assault in Syria and made a puzzling assertion that the U.S. had “taken control” of oil fields in the region, even as fighting continued near the Syria-Turkey border. 

“I just spoke to President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan of Turkey. We’re doing very, very well with Turkey,” Trump said during an unrelated event at the White House. Turkey is “back to the full pause” on their military operation targeting Kurdish forces in northern Syria, Trump said. 

The Kurds “are very happy about the way things are going,” Trump added. “We’ve taken control of the oil in the Middle East.”

The president did not explain what he meant by taking “control of the oil in the Middle East.” But he was likely referring to oil fields in eastern Syria, which Kurdish forces gained control over amid the chaos of Syria’s civil war.

The Turkish invasion – which began last week after Trump withdrew U.S. troops from northeast Syria – jeopardized the Kurds’ hold on those oil fields, as Russia, Iran and other military forces vied to fill a power vacuum left by the U.S.   

Trump also seemed to suggest that the U.S. had gained control of detention camps holding Islamic State fighters. 

“We have ISIS totally under guard,” the president said.

He was referring to Islamic State fighters, captured by the Kurdish forces who had allied with the U.S. to defeat that terrorist group in Syria. Some ISIS supporters escaped after Turkey invaded Syria, as Kurdish fighters left the detention facilities to confront the new military threat from Turkey.

Trump’s comments came hours after a conflict-monitoring group and Kurdish authorities reported ongoing fighting in Syria, despite the “cease-fire” that Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday after negotiations with Erdogan in Ankara. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fighting in villages near the northeastern Syrian city of Ras al-Ayn. The Observatory said at least five people were killed and 14 injured. The Rojava Information Center, an independent media organization staffed by volunteers, said its activists on the ground also reported advances by Turkey-backed forces on two villages near Ras al-Ayn. 

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish forces, said on Twitter that Turkish “air and artillery attacks” targeting “fighters, civilian settlements and the hospital” in Ras al-Ayn were still taking place despite the agreement to halt military activity.

Trump downplayed the reports and said Erdogan told him there had been “minor” clashes but they had stopped.

“Just spoke to President @RTErdogan of Turkey. He told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” Trump tweeted earlier on Friday. “He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen.” 

But in Syria, Thursday’s cease-fire announcement caused confusion, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly. This official warned that it seemed unlikely to hold.

It remained unclear if the agreement affects Turkish regular troops and its paramilitary forces. The paramilitaries are expected to continue attacking the Kurds. If the Kurds counterattack, Turkey is likely to blame them and resume fighting, the official said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he was not sure who was involved in Friday’s clashes but suggested it could be the paramilitary forces.

“You have irregular forces in the region,” Pompeo told Politico in an interview Friday. “I don’t know precisely what this is, but our sense is, the political commitments that were made yesterday will end up being successful.”

Pompeo said Kurdish forces, known as the SDF, had begun to withdraw from the region, “so the key elements of the cease-fire look to be taking effect.” 

Under the deal, Turkey agreed to halt its assault in Syria for five days after a Thursday visit to Turkey by Pence and Pompeo. Turkey’s government described the agreement as a “pause.” Critics said the deal left many questions unanswered – including the fate of the Kurds – and was too little, too late. 

“The Trump administration just capitulated to all of Turkey’s original demands after a week of violence and deep harm to America’s credibility in the world,” said Kelly Magsamen, who served as a national security and defense official in the Obama administration. “If this is their idea of successful diplomacy, then we better hold onto our wallets when it comes on to China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.”

Even before Friday’s developments, lawmakers in both parties had denounced the U.S.-Turkey deal as a “sham” that sold out the Kurds and weakened America’s global standing.

“It is far from a victory,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached to precipitously withdraw from Syria, and why that decision was reached.”

Romney said the pause in Turkey’s assault “does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally” and he blasted President Trump for speaking “cavalierly, even flippantly” as the Kurds have “suffered death and casualty, their homes have been burned, and their families have been torn apart.”

Since 2014, a U.S.-led coalition, which relied heavily on Kurdish ground forces, has rolled back the gains made by ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey regards the Kurdish fighters as terrorists and warned Trump that it planned an offensive against them. Erdogan ordered an assault on the Kurds shortly after Trump announced the departure of U.S. troops from the Turkish-Syria border region.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the Turkish offensive against Kurds is “on the cusp of genocide.” He and other lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee received a classified briefing Thursday on Turkey’s incursion from Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Blumenthal said he could not reveal the details of the military presentation but described the mood in the room as serious and solemn.

“My reaction was horror and shame,” he said. “And the American people should at least hear the essential facts of what is happening there.”

Trump has pushed back hard in response to his critics. 

“We’ve had tremendous success I think over the last couple of days,” he said at the White House Friday. “Little bit unconventional, little bit of hard love,” he said, referring to sanctions he placed on some Turkish officials Monday.

“Sometimes you have to go through some pain before you get a good solution. But the Kurds are very happy about it. President Erdogan of Turkey is satisfied with it. And we are in a very strong position,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will vote next week on a Turkey sanctions bill that would hit Erdogan’s government much harder than the narrow economic penalties Trump imposed earlier this week.

“President Erdogan has given up nothing, and President Trump has given him everything,” Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement Thursday evening. “Next week, the House will pass a strong, bipartisan sanctions package to work to reverse the humanitarian disaster that President Trump unleashed in Syria.”

That bill would ban the sale of U.S. arms to Turkey for use in Syria and require the administration to investigate Erdogan’s net worth and assets. It would also slap sanctions on senior Turkish officials involved in the decision to invade Syria and target certain Turkish financial institutions that U.S. lawmakers said were “involved in perpetuating President Erdogan’s corrupt practices.” 

USA TODAY/Ipsos poll: Can our friends trust the US as an ally? Most Americans say Trump’s Syria move has hurt

Erdogan disputed Friday that his forces were not abiding by the pause.

“I don’t know where you’re getting your news from. According to the news I received from my defense minister, there is no question of clashes. These are all speculation, disinformation,” he told reporters in Istanbul Friday, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency. 

Erdogan also said he wouldn’t forget a letter sent to him by Trump, which he described as lacking “political and diplomatic courtesy.”

In the letter, Trump urges his Turkish counterpart not to be a “tough guy” over Syria. Erdogan received it before he launched an incursion across the border into Syria. A BBC report claimed Erdogan angrily threw the letter in the trash after reading it. 

Cease-fire: Mike Pence announces that Turkey agreed to a five-day cease-fire in its Syria assault

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/10/18/syrian-kurds-turkey-trump-syria-cease-fire/4020261002/

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

Jane Fonda arrested again at climate change protest; Sam Waterston also arrested

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Jane Fonda arrested again at climate change protest; Sam Waterston also arrested

Jane Fonda was arrested at her climate change protest in Washington, D.C., which she plans to do every Friday through January. USA TODAY

For the second week in a row, Jane Fonda has been arrested while protesting climate change. Her “Grace and Frankie” co-star Sam Waterston was also present at the Washington, D.C., protest and placed under arrest. 

A Twitter account for Fire Drill Fridays, an initiative which aims to have politicians address climate change, tweeted at 10:45 a.m. Friday morning that Fonda, 81, was “walking to the US Capitol to demand a #greeennewdeal.” With several following her, Fonda was bundled up in a long red coat and wore a black hat. 

“Scientists tell us the tipping point for catastrophe is only 11 years off,” Fonda says in a video clip with the United States Capitol in the background. “But there is still time if we move quickly and ambitiously to prevent the worst impacts, by beginning the transition off fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy now.” 

Jane Fonda arrested at climate change protest she organized on Capitol Hill

Jane Fonda talks ‘ongoing’ health struggles: ‘I’ve had a lot of cancer’

In an email to USA TODAY, Ira Arlook of Fire Drill Fridays confirmed that Fonda and Waterston, 78, were arrested Friday. 

USA TODAY has reached out to the Capitol Police for a statement.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ outlasts the original NBC drama: A look at the franchise

Anne Hathaway, more celebs send support to Greta Thunberg amid bullying: ‘Stay Strong’

In a letter shared to Fire Drill Friday’s website, Fonda said she’s “moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to the epicenter of the fight for our climate.”

She added: “Every Friday through January, I will be leading weekly demonstrations on Capitol Hill to demand that action by our political leaders be taken to address the climate emergency we are in. We can’t afford to wait.

“Welcome to Fire Drill Fridays.”

In addition to her recent arrests, Fonda was previously arrested for “drug smuggling” at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 1970, according to her website.

“I was handcuffed and put in the Cleveland Jail, which is when the mug shot was taken,” she writes. “I was released on bond and months later, after every pill had been tested in a lab (with taxpayers money!) The charges were dismissed and there were a few paragraphs hidden in the back of papers that they were vitamins, not drugs.”

Reps for Fonda and Waterston did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Contributing: Sara M. Moniuszko and Bill Keveney

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/10/18/jane-fonda-sam-waterston-arrested-climate-change-protest-dc/4022842002/

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