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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 62)

MSNBC guest claims Trump is ‘recruiting sergeant for ISIS’ after al-Baghdadi death

Westlake Legal Group Mehdi-Hasan MSNBC guest claims Trump is 'recruiting sergeant for ISIS' after al-Baghdadi death Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 017c6db8-87c9-58c6-af5b-231282fa6b73

A guest on MSNBC made a wild claim Monday night that President Trump is a “recruiting sergeant for ISIS” and compared him to a “Bond villain” following the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan said “good riddance” to al-Baghdadi and added that his death was a “blow to ISIS.”

However, the Al Jazeera host then quickly suggested that Trump was helping ISIS maintain its existence by trying to ensure the U.S. military helped secure Syrian oil fields, while other troops left northern Syria.

“It’s beyond parody. He’s almost like a Bond villain who also tells you his whole master plan before he tries to kill you… He’s a recruiting sergeant for ISIS, Chris, in so many ways,” Hasan told “All In” host Chris Hayes, pointing to Trump’s rhetoric on oil fields. “He is also someone who is an Islamophobe, which obviously helps groups like ISIS recruit disillusioned, angry young men from across the world, not just across the Middle East. He’s been featured in ISIS recruiting videos and his Muslim ban has definitely been a recruiting ad for ISIS.”

Hayes did not push back on any of those claims.

JAMIE LEE CURTIS RIPS TRUMP FOR COMPARING AL-BAGHDADI TO DOG: ALL LIVING THINGS SUFFER

Hasan wasn’t the only critic of Trump following al-Baghdadi’s death. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis blasted him after he called al-Baghdadi a dog, telling the president that dogs are “brave, bold, loyal, loving and healing.”

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Curtis knocked the president’s remarks following al-Baghdadi’s death, arguing the ISIS leader “suffered” when he blew himself up and went on to refute Trump’s assertion that al-Baghdadi, whom he called a dog, was also a coward.

“He may have died a coward @realDonaldTrump but ALL living things suffer when they are blown up,” the “Halloween“ star tweeted. “Anyone who has experienced warfare, unlike yourself, would know that. War is brutal. Dogs are brave, bold, loyal, loving and healing.”

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Washington Post columnist Max Boot had a similar complaint, criticizing Trump for calling al-Baghdadi a “coward.”

“A president who has never heard a shot fired in anger reveled in Baghdadi’s last moments, even claiming ‘he died like a coward… whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.’ Trump could not possibly have heard “whimpering and crying” on the overhead imagery because there was no audio,” Boot wrote in an opinion piece. “The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was, in any case, contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up.”

Boot later noted in a tweet that his “coward” insight was later removed from the piece because “it wrongly conveyed the impression that I considered Baghdadi courageous. As I wrote Sun: Baghdadi was ‘a sick and depraved man.'”

Westlake Legal Group Mehdi-Hasan MSNBC guest claims Trump is 'recruiting sergeant for ISIS' after al-Baghdadi death Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 017c6db8-87c9-58c6-af5b-231282fa6b73   Westlake Legal Group Mehdi-Hasan MSNBC guest claims Trump is 'recruiting sergeant for ISIS' after al-Baghdadi death Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 017c6db8-87c9-58c6-af5b-231282fa6b73

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READ: Ukraine Expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s Opening Statement

Westlake Legal Group ap_19297761457043_wide-9fce7a8a356f8bd75855a590a8f442196edf9e45-s1100-c15 READ: Ukraine Expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's Opening Statement

House investigators are speaking with Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Tuesday. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Westlake Legal Group  READ: Ukraine Expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's Opening Statement

House investigators are speaking with Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Tuesday.

Patrick Semansky/AP

In his testimony before the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, is expected to describe his concerns with how the Trump administration handled Ukraine policy and with a July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy.

“In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency,” he says in his prepared opening remarks, which were obtained by NPR. “This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined U.S. government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”

Vindman says he relayed “certain concerns” to National Security officials internally “in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to cooperate within the chain of command.”

Vindman also says he believed if Ukraine actually pursued an investigation into the Biden family and Burisma, as Trump suggested it did, Ukraine would lose bipartisan support, which would in turn “undermine all U.S. national security.”

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‘I was concerned’: Trump’s top Ukraine expert to tell impeachment investigators he reported troubling conduct twice to superiors

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'I was concerned': Trump's top Ukraine expert to tell impeachment investigators he reported troubling conduct twice to superiors

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says President Donald Trump’s administration is “building a powerful case” for impeachment as a former White House national security adviser defied a subpoena on Monday. (Oct. 28) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – The White House’s top expert on Ukraine twice notified superiors about concerns that the president and those working for him were linking foreign aid to Ukraine with investigations that would help President Donald Trump politically, a push that he said could undermine U.S. national security, according to an opening statement obtained by USA TODAY.

The testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key member of the National Security Council, before the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees will mark the first time lawmakers investigating the impeachment inquiry will hear from someone who listened to Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — the call at the center of the House’s impeachment investigation that included a request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. 

In the six-page opening statement, Vindman outlines his dedicated service to the country, including his two decades as an Army officer, which included a tour in Iraq where he was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart. He says he’s an immigrant and his family fled from the Soviet Union to arrive in New York City in 1979. “I am a patriot,” he says in the statement. “And it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.”

Vindman gives an overview of his role within the Trump administration, including being tasked to attend Zelensky’s inauguration in May, and details two specific events that he found concerning and “inappropriate.” 

The first was in July when a number of officials, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Ambassadors Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland (two key witnesses that have testified to lawmakers) and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who resigned earlier this month, met with Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine’s Secretary of National Security and Defense Council, according to the testimony.

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The meeting in Washington was going well until the Ukrainians asked about a potential meeting between Trump and Zelensky, Vindman writes. That was when Sondland “started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President.”

Bolton then cut the meeting short, according to Vindman, who added that after the meeting there was a debriefing where he confronted Sondland, saying “his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.” 

It was after that meeting that Vindman reported his concerns to the National Security Council’s chief lawyer. 

Vindman said he reported a second concern after listening to Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, where the president talked about military aid for the country then asked about investigations into Biden and 2016 election. 

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman wrote. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

He said Ukraine launching such investigations would push partisan politics into helping Ukraine fend off Russia, which would “undermine U.S. national security.” 

The New York Times first reported on Vindman’s opening statement. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/28/impeachment-inquiry-trump-ukraine-alexander-vindman-warned-officials-twice/2489931001/

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Bradley Cooper makes rare appearance with 2-year-old daughter, Lea

Bradley Cooper brought a special someone with him to a weekend event.

The 44-year-old actor and director made a very rare public appearance with his 2-year-old daughter, Lea De Seine, on Sunday at the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor event in Washington, D.C.

For the outing, Cooper wore a black suit with a white button-down shirt, while Lea wore a patterned shirt paired with a black skirt, white tights and a blue vest.

BRADLEY COOPER, IRINA SHAYK HAVE A GOOD CO-PARENTING RELATIONSHIP FOLLOWING BREAKUP 

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1183857449 Bradley Cooper makes rare appearance with 2-year-old daughter, Lea Mariah Haas fox-news/person/bradley-cooper fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4dbedf42-5c8f-5637-9370-9b087fc003f6

Bradley Cooper with Lea at the weekend event in D.C. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

In one photo, the father-daughter duo was photographed watching the event and in another picture, Cooper is spotted sweetly holding his daughter.

BRADLEY COOPER AND IRINA SHAYK END THEIR RELATIONSHIP AFTER 4 YEARS: REPORT

According to Entertainment Tonight, Cooper was on and to help honor his friend and “Star Is Born” co-star Dave Chappelle, who was honored for lifetime achievement in comedy.

Westlake Legal Group AP19301044557884 Bradley Cooper makes rare appearance with 2-year-old daughter, Lea Mariah Haas fox-news/person/bradley-cooper fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4dbedf42-5c8f-5637-9370-9b087fc003f6

Bradley Cooper and his daughter at the Kennedy Center event. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

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Cooper shares Lea with ex Irina Shayk. The former couple started dating in 2015 and welcomed their daughter in March 2017. Cooper and Shayk called it quits after four years together this past June.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1144491165 Bradley Cooper makes rare appearance with 2-year-old daughter, Lea Mariah Haas fox-news/person/bradley-cooper fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4dbedf42-5c8f-5637-9370-9b087fc003f6   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1144491165 Bradley Cooper makes rare appearance with 2-year-old daughter, Lea Mariah Haas fox-news/person/bradley-cooper fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4dbedf42-5c8f-5637-9370-9b087fc003f6

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First White House Official Who Listened In On Trump’s Call With Ukraine Is Set To Testify

Westlake Legal Group 5db78f5c2100001c3bad42d3 First White House Official Who Listened In On Trump’s Call With Ukraine Is Set To Testify

The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council was so concerned about President Donald Trump’s demands that the country investigate former Vice President Joe Biden that he repeatedly reported his objections to a superior, he will tell lawmakers on Tuesday, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by HuffPost.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War, plans to share his concerns when he speaks to lawmakers as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Vindman is notably the first administration official to testify who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked a whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry.

The New York Times was the first to report the details of the prepared remarks.

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman will say in his opening statement. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

The officer said he was troubled by Trump’s insistence that Ukraine open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, saying it would “likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.” Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company for five years, until earlier this year, but neither Biden has been accused of any official wrongdoing.

Vindman, a Ukrainian American who is highly decorated, will also tell lawmakers that he is not the whistleblower who filed the complaint and that he does not know who the person is.

“I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command,” Vindman will say, according to the prepared remarks. “As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me.”

Vindman reported to Fiona Hill, the White House’s former senior director for European and Russian affairs, when he first joined the National Security Council. Hill testified before lawmakers earlier this month as well, telling investigators that her own boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, was also deeply alarmed by Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

The lieutenant colonel said he never had direct contact with Trump.

Vindman’s testimony comes as House Democrats continue their whirlwind effort to investigate the president’s behavior and bat off Republican criticism of the effort. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday that the chamber will vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, saying that, though the vote wasn’t necessary, it would “eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”

The president and his Republican allies have been complaining for weeks about the transparency of the inquiry, which has largely been conducted during closed-door interviews. Dozens of GOP lawmakers sit on the panels that have heard from current and former administration officials, but they’ve lambasted the effort regardless, even storming a secure room to voice their discontent.

Pelosi had largely resisted calls for the vote, and it’s unclear what has changed. A district court also ruled last week that the House didn’t need to formally vote to enter an impeachment inquiry, although that ruling is being appealed by the Justice Department.

Trump has continued to rage against the inquiry, calling it a “witch hunt” and likening it to a “lynching” in a Twitter outburst. The White House has also tried to stymie officials from testifying. 

Vindman is expected to tell lawmakers Tuesday that he felt it was his duty to report his concerns.

“On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities,” he will say, according to the draft remarks. “I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same.”

His prepared opening statement can be read here:

This article has been updated with details from Vindman’s prepared statement.

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Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in biopic

Oscar winner Rachel Weisz will tackle the role of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor in a new biopic,” A Special Relationship.”

As Variety reported, the film will explore Taylor’s journey from actress to activist.

“Slumdog Millionaire” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has written the script, which will tell the story through the lens of Taylor’s assistant, Roger Wall. Directing duo Bert & Bertie (Katie Ellwood and Amber Finlayson) will helm the flick, according to the outlet.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S AIDS ACTIVISM ‘FINALLY GAVE HER A SENSE OF PURPOSE,’ SAYS GRANDDAUGHTER 

“Audiences are clearly fascinated by the private lives of iconic Hollywood stars,” said the film’s producers, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman. “There is no one more iconic than Elizabeth Taylor, and Simon Beaufoy has written a role that shines a light on Elizabeth’s humor and humanity, which will be beautifully brought to life through the extraordinary talents of Rachel Weisz.”

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AMONG STARS FORCED TO EVACUATE HOMES AS CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES RAGE

Westlake Legal Group Rachel-Weisz-elizabeth-taylor Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in biopic Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 888c8875-ea55-595f-bef5-26df77377d8d

Trustees of Taylor’s home and estate will also reportedly serve as producers on the film.

No production dates, release date or additional casting details were announced.

Most recently, Helena Bonham Carter played Taylor in 2014’s “Burton and Taylor,” while Lindsay Lohan took on the role in Lifetime’s “Liz & Dick” in 2012.

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Weisz was nominated for best supporting actress last year for her role in “The Favourite,” and won the award in 2005 for “A Constant Gardener.” She will next be seen in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”

Westlake Legal Group Rachel-Weisz-elizabeth-taylor Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in biopic Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 888c8875-ea55-595f-bef5-26df77377d8d   Westlake Legal Group Rachel-Weisz-elizabeth-taylor Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in biopic Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 888c8875-ea55-595f-bef5-26df77377d8d

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Democrats Move Toward Bringing Impeachment Inquiry Public

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-impeach-facebookJumbo-v2 Democrats Move Toward Bringing Impeachment Inquiry Public Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Kupperman, Charles M House of Representatives Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — House Democrats moved quickly on Monday to bring their impeachment case against President Trump into the open, saying they would forgo court battles with recalcitrant witnesses and would vote this week on procedures to govern nationally televised hearings.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman leading the inquiry, began the day by telling reporters that Democrats would not wait to fight the Trump administration in court as it moves to block key witness testimony. Instead, he warned that White House directives not to cooperate — like one that stopped Mr. Trump’s former deputy national security adviser from appearing Monday morning — would simply bolster their case that the president had abused his office and obstructed Congress’s investigation.

By the afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi added to that sense of momentum. She announced that after weeks of private fact finding, the full House would vote on Thursday to initiate a new, public phase of the inquiry by establishing rules for the public presentation of evidence and outlining due process rights for Mr. Trump. It will be the first time all House lawmakers will be asked to go on record on the investigation since it began in September, something Democrats had so far resisted.

“We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,” Ms. Pelosi said of the vote in a letter to colleagues. “Nobody is above the law.”

Together, the announcements sent the clearest signals to date that Democrats believe their month-old inquiry into Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure a foreign nation to investigate his political rivals is on track to collect enough evidence to begin making an effective impeachment case before the nation by Thanksgiving. And they indicated a growing sense of urgency among party leaders who worry that their proceeding could lose momentum and bleed into next year without a vote on articles of impeachment.

In earlier oversight disputes, House Democrats have turned to the courts with some frequency. But those lawsuits have eaten up valuable months without signs of resolution any time soon — time that impeachment investigators do not have.

“We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead,” Mr. Schiff told reporters outside his secure hearing rooms.

Democrats have resisted for weeks the idea of holding a vote on the impeachment inquiry, arguing that doing so was unnecessary to authorize their work, and privately worrying that a floor vote could put politically vulnerable Democrats in a difficult position.

But they have come under intense criticism from Republicans for failing to seek formal authorization for the inquiry, a step that is not required by the Constitution or House rules. In scheduling a vote now, Democrats were effectively challenging Mr. Trump and his congressional allies who have called the inquiry an unfair sham of a process, but avoided any substantive discussion of the president’s conduct.

Still, Republicans signaled that after weeks of calling for a vote on the inquiry, they would oppose the resolution en masse.

“We will not legitimize the Schiff/Pelosi sham impeachment,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, said in a tweet.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said Ms. Pelosi was “finally admitting what the rest of America already knew — that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the president due process, and their secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”

Democrats said their inquiry has been proper from the start. Ms. Pelosi reiterated what Democrats have argued for weeks and a Federal District Court judge ruled last week: that they did not need a formal vote of the full House to start a legitimate inquiry. (The Justice Department separately announced Monday it would appeal the ruling handed down Friday.)

So far, the work of the impeachment inquiry has mostly been done out of public view, with staff for Democrats and Republicans questioning a growing roster of diplomats and other administration officials in the closed chambers of the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats are pleased with the portrait they have assembled of a president who bypassed the normal channels of diplomacy to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and unproven theories that could exonerate Russia from aiding his campaign in 2016 and implicate Democrats in interfering in the election instead.

That work was briefly interrupted on Monday, when Charles M. Kupperman, the former deputy national security adviser, defied a House subpoena for testimony, drawing Mr. Schiff’s ire. The White House said on Friday that Mr. Kupperman, as one of the president’s “closest confidential” advisers, was immune from testifying, and directed him not to appear in defiance of a subpoena. That prompted the former official to file a lawsuit against Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats asking a federal judge whether he could testify, raising the prospect of a drawn-out legal battle over weighty questions about the separation of powers that could effectively stall the impeachment inquiry for months.

Mr. Schiff conceded that the White House would most likely try to invoke similar privilege to try to block other crucial witnesses, including John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser said to be alarmed by Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Doing so would only fuel another article of impeachment charging Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress’s fact-finding, he said.

“If this witness had something to say that would be helpful to the White House, they would want him to come and testify,” Mr. Schiff said. “They plainly don’t.”

As many as five more officials are expected to testify in closed session this week, including Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, who is scheduled to appear on Tuesday and plans to detail his concerns about Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

But if they are going to convince the public — and potentially some Republicans — that Mr. Trump’s behavior warrants making him only the third president in American history to be impeached, they know they will have to secure clear and damning testimony out in the open, before rolling television cameras, where the facts are not filtered through the news media and selectively leaked.

Democrats described the vote as a necessary step to do just that.

“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the president and his counsel,” Ms. Pelosi said in her letter.

Though aides for several committees were still drafting the resolution Monday evening, the rough outlines of the next phase of the inquiry began to come into view.

After it wraps up its closed witness depositions in the coming weeks, the House Intelligence Committee will begin to hold public hearings with key witnesses, such as Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union; Fiona Hill, a former top White House adviser; and William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine.

The rules will allow for the committee’s staff aides to question witnesses directly during public hearings, according to an official working on the inquiry who described the measure on condition of anonymity because it had yet to be made public.

When the panel concludes its fact finding, Mr. Schiff will transmit raw evidence and, potentially, a written report on his findings to the House Judiciary Committee, the venue where presidential impeachment articles have traditionally been drafted and debated. In that sense, Mr. Schiff could play a role roughly akin to Ken Starr, the independent counsel who presented the results of his investigation into President Bill Clinton to the committee in 1998 as it weighed impeachment.

The Judiciary Committee would then be responsible for convening hearings to consider additional evidence, draft articles of impeachment and vote on whether to recommend them to the full House. It is at that stage when Democrats appear poised to give Mr. Trump and his legal team a chance to offer input on the case. It was not clear Monday evening how far they would go in granting them the right to call or cross-examine witnesses, as lawyers for Mr. Clinton and President Richard M. Nixon were allowed to do in earlier proceedings.

Charlie Savage contributed reporting.

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White House Official Who Listened To Trump Call Repeatedly Passed Concerns To Superior

Westlake Legal Group 5db78f5c2100001c3bad42d3 White House Official Who Listened To Trump Call Repeatedly Passed Concerns To Superior

The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council was so concerned about President Donald Trump’s demands that the country investigate former Vice President Joe Biden that he repeatedly reported his objections to a superior, he will tell lawmakers on Tuesday, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by HuffPost.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War, plans to share his concerns when he speaks to lawmakers as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Vindman is notably the first administration official to testify who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked a whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry.

The New York Times was the first to report the details of the prepared remarks.

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman, a Ukrainian American who is highly decorated, will say in his opening statement. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

The officer said he was troubled by Trump’s insistence that Ukraine open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, saying it would “likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.” Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, for five years, until earlier this year, but neither Biden has been accused of any official wrongdoing.

Vindman’s prepared remarks contradict the testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who spoke to House lawmakers earlier this month. The Army officer said during a meeting Sondland “emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.” Vindman said he confronted Sondland at the time, saying such remarks were “inappropriate.”

But Sondland told lawmakers he could recall “no discussions with any State Department or White House official about Former Vice President Biden or his son, nor do I recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens.”

The difference in testimony prompted some concern among lawmakers, and House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said Monday evening he believed the ambassador committed “perjury.” 

Vindman will also tell lawmakers that he is not the whistleblower who filed the complaint and that he does not know who the person is.

“I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command,” Vindman will say, according to the prepared remarks. “As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me.”

Vindman reported to Fiona Hill, the White House’s former senior director for European and Russian affairs, when he first joined the National Security Council. Hill testified before lawmakers earlier this month as well, telling investigators that her own boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, was also deeply alarmed by Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

The lieutenant colonel said he never had direct contact with Trump.

Vindman’s testimony comes as House Democrats continue their whirlwind effort to investigate the president’s behavior and bat off Republican criticism of the effort. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday that the chamber will vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, saying that, though the vote wasn’t necessary, it would “eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”

The president and his Republican allies have been complaining for weeks about the transparency of the inquiry, which has largely been conducted during closed-door interviews. Dozens of GOP lawmakers sit on the panels that have heard from current and former administration officials, but they’ve lambasted the effort regardless, even storming a secure room to voice their discontent.

Pelosi had largely resisted calls for the vote, and it’s unclear what has changed. A district court also ruled last week that the House didn’t need to formally vote to enter an impeachment inquiry, although that ruling is being appealed by the Justice Department.

Trump has continued to rage against the inquiry, calling it a “witch hunt” and likening it to a “lynching” in a Twitter outburst. The White House has also tried to stymie officials from testifying. 

Vindman is expected to tell lawmakers Tuesday that he felt it was his duty to report his concerns.

“On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities,” he will say, according to the draft remarks. “I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same.”

His prepared opening statement can be read here:

This article has been updated with remarks from Rep. Joaquin Castro.

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White House Official Who Listened To Trump Call TWICE Passed Concerns To Superior

Westlake Legal Group 5db78f5c2100001c3bad42d3 White House Official Who Listened To Trump Call TWICE Passed Concerns To Superior

The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council was so concerned about President Donald Trump’s demands that the country investigate former Vice President Joe Biden that he repeatedly reported his objections to a superior, he will tell lawmakers on Tuesday, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by HuffPost.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War, plans to share his concerns when he speaks to lawmakers as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Vindman is notably the first administration official to testify who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked a whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry.

The New York Times was the first to report the details of the prepared remarks.

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman, a Ukrainian American who is highly decorated, will say in his opening statement. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

The officer said he was troubled by Trump’s insistence that Ukraine open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, saying it would “likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.” Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, for five years, until earlier this year, but neither Biden has been accused of any official wrongdoing.

Vindman’s prepared remarks contradict the testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who spoke to House lawmakers earlier this month. The Army officer said during a meeting Sondland “emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.” Vindman said he confronted Sondland at the time, saying such remarks were “inappropriate.”

But Sondland told lawmakers he could recall “no discussions with any State Department or White House official about Former Vice President Biden or his son, nor do I recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens.”

The difference in testimony prompted some concern among lawmakers, and House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said Monday evening he believed the ambassador committed “perjury.” 

Vindman will also tell lawmakers that he is not the whistleblower who filed the complaint and that he does not know who the person is.

“I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command,” Vindman will say, according to the prepared remarks. “As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me.”

Vindman reported to Fiona Hill, the White House’s former senior director for European and Russian affairs, when he first joined the National Security Council. Hill testified before lawmakers earlier this month as well, telling investigators that her own boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, was also deeply alarmed by Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

The lieutenant colonel said he never had direct contact with Trump.

Vindman’s testimony comes as House Democrats continue their whirlwind effort to investigate the president’s behavior and bat off Republican criticism of the effort. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday that the chamber will vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, saying that, though the vote wasn’t necessary, it would “eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”

The president and his Republican allies have been complaining for weeks about the transparency of the inquiry, which has largely been conducted during closed-door interviews. Dozens of GOP lawmakers sit on the panels that have heard from current and former administration officials, but they’ve lambasted the effort regardless, even storming a secure room to voice their discontent.

Pelosi had largely resisted calls for the vote, and it’s unclear what has changed. A district court also ruled last week that the House didn’t need to formally vote to enter an impeachment inquiry, although that ruling is being appealed by the Justice Department.

Trump has continued to rage against the inquiry, calling it a “witch hunt” and likening it to a “lynching” in a Twitter outburst. The White House has also tried to stymie officials from testifying. 

Vindman is expected to tell lawmakers Tuesday that he felt it was his duty to report his concerns.

“On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities,” he will say, according to the draft remarks. “I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same.”

His prepared opening statement can be read here:

This article has been updated with remarks from Rep. Joaquin Castro.

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Parents of ISIS victim Kayla Mueller explain what Trump mentioning their daughter after al-Baghdadi raid meant to them

Westlake Legal Group MacCallum-Mueller-family Parents of ISIS victim Kayla Mueller explain what Trump mentioning their daughter after al-Baghdadi raid meant to them fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/terror fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 7a00be3a-58a9-5e34-9897-65301447f1bf

The parents of murdered ISIS captive Kayla Mueller spoke to Fox News after President Trump mentioning their daughter during his official announcement that the terrorist group’s leader was dead.

Carl and Marsha Mueller told “The Story” they cried when the president announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up in Idlib, Syria, as U.S. forces closed in.

“The reaction to the president speaking Kayla’s name was tears from both of us,” Carl Mueller said.

“It was very touching to know that he had been briefed and he knows Kayla’s story, and just by him mentioning her name and saying ‘for what [al-Baghdadi] did to Kayla,’ we knew he knows the story.”

HOW ISIS LEADER AL-BAGHDADI’S HEADLESS BODY WAS ID’D MINUTES AFTER DEATH

Mueller, 26, was a humanitarian worker from Prescott, Ariz., who was captured while leaving a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, during that nation’s bloody civil war in 2013. She is believed to have been tortured and raped by al-Baghdadi himself until her death 18 months later.

On “The Story,” MacCallum asked Marsha Mueller how it has been for her family since the news of al-Baghdadi’s death broke.

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“This has been going on so long I’m not sure about the last 48 hours for me — I’m just searching for Kayla — I was glad he blew himself up, that no one killed him on our side,” she said.

She explained while Kayla was held by ISIS, her captors would treat her worse than other prisoners because she was an American. Kayla was screamed at by British-born ISIS members known as “The Beatles” for all of what they believed the U.S. had done wrong, Marsha Mueller said.

TRUMP RELEASES PHOTO OF HERO DOG INJURED IN AL-BAGHDADI RAID

“I think of other hostages and it seemed like she was treated much worse than the people she was with… because she was an American. So I’m just glad he did it to himself.”

The mission that killed al-Baghdadi in his hideout this weekend was named after Mueller, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday morning on “Meet The Press.”

“One of the things that Gen. [Mark] Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did was named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered,” he said.

Marsha Mueller praised Trump and the Special Operations forces who raided the compound, telling The Arizona Republic she believes if “Obama had been as decisive as Trump,” her daughter might still be alive.

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Kayla Mueller’s parents said on Sunday that they hope the ISIS leader’s death will reveal more answers about what happened to their daughter. Even though they confirmed her death through pictures sent by militants, their daughter’s body was never recovered.

Carl Mueller reiterated that hope in his Monday interview.

“Our hope is to seize this moment,” he said.

“This moment is the fact that Al-Baghdadi has been killed, some of his lieutenants have been captured and we are hoping they have the information we’ve been seeking — that is who killed Kayla, where was she killed and where was she buried.”

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group MacCallum-Mueller-family Parents of ISIS victim Kayla Mueller explain what Trump mentioning their daughter after al-Baghdadi raid meant to them fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/terror fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 7a00be3a-58a9-5e34-9897-65301447f1bf   Westlake Legal Group MacCallum-Mueller-family Parents of ISIS victim Kayla Mueller explain what Trump mentioning their daughter after al-Baghdadi raid meant to them fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/terror fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 7a00be3a-58a9-5e34-9897-65301447f1bf

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