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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 65)

Rampage in Jersey City Leaves Officer and 5 Others Dead

The shooting began outside a cemetery in Jersey City, N.J., on Tuesday when a 40-year-old detective tried to intercept two people who were suspects in a homicide. They opened fire and fled, speeding off in a rented truck that had been reported stolen and leaving the detective dead on the ground.

They drove about a mile, stopping in a Hasidic neighborhood where dozens of young ultra-Orthodox families have relocated to in recent years. With traffic at a standstill as the police rushed to answer 911 calls about the shooting at the cemetery, the pair invaded a kosher market.

What followed was an all-out gun battle as police officers swarmed the area and helicopters circled overhead. About a dozen schools went on lockdown for hours, trapping thousands of students in classrooms long after the school day usually ends. New Jersey Transit suspended bus service and a light-rail line that runs through Jersey City for a time. A nearby exit off the New Jersey Turnpike was closed for hours.

When the street was quiet again, five people in the market were dead — three people who were either customers or workers, as well as the two suspects, who have not been identified.

Investigators initially said they believed that the store was chosen at random and that the episode was not a hate crime. The city’s director of public safety said at an afternoon news conference that there was “no indication” of terrorism.

By Tuesday night, however, the city’s mayor, Steven Fulop, said on Twitter that officials now believed that the shooters had “targeted the location they attacked.” He did not provide further explanation or say whether the violence was related to anti-Semitism.

But he added that, “We have no indication there are any further threats.”

The confrontation between the armed suspects and local, state and federal law enforcement officers turned a residential neighborhood into a battle zone, with videos taken by witnesses capturing relentless blasts from guns.

“Our officers were under fire for hours,” said the Jersey City police chief, Michael Kelly.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 10njshot2-articleLarge Rampage in Jersey City Leaves Officer and 5 Others Dead New Jersey Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Jews and Judaism Jersey City (NJ) Attacks on Police

Detective Joseph Seals was a longtime veteran of the Jersey City police.

Officials said the violence, the worst in Jersey City in recent memory, involved three crime scenes: the cemetery, the rented truck — which they said might have been carrying an incendiary device — and the kosher market, which is next door to a synagogue and a school with more than 100 students. A prayer service had just ended there.

In an instant, soon after the gunfire began, there was chaos and confusion, as residents fled their homes. They stood, anxious, behind barricades as SWAT teams, bomb squads and heavily armed officers moved in.

It was not immediately clear what led to the confrontation at the cemetery in Jersey City, which is across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. But at the market, residents described a tense standoff with exchanges of gunfire. Willy McDonald, 67, said he heard “this constant shooting.”

“This is one of the biggest gunfights I’ve seen in a while,” he said, “and I’ve been in Vietnam.”

Another resident of the area, Corey McCloed, 39, said it seemed that Jersey City was under siege. And Orthodox Jews in New Jersey and New York followed the situation on Yiddish-language social media groups, said Yosef Rapaport, a Hasidic community leader from Borough Park, Brooklyn.

One video, narrated in Yiddish and shot from a second-floor window at the scene, showed an armored vehicle just after it rammed into the front window of the kosher market.

Moishe Ferencz, the owner of the market, JC Kosher Supermarket, had just left his store to take a quick break at a nearby synagogue, according to his mother, Victoria Ferencz. After a couple minutes, shots rang out. The synagogue was put on lockdown, and Mr. Ferencz’s thoughts turned to his wife, Mindy.

She had been left tending the market.

“I called my son, he says, ‘I’m locked here, I have no idea where she is,’” said Ms. Ferencz.

Ms. Ferencz, 72, said she hadn’t yet heard whether her daughter-in-law was safe. “I’m still hoping against hope,” she said on Tuesday night.

Mr. Rapaport said his nephew, Shimon Goldberger, was leaving the synagogue and saw two people climb out of a rental truck with rifles. Mr. Rapaport quoted Mr. Goldberger as saying they started shooting immediately. Mr. Goldberger ran to his car across the street and called 911.

Chief Kelly said the officers who were sent to the market were met with “high-powered rifle fire.” Two officers were hit, he said, but both were released from the hospital several hours later.

The dead detective was identified as Joseph Seals, a police veteran who was assigned to a citywide task force whose mission was to remove guns from the streets in Jersey City — the second-most-populous city in the state, with a quarter of a million residents. Chief Kelly called him “our leading police officer” in that effort and said that he had been responsible for “removing dozens and dozens of guns from the streets.”

Chief Kelly said Detective Seals had joined the force in 2006. In 2008, Detective Seals was credited with helping to prevent a sexual assault on Christmas Eve, when he and his partner climbed a fire escape behind a 23-year-old burglar. They had been alerted by a woman who called 911 after she had chased the man away from her building. But according to a report of the incident, he returned within minutes, while she was still on the phone.

On Tuesday, one of the officers who exchanged fire with the suspects was Joseph Kerik, the 34-year-old son of the former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Mr. Kerik said that his son is a Newark police detective who went to the shooting with two Jersey City police officers with whom he had been working on a task force. The officers drove to the store in an armored police vehicle and rammed through the entrance, he said.

Mr. Kerik said that when the suspects began shooting, his son and the two Jersey City officers returned fire. He said that afterward, his son’s ears were ringing from the noise of the shooting but that he was not seriously hurt.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, who was in Washington when the rampage began, took a train back to New Jersey and went to Jersey City. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, also visited Jersey City.

“Once again, our nation is faced with scenes of carnage, fear, hopelessness and loss,” Senator Booker said. “There should be no place in America where residents are gunned down while shopping for groceries, officers are slain while protecting our communities and children are sheltering in place at school. These tragedies cannot become our new normal.”

The governor praised the Jersey City police for their courage in the face of danger. “There are days that require us to stop and think about what it means to put on a uniform every day,” he said. “And God knows this is one of those days.”

Rabbi David Niederman, the executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, a Satmar Hasidic community organization, said people in the Jersey City Hasidic community had told him that the shots came into the market first through the glass window. The shooters then tried to take cover inside the store.

“We are in shock,” he said, “and we pray.”

The kosher market caters to a small but growing number of Hasidic families who have moved to Jersey City in recent years. Many of them belong to the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect and have settled into houses on dense blocks with neighbors that include a Catholic school, a Pentecostal church and a Dominican restaurant.

The market opened three years ago, signaling that the Orthodox community was putting down roots in what had been, and remains, a largely African-American part of Jersey City.

Detective Seals had lived in North Arlington, N.J., about eight miles north of Jersey City, for at least five years, neighbors said. Neighbors described him as a dedicated father with five children.

One neighbor, Josephine Gonzalez, looked at the Christmas lights on their block and said the holiday cheer disappeared the moment officers arrived to deliver the somber news to the family.

“Unfortunately, they will have a very sad Christmas,” she said. “It’s a horrible tragedy.”

Nick Corasaniti, Corey Kilgannon, Kwame Opam, Sharon Otterman, Ed Shanahan, William K. Rashbaum, Edgar Sandoval, Ashley Southall and Mihir Zaveri contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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

Rampage in Jersey City Leaves Officer and 5 Others Dead

The shooting began outside a cemetery in Jersey City, N.J., on Tuesday when a 40-year-old detective tried to intercept two people who were suspects in a homicide. They opened fire and fled, speeding off in a rented truck that had been reported stolen and leaving the detective dead on the ground.

They drove about a mile, stopping in a Hasidic neighborhood where dozens of young ultra-Orthodox families have relocated to in recent years. With traffic at a standstill as the police rushed to answer 911 calls about the shooting at the cemetery, the pair invaded a kosher market.

What followed was an all-out gun battle as police officers swarmed the area and helicopters circled overhead. About a dozen schools went on lockdown for hours, trapping thousands of students in classrooms long after the school day usually ends. New Jersey Transit suspended bus service and a light-rail line that runs through Jersey City for a time. A nearby exit off the New Jersey Turnpike was closed for hours.

When the street was quiet again, five people in the market were dead — three people who were either customers or workers, as well as the two suspects, who have not been identified.

Investigators initially said they believed that the store was chosen at random and that the episode was not a hate crime. The city’s director of public safety said at an afternoon news conference that there was “no indication” of terrorism.

By Tuesday night, however, the city’s mayor, Steven Fulop, said on Twitter that officials now believed that the shooters had “targeted the location they attacked.” He did not provide further explanation or say whether the violence was related to anti-Semitism.

But he added that, “We have no indication there are any further threats.”

The confrontation between the armed suspects and local, state and federal law enforcement officers turned a residential neighborhood into a battle zone, with videos taken by witnesses capturing relentless blasts from guns.

“Our officers were under fire for hours,” said the Jersey City police chief, Michael Kelly.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 10njshot2-articleLarge Rampage in Jersey City Leaves Officer and 5 Others Dead New Jersey Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Jews and Judaism Jersey City (NJ) Attacks on Police

Detective Joseph Seals was a longtime veteran of the Jersey City police.

Officials said the violence, the worst in Jersey City in recent memory, involved three crime scenes: the cemetery, the rented truck — which they said might have been carrying an incendiary device — and the kosher market, which is next door to a synagogue and a school with more than 100 students. A prayer service had just ended there.

In an instant, soon after the gunfire began, there was chaos and confusion, as residents fled their homes. They stood, anxious, behind barricades as SWAT teams, bomb squads and heavily armed officers moved in.

It was not immediately clear what led to the confrontation at the cemetery in Jersey City, which is across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. But at the market, residents described a tense standoff with exchanges of gunfire. Willy McDonald, 67, said he heard “this constant shooting.”

“This is one of the biggest gunfights I’ve seen in a while,” he said, “and I’ve been in Vietnam.”

Another resident of the area, Corey McCloed, 39, said it seemed that Jersey City was under siege. And Orthodox Jews in New Jersey and New York followed the situation on Yiddish-language social media groups, said Yosef Rapaport, a Hasidic community leader from Borough Park, Brooklyn.

One video, narrated in Yiddish and shot from a second-floor window at the scene, showed an armored vehicle just after it rammed into the front window of the kosher market.

Moishe Ferencz, the owner of the market, JC Kosher Supermarket, had just left his store to take a quick break at a nearby synagogue, according to his mother, Victoria Ferencz. After a couple minutes, shots rang out. The synagogue was put on lockdown, and Mr. Ferencz’s thoughts turned to his wife, Mindy.

She had been left tending the market.

“I called my son, he says, ‘I’m locked here, I have no idea where she is,’” said Ms. Ferencz.

Ms. Ferencz, 72, said she hadn’t yet heard whether her daughter-in-law was safe. “I’m still hoping against hope,” she said on Tuesday night.

Mr. Rapaport said his nephew, Shimon Goldberger, was leaving the synagogue and saw two people climb out of a rental truck with rifles. Mr. Rapaport quoted Mr. Goldberger as saying they started shooting immediately. Mr. Goldberger ran to his car across the street and called 911.

Chief Kelly said the officers who were sent to the market were met with “high-powered rifle fire.” Two officers were hit, he said, but both were released from the hospital several hours later.

The dead detective was identified as Joseph Seals, a police veteran who was assigned to a citywide task force whose mission was to remove guns from the streets in Jersey City — the second-most-populous city in the state, with a quarter of a million residents. Chief Kelly called him “our leading police officer” in that effort and said that he had been responsible for “removing dozens and dozens of guns from the streets.”

Chief Kelly said Detective Seals had joined the force in 2006. In 2008, Detective Seals was credited with helping to prevent a sexual assault on Christmas Eve, when he and his partner climbed a fire escape behind a 23-year-old burglar. They had been alerted by a woman who called 911 after she had chased the man away from her building. But according to a report of the incident, he returned within minutes, while she was still on the phone.

On Tuesday, one of the officers who exchanged fire with the suspects was Joseph Kerik, the 34-year-old son of the former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Mr. Kerik said that his son is a Newark police detective who went to the shooting with two Jersey City police officers with whom he had been working on a task force. The officers drove to the store in an armored police vehicle and rammed through the entrance, he said.

Mr. Kerik said that when the suspects began shooting, his son and the two Jersey City officers returned fire. He said that afterward, his son’s ears were ringing from the noise of the shooting but that he was not seriously hurt.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, who was in Washington when the rampage began, took a train back to New Jersey and went to Jersey City. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, also visited Jersey City.

“Once again, our nation is faced with scenes of carnage, fear, hopelessness and loss,” Senator Booker said. “There should be no place in America where residents are gunned down while shopping for groceries, officers are slain while protecting our communities and children are sheltering in place at school. These tragedies cannot become our new normal.”

The governor praised the Jersey City police for their courage in the face of danger. “There are days that require us to stop and think about what it means to put on a uniform every day,” he said. “And God knows this is one of those days.”

Rabbi David Niederman, the executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, a Satmar Hasidic community organization, said people in the Jersey City Hasidic community had told him that the shots came into the market first through the glass window. The shooters then tried to take cover inside the store.

“We are in shock,” he said, “and we pray.”

The kosher market caters to a small but growing number of Hasidic families who have moved to Jersey City in recent years. Many of them belong to the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect and have settled into houses on dense blocks with neighbors that include a Catholic school, a Pentecostal church and a Dominican restaurant.

The market opened three years ago, signaling that the Orthodox community was putting down roots in what had been, and remains, a largely African-American part of Jersey City.

Detective Seals had lived in North Arlington, N.J., about eight miles north of Jersey City, for at least five years, neighbors said. Neighbors described him as a dedicated father with five children.

One neighbor, Josephine Gonzalez, looked at the Christmas lights on their block and said the holiday cheer disappeared the moment officers arrived to deliver the somber news to the family.

“Unfortunately, they will have a very sad Christmas,” she said. “It’s a horrible tragedy.”

Nick Corasaniti, Corey Kilgannon, Kwame Opam, Sharon Otterman, Ed Shanahan, William K. Rashbaum, Edgar Sandoval, Ashley Southall and Mihir Zaveri contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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

Russia’s Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries

Westlake Legal Group Lavrov-Trump-Dec-10 Russia's Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0032f753-2580-56cb-9a45-45d52e47c05f

After meeting with President Trump at the White House in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Russia‘s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said there was no talk of election interference and brushed off the notion that it was a topic of importance.

Lavrov did, however, acknowledge that he discussed election interference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but said it has yet to come up in his talks with Trump, according to The Associated Press.

“We haven’t exactly even discussed elections,” Lavrov said at a news conference at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Lavrov downplayed a question about whether or not Trump had shared any classified information with him during their meeting and told reporters, “If you find any secrets, the scoop is yours.” He also lamented the “wave of suspicion that has overcome Washington” with regard to election interference.

PUTIN, ZELENSKY, IN FIRST SITDOWN, AGREE TO EXCHANGE ALL PRISONERS, REVIVE PEACE PROCESS

“All speculation about our alleged interference in domestic processes of the United States is baseless,” Lavrov added.

In addition to discussing arms control, Pompeo and Lavrov reportedly highlighted Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well. Pompeo reiterated the United States’ position that Crimea belongs to Ukraine, and should not be subject to Russian control. The peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Lavrov’s arrival came after a meeting in Paris on Monday between Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The meeting was considered an attempt to de-escalate tensions between the two nations amid a five-year separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Both leaders agreed to exchange all prisoners and implement a cease-fire by the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group Lavrov-Trump-Dec-10 Russia's Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0032f753-2580-56cb-9a45-45d52e47c05f   Westlake Legal Group Lavrov-Trump-Dec-10 Russia's Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0032f753-2580-56cb-9a45-45d52e47c05f

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

Trump Dismisses Articles Of Impeachment Against Him, Says His Actions Weren’t Crimes

Westlake Legal Group 5df043e32100002d0734f9c2 Trump Dismisses Articles Of Impeachment Against Him, Says His Actions Weren’t Crimes

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he believes the two articles of impeachment House Democrats filed against him do not describe criminal acts.

“Today, the House Democrats announced these two flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous articles of impeachment,” Trump told attendees at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tuesday. “With today’s announcement, they are now admitting there was no collusion, there was no obstruction of justice, and there were no crimes, whatsoever. They’re impeaching me and there were no crimes. The Democrats have nothing.”

Just hours earlier, top House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against the president, setting the foundation for a vote that could make Trump the third leader to be impeached in U.S. history.

The two articles of impeachment are charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which contrary to Trump’s remarks, are considered crimes. Trump is accused of abusing the power of his office by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. He’s also accused of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s subpoenas while lawmakers investigated his behavior.

“The president holds the ultimate public trust,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference Tuesday. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before the country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security.”

The Judiciary Committee said it will begin its markup of the articles on Wednesday evening, and the full House will likely vote on impeachment next week.

Vice President Mike Pence emphasized his support of Trump at Tuesday’s rally, calling the articles of impeachment a “disgrace.”

“You know, the truth is they’re trying to impeach this president because they know they can’t defeat this president,” Pence said before Trump took the stage.

Later in his speech, Trump said Democrats are only impeaching him “to win the election,” and that the word impeachment is “a dark, ugly word.”

“They are impeaching me. Do you know why?” Trump asked. “Because they want to win an election, and that’s the only way they can do it.”

If the president is impeached, the Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial likely to begin in the beginning of next year. A two-thirds majority vote is required to successfully remove a president from office, which would mean that about 20 Republican senators would need to join every Democrat in voting to oust Trump.

But Republicans have so far been mostly steadfast in their defense of the president’s efforts to withhold nearly $400 military aid to a foreign country until its leader committed to investigating a Democratic rival ahead of a presidential election. While Democrats have laid out the evidence of Trump’s attempted quid pro quo, Republicans say the president’s demands to Ukraine don’t amount to a quid pro quo.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ― who lead his committee’s marathon impeachment hearings ― said Tuesday that he believes the evidence against Trump is “overwhelming” and “uncontested.”

“The president’s oath of office appears to mean very little to him,” Schiff said. “But the articles we put forward today will give us a chance to show that we will defend the Constitution and that our oath means something to us.”

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

Trump and Barr Escalate Attacks on F.B.I. Over Report on Russia Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 10DC-FBI-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump and Barr Escalate Attacks on F.B.I. Over Report on Russia Inquiry Wray, Christopher A Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B

WASHINGTON — President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr took aim at the F.B.I. on Tuesday, escalating their attacks on the bureau a day after an independent watchdog concluded that former F.B.I. officials had adequate reason in 2016 to open the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Barr said for a second straight day that he disagreed with the finding in a long-awaited report by the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, that the F.B.I. lawfully opened its inquiry. And he went further, saying that Obama administration officials had spied on the president’s associates and, in the process, jeopardized civil liberties.

“The greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government use the apparatus of the state, principally the law enforcement and intelligence agencies, both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with NBC News.

While Mr. Barr was careful to reserve his accusations for Obama-era F.B.I. and intelligence officials, Mr. Trump drew no such boundaries and attacked his handpicked F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, who has said he accepted the inspector general’s findings and had ordered 40 corrective steps to address the report’s recommendations.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

The fallout from the inspector general’s report was the latest example of the scrambling of traditional political alliances in the Trump era. A president and an attorney general from the Republican Party, long an ally of law enforcement, questioned the accuracy of the report and their trust in the F.B.I. itself.

Mr. Barr also gave perhaps his most fulsome argument yet for why he believes the bureau improperly investigated members of Mr. Trump’s campaign, accusing former officials of “gross abuses” and “inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the F.B.I.”

He said bureau officials have explained that they opened the investigation in 2016 at a time when Russia was suspected of hacking into Democratic servers to steal emails that WikiLeaks later released. That itself helped prompt the Australian government to tell American officials that a Trump campaign aide had revealed an offer from a Russian intermediary of information that could damage the campaign of Mr. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“They opened a counterintelligence investigation on the whole campaign,” Mr. Barr said at a Wall Street Journal conference in Washington on Tuesday. “The proper response was to talk to the campaign,” he added, saying that law enforcement officials commonly give so-called defensive briefings to political campaigns to warn them about attempted intrusions by or other issues with foreign governments.

Mr. Barr noted that it was a highly unusual step for the F.B.I. to investigate people associated with a presidential campaign. But he failed to capture the extraordinary nature of the 2016 election, which the inspector general report underscored, and omitted context relevant to F.B.I. officials’ decision to open the Russia inquiry.

For example, though Mr. Trump himself was not under investigation, his actions puzzled agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that his campaign had pressed to change the Republican Party platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways that were favorable to Russia.

Additionally, two Trump campaign advisers were already separately under federal investigation. And investigators stayed within protocol in opening the Russia inquiry, Mr. Horowitz found; the F.B.I.’s guidelines do not suggest extra steps or safeguards to take in opening such a sensitive and politically explosive investigation.

Mr. Barr said at the conference that another investigation he has opened, led by John H. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, would resolve why the F.B.I. investigated four Trump campaign advisers.

Mr. Durham issued an unusual statement on Monday publicly disputing the inspector general’s findings about how the case was opened. Coming amid an active investigation with high-stakes political implications, the comment was reminiscent of the 2016 decision by James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director at the time, to publicly discuss the bureau’s investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server. He was eviscerated for publicly discussing an investigation that ended without charges.

The bureau’s applications for a court order approving the wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, and three renewals of it made up the bulk of Mr. Horowitz’s scrutiny of the Russia investigation but were a relatively small part of the sprawling inquiry.

Mr. Horowitz said the bureau had a reasonable basis to open the inquiry, but he uncovered mistakes made by the F.B.I. in working to wiretap Mr. Page, including exculpatory evidence that could have hurt the bureau’s ability to obtain its warrant, and said they were never adequately explained. Many of the problems centered on the F.B.I.’s reliance for the wiretap application on a notorious dossier of unverified, salacious information about Mr. Trump compiled by a British former spy, Christopher Steele.

While Mr. Horowitz ruled out political motivations, he said in his report that he could not otherwise account for the withholding of the information from the secretive surveillance court that approved the wiretap.

Lawyers for Mr. Steele issued a lengthy statement on Tuesday pushing back on parts of the report, including material that indicated that Mr. Steele’s primary source of information later contradicted the veracity of his dossier.

The Justice Department had planned to black out the material but notified Mr. Steele on the eve of the report’s release that they would include it. Had Mr. Steele’s company, Orbis, been given the opportunity to respond to the information ahead of time, his lawyers said, it “would be put in a very different light.”

Mr. Trump and some of his allies have inaccurately promoted the dense report as proof of some of their conspiracy theories. The president has claimed for years that the Russia investigation was a witch hunt pursued by “deep state” bureaucrats who did not support him politically. And he has been particularly critical of the F.B.I., calling former bureau leaders “losers.”

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press,” Mr. Barr said on Tuesday.

Mr. Wray had largely managed to avoid the president’s withering criticism targeted at the bureau, the Justice Department and intelligence agencies. The director and his aides had expressed hope that with the release of the inspector general report, the F.B.I. could finally move past the toxic politics of recent years.

But when Mr. Wray said on Monday that he concurred with Mr. Horowitz’s finding that political bias had not influenced investigative decisions in the Russia inquiry, he undercut Mr. Trump’s yearslong accusations.

He also seemed to push back on the president in another aspect. Mr. Wray said he had no information to support the assertion that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, as many of Mr. Trump’s supporters have said in trying to attack the accusations about the president’s dealings with Kyiv that are the subject of House Democrats’ impeachment investigation.

“It’s important for the American people to be thoughtful consumers of information, to think about the sources of it and to think about the support and predication for what they hear,” Mr. Wray told ABC News.

While there was little expectation that the inspector general’s conclusions would stop the partisan attacks on the Russia inquiry, the president’s suggestion that he lacked confidence in Mr. Wray’s ability to “fix” the bureau raised the possibility that he was considering replacing Mr. Wray, which would give the president his third F.B.I. director since he took office. The director position has a 10-year term limit devised specifically to prevent political interference.

Another former F.B.I. official whose actions Mr. Trump has frequently held up as evidence of bias against him, Lisa Page, sued the Justice Department on Tuesday, accusing officials of illegally releasing text messages she exchanged with a former bureau investigator that expressed animus toward Mr. Trump. Ms. Page said that the messages were released to reporters in violation of privacy laws.

The disclosures “caused Ms. Page significant harm and financial loss,” the lawsuit said.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

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Bombshell Afghanistan Report Lands With Thud On Capitol Hill

Westlake Legal Group 5df028c0210000500734f9ae Bombshell Afghanistan Report Lands With Thud On Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON ― A bombshell report detailing how successive U.S. administrations misled the public about the nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan went mostly ignored by lawmakers on Tuesday, as some said they weren’t even aware that it had been published.

The muted response in Congress reflects broader apathy among the electorate itself about the 18-year war in Afghanistan, the longest armed conflict in U.S. history that has cost roughly 2,400 lives and more than $2 trillion.

According to secret documents obtained by The Washington Post, U.S. officials routinely lied about the progress U.S. forces were making in the Afghanistan War, knowing full well the lengthy conflict was almost assuredly unwinnable. The rosy inflation of expectations about the war effort was maintained by officials across three successive administrations ― George W. Bush’s, Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s ― despite metrics that showed the opposite.

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan ― we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, an Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015, according to the Post.

“What are we trying to do here?” he continued. “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

The documents also detailed how the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. spent in its war on terror, in part on contractors and private security firms, fostered corruption that made the situation in Afghanistan even worse.

“After the killing of Osama bin Laden (in a 2011 U.S. raid), I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan,” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers in 2015, according to the Post.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the biggest defense hawks in Congress, said he had not yet read the report on Tuesday and declined to comment. Several Democratic senators also said they also couldn’t comment until they had gone over the documents.

The explosive documents, which the Post published on Monday, were largely overshadowed as Democrats and Republicans battled over impeachment proceedings against Trump, which Democrats advanced Tuesday by unveiling two articles of impeachment, as well as news of a bipartisan deal on the new trade agreement the president negotiated with Canada and Mexico. Lawmakers also are racing to pass several bills funding the government before they recess next week for their annual holiday break.

Still, given the sacrifice of blood and treasure that began when the U.S. attacked Afghanistan and overthrew its Taliban rulers shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, one might have expected a stronger reaction from lawmakers who, at least according to the U.S. constitution, have the power to authorize and curtail military conflicts. 

“There was a time in the U.S. Congress when we would have been inundated with votes and speeches and efforts to hold the government accountable on an ongoing war,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “We have surrendered that to any number of factors, but I think it is a sad commentary on the U.S. Senate when over this long period of time it has been so many years that we have even considered the merits of an authorization of military force.”

In June, House Democrats passed an appropriations bill that included a repeal of the 2001authorization of military force that has long been used to maintain the conflict. But a similar provision sunsetting that measure was not included in a companion Senate bill, and the upper chamber ultimately won the debate in negotiations over the annual defense bill unveiled earlier this week. The massive legislation includes additional funding for foreign wars abroad.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a previously scheduled hearing on Afghan strategy on Wednesday that will feature testimony from Gen. Austin Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. No press will be allowed into the room, however. A spokesperson for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee chairman, said he would address the Washington Post report during the hearing. 

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the committee, called on the Trump administration to present a clear strategy in Afghanistan and said Congress ought to investigate whether there was “a conscious, and deliberative” effort to mislead the public.

Others questioned why the U.S. remained in Afghanistan.  

“I think we’re at a point where we have to ask ourselves after 18 years, what is it we’re trying to do in Afghanistan? I mean really, what are we trying to do there?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “Why are we still there in such force and such numbers? Can the Afghan security forces stand on their own? Can the police forces stand on their own? Can the Afghan government?”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of Capitol Hill’s main advocates of a non-interventionist U.S. foreign policy, called for hearings with officials involved in the war effort, calling it a “huge deal that behind the scenes many and generals and leaders have had doubts [about a conflict] that they keep sending men and women to.”

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Seeking Unity on Impeachment, Democrats Decided Against Mueller Charges

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-mueller1-facebookJumbo Seeking Unity on Impeachment, Democrats Decided Against Mueller Charges United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Pelosi, Nancy House of Representatives Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants huddled in her office last week as Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, who oversees the Judiciary Committee, made the case that the House should take up three articles of impeachment against President Trump. Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, countered that there should only be two.

A vigorous debate unfolded, and in the end Ms. Pelosi made the call: There would be only two articles of impeachment, on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, narrowly focused on the investigation into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. A third, on obstruction of justice tied to the president’s attempts to thwart the inquiry of Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, was too much of a reach.

On Tuesday, the Democrats unveiled those two articles, pushing forward with their carefully managed plans to impeach Mr. Trump before Christmas. But the last-minute dispute over how broad a case to bring reflects the competing demands on Democrats from within their own party, and their determination to appear as unified as possible in a hyper-polarized environment.

Now, Democrats will see whether their decision has its intended effect of keeping the party united behind impeaching Mr. Trump, protecting moderate lawmakers who face steep re-election challenges in conservative-leaning districts, and persuading the public — and the Senate, where a trial will play out — of the seriousness of their case.

Many of the moderates had resisted impeaching Mr. Trump for months, convinced that Mr. Mueller’s report was not sufficient grounds to proceed, as public polling showed that voters did not see a clear case. Representative Max Rose, a freshman Democrat from a Staten Island swing district, for instance, told his constituents that it was better for the country to simply move on from the Russia episode than impeach Mr. Trump over it. He changed course and embraced the impeachment inquiry only after allegations surfaced that the president tried to pressure Ukraine to help him in the 2020 election.

Even now, some centrist Democrats are worried about the process. A group of them met behind closed doors on Monday to discuss the possibility of opposing the articles of impeachment and instead trying to build bipartisan support for a resolution to formally censure the president. They quickly dismissed the idea, which seemed destined to fail. But their conversations reflected the eagerness of some Democrats to avoid the spectacle of a highly partisan impeachment of Mr. Trump in the House.

The debate that unfolded in Ms. Pelosi’s personal office took place only hours after she announced to the nation on Thursday that she had directed her lieutenants to draft articles of impeachment. Sitting around a large wooden table already decorated for Christmas, the visage of Abraham Lincoln staring down from a portrait on the wall, she and the senior Democrats hashed out their disagreement.

Mr. Nadler, who had spent months trying to build an impeachment case from Mr. Mueller’s findings, argued that it was not enough just to charge Mr. Trump with abusing his power and obstructing Congress. We should go broader, he asserted, laying out a pattern of behavior by Mr. Trump. What message would it send if the House gave Mr. Trump a pass for such egregious misconduct?

Three of Mr. Nadler’s fellow committee leaders in the room concurred: Eliot L. Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Carolyn B. Maloney of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Maxine Waters of the Financial Services Committee.

But Mr. Neal warned that if Democrats put forward anything but their strongest, most agreed-upon case, they risked repeating the mistakes Republicans made in 1998 when they proposed four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, only to see two defeated in votes that split their party.

And Representative Adam B. Schiff, the influential Intelligence Committee chairman, said the facts his panel collected showing that Mr. Trump had solicited Ukraine’s assistance in his re-election campaign carried special urgency, and should not get bogged down by a months-old fight.

The debate, described by lawmakers and aides familiar with its contours who insisted on anonymity, mirrored a larger argument running through the Democratic caucus in recent weeks as it became increasingly clear the House was destined to draw up formal charges against the 45th president.

The final decision, agreed to by all six committee leaders, came down to this: The vast majority of Democrats agree that the allegations of wrongdoing toward Ukraine are overwhelming and pressing as well as a continuing threat to the nation. The same could not be said of attempts by Mr. Trump to interfere with Mr. Mueller’s work.

People close to her said Ms. Pelosi always remained reluctant to move based on obstruction of justice. The case dealt with events in the past, failed to excite public opinion, and far from uniting her caucus, it made moderate freshman lawmakers who had delivered Democrats the majority deeply uncomfortable.

“You make choices and people have different opinions and at the end you come up with a recommendation,” Mr. Engel said on Tuesday. “When you come to consensus it doesn’t mean that initially everybody had the same idea.”

Even after Thursday’s meeting, though, some lawmakers and officials in favor of including an obstruction of justice article worked through the weekend to try to persuade their colleagues otherwise. The Judiciary Committee went as far as sketching out what a possible obstruction of justice charge might look like, according to one official familiar with its work.

The idea had powerful proponents. Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, told McClatchy in an interview last week that obstruction of justice belonged in the articles.

“Obstruction of justice, I think, is too clear not to include,” he said. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, agreed.

Some lawmakers floated the idea that obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress could be combined into a single article of impeachment claiming a broad-based pattern of conduct over more than two years. But that almost certainly would not have appealed to moderates.

They did manage to incorporate at least one key aspect of their argument in the final articles. Even without mentioning obstruction of justice, Democratic leaders included a paragraph in each tightly scripted article alluding to a pattern of behavior.

“These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous efforts to undermine United States government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections,” they wrote in Article I.

Mr. Mueller dedicated a full volume of his lengthy report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to Mr. Trump’s attempts to undercut his inquiry. It included nearly a dozen episodes of possible obstruction of justice. Among them were his dismissal of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, attempts to fire Mr. Mueller, efforts to pressure the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, not to recuse himself from the inquiry and then to reverse that decision and retake control of the inquiry, issuing a misleading statement about a meeting with Russians and potentially trying to influence witness testimony.

But the report was far from clear cut. Mr. Mueller himself said he could not decide whether the conduct constituted illegal obstruction because of a Justice Department policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Attorney General William P. Barr showed no such reluctance, stepping in before the public ever saw Mr. Mueller’s report to clear the president of wrongdoing.

Even House Democrats were not convinced; for months, less than half of the lawmakers in their ranks supported impeaching Mr. Trump.

Mr. Rose was emblematic. He made himself freely available to reporters last week to remind them that he had not supported proceeding with an impeachment inquiry based on the Mueller report, but because he saw something more menacing in the Ukraine allegations.

Another vulnerable moderate, Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia, said on Tuesday that she would probably support the articles as introduced. She helped remove any last opposition to an impeachment inquiry in September when she and six other freshman Democrats with national security backgrounds published an op-ed in The Washington Post saying the accusations of Mr. Trump were a threat to national security.

“I wanted to see that they would be narrow, that was my desire, so I am satisfied,” Ms. Luria told reporters.

Privately, some progressives and members of the Judiciary Committee lamented that months of earlier work would go unused.

Representative Lloyd Doggett, a liberal Democrat from Texas, conceded that as bad as Mr. Trump’s attempts to impede Mr. Mueller were, there was too much murkiness around the special counsel’s report to make it a clear case for impeachment.

“Going back to pick that up would just give Republicans more talking points and excuses to delay,” he said.

Mr. Barr’s pre-emptive statements clearing the president of any wrongdoing “set the stage for some confusion out there about what was in the Mueller report,” Mr. Doggett said. “I’m not sure we ever fully recovered.”

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Michigan man who ran over, killed deputy sentenced to life without parole

A 24-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole for running over and killing a sheriff’s deputy in southeastern Michigan in 2017, according to a report.

Christopher Berak was convicted last month for first-degree murder and the murder of a police officer, Fox 2 Detroit reported.

“I’m sorry for what I did. I hope that they’re all doing OK,” Berak had said before sentencing, per the news outlet.

Berak was accused of leading Lapeer County deputies on a car chase and deliberately hitting the cop at an intersection.

Deputy Eric Overall, 50, a 22-year veteran of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, was hit outside his car on Thanksgiving 2017 while deploying “stop sticks” to deflate Berak’s tires.

Westlake Legal Group Dep-Erick-Overall-Berak Michigan man who ran over, killed deputy sentenced to life without parole Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc b78ec65b-0d61-55b6-bb89-c9871080853e article

Christopher Berak, right, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and the murder of a peace officer for the death of Deputy Eric Overall, left. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office / Macomb County Sheriff’s Office)

JERSEY CITY GUN BATTLE LEAVES 6 DEAD, INCLUDING POLICE OFFICER

Berak’s car rolled over, and he was arrested.

Berak’s defense said he had no intention of striking the deputy and was reacting to the stop sticks on the road.

Earlier in the day, Berak had told authorities at the Lapeer County jail he was “God” and came to break out one of his “sons.”

“He was a man of honor and integrity. On and off duty, he always strived to do the right thing. … Eric had a big heart and wore it on his sleeve,” Overall’s wife, Sonya, said about her husband at the sentencing this week.

“My father impacted so many lives, like Sonya just said — raised me and my brother up to be the best men we could be,” the cop’s son, Kenneth Overall, said. “My father was a great man, always selfless. That Thanksgiving morning, it will be a day we’ll never forget. Every morning, every day we relive it.”

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“We wish we had him back,” he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump calls FBI ‘scum’ at rally

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Jersey City detective killed in shooting is remembered for helping get many guns off the streets

A New Jersey police officer who was among six people killed in a shootout that brought the streets of Jersey City to a standstill Tuesday had been credited with having led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in recent years, according to his superiors.

Detective Joseph Seals, 40, was among six people, including three bystanders and two of the three suspects who opened fire on police and civilians, killed Tuesday.

“Dozens and dozens of handguns he’s responsible for removing from the streets,” Police Chief Michael Kelly told reporters. “We believe he was killed while trying to interdict these bad guys on Garfield Avenue.”

Westlake Legal Group Joseph-Seals-Hawthorne-PBA Jersey City detective killed in shooting is remembered for helping get many guns off the streets fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 1da213bd-eb1f-55f2-a2c1-074e0ac33c35

Joseph Seals, a Jersey City police officer, was killed during a shootout Tuesday. 

Authorities said the shootout might have been started by Seals trying to stop an incident involving illegal guns when he was shot down by gunfire that erupted near a cemetery.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop praised Seals’ legacy, saying that his performance “speaks for itself.”

JERSEY CITY SHOOTING: BERNARD KERIK’S SON AMONG OFFICERS HOSPITALIZED

“He [probably] is responsible for more guns being removed from the streets than any,” Fulop tweeted. “He was an officer that loved JC, was involved in the city, and one that everyone knew regardless of their precinct.”

Seals, who is survived by his wife and five children, joined the Jersey City Police Department in 2006.

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Kelly said Seals “came up in the South District,” a high-crime area. He was promoted to detective in November 2017, WABC-TV reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Joseph-Seals-Hawthorne-PBA Jersey City detective killed in shooting is remembered for helping get many guns off the streets fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 1da213bd-eb1f-55f2-a2c1-074e0ac33c35   Westlake Legal Group Joseph-Seals-Hawthorne-PBA Jersey City detective killed in shooting is remembered for helping get many guns off the streets fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 1da213bd-eb1f-55f2-a2c1-074e0ac33c35

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