web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 74)

How The Senate Impeachment Trial Works

President Trump’s fate is now in the hands of the Senate. The House of Representatives has impeached the president, and it is up to senators to determine whether he will be removed from office.

Loading…

Senators passed a resolution on the ground rules for the trial after a marathon 13 hours of debate that included multiple failed attempts by Democrats to get a commitment on witnesses and documents. Read the resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

It has been more than a month since the House voted to impeach Trump, charging him with abusing his power and obstructing Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had been holding off on transmitting the articles to the Senate, essentially delaying the trial, because she wanted details on how the trial would work.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1193932580_custom-3bd83e19da60b4a39cb25d1ff27f13e9d5f4aa83-s1100-c15 How The Senate Impeachment Trial Works

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signs the articles of impeachment against President Trump at the Rayburn Room on Capitol Hill Jan. 15. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

She ultimately relented without any further information from McConnell, and the House voted to send the articles to the Senate on Jan. 15.

The next day, Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to preside over the trial. He then administered the oath to senators, who swore to render “impartial justice” as jurors.

Here is more about the various roles and how the trial will play out.

Setting The Ground Rules

Timing: Senate passed organizing resolution on Jan. 21

The details of a Senate impeachment trial are generally up for negotiation, but that negotiation essentially ended when McConnell announced he had the votes to move ahead with a resolution outlining the process without Democrats.

Republicans did pass the resolution, with some last-minute, hand-written changes, but not before Democrats offered multiple amendments, triggering hours of debate.

Loading…

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had been pushing for a deal up front that would include testimony from witnesses, including Trump administration officials. The resolution that passed delays debate on witnesses and new evidence until after days of opening statements and questioning from senators.

The Trial

Timing: Opening arguments began on Jan. 22

During the trial, there are clear rules for each of the key players. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presides. Senators do not do the talking; they can only submit written questions. The rules for this trial give senators a 16-hour period of questioning after both parties give opening arguments.

Impeachment managers from the House represent the Democrats’ argument. The president’s defense team includes White House counsel, outside attorneys and a number of Republican members of the House.

Loading…

Opening arguments began Wednesday at 1 p.m. Each side gets up to 24 hours over three days to make their case (the original resolution from McConnell only afforded two days to each side).

The Democratic managers go first, then the defense team makes its case. It will be the first time in the inquiry that the White House is fully participating. The White House declined to participate in the Democratic-led House proceedings, which Trump considered a “sham.”

Loading…

After opening arguments, senators will have 16 hours to ask questions in the chamber, followed by two hours of arguments each by the House impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers.

Then comes the debate on whether to subpoena witnesses or introduce new documents.

This is where moderate Republicans could throw wrenches into the leadership’s plans, if enough of them decide they want to hear additional testimony.

Once again, these procedural votes require only a majority. A 50-50 tie is considered a failure to pass because Vice President Pence cannot cast the deciding vote as he would (and has) in other cases. The chief justice is unlikely to want to cast a deciding vote as he presides over the trial, seeking to maintain impartiality.

The rules also note that any witness must be deposed before testifying.

The Final Vote

Timing: TBD

After the trial, the Senate votes on whether to convict or acquit the president on each article of impeachment. Convicting Trump and therefore removing him from office requires 67 votes. That would mean 20 Republicans would have to join Democrats in the effort — a highly unlikely prospect.

Acquitting Trump of the charges or dismissing the charges, however, takes only 51 votes.

Loading…

Can’t see the graphics in this story? Click here.

Photos: Win McNamee/Getty Images (Mitch McConnell); Paul Morigi/Getty Images (Susan Collins); Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (Lisa Murkowski and John Roberts); Mark Wilson/Getty Images (Cory Gardner, Joe Manchin, Martha McSally and Chuck Schumer); Alex Wong/Getty Images (Doug Jones and Mitt Romney)

This story originally published on Dec. 31, 2019.

NPR’s Susan Davis, Claudia Grisales and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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

Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Westlake Legal Group accessliving1_wide-dc67e524beefa009e6663cdd626e513a0cbe344e-s1100-c15 Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Members of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) demonstrate in front of the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station in Illinois to demand the suspension of an Amtrak policy that led to exorbitant fees for removing train seats to accommodate riders in wheelchairs. Later on Wednesday, Amtrak announced it would suspend the policy. Courtesy of Bridget Hayman hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Bridget Hayman

Westlake Legal Group  Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Members of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) demonstrate in front of the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station in Illinois to demand the suspension of an Amtrak policy that led to exorbitant fees for removing train seats to accommodate riders in wheelchairs. Later on Wednesday, Amtrak announced it would suspend the policy.

Courtesy of Bridget Hayman

Amtrak will dump a policy that led to two people who use wheelchairs being told they’d have to pay $25,000 for a train ticket that usually costs just $16, the rail service announced Wednesday.

“After further review, Amtrak has determined to suspend the policy in question,” said Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari. “It was never meant to be applied to this situation. And we apologize for the mistake.”

He spoke shortly after a group of people with disabilities demonstrated outside an Amtrak station in Illinois, chanting: “We will ride.”

Adam Ballard was one of them. He was also one of the two wheelchair users who faced that $25,000 bill.

Ballard is the transportation policy analyst for a disability service and advocacy group, Access Living, based in Chicago. Five people in wheelchairs from the group, including Ballard, took the two-hour ride on Wednesday morning from Chicago to the Bloomington-Normal station, to attend a statewide conference of disability organizations.

Ballard said everything went fine when they boarded the train in the dark in Chicago. “Everyone got on the train really great. We were treated like kings and queens,” he says. There was extra staff to help with bags and work the wheelchair lifts. “And they had extra staff on the train to attend to our every need. So it was not the typical Amtrak ride,” he added.

And the cost: the regular $16 fare.

But when the group first booked their tickets, Amtrak said it had room for only three wheelchair users on that train, not five, and that it would need to take a car out of service and pull up seats to make more room. But that was expensive, and under an Amtrak policy for reconfiguring rail cars, the two riders would have to pay $25,000.

Westlake Legal Group accessliving2_vert-91d0d1bc4e62ace3948ec4384ebaec4065ddcf43-s800-c15 Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Adam Ballard, of the disability service and advocacy group Access Living, uses a wheelchair lift at Chicago’s Union Station to board a train to Bloomington-Normal, to attend a statewide disability conference. Courtesy of Bridget Hayman hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Bridget Hayman

Westlake Legal Group  Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Adam Ballard, of the disability service and advocacy group Access Living, uses a wheelchair lift at Chicago’s Union Station to board a train to Bloomington-Normal, to attend a statewide disability conference.

Courtesy of Bridget Hayman

Amtrak makes one space available on each rail car, to meet its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That law, which turns 30 this year, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in jobs, schools, public accommodations and transportation. A business is required to remove barriers when it is easy to do. A business is exempted from making such accommodations when doing so creates an “undue hardship.” That’s defined as a significant difficulty or expense. The rule of thumb is that a business should expect to make back the cost of an accommodation in added business, like a restaurant that adds a ramp at the front door. As a result, businesses don’t charge people with disabilities more than anyone else.

There have been rare exceptions. Amtrak faced a similar case in 2005, when another disability advocacy group booked a train from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. Amtrak said it would need to remove six seats from the train to accommodate the 12 passengers in wheelchairs. It added a $200 surcharge for each seat it needed to remove. The group, Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, sued and a court ruled in favor of Amtrak.

NPR first reported the story of the $25,000 ticket charge on Friday. That led to criticism, including from U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. The lllinois Democrat is the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, which has jurisdiction over interstate transportation. Duckworth, an Army veteran, uses a wheelchair because of injuries from the downing of a Blackhawk helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq.

On Sunday, Duckworth called Amtrak’s charge “outrageous” and asked for a meeting with Amtrak’s CEO, Richard Anderson.

On Monday, Amtrak said it would waive the $25,000 fee and find room for the added wheelchair users on the train. Then this afternoon, Amtrak said it would end the policy that led to the big bill in the first place.

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

Jessica Simpson says she was ‘floored and embarrassed’ when John Mayer called her ‘sexual napalm’

Jessica Simpson got quite a shock after dating John Mayer.

Simpson, now 39, looked back on her relationship with the singer, which took place after her divorce from Nick Lachey, in her upcoming memoir, “Open Book.”

In a 2010 interview with Playboy, Mayer, now 42, called Simpson “sexual napalm,” which she did not find flattering.

JESSICA SIMPSON REVEALS PAST SEXUAL ABUSE AND ADDITION ISSUES IN TELL-ALL MEMOIR

“He thought that was what I wanted to be called,” Simpson told People magazine, which also published excerpts from the book. “I was floored and embarrassed that my grandmother was actually gonna read that.”

Furthermore, she added: “A woman and how they are in bed is not something that is ever talked about. It was shocking.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-74677489 Jessica Simpson says she was 'floored and embarrassed' when John Mayer called her 'sexual napalm' Nate Day fox-news/person/jessica-simpson fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c1baac3e-9747-58f4-a720-76c08fc76c71 article

John Mayer and Jessica Simpson in 2007. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty)

Simpson said she thought that the comment seemed out of character for the “New Light” singer.

“He was the most loyal person on the planet and when I read that he wasn’t, that was it for me,” said Simpson. “I erased his number. He made it easy for me to walk away.”

Mayer apologized in 2017, telling the New York Times that the statement was “far out of touch.”

KELLY RIPA HAD TO ‘SHUT DOWN’ DAUGHTER LOLA’S DEBIT CARD AFTER LARGE POSTMATES BILL

“I know that he’s publicly apologized and I don’t want to take that away from him,” Simpson recounted. “I think he knows a lot of this about me already but he doesn’t know the perspective I have as a woman. That was Jess in her 20s.”

Simpson said that Mayer loved her “in the way that he could” and that she “loved that love” for too long, letting it control her.

“He’d walk into a room and pick up his guitar and you’d swoon,” recalled Simpson. “I didn’t really know the man behind the guitar. And that was my mission.”

The “With You” singer said that she was “constantly worried that [she] wasn’t smart enough for” Mayer, despite him often saying he was “obsessed with” her, “sexually and emotionally.”

Simpson also said that it was when she was dating Mayer that her unhealthy drinking habits began.

“He was so clever and treated conversation like a friendly competition that he had to win,” she said in the memoir. “My anxiety would spike and I would pour another drink. It was the start of me relying on alcohol to mask my nerves.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The book will delve deeper into her addiction, as well as reveal details about her history with sexual abuse.

“Open Book” will be available beginning Feb. 4.

Reps for Mayer did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Westlake Legal Group Jessica-Simpson-John-Mayer Jessica Simpson says she was 'floored and embarrassed' when John Mayer called her 'sexual napalm' Nate Day fox-news/person/jessica-simpson fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c1baac3e-9747-58f4-a720-76c08fc76c71 article   Westlake Legal Group Jessica-Simpson-John-Mayer Jessica Simpson says she was 'floored and embarrassed' when John Mayer called her 'sexual napalm' Nate Day fox-news/person/jessica-simpson fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c1baac3e-9747-58f4-a720-76c08fc76c71 article

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

Architect Of CIA’s Torture Program Says It Went Too Far

Westlake Legal Group img_0024-a127d534875e4db3894276354e50c16d6fd678ad-s1100-c15 Architect Of CIA's Torture Program Says It Went Too Far

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (far left) consults with his defense attorneys in the U.S. military courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a man who waterboarded him, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell, takes the stand. Janet Hamlin Illustration hide caption

toggle caption

Janet Hamlin Illustration

Westlake Legal Group  Architect Of CIA's Torture Program Says It Went Too Far

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (far left) consults with his defense attorneys in the U.S. military courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a man who waterboarded him, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell, takes the stand.

Janet Hamlin Illustration

One of the architects of the CIA’s torture program for the accused 9/11 terrorists testified today in a Guantánamo Bay courtroom that he eventually came to believe those torture techniques had gone too far and verged on breaking the law.

Testifying publicly under oath for the first time as part of a pre-trial hearing for the criminal case against five accused 9/11 terrorists, psychologist and interrogator James Mitchell spoke specifically and graphically about one prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded more than 80 times at a CIA site overseas. He has been held at Guantánamo for more than 13 years and has never been charged with a crime.

According to Mitchell’s testimony, he thought they’d gotten all the information they could from Zubaydah, who had agreed to cooperate. Mitchell wanted the waterboarding to stop and helped draft a message to CIA headquarters saying, “the intensity of the pressure applied to him thus far approaches the legal limit” and that Zubaydah’s mental state was deteriorating dangerously.

He said the CIA told them to keep going because Zubaydah might still be withholding valuable information about an imminent U.S. attack. In Mitchell’s words, “they were absolutely convinced he had something cooking.” Mitchell says he agreed to waterboard Zubaydah just one more time, but he wanted a senior CIA official to come see in person what it looked like. A senior CIA official did attend that waterboarding, during which — Mitchell testified — Zubaydah was having involuntary body spasms and was crying. Mitchell said he and others in the room became tearful.

“I thought it was unnecessary and I felt sorry for him,” Mitchell testified.

Mitchell, who personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, began testifying on Tuesday and is expected to continue through the week.

The CIA paid Mitchell and his partner Bruce Jessen, another psychologist, more than $80 million to develop the torture program ultimately used by the CIA on suspected terrorists: waterboarding, stress positions and mock burials, among others. Mitchell and Jessen took a training program meant to teach the U.S. military to resist torture and reverse-engineered it. Once the public learned about the practices, the CIA cancelled Mitchell and Jessen’s contract amid international controversy in 2009. Jessen is expected to testify after Mitchell.

Mitchell and Jessen say those methods were meant to be more uncomfortable than painful, but they acknowledge that some interrogations got out of control and say it’s not their fault that other interrogators used the techniques in abusive and unauthorized ways. Mitchell says he got to the point where he didn’t want to be involved any more, but says officials above him told him he’d lost his spine and it would be his fault if more people in the U.S. died in a catastrophic attack.

“The implication was that if we weren’t willing to carry their water, they would send someone else who would do it, and they may be harsher than we were,” Mitchell testified.

Mitchell says he came to Guantánamo Bay for the 9/11 victims and their families, emphasizing the climate of fear after the 2001 terror attacks. He testified that the CIA had been afraid another attack was imminent, possibly one with the use of nuclear or biological weapons. He says the government was going to do whatever was necessary to prevent that, saying that the CIA was “going to walk right up to the line of what was legal, put their toes on it, and lean forward.”

Mitchell’s revelations suggest the CIA was willing to lean forward further than Mitchell himself. The CIA declined to comment on the testimony. Still, Mitchell spoke defiantly and unapologetically. He insisted that he was protecting his country and would do so again if given the chance, despite his own testimony indicating he tried to draw a line in the sand and despite internal debate within the CIA over whether they were venturing into illegal territory.

“I thought my moral obligation to protect American lives outweighed the temporary discomfort of terrorists who had voluntarily taken up war against us,” he testified.

Mitchell has been called as a witness in the 9/11 case because defense attorneys want to use him to support their argument that the evidence gathered from the defendants by the FBI should not be presented at trial because it’s been tainted by torture. The FBI did not use torture to gather its statements, but those statements were gathered after the CIA’s use of torture. The defense attorneys have argued that once a person has been tortured, you cannot trust anything they tell any interrogator. The statements given by those defendants to the CIA are already inadmissible, because they were not given voluntarily. Mitchell says the CIA was never interested in prosecuting the prisoners.

The pre-trial hearings for the 9/11 trial, which is scheduled to begin next January, have been going on for years. As NPR previously reported, one major reason for the slow pace has been the use of torture that happened at the CIA’s overseas sites. In a 2008 statement, former CIA director Mike Hayden said that waterboarding in particular had not been used since 2003.

“The Agency’s decision to employ waterboarding in the wake of 9/11 was not only lawful, it reflected the circumstances of the time,” the statement read. “Those two realities have changed.”

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

’21 Empty Seats’: More Than One-Third of GOP Senators Reportedly Left Room During Schiff’s Speech

Westlake Legal Group gfBOQRu-UChCXySfnycPseXDdCnpOKFmBx9GqbnoK3M ’21 Empty Seats’: More Than One-Third of GOP Senators Reportedly Left Room During Schiff’s Speech r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.

For those who have questions regarding any media outlets being posted on this subreddit, please click here to review our details as to whitelist and outlet criteria.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

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

Tesla Value Hits $100 Billion. Will Elon Musk Get a Big Bonus?

Westlake Legal Group 00tesla-facebookJumbo Tesla Value Hits $100 Billion. Will Elon Musk Get a Big Bonus? Tesla Motors Inc Stocks and Bonds Musk, Elon Executive Compensation Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Bonuses Automobiles

Tesla’s share price hit a record high on Wednesday, surpassing a threshold that could ultimately unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus compensation for its chief executive, Elon Musk.

The award is contingent on a $100 billion market capitalization for Tesla — the milestone reached Wednesday — over a sustained period. The stock closed at $569.56 per share, giving the company a valuation just shy of $103 billion.

If the market capitalization remains above $100 billion on average over a six-month period, including at least 30 consecutive days, Mr. Musk will have the option to buy about 1.69 million shares at about $350 each — a payout worth more than $370 million before taxes at the current stock price.

Forbes and Bloomberg estimate Mr. Musk’s current net worth at about $32 billion, about half of it composed of Tesla shares.

Tesla’s gain of more than 4 percent in Wednesday’s trading extended a recent surge in which its share price has more than doubled in three months. Along the way, Tesla’s market value surpassed that of General Motors and Ford Motor combined, reflecting a faith among some investors in the company’s ability to disrupt the automotive industry.

At the same time, the stock is also one of the biggest targets of short-sellers, ranking alongside much larger companies like Apple and Microsoft in interest from investors who hope to profit from what they see as an inevitable decline in the share price. According to S3 Partners, a financial technology and data firm, the number of Tesla shares shorted has hovered around 26 million or 27 million — about 20 percent of the shares available for trading — for some time.

“The amount is just telling you that the soap opera continues,” said Bob Sloan, the founder of S3 Partners. “The company’s stock has doubled, and the doubters are still the doubters.”

Tesla’s stock started surging in October when the company reported an unexpected profit for the third quarter after recording a $1.1 billion loss in the first half of 2019 as it struggled to produce and deliver its Model 3 sedan. Earlier, in September 2018, Mr. Musk had agreed to step down as chairman in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after it had accused him of misleading investors with a claim on Twitter about having “funding secured” to take the company private.

Even with that settlement, Tesla remains under regulatory scrutiny. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it was considering a request to investigate claims that some Tesla vehicles have accelerated on their own. The company dismissed the claims as “completely false” in a blog post. The author of the request, Brian Sparks, acknowledged in an interview with CNBC that he was shorting Tesla’s stock.

The highway safety agency is also investigating at least 14 crashes involving Tesla vehicles in which Autopilot, its driver-assistance system, is believed to have been engaged. The National Transportation Safety Board is meeting next month to look into one such crash in Mountain View, Calif., in 2018.

Despite its difficulties, the company has become a force in its industry, said Colin Rusch, an analyst at Oppenheimer.

“We’re looking at a company that we think has a very sturdy and insightful strategy in terms of the narrowness of the focus on the technology and really looking at disrupting the industry in a way that consumers find compelling,” he said.

Mr. Rusch is one of several Tesla analysts who increased their target price for the company’s stock this month, reflecting growing faith on Wall Street that the company can manage a global expansion and steal market share from established automakers that have been slow to develop and sell electric vehicles.

The company has shown that it can learn quickly from its mistakes and has displayed “larger ambition” than its peers, Mr. Rusch said in a research note. It also benefits from a large fleet of vehicles on the road collecting data that could be used to train future autonomous driving systems.

In a CNBC interview on Wednesday, President Trump reflected the enthusiasm that many investors have for Mr. Musk, comparing him to Thomas Edison and describing him as “one of our great geniuses.”

Tesla managed a difficult transition last year as it ramped up production of the Model 3, which accounted for more than 80 percent of the cars it produced and delivered in the fourth quarter of 2019. This month, Tesla began delivering cars built at a new Shanghai factory. The company plans to start deliveries this year of the Model Y, a sport utility vehicle that Mr. Musk has said could become the company’s most popular offering.

The bonus that Mr. Musk stands to receive for his stewardship of the company is part of a unique compensation plan Tesla laid out two years ago that includes 12 components. Under its terms, Mr. Musk, who does not take a salary, would be allowed to buy just over 20 million shares of Tesla stock at a deep discount as the company meets a mix of revenue, profit and valuation targets.

“It’s certainly a very unusual compensation plan,” said Ken Bertsch, the executive director of the Council of Institutional Investors, which represents pension funds, endowments and other investors.

The council’s members are divided on the plan, he said. Proponents say it wisely provides an incentive to Mr. Musk, whose leadership they view as crucial to Tesla’s success. Opponents say it overemphasizes his role and could lead to decisions aimed at increasing Tesla’s market capitalization, such as making acquisitions, even if they don’t make sense for the company.

Should Tesla achieve all of the goals laid out in the compensation plan, including reaching a $650 billion market capitalization — or roughly double Walmart’s valuation today — Mr. Musk could receive up to $55 billion in compensation, a number that could change if the company issues more stock.

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

Trump Says the Fed Prevented 4% Growth. That Isn’t True.

Westlake Legal Group 22DC-FEDGROWTH-facebookJumbo Trump Says the Fed Prevented 4% Growth. That Isn’t True. United States Economy Productivity International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Inflation (Economics)

WASHINGTON — President Trump has repeatedly blamed the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy for preventing the American economy from reaching the 4 percent growth he had promised. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump renewed that criticism from the sidelines of an elite gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

“No. 1, the Fed was not good,” Mr. Trump told CNBC when asked why economic growth was closer to 2 percent last year. Data for the full year isn’t in yet, but the economy probably expanded at 2.2 percent or 2.3 percent relative to the fourth quarter of 2018, economists estimate.

Mr. Trump also pointed to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max plane and severe storms as factors that held back the economy, but added that “with all of that, had we not done the big raise on interest, I think we would have been close to 4 percent.”

Economists said that claim was not realistic.

The central bank’s nine interest rate increases between 2015 and late 2018 — three of which it reversed last year — probably reined in business investment and the housing market, economists say. But that impact did not shave nearly 2 percentage points from economic growth. It is hard to know how big of a drag it did create, since Mr. Trump’s trade war was weighing down business sentiment and investment simultaneously.

Here are a few ways to think through how the economy might have shaped up had the Fed acted differently.

In the real world, the Fed lifted rates between December 2015 and the end of 2018 in an effort to achieve a soft landing: one in which growth continued at a moderate pace and inflation, which the Fed is supposed to keep under control, settled around its 2 percent target.

When growth showed signs of wavering in 2019 and inflation remained soft, Fed officials reversed course, cutting rates three times.

In the most extreme counterfactual, one in which the Fed never raised its policy interest rate at all, growth might have been 1 percentage point higher in 2019, said Ernie Tedeschi, policy economist at Evercore ISI.

That estimate, which he based on the central bank’s main economic model, would have gotten America to around 3.2 percent growth in 2019 — but at a hefty cost.

“Inflation would’ve been well above their mandate, 2.5 percent and rising, at this point,” Mr. Tedeschi said. Price gains are like an aircraft carrier — they’re hard to turn around once they get going — so that would have necessitated a sharp increase in rates. Such an abrupt change could have plunged the economy into recession.

“It would certainly be painful,” Mr. Tedeschi said.

But even in that version of the world, one in which the Fed was willing to play with fire by leaving its policy totally untouched at near-zero for more than a decade, the economy could have achieved that 4 percent growth figure only absent a trade war — and even that is a stretch.

While it’s hard to gauge precisely how much Mr. Trump’s tariffs reduced growth, estimates suggest they could have shaved between 0.5 and 1 percentage point away in 2019, Mr. Tedeschi said.

All of these projections are highly uncertain — it is difficult to know how the world would have shaped up after the fact, and it is impossible to know how policies would have interacted.

And even if the basic figures are right, this scenario is unrealistic. Leaving interest rates at rock bottom would have been expected to generate unsustainable economic conditions. That runs contrary to the Fed’s very mission, given to it by Congress.

In another version of the world, the Fed could have raised interest rates between 2015 and 2018, but then lowered them much more quickly in 2019 as inflation pressures remained muted. Had they dropped the federal funds rate to zero at the very start of the year, Mr. Tedeschi said, it might have added about 0.35 percentage point to growth, getting the economy up to the 2.5 percent range.

That is also far-fetched — the Fed has never slashed rates to zero outside of a recession. Doing so at a time when the economy was growing and Mr. Trump was pushing for a move would have looked overtly political, threatening the central bank’s prized independence. It could have raised the risk of higher inflation. And even if conventional models are totally broken and price pressures no longer respond to loose Fed policy, rock-bottom rates at the height of an expansion could have helped to fuel financial excesses.

So how did the Fed’s actual policies affect growth?

Relative to the economy’s structural growth path — the one driven by labor force expansion and productivity — the Fed’s rate-setting may have shaved about 0.1 percentage point from growth in 2019, according to an estimate from Julia Coronado, a founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives. Slower capital expenditures and trade probably shaved another 0.1 percentage point from growth. But those effects were offset by the aftereffect of ramped-up government spending and tax cuts, which she estimates probably lifted growth by about 0.4 percentage point.

But even here, there are uncertainties.

While it is clear that business investment fell sharply last year and manufacturing sagged, weighing down growth, it is hard to tell how much of that was a lagged response to higher interest rates and how much was a response to the trade war.

Anecdotally, businesses primarily blamed slower global growth and uncertainty stemming from the tariffs for that slump.

But interest rates probably had at least some economic impact. After the central bank cut them three times between July and December 2019, the wavering housing market perked back up, for instance.

“The slowdown in capital expenditures came along when the trade war escalated,” Torsten Slok, an economist at Deutsche Bank, said in an interview. “One cautious estimate is that the trade war played a bigger role,” he said, but “it’s just really difficult to wiggle out which was the cause.”

The upshot: The Fed matters around the edges, but, in the longer run, it is unlikely that the economy can achieve the 4 percent growth Mr. Trump has promised.

Tax cuts and higher government spending have helped to nudge growth temporarily above its potential — it came in at 2.8 percent in 2017 and 2.5 percent in 2018, decently above the roughly 2 percent sustainable growth rate.

Yet those gains probably will not hold. The working-age population is growing more slowly, and productivity, which popped temporarily, has since fallen back to earth. The ingredients for naturally higher economic growth do not exist.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next decade, growth will average 1.9 percent a year, up slightly from the preceding decade but down substantially from the 3 percent and higher growth that prevailed before 2000.

“We haven’t seen 4 percent growth for many, many years,” Mr. Slok said.

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

Wedding cancelled after groom cheats with stripper, bride’s sister demands she gets the wedding dress

Some people take hand-me-downs very seriously.

After getting cheated on right before her wedding, a woman decided to alter her unused wedding dress into something she could wear to other events in an attempt to take her power back. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that her sister apparently had plans for the dress.

Westlake Legal Group crying-bride Wedding cancelled after groom cheats with stripper, bride's sister demands she gets the wedding dress Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/bridezillas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 2ffc9287-7580-5788-8526-e8ecee419c51

The former bride-to-be didn’t realize that her sister expected to get the unused wedding dress for her wedding. (iStock)

Posting under the name Aitaweddingdresscu, the former bride-to-be revealed that she was set to get married two months ago. Unfortunately, the event was called off when her fiancé cheated on her with a stripper at his bachelor party.

“I had this beautiful dress that cost me around two-thousand dollars (out of my pocket),” she wrote. “I had been very depressed since everything happened because I felt it was somehow my fault for not being sexy enough or not giving him what he wanted. So last weekend I decided to ‘take my power back’ and I began altering the dress. I have been sewing for 15 plus years so I know what I am doing. I cut it a bit, changed the color to something less wedding-y and after a week of work I had a beautiful gown that I could use for more stuff.”

BRIDE WANTS GUESTS TO PAY ENTRANCE FEE IN ADVANCE TO GET ON ‘EXCLUSIVE GUEST LIST’ AND SKIP LINE, COUSIN SAYS

Since the process was cathartic for the poster, she shared a picture of the results to Instagram. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that someone else had plans for the dress.

“My sister hits me up and asks me if that was my old wedding dress and I told her yes,” the story continues. “She then called me and asked me why I had done this. I asked her why it was such a big deal. And she told me that I could have waited till after her wedding. I was so confused. Then she reminded me that when we were staying at the hotel where my wedding was supposed to happen, my mom and sister were there cheering me up and my sister said something along the lines of ‘oh well if you are not using it, I will.’ We all laughed so I thought it was a joke because it was never brought up again after. She just asked me once what material it was so I assumed she wanted something similar.”

The story ends with the author explaining that her mom says she understands both sister’s point of view, but she thinks the former bride-to-be could have waited a few more months to cut up the dress.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Did your sister think about how awkward it would have made you feel to see her get married in the dress that was supposed to be yours,” asked one user.

“I think it’s pretty insensitive for your sister to expect to use your wedding dress,” elaborated another. “She needs to consider how painful it would probably be for you to sit at her wedding and watch her walk down the aisle in the dress you were supposed to wear for your wedding, which then turned into a terrible memory.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

“Why would anyone want to wear a loved one’s failed relationship and misery right in front of said loved one’s face is beyond me,” added another.

Another user had a practical question about the situation, asking, “Wait, her wedding is in 5 months and she hasn’t even asked you about the dress? What if it had needed altered or cleaned?”

Westlake Legal Group crying-bride Wedding cancelled after groom cheats with stripper, bride's sister demands she gets the wedding dress Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/bridezillas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 2ffc9287-7580-5788-8526-e8ecee419c51   Westlake Legal Group crying-bride Wedding cancelled after groom cheats with stripper, bride's sister demands she gets the wedding dress Michael Hollan fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/bridezillas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 2ffc9287-7580-5788-8526-e8ecee419c51

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

Warren promises at least half of her Cabinet will be ‘women and nonbinary people’ if elected president

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119872406001_6119872308001-vs Warren promises at least half of her Cabinet will be 'women and nonbinary people' if elected president fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc ca1476d8-180d-527a-8394-7b295df478dd article Andrew O'Reilly

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., vowed in a new campaign policy paper that if she is elected president in November, she will fill out at least half of her Cabinet with “women and nonbinary people.”

Warren, who is currently sitting in third in most national polls behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrote Tuesday in a lengthy post on Medium that she will build “a Cabinet and senior leadership team that reflects the full diversity of America, including having at least 50 [percent] of Cabinet positions filled by women and nonbinary people.”

Warren’s pledge is part of a series of reforms she laid out in order to “rebuild the government swiftly, and make fundamental changes” after President Trump leaves office.

WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES ENDORSED BOTH WARREN AND KLOBUCHAR

“Donald Trump will leave behind a government that has been infected by corruption and incompetence, and his vindictive actions as president suggest that he is likely to do everything he can to undermine the next president,” Warren wrote.

She added: “We cannot assume that everything will be fine once Donald Trump leaves office.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

The post by Warren, who has been criticized for playing identity politics, echoes a statement she made during December’s Democratic presidential primary debate in Los Angeles where she said that if she was elected president, she would “go to the Rose Garden once a year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year.”

Warren, who is one of the four Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate required to attend Trump’s impeachment trial, has also been dealing with a public spat with her fellow progressive, Sanders, after she disclosed the contents of a 2018 private conversation with Sanders in which he allegedly said a woman could not defeat Trump.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Warren refused to shake Sanders’ hand after last week’s presidential debate, and microphones captured a fiery confrontation during which Warren accused Sanders of calling her a liar.

Warren refused to address the explosive feud as she campaigned in recent days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119872406001_6119872308001-vs Warren promises at least half of her Cabinet will be 'women and nonbinary people' if elected president fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc ca1476d8-180d-527a-8394-7b295df478dd article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119872406001_6119872308001-vs Warren promises at least half of her Cabinet will be 'women and nonbinary people' if elected president fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc ca1476d8-180d-527a-8394-7b295df478dd article Andrew O'Reilly

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

Rebuke From Roberts Signals His Limited Role in Trump’s Senate Trial

Westlake Legal Group 22dc-roberts-facebookJumbo Rebuke From Roberts Signals His Limited Role in Trump’s Senate Trial United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Supreme Court (US) Senate Schiff, Adam B Roberts, John G Jr impeachment Cipollone, Pat A

WASHINGTON — It was early Wednesday morning, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had had enough. He had been listening to increasingly acid exchanges at the impeachment trial of President Trump, and he was ready to chastise the House managers and the president’s lawyers.

And he did it in the characteristically mild and evenhanded tones he uses when he presides over the Supreme Court.

“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Chief Justice Roberts said.

The remarks highlighted the chief justice’s uncomfortable position as he begins fulfilling his constitutional obligation to preside over presidential impeachment trials. He finds himself in an unwelcome spotlight, subject to intense and unfamiliar scrutiny. The role is limited, and there is no particular reason to think he wants to tests its limits.

Whatever one thinks of the chief justice’s famous comparison of judges to umpires at his 2005 confirmation hearings, he is almost certainly trying to be an umpire now, staying as far away from perceived partisanship as he can. His central goal is to return to his day job with his reputation and that of his court undiminished by accusations of bias.

“Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire,” he said in 2005.

The Constitution says almost nothing about the chief justice’s role in presidential impeachment trials. This is the entirety of its discussion of the matter: “When the president of the United States is tried, the chief justice shall preside.”

As a consequence, just what the chief justice is meant to do is contested. But history and the Senate’s rules suggest that the job is largely ceremonial and that any rulings the chief justice makes can be overturned by a majority vote.

Chief Justice Roberts makes only rare public appearances, and the Supreme Court does not allow camera coverage of its arguments. His duties at the impeachment trial will give the public its first extended look at the chief justice since his confirmation hearings.

When the chief justice does appear in public, he often denounces partisan divisions and insists that the Supreme Court is above politics.

In remarks in 2014 at the University of Nebraska, for instance he said he was worried that the rancor and gridlock in Washington would affect perceptions of the court. “I don’t want it to spill over and affect us,” he said. “That’s not the way we do business. We’re not Republicans or Democrats.”

Now the chief justice must navigate that rancor himself.

His early-morning remarks followed a combative argument from Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, during a debate over issuing a subpoena to John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser. Mr. Nadler said voting against the subpoena was treacherous and an endorsement of a cover-up.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, responded that Mr. Nadler should be embarrassed about the way he had addressed the Senate. “You’re not in charge here,” Mr. Cipollone said.

Chief Justice Roberts then spoke up, saying that he expected more of the institution he was visiting, which likes to call itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

“One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse,” he said.

Chief Justice Roberts, who has a summa cum laude degree in history from Harvard and likes to recount quirky episodes from history to make his points, proceeded to describe an exchange during the impeachment trial of a federal judge, Charles Swayne.

“In the 1905 Swayne trial, a senator objected when one of the managers used the word ‘pettifogging’ and the presiding officer said the word ought not to have been used,” Chief Justice Roberts said. “I don’t think we need to aspire to that high a standard, but I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are.”

The chief justice’s public remarks and year-end reports are studded with similar historical anecdotes, and he often seems to use them to address, obliquely but unmistakably, his views on current controversies.

In his 2019 report, for instance, he denounced false information spread on social media and warned against threats to democracy by describing a riot at which John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and later the first chief justice, was struck in the head by a rock “thrown by a rioter motivated by a rumor.”

Jay and his colleagues, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “ultimately succeeded in convincing the public of the virtues of the principles embodied in the Constitution.”

“Those principles leave no place for mob violence,” the chief justice wrote. “But in the ensuing years, we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside. In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital. The judiciary has an important role to play in civic education.”

After only a few hours of sleep, the chief justice was back on the bench when the Supreme Court convened at 10 a.m. for a major religion case. He seemed alert, even chipper, and he appeared pleased to have returned, if only briefly, to familiar surroundings, to try to maintain order again.

As a long question from Justice Sonia Sotomayor showed no signs of concluding, he addressed a government lawyer. “Perhaps you could comment, counsel,” the chief justice said, cutting off his colleague.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer asked his own long question but gave the lawyer to whom he had posed it an option. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to,” Justice Breyer said.

Chief Justice Roberts gave the lawyer a nudge. “I recommend it, though,” he said, eliciting an answer to Justice Breyer’s question.

The arguments will be the court’s last until Feb. 24, though the chief justice has plenty of work to do in the meantime in handling a docket bristling with big cases, including ones on abortion, guns and gay rights.

Several cases concern Mr. Trump and his programs, including three on whether to allow release of Mr. Trump’s financial records and one on the president’s efforts to withdraw protection from deportation for young immigrants.

But one day into his uncomfortable role, he has already outdone his predecessor. At the last impeachment trial, of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist did as little as possible and gained attention mostly for his decision wear black judicial robes adorned with four gold stripes on each sleeve.

On Wednesday afternoon, back presiding in the Senate chamber, Chief Justice Roberts was praised by one House manager, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California. “I want to begin by thanking you, chief justice, for a very long day, for the way you have presided over these proceedings,” Mr. Schiff said.

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri and a former law clerk for the chief justice, told reporters on Wednesday that the admonishment was “a very extraordinary thing.”

“I have never heard him deliver an admonishment like that from the bench, ever,” Mr. Hawley said. “He chooses his words very, very carefully.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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