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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 76)

GOP Doubles Down On Temper Tantrums — Does Little To Counter Evidence

Westlake Legal Group 5deea9df210000170434f766 GOP Doubles Down On Temper Tantrums — Does Little To Counter Evidence

House Republican lawmakers went to the mat to defend President Donald Trump in an impeachment hearing on Monday, accusing Democratic colleagues of engineering the inquiry in order to remove Trump, ignoring standard procedures and blocking access to witnesses. 

The hearing frequently became disorderly and contentious, with theatrical outbursts from Republican lawmakers such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and repeated interruptions of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). 

But despite the numerous attempts to distract and disrupt the proceedings, Republicans and their lawyers did little to counter the evidence that Trump sought a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine and sought to target 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden for personal political gain. 

The hearing was the second in the House Judiciary Committee to discuss Trump’s potential impeachment. Democrats are expected to hold a House vote on impeachment before the end of the month, and will likely soon draft articles of impeachment that will formally state the case that Trump’s actions in Ukraine met the bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” needed for impeachment. The White House refused to cooperate with the hearing on Monday, as it has with the broader inquiry as it seeks to stonewall investigators and delegitimize the push for impeachment. 

Conservatives criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for not appearing at the hearings, accusing him of mishandling the inquiry and even printing out a poster of his face on a milk carton to highlight his absence. (House rules adopted in October dictate that Schiff’s top counsel, Goldman, is the one who should testify to the Intelligence Committee’s assessment.) They demanded to be able to call a series of witnesses, including Biden’s son Hunter and the anonymous whistleblower who first prompted the impeachment process.

During one bizarre disruption in the hearings, a host on the far-right conspiracy theory site InfoWars began screaming at Nadler and proclaiming Trump’s innocence before he was removed from the room. 

Despite the numerous attempts to distract and disrupt the proceedings, Republicans and their lawyers did little to counter the evidence that Trump sought a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Democrats laid out their arguments for why Trump should be impeached ― and why it needed to happen well ahead of the elections in November 2020.

“The integrity of our next election is at stake,” Nadler said in his opening statement.

“The evidence shows that Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, has put himself before the country,” Nadler said. “He has violated his most basic responsibilities to the people. He has broken his oath.”

Monday’s hearing featured Republican and Democratic legal counsel addressing the grounds to impeach Trump. Although both sides mostly reiterated their cases for and against impeachment without presenting new evidence, Democrats used the hearing to advance their argument that Trump undermined national security by seeking a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine and to highlight statements from prior hearings.

Democratic lawyer Barry H. Berke called the evidence against Trump “uncontradicted” and “overwhelming” as he argued that Trump committed numerous impeachable offenses that included abuse of power, betrayal of the national interest and corruption of elections.

“What is so extraordinary is the conduct we’re going to be talking about today of President Trump didn’t violate one of these, but all three,” Berke said.

Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman warned that Trump’s actions represented an “imminent threat” to national security and U.S. elections. He summarized what witnesses had told the House Intelligence Committee and pulled together the various threads of the inquiry, insisting that Trump’s efforts presented “a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.”

Republicans’ lawyers Ashley Callen and Steve Castor, the latter of whom was also involved in the previous House Intelligence Committee hearings, presented the case against impeachment. Castor again framed the inquiries as a politically motivated fishing expedition, arguing that Democrats were attempting to remove Trump simply because they opposed his policies.

But as in previous hearings, Castor did little to address the actual allegations against Trump and the evidence that witnesses had presented. He once again argued that Trump and Zelensky have both denied the existence of coercion or wrongdoing.

As Castor gave his opening statement, Trump described the proceedings as a “Witch Hunt!” on Twitter, saying “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!”

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Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Westlake Legal Group ap_19301627881179-46f673ccb99c050de37850fd2764631dac1ab607-s1100-c15 Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Mike Calhoun rang the alarm bell early on about the subprime mortgage debacle — before reckless lending drove the economy into recession. These days, he’s sounding the alarm about student loans. Orlin Wagner/AP hide caption

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Orlin Wagner/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Mike Calhoun rang the alarm bell early on about the subprime mortgage debacle — before reckless lending drove the economy into recession. These days, he’s sounding the alarm about student loans.

Orlin Wagner/AP

Mike Calhoun is a man on a mission. He’s flying around the country, warning state lawmakers and prosecutors, sounding the alarm at conferences, and with members of Congress.

Westlake Legal Group hfusa_rm2019_mcalhoun2_vert-bdd8a158228ee50cdf2b4ea58cc93c5ebb7aaefd-s800-c15 Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Mike Calhoun talks about how student loans are forcing younger Americans to delay homeownership at a housing conference in September. Bridgett Turner/Courtesy of the Center for Responsible Lending hide caption

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Bridgett Turner/Courtesy of the Center for Responsible Lending

Westlake Legal Group  Student Loans A Lot Like The Subprime Mortgage Debacle, Watchdog Says

Mike Calhoun talks about how student loans are forcing younger Americans to delay homeownership at a housing conference in September.

Bridgett Turner/Courtesy of the Center for Responsible Lending

He did the same thing back before the housing market crash, warning then about reckless subprime loans. “We projected over 2 million subprime mortgage foreclosures, and the response was we were ridiculed by the industry,” he says.

Of course, Calhoun was right. In fact, the wave of defaults and foreclosures was even worse and drove the economy into the worst recession in generations.

Back then, he was watching the number of risky mortgages grow and grow. Now he’s watching student loans, “and there are a lot of similarities,” he says. “You’ve had an absolutely explosive growth in the amount of student debt. In fifteen years it’s gone from about $300 billion to now $1.6 trillion.”

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Calhoun’s the president of the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending. For decades he’s been keeping watch to protect people from reckless lending. He says that with student loans, just like with the housing crisis, there’s no consideration about whether the person getting the loan will be able to repay it.

“Once again, it’s the mismatch between the debt and the borrower’s income, their ability to repay,” Calhoun says. This time around it’s the government making the vast majority of the loans. That’s effectively turned the Department of Education into the country’s largest consumer lender.

And, Calhoun says, more and more people can’t pay. “Already in the student loan world, we are seeing default levels that approach what there was in the subprime mortgage world,” he says.

Calhoun pulls up a slide on his computer monitor to show another parallel — minority groups were hit hardest by the subprime mortgage mess.

“And we’re seeing it again in student loans. As we sit here and talk today, over a fifth of black college graduates are in default on their student loans.” Calhoun cites “the amount of debt they took on and the fact that they typically still earn less in the job market.”

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All that may sound bad, but some experts say talk of a student loan crisis is overblown.

Michael McPherson is an economist and former college president who studies higher education financing. “I think of a crisis as being a situation which is getting rapidly worse,” he says. That’s not what’s happening with student loans, McPherson says.

“The amount of borrowing is lower year after year, now for eight years in a row, ” he says. “That doesn’t smell like a crisis.”

McPherson says the vast majority of people are clearly better off financially if they have a college or advanced degree, even if they do have student loans. And he says, “a lot of people borrow a small amount of money, so a third of all the people owe less than $10,000.”

McPherson acknowledges that a lot of people who owe relatively small amounts are still running into trouble paying it back. And some never finished college.

This time around, Calhoun says, it’s a different kind of lending debacle. It’s not going to make the banking system implode. And sure, he says, not everybody with student loans is getting hurt by them. But there are so many people with student loans, and a lot of them are running into serious problems that he says “the student loan crisis will affect tens of millions of families.”

Calhoun says people’s credit scores are being affected. Or they’re missing out on homeownership because they can’t qualify for a mortgage because of their student loans. And others are ending up tens of thousands of dollars deeper in debt because they’re getting bad advice from companies that manage student loans for the government, Calhoun says.

He says that’s another parallel with the housing crisis.

Back then, Calhoun says, loan servicing companies failed to connect millions of homeowners with programs that could have helped them avoid foreclosure. Now student loan servicing companies are failing to connect borrowers with loan forgiveness programs and other options that could help them, he says.

The loan servicing companies say they do the best they can to advise borrowers given the complicated array of loans and programs created by the government.

So where does Calhoun think all this is headed? “Hopefully it ends in a couple ways,” he says. “For some borrowers, you will need to write down some part of what they owe. They simply don’t have the capacity to repay that based upon their earning capacity.”

And Calhoun says the government needs to fix the programs that are already in place that could potentially help millions of people. One program in particular could forgive large amounts of debt for public service workers like police officers and teachers, but Calhoun says it’s being badly mismanaged. He also says the government should lower interest rates to ease the burden on people.

Millions of other borrowers, he says, could avoid defaulting on their loans if they were enrolled in existing “income driven repayment” plans that allow them to make very small payments if that’s all they can afford. But many borrowers don’t get enrolled in them. Until those problems get fixed, he says, it may not wreck the economy, but it will be a drag on it.

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Trump reacts to DOJ watchdog Horowitz’s report, says what was done to America was a ‘disgrace’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114388680001_6114377983001-vs Trump reacts to DOJ watchdog Horowitz's report, says what was done to America was a 'disgrace' Frank Miles fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 38152185-3962-5e73-a635-72775efd50d4

Although the  long-awaited internal watchdog findings from the Justice Department’s inspector general on Monday undercut his claim that he was the target of a “witch hunt,” President Trump fired back that the report concerning the origins of the Russia investigation showed “an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it.”

“It’s a disgrace what’s happened with the things that were done to our country … it’s incredible, far worse than what I ever thought possible,” he said.

He noted it shouldn’t happen to another president, and he called it an embarrassment.

“Never, ever again should this happen in our country.”

Trump asked former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to comment on the IG report, and she said the country should be outraged.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, added: “People lied, and tried to subvert democracy.”

READ: DOJ INSPECTOR GENERAL’S FISA REPORT

The report said that although the Russia probe’s launch complied with DOJ and FBI policies, there were “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.”

Specifically, the report concluded that investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the probe’s launch and efforts to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the Russia investigation — but faulted the FBI over numerous errors in the application process.

The IG probe identified at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page applications, and said they would launch a new audit into the FISA process.

IG Michael Horowitz and his investigators probed how the unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original FISA warrant for Page in October 2016 as well as other decisions at the outset of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, known within the FBI by the name “Crossfire Hurricane.”

The report confirmed that information obtained from Steele was instrumental in the FBI’s ability to acquire a FISA warrant on Page, saying the FBI omitted information that allowed them to obtain renewals.

The report revealed that when the FBI team handling the Russia probe first considered getting a FISA warrant for Page in August 2016, FBI attorneys thought it was a “close call” as to whether they had sufficient cause. The following month, right after the FBI received information from Steele, FBI attorneys gave the investigative team the go-ahead.

Horowitz conducted more than 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses, including former FBI director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Russia investigation, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, along with FBI agents and analysts.

“It’s a sad day when a lot of people see that,” Trump added about the IG report. “They know nothing — it was concocted.”

Trump reiterated he was more eager for the report of John Durham, the hand-picked prosecutor selected by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a separate review of the Russia probe.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation.

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114388680001_6114377983001-vs Trump reacts to DOJ watchdog Horowitz's report, says what was done to America was a 'disgrace' Frank Miles fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 38152185-3962-5e73-a635-72775efd50d4   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114388680001_6114377983001-vs Trump reacts to DOJ watchdog Horowitz's report, says what was done to America was a 'disgrace' Frank Miles fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 38152185-3962-5e73-a635-72775efd50d4

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough defends Rudy Giuliani after panelist claims former mayor ‘exploited 9/11’

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough offered a rare, passionate defense for Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani after a panelist on his show claimed that Giuliani “exploited” the Sept. 11 terror attacks as the New York City mayor.

Giuliani, who has become deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal that sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump, was attacked viciously by MSNBC commentator Donny Deutsch over his handling of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“For a few days, he did do something heroically for the city, yet he traded on it from then on,” Deutsch began his remarks on Monday. “Anybody that lives in this town knows that he exploited 9/11. I don’t even want to give him that because in the years to come, in the most self-serving way, he exploited the greatest tragedy we had lived through…”

Scarborough jumped in and offered a fiery response to Deutsch.

TRUMP RIPS ‘FAKE NEWS’ CNN, DEMANDS RETRACTION OVER REPORT HE STILL USES PERSONAL CELLPHONE 

Westlake Legal Group Scarborough-Giuliani_Getty-AP MSNBC's Joe Scarborough defends Rudy Giuliani after panelist claims former mayor 'exploited 9/11' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-scarborough fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 12759951-14b1-50f2-8b9f-a4e5ad7269e2

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, left, jumped to the defense of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, seen at right with President George W. Bush, for his handling of the 9/11 attack response. (Getty/AP, File)

“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” Scarborough reacted. “I can’t let you say that on my show… Listen, if you’ve got issues with Rudy Giuliani, take up those issues with Rudy Giuliani, what’s going on right now.”

Scarborough continued, “I know for myself and for a lot of Americans, when George Bush was stumbling the first week, it was Rudy who stepped into the void… Let’s just talk about what’s going on now and don’t bring up 9/11. I mean, if we want to talk about Rudy, I say this makes it more of a tragedy that Rudy Giuliani, along with the great people of New York City and a great police commissioner, turned this city around in ’93 and ’94 and ’95 and ’96… I think that’s makes what’s going on even more tragic.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Even liberal MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton joined the defense of Giuliani, saying that what he and President George W. Bush did after 9/11 was “needed” and how “shockingly, the city came together.”

Westlake Legal Group Scarborough-Giuliani_Getty-AP MSNBC's Joe Scarborough defends Rudy Giuliani after panelist claims former mayor 'exploited 9/11' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-scarborough fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 12759951-14b1-50f2-8b9f-a4e5ad7269e2   Westlake Legal Group Scarborough-Giuliani_Getty-AP MSNBC's Joe Scarborough defends Rudy Giuliani after panelist claims former mayor 'exploited 9/11' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/joe-scarborough fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 12759951-14b1-50f2-8b9f-a4e5ad7269e2

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Republicans Throw A Tantrum During Second Impeachment Hearing

Westlake Legal Group 5deea9df210000170434f766 Republicans Throw A Tantrum During Second Impeachment Hearing

House Republican lawmakers went to the mat to defend President Donald Trump in an impeachment hearing on Monday, accusing Democratic colleagues of engineering the inquiry in order to remove Trump, ignoring standard procedures and blocking access to witnesses. 

The hearing frequently became disorderly and contentious, with theatrical outbursts from Republican lawmakers such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and repeated interruptions of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). 

But despite the numerous attempts to distract and disrupt the proceedings, Republicans and their lawyers did little to counter the evidence that Trump sought a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine and sought to target 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden for personal political gain. 

The hearing was the second in the House Judiciary Committee to discuss Trump’s potential impeachment. Democrats are expected to hold a House vote on impeachment before the end of the month, and will likely soon draft articles of impeachment that will formally state the case that Trump’s actions in Ukraine met the bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” needed for impeachment. The White House refused to cooperate with the hearing on Monday, as it has with the broader inquiry as it seeks to stonewall investigators and delegitimize the push for impeachment. 

Conservatives criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for not appearing at the hearings, accusing him of mishandling the inquiry and even printing out a poster of his face on a milk carton to highlight his absence. (House rules adopted in October dictate that Schiff’s top counsel, Goldman, is the one who should testify to the Intelligence Committee’s assessment.) They demanded to be able to call a series of witnesses, including Biden’s son Hunter and the anonymous whistleblower who first prompted the impeachment process.

During one bizarre disruption in the hearings, a host on the far-right conspiracy theory site InfoWars began screaming at Nadler and proclaiming Trump’s innocence before he was removed from the room. 

Despite the numerous attempts to distract and disrupt the proceedings, Republicans and their lawyers did little to counter the evidence that Trump sought a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Democrats laid out their arguments for why Trump should be impeached ― and why it needed to happen well ahead of the elections in November 2020.

“The integrity of our next election is at stake,” Nadler said in his opening statement.

“The evidence shows that Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, has put himself before the country,” Nadler said. “He has violated his most basic responsibilities to the people. He has broken his oath.”

Monday’s hearing featured Republican and Democratic legal counsel addressing the grounds to impeach Trump. Although both sides mostly reiterated their cases for and against impeachment without presenting new evidence, Democrats used the hearing to advance their argument that Trump undermined national security by seeking a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine and to highlight statements from prior hearings.

Democratic lawyer Barry H. Berke called the evidence against Trump “uncontradicted” and “overwhelming” as he argued that Trump committed numerous impeachable offenses that included abuse of power, betrayal of the national interest and corruption of elections.

“What is so extraordinary is the conduct we’re going to be talking about today of President Trump didn’t violate one of these, but all three,” Berke said.

Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman warned that Trump’s actions represented an “imminent threat” to national security and U.S. elections. He summarized what witnesses had told the House Intelligence Committee and pulled together the various threads of the inquiry, insisting that Trump’s efforts presented “a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.”

Republicans’ lawyers Ashley Callen and Steve Castor, the latter of whom was also involved in the previous House Intelligence Committee hearings, presented the case against impeachment. Castor again framed the inquiries as a politically motivated fishing expedition, arguing that Democrats were attempting to remove Trump simply because they opposed his policies.

But as in previous hearings, Castor did little to address the actual allegations against Trump and the evidence that witnesses had presented. He once again argued that Trump and Zelensky have both denied the existence of coercion or wrongdoing.

As Castor gave his opening statement, Trump described the proceedings as a “Witch Hunt!” on Twitter, saying “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!”

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Pete Buttigieg To Open Fundraisers To Press And Disclose Bundlers

Westlake Legal Group 5deeb0c02500000e5dd2f9f1 Pete Buttigieg To Open Fundraisers To Press And Disclose Bundlers

The presidential campaign of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that it would allow members of the news media to cover future private fundraisers and would disclose the names of super donors known as “bundlers.”

Reporters will be permitted to cover Buttigieg’s fundraisers starting on Tuesday and the campaign will provide the names of bundlers, who solicit multiple donations from other wealthy individuals, by the end of the week, according to a statement from campaign manager Mike Schmuhl.

“From the start, Pete has said it is important for every candidate to be open and honest, and his actions have reflected that commitment,” Schmuhl said.

Buttigieg had been under growing pressure in recent days to improve his campaign’s financial transparency.

Of the four Democratic candidates leading in the polls, only Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden have requested donations in private, high-dollar fundraisers. Biden has allowed reporters to cover those fundraisers. And Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) do not raise money in private fundraisers.

Warren and her team have been engaged in a war of words with Buttigieg and his campaign, pressing the mayor to release more information about his donors and provide press access.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1187384454-d8edbc6150e49516e2448341896e0fda963fa861-s1100-c15 With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting on Ukraine with German Chancellor at the Elysee Palace on Monday in Paris. Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting on Ukraine with German Chancellor at the Elysee Palace on Monday in Paris.

Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met for the first time on Monday in Paris, in peace talks meant to resolve the simmering war in eastern Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the Russian insurgency in the region since it began five years ago with Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Among Ukraine’s goals are prisoner exchanges, a cease-fire along the front, and Ukrainian control of the eastern border. Russia would like an end to Western sanctions that have led to economic stagnation.

There is public support for peace talks in Ukraine, and Zelenskiy is under significant pressure: as he headed to Paris his opponents rallied in Kyiv, warning him to not capitulate to Putin. And Russia is popular in the eastern portion of the country, especially in the cities Donetsk and Luhansk.

“Some say we can do without such dialogue,” Zelenskiy said in a recent video recorded in a gym, as the AP reports. “But it’s like running this treadmill — you are doing something, you are losing calories, but you remain in place.”

Putin and Zelenskiy were joined by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Macron has sought to reset relations with Putin after years of sanctions, but that warming has caused concern among the eastern European states of the EU.

The talks began with Zelenskiy and Putin each speaking to Merkel and Macron one-on-one, before the four sat around a table together. Zelenskiy and Putin are slated to meet alone only after a closing news conference.

The summit is far from an ideal scenario for Zelenskiy, a former comedian without political experience. After coming to office in a landslide, he has been unable to secure a White House meeting with President Trump. He hoped such a meeting would signal U.S. support of Ukraine, but he’s now meeting with Putin without it.

Instead, Ukraine has become entangled in Trump’s impeachment hearings, following a July phone call in which Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden, while the White House withheld about $400 million in military aid to Kyiv.

To drive home the power indifference at Monday’s meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is scheduled to meet in Washington with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — and possibly with Trump — on Tuesday.

“If Russia doesn’t want to agree to a deal, in this case we will be building a wall and life will go on,” Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said Thursday, according to Reuters. “We will be living unfortunately in a scenario of a frozen conflict.”

NPR Correspondent Lucian Kim contributed reporting from Moscow.

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California ‘Grinches’ charged with stealing Christmas presents from foster kids

A California police department announced it foiled two “Grinches” who were trying to steal Christmas from a group of foster kids.

Red Bluff police said it all started with a burglary Thursday night at the Children First Foster Family Agency. Staffers with the nonprofit reported the burglary Friday morning.

“A large amount of toys that were being held there for children for Christmas presents were taken,” police said in a news release.

Westlake Legal Group two-grinches-RBPD California 'Grinches' charged with stealing Christmas presents from foster kids Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e26e365-7f9b-5b61-831d-6d3d8d7a16d1

Marie Bennett, 40 and Joseph Betancourt, 24, were arrested in the thefts. (Red Bluff Police Department)

CALIFORNIA MAN ARRESTED AFTER POSTING YOUTUBE VIDEOS APPEARING TO SHOW MASS SHOOTING PRACTICE

After reviewing surveillance video, officers said they determined the suspects were coming and going from the home next door.

“These ‘Grinches’ will not be stealing Christmas from the kids on our watch.”

— Red Bluff Police Department

Officers spotted the suspects who matched video surveillance and arrested Joseph Betancourt, 24, and Marie Bennett, 40, according to the news release.

Westlake Legal Group Stolen-toys California 'Grinches' charged with stealing Christmas presents from foster kids Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e26e365-7f9b-5b61-831d-6d3d8d7a16d1

Police said they recovered the toys that were being held for foster children as Christmas presents. (Red Bluff Police Department)

“These ‘Grinches’ will not be stealing Christmas from the kids on our watch,” the news release said.

Police recovered the stolen toys and posted a photo of them on Facebook.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Betancourt and Bennett, both of Woodland, were jailed on charges of burglary, theft and breaking and entering, the Woodland Daily Democrat reported.

Red Bluff is a two-hour drive northwest of Sacramento.

Westlake Legal Group two-grinches-RBPD California 'Grinches' charged with stealing Christmas presents from foster kids Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e26e365-7f9b-5b61-831d-6d3d8d7a16d1   Westlake Legal Group two-grinches-RBPD California 'Grinches' charged with stealing Christmas presents from foster kids Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e26e365-7f9b-5b61-831d-6d3d8d7a16d1

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Brother of 9/11 victim: We need ‘full disclosure’ from Saudis on Pensacola attack

Westlake Legal Group arias Brother of 9/11 victim: We need 'full disclosure' from Saudis on Pensacola attack Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5161f4ad-6517-569f-ae52-f4771b39ebd3

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Donald Arias said on Monday that the families who lost loved ones in Friday’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida deserve full disclosure about what happened.

“Prior to this administration, we lived through eight years of political correctness, where they got rid of all references to Islamic terror in training materials for the FBI, etc.,” Arias, whose brother died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, told “Fox & Friends.” 

“It’s time we put that back in there. It’s also time that the Saudi prince comes forward and – you know, he says he’s sorry, he says he’s angry, he says he loves America – that’s not enough.”

NAS PENSACOLA SHOOTING PRESUMED TO BE ‘TERRORISM,’ SAUDI STUDENT RECORDED ATTACK ON VIDEO, OFFICIALS SAY

“If he really loves America and he really means that, he needs to give full disclosure to these families about who these foreign nationals were.”

Investigators said Sunday they’re working under the presumption the shooting was an act of terrorism involving a lone gunman. All foreign students at the base are accounted for and no arrests have been made in connection with the attack.

NAS PENSACOLA GUNMAN ‘JUST SHOT THROUGH THE DOOR’ DURING RAMPAGE, SURVIVOR SAYS

FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Rachel Rojas added that all the Saudi students close to the shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force, were cooperating in the investigation.

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Alshamrani, 21, a student naval flight officer killed three people Friday and wounded eight others during his rampage at a classroom building before he was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy. The injured are all expected to recover.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group arias Brother of 9/11 victim: We need 'full disclosure' from Saudis on Pensacola attack Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5161f4ad-6517-569f-ae52-f4771b39ebd3   Westlake Legal Group arias Brother of 9/11 victim: We need 'full disclosure' from Saudis on Pensacola attack Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5161f4ad-6517-569f-ae52-f4771b39ebd3

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With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1187384454-d8edbc6150e49516e2448341896e0fda963fa861-s1100-c15 With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting on Ukraine with German Chancellor at the Elysee Palace on Monday in Paris. Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  With Paris Peace Talks, Putin And Zelenskiy Meet For First Time

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting on Ukraine with German Chancellor at the Elysee Palace on Monday in Paris.

Alexey Nikolsky/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met for the first time on Monday in Paris, in peace talks meant to resolve the simmering war in eastern Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the Russian insurgency in the region since it began five years ago with Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Among Ukraine’s goals are prisoner exchanges, a cease-fire along the front, and Ukrainian control of the eastern border. Russia would like an end to Western sanctions that have led to economic stagnation.

There is public support for peace talks in Ukraine, and Zelenskiy is under significant pressure: as he headed to Paris his opponents rallied in Kyiv, warning him to not capitulate to Putin. And Russia is popular in the eastern portion of the country, especially in the cities Donetsk and Luhansk.

“Some say we can do without such dialogue,” Zelenskiy said in a recent video recorded in a gym, as the AP reports. “But it’s like running this treadmill — you are doing something, you are losing calories, but you remain in place.”

Putin and Zelenskiy were joined by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Macron has sought to reset relations with Putin after years of sanctions, but that warming has caused concern among the eastern European states of the EU.

The talks began with Zelenskiy and Putin each speaking to Merkel and Macron one-on-one, before the four sat around a table together. Zelenskiy and Putin are slated to meet alone only after a closing news conference.

The summit is far from an ideal scenario for Zelenskiy, a former comedian without political experience. After coming to office in a landslide, he has been unable to secure a White House meeting with President Trump. He hoped such a meeting would signal U.S. support of Ukraine, but he’s now meeting with Putin without it.

Instead, Ukraine has become entangled in Trump’s impeachment hearings, following a July phone call in which Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden, while the White House withheld about $400 million in military aid to Kyiv.

To drive home the power indifference at Monday’s meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is scheduled to meet in Washington with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — and possibly with Trump — on Tuesday.

“If Russia doesn’t want to agree to a deal, in this case we will be building a wall and life will go on,” Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said Thursday, according to Reuters. “We will be living unfortunately in a scenario of a frozen conflict.”

NPR Correspondent Lucian Kim contributed reporting from Moscow.

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