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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 101)

Defiant Donald Trump campaigns for GOP candidates in Louisiana, calls impeachment inquiry a ‘big fat disgrace’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Defiant Donald Trump campaigns for GOP candidates in Louisiana, calls impeachment inquiry a 'big fat disgrace'

President Donald Trump slammed Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, at his campaign rally in Minnesota. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Reeling from the growing threat of impeachment, President Donald Trump took to the campaign trail for the second day in a row on Friday, stumping for not one but two GOP candidates for governor in Louisiana.

Appearing at a GOP rally in Lake Charles, La., on the eve of the state’s gubernatorial election, Trump urged Louisiana residents to “fire” Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and replace him with one of the GOP’s two candidates, Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone.

But Trump also used his appearance before a friendly crowd in a state that he won by 20 percentage points in 2016 to rail against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for opening an impeachment inquiry against him.

“Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America,” Trump said to cheers, calling the impeachment investigation “one of the great con jobs ever” and claiming it is “illegal, invalid and unconstitutional.”

“It’s a disgrace what’s going on,” Trump said. “It’s a whole big fat disgrace, and it’s very unfair to Republicans … But you know what? We’re here and they’re not!”

The White House has refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, even though Article 1 of the Constitution grants the House “the sole power of impeachment.” Democrats have accused Trump of stonewalling.

Trump’s remarks at Friday’s event echoed his comments during an appearance at a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis. At Thursday’s event, he stepped up his attacks on Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner, and his son Hunter.

“He was never considered a good senator,” Trump said of Biden in Minneapolis. “He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”

Biden, who participated in a forum on LGBTQ rights on Thursday, wrote on Twitter that he had spent the evening talking about “the fundamental respect every human being deserves” while Trump spent his “how little respect for anyone else you have.”

“America is so much stronger than your weakness,” Biden tweeted.

On Friday, the line to get inside the GOP rally in Lake Charles formed quickly, with hundreds wrapped around the James E. Sudduth Coliseum by mid-afternoon.

As spectators lined up, a recording advised Trump supporters not to touch protesters. Instead, it encouraged them to shout “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

Inside the coliseum, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., warmed up the crowd by saying that Trump likes Louisiana “like the devil loves sin.”

Minneapolis rally: Trump steps up attacks on Joe Biden and his son

Impeachment was a key theme of Trump’s nearly 90-minute speech in which he also tried to fire up GOP voters ahead of the state’s gubernatorial election on Saturday.

Republicans Abraham and Rispone are challenging Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. Edwards is leading in the polls, but the GOP is trying to drum up support for both of its candidates and prevent Edwards from getting at least 50 percent of the vote on Saturday.

If that happens, the top two vote-getters would be forced into a runoff, which Republicans believe would boost their chances of taking back the governorship.

Trump, who did not endorse either of the GOP candidates, predicted earlier this week the race would “most likely” be forced into a runoff.

If so, Edwards would be only the second Louisiana governor in modern history to face a runoff. Democrat Edwin Edwards was pushed into a runoff in 1987 but conceded the race to fellow Democrat Buddy Roemer before voters went back to the polls.

Key witness: US Ambassador to EU Gordon Sondland, key impeachment witness, will testify

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Defiant Donald Trump campaigns for GOP candidates in Louisiana, calls impeachment inquiry a 'big fat disgrace'

Protesters clashed with supporters outside a rally in Minneapolis. Some burned MAGA hats and threw urine in the streets. USA TODAY

Trump’s appearance at Friday’s rally is the third in a week by a high-profile Republican on behalf of the two GOP candidates.

At a rally last Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence tied the gubernatorial race to the 2020 presidential election, telling supporters that “we need Louisiana to send a Republican to the governor’s office and for Louisiana to vote for four more years of President Donald Trump.”

“It all starts here,” he said. “It all starts now.”

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., campaigned on behalf of Abraham and Rispone at a rally in Lafayette on Monday.

Contributing: Courtney Subramanian of USA Today, Greg Hilburn of the Monroe Star News and Andrew Capps and Ashley White of the Daily Advertiser

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Trump and special elections: Trump’s special elections record boosted by Bishop’s win in North Carolina. Other times he won and lost

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/10/11/impeachment-defiant-donald-trump-heads-louisiana-campaign-rally/3930306002/

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Gwyneth Paltrow on forgetting Marvel movies she’s been in: ‘There are so many’

Westlake Legal Group gwenyth-paltrow-getty Gwyneth Paltrow on forgetting Marvel movies she's been in: 'There are so many' Mariah Haas fox-news/topic/marvel fox-news/person/gwyneth-paltrow fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9baee538-5b56-50cf-b960-0faddf9c81de

Gwyneth Paltrow has one reason why she can’t remember all of the Marvel films she’s appeared in: sheer quantity.

The 47-year-old actress, who stars as Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has made headlines for mixing up some of her appearances in the franchise’s films.

“I never read stuff,” she told Elle magazine about making the news.

GWYNETH PALTROW FORGOT SHE WAS IN A ‘SPIDER-MAN’ MOVIE

She continued: “But it is confusing because there are so many Marvel movies, and to be honest, I haven’t seen very many of them.”

GWYNETH PALTROW, BRAD FALCHUK CELEBRATE FIRST ANNIVERSARY

Paltrow, who shares two children —  Apple, 15, and Moses, 13 — with ex and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, went on to say that it’s “really stupid.”

“… I’m sorry, but I’m a 47-year-old mother,” she concluded.

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Paltrow has starred in all three “Iron Man” films, as well as “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

Westlake Legal Group gwenyth-paltrow-getty Gwyneth Paltrow on forgetting Marvel movies she's been in: 'There are so many' Mariah Haas fox-news/topic/marvel fox-news/person/gwyneth-paltrow fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9baee538-5b56-50cf-b960-0faddf9c81de   Westlake Legal Group gwenyth-paltrow-getty Gwyneth Paltrow on forgetting Marvel movies she's been in: 'There are so many' Mariah Haas fox-news/topic/marvel fox-news/person/gwyneth-paltrow fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9baee538-5b56-50cf-b960-0faddf9c81de

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Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: ‘Humble and grateful’

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook is a man of many strengths.

He’s physically one of the strongest men you’ll ever meet. The Florida native recently broke the world record for an unassisted, or raw, bench press at the annual Olympia Pro Powerlifting Competition in September in Las Vegas. He benched 551 pounds while weighing 218 pounds and competing in the 198- to 220-pound weight class. The previous world record was 534 pounds.

Westlake Legal Group 5811391 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook, 60th Operations Group boom operator, bench presses 500 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell)

But Cook learned a different kind of strength growing up from his mom, a single parent who worked several jobs to keep food on the table and take care of her kids.

“My first acknowledgment of what strength was, was mental strength in seeing my mom do everything she could to take care of us,” Cook told Fox News. “Not once did she complain about the situation she was in.”

The youngest of three, with two older sisters, Cook said he grew up in a neighborhood outside Orlando where a life of crime was an easy way to make money. He was surrounded by people who had money and cars, and he idolized drug dealers and criminals. Cook ended up in and out of juvenile detention halls and later jail throughout his teens.

Westlake Legal Group 5811394-1 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

Tech. Sgt. Cook displays his medal from the United States Powerlifting Association’s annual Olympia Pro Powerlifting Competition where he raw bench pressed 551 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell)

“I got into a lot of trouble I put myself in,” he said, “from me not finding my way and not knowing who I really was.”

While he wasn’t an angry young kid, he used any anger he did have as an excuse to act out.

“One of the teachers in class said if you don’t pay attention in school, you’ll end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s,” Cook recalled. “My mom worked at McDonald’s a large majority of my life. I took that as an insult and took it to heart.”

US DROPPED MORE BOMBS IN AFGHANISTAN LAST MONTH THAN ANY TIME SINCE 2010: AIR FORCE

During what ended up being the last time he was in jail in Florida, he was lucky enough to meet a man who ultimately set him on the right path.

“One of the guards taught me what being a man was all about,” Cook said. “He talked about growing up, about using the positive people in your life and trying to discard the negative people. Misery loves company, and a lot of the guys I grew up with were just that — misery. Criminal acts were all they knew.”

Something else the prison guard mentioned? The military.

“He talked to me about the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force — I knew I had to change my life,” Cook said.

Westlake Legal Group 3522543 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

Cook, then with the 6th Air Refueling Squadron, poses for a photo inside a KC-10 Extender at Travis Air Force Base in 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

In 2006 he joined the Air Force, an opportunity for which he is perpetually grateful, Cook said.

“Ever since then I’ve been trying to excel in every way I could,” he pointed out.

He has met incredible people — from his leadership to his peers, and all forms of family. “Blood makes you related, but loyalty makes you family,” according to Cook.

The military is also how he met his wife, Tech. Sgt. Asia Cook. The couple has two sons, 1 and 4 years old.

Westlake Legal Group 3522547 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Left) shares a laugh with Staff Sgt. Jack McCoy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Cook has served for more than 13 years in the Air Force, six of those in the security forces field, during which he deployed three times in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

He landed at Travis Air Force Base in California in April 2014, where he currently serves as a boom operator, or in-flight refueler, for the 60th Operations Group.

His job is to refuel military aircraft, whether a fighter jet or a bomber, while it’s in the air, “so they can get to wherever they need to go.” He describes it as a “mobile gas station in the air.”

Cook has completed more than 101 convoy missions and 110 combat flying missions in the air — a significant milestone.

He started lifting weights when he first joined the military in 2006. Even though the Air Force is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “Chair Force,” “everyone is striving for greatness,” Cook said.

“Everyone wants to be stronger, everyone wants to be more agile. The Air Force pushes fitness,” he said.

He met a technical sergeant at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii who became his mentor and big brother. The humble, “walking tree stump” of a man — 5-foot-6 and weighing 220 pounds — taught Cook about lifting.

Westlake Legal Group 48000697858_f740881abb_k Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

Airmen from the 6th and 9th Air Refueling Squadrons, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., use a KC-10 Extender to refuel an F-15C Eagle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

When he arrived at Travis Air Force Base in 2013, two powerlifters approached him in the gym and told him his strength was impressive, “but your form is horrible,” Cook recalled.

AIR FORCE TEST-LAUNCHES INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE IN CALIFORNIA

They taught him the basics of the sport, which includes the bench press, back squat and deadlift. When he participated in his first competition at Old Skool Iron gym in 2014, he took second place.

Since then he says he’s been “eating weights.”

“Every time I touch a platform I’ve been humbled and grateful, because of the people around me” who are supportive and encouraging, Cook says. And he’s good — Cook has placed first in every competition since 2014, including last week when he set a new California state record, benching 556 pounds while weighing 224 pounds.

The camaraderie of both the military and powerlifting is something that keeps him humble and driven, Cook said.

“Now I want to set as many records as I can, but I’m not focused on setting records. I get more pride from people wanting to learn from me,” he said. “Records and lifting weights are great, but it’s the people and the smiles, looking into the crowd — that’s the most gratifying feeling.”

While he’s not making money off his lifting skills, he’s “good on my fortune from the people around me,” Cook said.

“At home [in Florida], I was doing everything the wrong way for recognition. Now I’m doing things the right way, and leaving a legacy for my sons,” he said. “Whether you lift weights or do underwater basket weaving, it doesn’t matter. I just want them to see that their dad strived and fought for something, and he did it.”

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Westlake Legal Group 5811388 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article   Westlake Legal Group 5811388 Airman sets world record with 551-pound bench press: 'Humble and grateful' Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/us fnc fa0caeb2-96ae-5324-9912-1e433ec417fc article

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Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-giuliani1-facebookJumbo Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev Lutsenko, Yuri V Justice Department impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Campaign Finance Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Berman, Geoffrey S

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Ms. Yovanovitch and other targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden. Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

A criminal investigation of Mr. Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Mr. Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same United States attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

Mr. Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Ms. Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media.

“Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Lutsenko had chafed at Ms. Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kiev.

Mr. Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Mr. Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators on Friday that Mr. Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he re-emerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Mr. Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Mr. Giuliani is now being investigated.

Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Mr. Giuliani connected early this year with Mr. Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had previously connected Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

Mr. Parnas had told people that Ms. Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Mr. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Mr. Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated American business venture, and Mr. Giuliani said he advised Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

Mr. Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Mr. Trump’s targets to American law enforcement agencies and saw Mr. Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Biden and others.

Mr. Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the F.B.I. He did not say who told him.

Mr. Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Mr. Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Mr. Solomon, who independently interviewed Mr. Lutsenko and other sources.

Mr. Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Mr. Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Mr. Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Mr. Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Mr. Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

“He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Mr. Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Mr. Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

The president sought to distance himself earlier on Friday from Mr. Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Mr. Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”

Mr. Giuliani later said that he still represented Mr. Trump.

The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

The impeachment was prompted by a whistle-blower complaint about Mr. Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Mr. Giuliani’s interviews with Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Shokin.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Mr. Trump, which he has denied.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Mr. Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.

Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

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Federal judge pauses opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, Sackler family

A federal judge paused more than 2,600 lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma on Friday so parties can address their differences to allow continuing litigation over the company’s role in exacerbating the nation’s opioid crisis.

The drugmaker and its owners, the Sackler family, filed for bankruptcy last month as part of a tentative settlement. Half the states and hundreds of local governments suing Purdue have refused to sign on, leading to uncertainty as to whether a deal will come to fruition.

In a Friday hearing in White Plains, N.Y., U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain issued an injunction until Nov. 6 for both sides to hash out their differences so litigation can go on. He initially favored stopping the suits for six months before settling for a few weeks.

OXYCONTIN MAKER NEGOTIATING $10 TO $12 BILLION OPIOID SETTLEMENT WITH STATE, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: REPORT

Westlake Legal Group AP19277754232860-1 Federal judge pauses opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, Sackler family Louis Casiano fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c2ce406-d21d-592e-a1a3-2a97cfa629c7

In this Sept. 12 photo, cars pass Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn. How much members of the Sackler family should be held accountable for the role their company, Purdue Pharma, played in the nation’s opioid crisis will be at the center of a hearing in federal bankruptcy court. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

“A trial here will simply be an autopsy,” Drain said. He cited mounting litigation costs that could otherwise go to families affected by the opioid crisis for halting the legal action, according to The New York Times.

He pushed the parties to address concerns from opposing states.

“We are disappointed by the court’s ruling, but pleased that it is limited in time to less than 30 days,” said William Tong, the attorney general of Connecticut. “We will use this time to ensure that we get access to the Sacklers’ financial information and will be ready on Nov. 6 to make our case to hold Purdue and the Sacklers accountable.”

Under the terms of the tentative settlement, the Sacklers would pay $3 billion to plaintiffs over seven years and would have to sell Mundipharma, their British pharmaceutical company and give up ownership of Purdue. Nearly two dozens state and hundreds of local municipalities have signed on.

Another two dozen other states and other cities, counties and tribes have balked at the deal, saying the scale of the opioid crisis far exceeds anything being offered. Purdue has long been blamed for the opioid epidemic thanks to its aggressive drug marketing model and misleading federal regulators about OxyContin’s risk of addiction, The Times said.

SAN FRANCISCO SAW 150 PERCENT SPIKE IN FENTANYL-RELATED DEATHS LAST YEAR, REPORT SAYS

At issue is how much the Sacklers should contribute for Purdue’s role in the epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. The company has downplayed its part. Purdue has said it manufactured 4 percent of prescription drugs sold in the United States between 2013 and 2016 and that all were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but also monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Just before Friday’s hearing, a committee of unsecured creditors that includes opioid crisis victims said it would support pausing the lawsuits. A deal with unsecured creditors calls for the Sacklers to provide financial information.

“We hope to be getting things that will help us decide whether we support the settlement,” the committee’s lawyer, Arik Preis, said in court Friday.

DRUG COMPANIES SHIPPED THOUSANDS OF PAIN PILL ORDERS IT SHOULD HAVE HALTED, DOCUMENTS SAY

Drain urged parties accusing the Sacklers of fraudulently transferring money from Purdue to resolve those lawsuits through negotiations in bankruptcy court because it could provide financial information from the family quicker than through separate litigation.

In a statement, Purdue said it saw Friday’s ruling as an “essential next step in preserving Purdue’s assets for the ultimate benefit of the American public. The company will work tirelessly and collaboratively during this pause in the litigation to continue to build support for the settlement structure.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19282845380917-1 Federal judge pauses opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, Sackler family Louis Casiano fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c2ce406-d21d-592e-a1a3-2a97cfa629c7

This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of prescription oxycodone pills in New York. U.S. health officials are again warning doctors against abandoning chronic pain patients by abruptly stopping their opioid prescriptions.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

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A court filing made public in Massachusetts this year asserts that members of the Sackler family were paid more than $4 billion by Purdue from 2007 to 2018. Much of the family’s fortune is believed to be held outside the U.S., which could complicate lawsuits against the family over opioids.

In March, Purdue and members of the Sackler family reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma to avoid a trial on the toll of opioids there.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips Frank Miles and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19277754232860-1 Federal judge pauses opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, Sackler family Louis Casiano fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c2ce406-d21d-592e-a1a3-2a97cfa629c7   Westlake Legal Group AP19277754232860-1 Federal judge pauses opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, Sackler family Louis Casiano fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c2ce406-d21d-592e-a1a3-2a97cfa629c7

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Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-giuliani1-facebookJumbo Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev Lutsenko, Yuri V Justice Department impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Campaign Finance Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Berman, Geoffrey S

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Ms. Yovanovitch and other targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden. Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

A criminal investigation of Mr. Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Mr. Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same United States attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

Mr. Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Ms. Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media.

“Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Lutsenko had chafed at Ms. Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kiev.

Mr. Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Mr. Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators on Friday that Mr. Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he re-emerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Mr. Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Mr. Giuliani is now being investigated.

Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Mr. Giuliani connected early this year with Mr. Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had previously connected Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

Mr. Parnas had told people that Ms. Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Mr. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Mr. Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated American business venture, and Mr. Giuliani said he advised Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

Mr. Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Mr. Trump’s targets to American law enforcement agencies and saw Mr. Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Biden and others.

Mr. Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the F.B.I. He did not say who told him.

Mr. Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Mr. Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Mr. Solomon, who independently interviewed Mr. Lutsenko and other sources.

Mr. Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Mr. Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Mr. Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Mr. Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Mr. Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

“He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Mr. Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Mr. Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

The president sought to distance himself earlier on Friday from Mr. Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Mr. Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”

Mr. Giuliani later said that he still represented Mr. Trump.

The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

The impeachment was prompted by a whistle-blower complaint about Mr. Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Mr. Giuliani’s interviews with Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Shokin.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Mr. Trump, which he has denied.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Mr. Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.

Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

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Bernie Sanders Proposes Ending All Corporate Giving in U.S. Elections

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NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation ‘outrageous’: sources

After President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it was reported to then-senior National Security Council (NSC) leadership that an NSC staffer had relayed information about the call to individuals outside the NSC — and characterized the president’s conversation as “outrageous,” sources familiar with the matter told Fox News.

The development comes as Fiona Hill, a former special assistant to the president who worked on European and Russian affairs, is set to give a deposition next week. Fox News has reached out to Hill for over a week with questions about whether she helped prep for the July 25 call or received any readout of the call.

Hill departed the White House in July, after working under ex-National Security Advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton.

The White House has yet to comment on the matter to Fox News.

WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY ACKNOWLEDGES CLIENT HAD ‘CONTACT’ WITH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Other top administration officials linked to the Ukraine situation are also set to testify next week. On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. envoy to Kiev and someone President Trump called “bad news,” according to a memorandum of the telephone call with Ukraine’s leader, arrived on Capitol Hill for a transcribed interview with lawmakers and staff.

Westlake Legal Group AP19270594642501 NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation 'outrageous': sources Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article 95dcb8df-58ac-53bd-a623-0f411163e563

FILE – In this March 6, 2019 file photo, then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, sits during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

Trump and his allies have sought to paint Yovanovitch as a rogue employee with an anti-Trump bias. She was ousted in May amid alleged attempts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to press Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who reportedly was involved in Yovanovitch’s ouster, said in a statement Thursday that “after several congressional colleagues reported to me that the current U[.]S[.] Ambassador to Ukraine was disparaging President Trump to others as part of those official duties, I wrote a letter to the Secretary of State to refer this matter directly. My entire motivation for sending the letter was that I believe that political appointees should not be disparaging the President, especially while serving overseas.”

On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland announced that he will testify before Congress. The announcement came a week after the State Department directed him not to appear before lawmakers at a scheduled deposition. House Democrats on Wednesday then subpoenaed Sondland to appear before the joint committees to testify, prompting the shift.

TRUMP ALLED FORMER UKRAINE DIPLOMAT ‘BAD NEWS’…AND NOW SHE’S SET TO TESTIFY

Meanwhile, the whistleblower at the center of the House Democratic impeachment inquiry wants to testify to Congress in writing instead of appearing in person, Fox News has confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that lawyers for the anonymous CIA officer have asked lawmakers if the whistleblower could submit testimony in writing, but the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have not yet responded.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM 

The request comes as Democrats have expressed a desire to protect the identity of the whistleblower, along with worries over safety and media scrutiny.

President Trump and Republicans believe the president should have a right to confront his accuser and have also cited recent reports indicating the whistleblower could have partisan motives. Attorneys for the whistleblower have acknowledged he is a registered Democrat who has worked with at least one 2020 candidate. On Thursday, the Washington Examiner reported that the candidate was Joe Biden.

Westlake Legal Group Trump101019 NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation 'outrageous': sources Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article 95dcb8df-58ac-53bd-a623-0f411163e563   Westlake Legal Group Trump101019 NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation 'outrageous': sources Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article 95dcb8df-58ac-53bd-a623-0f411163e563

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Reporter who first broke Matt Lauer accusations says Ronan Farrow’s book ‘feels like deja vu’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094240682001_6094236642001-vs Reporter who first broke Matt Lauer accusations says Ronan Farrow's book 'feels like deja vu' fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 61a08b38-e36a-5db3-a0b2-b5f4f9f9cd57

The Variety reporter who broke the news of allegations against former “Today” anchor Matt Lauer reacted Friday to journalist Ronan Farrow’s new book.

Elizabeth Wagmeister told Martha MacCallum Friday on “The Story” that Farrow’s recounting of sexual misconduct accusations against Lauer in Farrow’s book, “Catch and Kill,” sounds similar to things that she and her colleagues had either heard or reported.

“It feels like deja vu because when I broke the story … back in 2017, this is what we were hearing and this is, of course, what we were asked,” she said. “We had written in that story what we heard from numerous women, numerous sources, that complaints were made at NBC and they fell on deaf ears.”

MATT LAUER BREAKS SILENCE ON RAPE ALLEGATION: READ HIS LETTER HERE

She said those alleged complaints, “obviously happened before the night [in 2017] that [Lauer] was fired.”

In an interview with ABC News, Farrow said his book will claim there is a “paper trail with documents” of multiple “secret settlements” and non-disclosure agreements by NBC News.

More from Media

“Multiple ones of those were with Matt Lauer accusers,” Farrow claimed.

Lauer broke his silence on Wednesday with a strongly-worded open letter in which he denied a new rape allegation, saying the sex was “mutual and completely consensual.”

Lauer has been publically silent since NBC News fired him for sexual misconduct, but Farrow’s highly anticipated book will reportedly include a shocking claim that the former “Today” host raped an NBC News colleague during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Lauer said he had initially kept quiet for the sake of his children.

“But my silence has been a mistake,” he said in a lengthy letter obtained by Fox News Wednesday. “Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made. All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book. It’s outrageous. So, after not speaking out to protect my children, it is now with their full support I say ‘enough.'”

“Catch and Kill” is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

Fox News’ Liam Quinn and Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094240682001_6094236642001-vs Reporter who first broke Matt Lauer accusations says Ronan Farrow's book 'feels like deja vu' fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 61a08b38-e36a-5db3-a0b2-b5f4f9f9cd57   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094240682001_6094236642001-vs Reporter who first broke Matt Lauer accusations says Ronan Farrow's book 'feels like deja vu' fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 61a08b38-e36a-5db3-a0b2-b5f4f9f9cd57

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Ukraine Envoy Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Out Over Lack of Trust

WASHINGTON — The State Department’s request went in early March to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who had served six presidents: Would she extend her term as ambassador to Ukraine, scheduled to end in August, into 2020?

Less than two months later came another departmental communiqué: Get “on the next plane” to Washington. Her ambassadorship was over.

How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. And in nearly nine hours of testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was told after her recall that President Trump had lost trust in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018 — even though, one of her bosses told her, she had “done nothing wrong.”

Her version of events added a new dimension to the tale of the campaign against her. It apparently began with a business proposition being pursued in Ukraine by two Americans who, according to an indictment against them unsealed on Thursday, wanted her gone, and who would later become partners with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in digging up political dirt in Ukraine for Mr. Trump.

From there it became part of the effort by Mr. Giuliani to undercut the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and push for damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a possible Democratic challenger to Mr. Trump in 2020.

In her prepared testimony to House investigators, Ms. Yovanovitch, 60, offered no new details about how Mr. Giuliani’s campaign against her was communicated to the president or how Mr. Trump communicated his demand that she be ordered home. But her testimony, provided to The New York Times, amounted to a scathing indictment to Congress of how the Trump administration’s foreign policy intersected with business and political considerations.

Americans abroad in search of personal gain or private influence — especially in a country like Ukraine with a long history of corruption and people eager to exploit them — threatened to undermine the work of loyal diplomats and the foreign policy goals of the United States, she said.

Her removal, she said, was a case in point.

“Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,” she said.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s testimony, which could help build momentum for the impeachment inquiry, captured the arc of her troubled tenure in Ukraine: how Mr. Giuliani and his allies mounted a campaign against her based on what she described as scurrilous lies, how the State Department capitulated to the president’s demands to recall her, and the upshot — losing an experienced ambassador in a pivotal country that is under threat from Russia and in the middle of a change in government.

More broadly, she portrayed the State Department as a whole as “attacked and hollowed out from within.” Unless it backs up its diplomats, especially in the face of false attacks by foreign interests, she said, more of them will leave and the wrong message will be transmitted around the world.

“Bad actors” in Ukraine and elsewhere will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system,” she warned. “The only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia.”

She had been removed from her post in Ukraine before the events most at the heart of the impeachment inquiry: whether Mr. Trump withheld White House meetings or military aid to Ukraine this spring and summer to pressure its new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to Mr. Biden and his younger son, Hunter Biden.

That Ms. Yovanovitch, who remains a State Department employee, showed up at all to testify was remarkable. In a letter this week, the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, lashed out at the impeachment inquiry, saying government officials would not testify and that no documents would be provided. The White House did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s defiance of the administration’s directive against appearing before the impeachment proceeding raises the possibility that other government officials will follow suit. She called upon the State Department leaders and Congress to defend the institution, saying “I fear that not doing so will harm our nation’s interest, perhaps irreparably.”

The turnabout appeared to validate the tactics adopted by Democrats, who have issued rapid-fire subpoenas since they opened the inquiry two weeks ago and warned that any attempts by the administration to block their fact-finding will promptly become fodder for an article of impeachment charging Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress. When the State Department tried late Thursday to direct Ms. Yovanovitch not to appear, the Democrats promptly issued a subpoena and told her she had no choice but to appear.

At least one other State Department official is also expected to testify, despite the White House policy. Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union who was initially expected to testify this week but failed to show up, has now been rescheduled for next week. Mr. Sondland is close to Mr. Trump and could support the White House’s narrative that the administration’s policy in Ukraine has been driven by a focus on rooting out corruption.

Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the foreign service, had held two previous ambassadorships when President Barack Obama appointed her as envoy to Ukraine in mid-2016. She was deeply steeped in the region and American policy.

But in 2018, she found herself targeted by two American businessmen, Lev Parnas, who was born in Ukraine and Igor Fruman, who was born in Belarus. Both came to play central roles in Mr. Giuliani’s efforts on behalf of Mr. Trump in Ukraine.

But at first, the two men were focused on their own business dealings. One possible reason for their opposition to Ms. Yovanovitch was that they perceived her to be standing in the way of a business plan they were promoting. Ms. Yovanovitch was a supporter of a reform-minded chief executive of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state energy company. The two men were hoping to sell American liquefied natural gas to Naftogaz, but the chief executive, Andriy Kobolyev, had rejected their proposal.

American diplomats traditionally pay close attention to the energy industry in Ukraine, long a font of corruption and an avenue for Russia to influence Ukrainian politics. In that same vein, Ms. Yovanovitch had supported Mr. Kobolyev to curb back room deals.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had a plan to replace Mr. Kobolyev: they suggested to another Naftogaz executive that using their political ties in the United States, they could install him in Mr. Kobolyev’s place if he accepted their business deal. Those negotiations were described by Dale Perry, an American energy executive and former business partner of a Naftogaz executive, who is familiar with the conversations.

The pair also had a plan to replace the ambassador. They tried to undermine her with the Ukrainian government and news media by spreading stories that she was an Obama holdover who disdained Mr. Trump, interviews show.

“I found it very troubling and disturbing that a couple of business people, and whoever they were working with, could claim to remove a U.S. ambassador,” Mr. Perry said

Promising to help him raise $20,000 toward his re-election, they enlisted the help of Pete Sessions, who was then a Republican congressman from Texas then serving as the powerful head of the House Rules Committee, according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday charging Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and two other men with violating campaign finance laws. Mr. Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming without evidence that the ambassador was disloyal to the president.

Ms. Yovanovitch also had repeated run-ins with Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, over allegations of corruption with the prosecutor’s office. Mr. Lutsenko would also come to work closely with Mr. Giuliani on the effort to help Mr. Trump.

As they pursued their own agenda in Ukraine in 2018, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were also working more closely to dig up political dirt with Mr. Giuliani, with whom Mr. Parnas also had a separate business relationship.

As part of that effort, Mr. Giuliani seized on criticism of Ms. Yovanovitch as another way to suggest that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump and could have been part of an effort to undercut him from Ukraine during the 2016 campaign.

Mr. Giuliani helped encourage further stories in conservative news outlets critical of her early in 2019, even as the State Department was asking her to remain in Ukraine until next year.

Some State Department officials were distressed by the critical news reports. Philip Reeker, an acting assistant secretary of state, told an adviser to Mr. Pompeo in an email that in casting her as a “liberal outpost,” critics were pushing a “fake narrative” that “really is without merit or validation.”

By this March, the attacks against Ms. Yovanovitch were reverberating in the president’s own circle. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, posted a link on social media to an item that described the ambassador as “an anti-Trump, Obama flunkey.” In his tweet, Mr. Trump called for fewer of “these jokers as ambassadors. “

Four days later, Mr. Giuiliani hand-delivered to Mr. Pompeo a packet of news articles and material critical of Ms. Yovanovitch. It included notes on an interview with a former prosecutor general of Ukraine, who had met with Mr. Giuliani. The former prosecutor claimed that Ms. Yovanovitch had blocked him from getting a visa to the United States and “is close to Mr. Biden.”

In late April, Ms. Yovanovitch received the message summoning her back to Washington to be told of her removal.

Mr. Fruman and Mr. Parnas were arrested Wednesday night at Dulles International Airport, on their way out of the country and charged with campaign finance violations, related in part to their dealings with Mr. Sessions. Prosecutors said they were working with at least one unnamed Ukrainian official who wanted to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

Ms. Yovanovitch told House investigators that while she did not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking her, his associates “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

Her sudden removal left American diplomats in Kiev seething. They told reporters privately that Ms. Yovanovitch had been treated shabbily and that Mr. Giuliani’s freelancing diplomacy was undercutting their efforts to work with the new Ukrainian president’s administration.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-investigation-tracker-promo-1570214529724-articleLarge-v3 Ukraine Envoy Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Out Over Lack of Trust Yovanovitch, Marie L United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

Subpoenas and Requests for Evidence in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

She recounted her conversation about her ouster with John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, at some length. While Ms. Yovanovitch was testifying, Mr. Trump nominated Mr. Sullivan to be the next ambassador to Russia. The timing appeared to be coincidental.

In a meeting in Washington, she said Mr. Sullivan told her “that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.” He added “that there had been a concerted campaign against me and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

She expressed dismay and disappointment about her experience, and predicted serious consequences if the State Department failed to defend itself as an institution. “The harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” she said.

“It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”

Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos reported from Washington, and Andrew E. Kramer from Kiev, Ukraine.

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