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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 103)

U.S. Military Resumes Joint Operations With Iraq

Westlake Legal Group 14iraq-facebookJumbo U.S. Military Resumes Joint Operations With Iraq United States Defense and Military Forces United States Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces

BAGHDAD — The United States military resumed joint operations with Iraq on Wednesday, military officials said, ending a two-week pause that began when the American Embassy in Baghdad was attacked on New Year’s Day.

The decision to restart military operations came a little more than two weeks after Iraq’s Parliament voted to expel all American forces from the country. The government accused the United States of violating Iraqi sovereignty by carrying out airstrikes in Iraq, including one on Jan. 3 that killed Iran’s top military commander, a leader of Iraqi militia forces and eight other people.

Two American military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the missions to reporters, confirmed that the joint operations had restarted.

They said the military wanted to resume operations against the Islamic State as soon as possible to blunt any momentum the group might have and to stifle any propaganda victory it might claim because the United States had suspended the operation.

It was unclear on Wednesday whether anyone in the Iraqi government approved the resumption of joint missions — it was the Americans who stopped them, not the Iraqis — and Iraqi officials could not be reached for comment.

Iraq’s acting prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, who has said that his government would comply with Parliament’s order to expel American forces, seemed to soften his position on Wednesday.

In a speech to his cabinet, he suggested that Parliament’s decision might not be the final word, saying “If we reach the decision to get the forces out of Iraq, then this would be the decision of the Iraqi government.”

He also noted that if the government expelled the Americans, it would follow “an appropriate time line,” suggesting that any departure might not be immediate. He also reminded the ministers that “ISIS has begun to reorganize and plan invasions and attacks.”

Mr. Abdul Mahdi had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend to send delegates to Iraq to work out the details of a troop withdrawal, according to a statement released by his office.

Mr. Pompeo refused, saying the American mission in Iraq was to train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State, and “we’re going to continue that mission.”

The State Department said that the United States would only be willing to discuss “appropriate force posture in the Middle East.”

Despite the Iraqi government’s moves toward expelling the Americans, some Iraqi security officials have opposed the idea, saying they were needed to help fight the remnants of the Islamic State and prevent its resurgence, as well as to support coalition troops from other countries.

If the Americans and most other coalition militaries left, the Iraqis could continue to fight the extremists on their own, but would likely be hampered by a lack of drone-based intelligence and air cover, according to senior coalition military officials.

The Islamic State, which a few years ago controlled a large part of Iraq, no longer controls territory there but remains active in some pockets and claims a few Iraqi lives almost every week.

Removing the United States military from Iraq would take more than a vote in Parliament. According to American officials, it would require the Iraqi government to annul the agreements it has made allowing the American and coalition forces to train, advise and assist in the fight against the Islamic State.

The coalition’s mission was suspended on Jan. 1 after a crowd of angry fighters for pro-Iranian militias stormed and defaced the American Embassy in Baghdad in response to American airstrikes against one of the militia groups, Kataib Hezbollah.

Two days later, an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy at the Baghdad airport, killing the Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of a coalition of Iraqi militias, and eight other people.

That attack led to the vote by Iraq’s Parliament to expel American forces from the country and a counterstrike by Iran on two American military posts in Iraq last week.

Alissa J. Rubin reported from Baghdad, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

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What’s in (and Not in) the U.S.-China Trade Deal

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167185629_454abf37-fc8c-40ea-9ad9-c41d2ad54fd6-facebookJumbo What’s in (and Not in) the U.S.-China Trade Deal United States International Relations United States Economy International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) Currency China Agriculture and Farming

President Trump’s long-awaited trade deal with China includes some significant changes to the economic relationship between the world’s largest economies.

The agreement signed Wednesday includes some victories for Mr. Trump: China has committed to buy an additional $200 billion of American goods and services by 2021 and crack down on business practices that the Trump administration has criticized. But text of the accord does not provide enough information to determine how it will work in practice.

PAGE 6-1

The Parties recognize that the United States produces and can supply high-quality, competitively priced goods and services, while China needs to increase the importation of quality and affordable goods and services to satisfy the increasing demand from Chinese consumers.

Mr. Trump said his deal is a boon for farmers, who have been among the hardest hit by his trade war. The deal includes significant commitments from China to buy agricultural products, as well as airplanes, pharmaceuticals and oil and gas.

China’s commitment to purchase additional American exports is based on 2017 levels, and includes $52.4 billion of energy exports, $32 billion of agricultural commodities, $77.7 billion of manufactured goods and $37.9 billion of services.

Although American businesses and farmers will be pleased by those commitments, China is only agreeing to make purchases for the next two years and is vague about what happens thereafter. The agreement says the countries “project that the trajectory” of increased purchases would continue through 2025, but it remains to be seen how it will actually play out. The shopping list also leaves several open questions: What happens to China’s existing contracts with other countries for products like soybeans? Can it get out of such commitments if there isn’t domestic demand? Will the purchases distort commodities markets?

PAGE 1-1:

The Parties shall ensure fair, adequate, and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Each Party shall ensure fair and equitable market access to persons of the other Party that rely upon intellectual property protection.

The theft of intellectual property was one of the Trump administration’s main reasons for starting a confrontation with China. Previous administrations have tried to get China to crack down on this practice with limited success.

Mr. Trump’s agreement seeks to make it easier to identify and punish such theft. For instance, the deal requires China to “enumerate additional acts constituting trade secret misappropriation,” including “electronic intrusions,” a reference to hacking of computer systems.

The agreement also aims to make it easier for companies to seek redress in China if they believe their trade secrets have been stolen. The pharmaceutical industry appears to have secured significant gains, including commitments by the Chinese government to do more to protect patent owners from copycats.

PAGE 7-1

To ensure prompt and effective implementation of this Agreement, the Parties establish the following Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Arrangement (the “Arrangement”).

Among the biggest questions going in to the negotiations with China was how any agreement would be enforced. Having watched previous agreements with China fail to live up to their promise, many American experts and business executives were skeptical that the Trump administration could get China to keep the commitments it makes.

The new deal creates something called the Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Offices to receive and evaluate complaints. The deal also includes an appeals process where issues can be elevated from midlevel officials all the way up to the offices of the United States trade representative and the vice premier of China.

If the United States or China believes that the other is acting in bad faith, either country can give written notice and withdraw from the deal. Of course, Mr. Trump has already made clear that under such a scenario he would impose more tariffs on Chinese imports, thus returning the two countries to a trade war footing.

PAGE 4-1

The Parties shall work constructively to provide fair, effective, and nondiscriminatory market access for each other’s services and services suppliers. To that end, the Parties shall take specific actions beginning with the actions set forth in this Chapter with respect to the financial services sector.

It’s not clear that the agreement gives the United States big new gains in financial services. In an attempt to defuse tension with the Trump administration, China had already moved in 2017 to give foreign firms more sway in its financial sector, and American banks and other firms have been taking majority stakes in Chinese ventures.

For years, credit card companies Visa, Mastercard and American Express sought entry into China. In the deal, China agreed to accept license applications by these companies, but it did not automatically grant them access to its market. Even if China did approve their applications, it is not clear that those businesses would make many inroads in the country’s advanced electronic payment system, which is dominated by domestic companies.

PAGE 5-1

The Parties shall refrain from competitive devaluations and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes, including through large-scale, persistent, one-sided intervention in exchange markets.

Mr. Trump has long been a critic of China’s currency policy, arguing that it weakens the renminbi to achieve a competitive advantage for its exports. Last year the Trump administration labeled China a currency manipulator, before removing the tag this week as a result of China’s new currency commitments.

The country has pledged not to competitively devalue its currency and has promised to be more transparent about its interventions in foreign exchange markets.

To accomplish this, China has agreed to make public disclosures about its foreign exchange reserves and its quarterly imports of goods and services, among other things. However, much of what China is agreeing to do is in line with commitments it has already made through the Group of 20 and its obligations to the International Monetary Fund.

Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations, was unimpressed by the new currency provisions, pointing out that China is primarily promising things that it already does and that it will continue to be circumspect about its actual interventions. “Certainly it doesn’t provide the market with any new information about China’s actual currency practices,” Mr. Setser said.

PREAMBLE

REALIZING that it is in the interests of both countries that trade grow and that there is adherence to international norms so as to promote market-based outcomes;

The trade war between China and the United States has weighed on the economies of both countries. The tensions appear to have sent a chill through the United States manufacturing sector. China’s exports to the United States have plunged.

The partial truce struck Wednesday could restore some confidence, and the Chinese purchases will help some sectors of the American economy, but the pact preserves the bulk of the tariffs on $360 billion of goods from China. Administration officials have said that they will not lift those tariffs until the countries manage to agree to a phase 2 agreement. Prolonged strains in the relationship could prompt American firms to spend less in China and vice versa.

Keith Bradsher and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI’s proposed reforms ‘insufficient’ in point-by-point rebuke

David Kris, who has been appointed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee the FBI’s proposed surveillance reforms on Wednesday alerted the court that the bureau’s proposals are “insufficient” and must be dramatically “expanded” — even declaring that FBI Director Christopher Wray needs to discuss the importance of accuracy and transparency before the FISC every time he “visits a field office in 2020.”

The unclassified findings were a stark rebuke to Wray, who had filed assurances to the FISC last week that the agency was implementing new procedures and training programs to assure that the FBI presents accurate and thorough information when it seeks secret warrants from FISC judges. At the same time, Wray acknowledged the FBI’s “unacceptable” failures as it pursued Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to surveil members of the Trump team.

Kris is a former Obama administration attorney who has previously defended the FISA process on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and in other left-wing venues, making his rebuke of Wray something of an unexpected redemptive moment for Republicans who have long called for more accountability in how the bureau obtains surveillance warrants. (“You can’t make this up!” President Trump tweeted on Sunday. “David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”)

Wray had specifically promised to change relevant forms to “emphasize the need to err on the side of disclosure” to the FISC, to create a new “checklist” to be completed “during the drafting process” for surveillance warrants that reminds agents to include “relevant information” about the bias of sources used, and to “formalize” the role of FBI lawyers in the legal review process of surveillance warrants.

Additionally, Wray said the FBI would now require “agents and supervisors” to confirm with the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Office of Intelligence that the DOJ has been advised of relevant information. Wray further indicated that the FBI would formalize requirements to “reverify facts presented in prior FISA applications and make any necessary corrections,” as well as to make unspecified “technological improvements.”

But in a 15-page letter to FISC presiding Judge James E. Boasberg, obtained by Fox News, Kris declared that the proposed corrective actions “do not go far enough to provide the Court with the necessary assurance of accuracy, and therefore must be expanded and improved” — and he took aim at Wray himself.

“The focus on specific forms, checklists and technology, while appropriate, should not be allowed to eclipse the more basic need to improve cooperation between the FBI and DOJ attorneys,” Kris said, noting that the FBI and DOJ have historically not always worked well together.

“A key method of improving organizational culture is through improved tone at the top, particularly in a hierarchical organization such as the FBI,” Kris said, noting that Wray’s public statements on the matter, while positive, have not gone far enough. “Director Wray and other FBI leaders, as well as relevant leaders at the Department of Justice, should include discussions of compliance not only in one or two messages, but in virtually every significant communication with the workforce for the foreseeable future.”

FISC ORDERS FBI REVIEW OF PROCEDURES … BUT LEAVES OUT SPECIAL AGENT PIENTKA, A LITTLE-KNOWN KEY PLAYER IN THE FISA SCANDAL

Indeed, the FISC “should require the FBI and DOJ to document and report on the nature and extent of this communication; such a requirement to document and report communication may encourage the FBI and DOJ to conduct more of it,” he said. Every time Wray “visits a field office in 2020,” Kris wrote, he should stress the importance of accuracy in FISA applications.

Top-down culture changes require “ongoing” and sustained efforts, not simply a handful of organizational reforms, Kris emphasized.

Separately, Kris urged the FISC to hold more hearings and involve field agents in those hearings when possible, both to increase accountability and break down communication barriers. However, Kris noted that the bureau needs to be cautious when it implements major changes involving field agents, given its tarnished credibility.

“The single most significant process issue that is not addressed in the government’s submission concerns the possibility of using field agents, rather than headquarters agents, as declarants in FISA applicants,” Kris went on. “This would represent a major change in practice, with potentially profound consequences, because it would tend to shift responsibility away from FBI headquarters in particular cases.”

Such a reform, Kris said, should not be “undertaken lightly,” but the “FBI’s recent failures … are egregious enough to warrant serious consideration of significant reform.

“Even if field agents do not serve as declarants in some or all FISA applications, the court should require them in appropriate cases to sign or otherwise attest to the court directly with respect to asserted facts within their purview,” Kris said.

In addition to implementing procedures to test the effectiveness of new training modules and case studies set to be implemented by the FBI, Kris asserted that the FISC “should require the government to conduct more accuracy reviews, to expand those reviews, and to conduct a reasonable number of in-depth reviews on a periodic basis.” A statistical approach is necessary and feasible, he said, given the FBI and DOJ’s “vast resources.”

FISC SLAMS FBI, SAYS ‘FREQUENCY’ OF ERRORS AND INACCURACIES CALLS INTO QUESTION PREVIOUS FISA WARRANT APPLICATIONS

Concerning the changed forms, Kris urged the FISC to “require the government to review, reassess, and report periodically on possible improvements to FISA standards and procedures.” The bureau should also be forced to demonstrate that its new forms are “well-designed” and effective,” he said.

Overall, Kris echoed the findings of the Justice Department Inspector General (IG), noting that the FBI had “profoundly” and repeatedly “breached its obligation” to provide accurate information to the secret court “through a series of significant and serious errors and omissions” during the Russia probe.

The FISC has ordered an inquiry into the slew of FBI surveillance abuses over the past several years but has stopped short of requiring the bureau to reverify several potentially impacted warrant applications.

For example, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found specific evidence of oversights and errors by several top FBI employees as they sought to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Page under the FISA statute; an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) mentioned in the IG report was responsible for ensuring that the bureau’s “Woods Procedures” were followed in the Page warrant application.

Westlake Legal Group Carter-Page-Getty-001 FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775

Former Trump advisor Carter Page was surveilled by the FBI for more than a year. The DOJ inspector general has found a slew of problems with the FBI’s handling of his warrant application, including the deliberate falsification of key evidence. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to the procedures, factual assertions need to be independently verified, and information contradicting those assertions must be presented to the court. But Horowitz found several instances in which the procedures were not followed.

Horowitz’s report leaves little doubt that the unnamed SSA is Joe Pientka — a current bureau employee.

The inspector general also noted than an unnamed “Case Agent 1” was “primarily responsible” for some of the “most significant” errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications and renewals submitted to the FISC to extend the monitoring of Page.

Nevertheless, former FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer ordered the FBI only to identify “all other matters currently or previously before this Court that involved the participation of the FBI OGC [Office of General Counsel] attorney” mentioned in Horowitz’s report.

Additionally, Collyer ordered the FBI to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances” and to advise whether the attorney’s conduct “has been referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”

Those were apparent references to ex-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, whom Horowitz found to have doctored an email from the CIA. The FBI reached out to the CIA and other intelligence agencies for information on Page; the CIA responded in an email by telling the FBI that Page had contacts with Russians from 2008 to 2013, but that Page had reported them to the CIA and was serving as a CIA operational contact and informant on Russian business and intelligence interests.

Clinesmith then allegedly doctored the CIA’s email about Page to make it seem as though the agency had said only that Page was not an active source. And, the FBI included Page’s contacts with Russians in the warrant application as evidence he was a foreign “agent,” without disclosing to the secret surveillance court that Page was voluntarily working with the CIA concerning those foreign contacts.

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Republican calls for more accountability may not go unanswered for long. Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham announced last year that he did not “agree” with the IG’s assessment that the FBI’s probes were properly predicted, highlighting Durham’s broader criminal mandate and scope of review.

Durham is focusing on foreign actors, as well as the CIA, while Horowitz concentrated his attention on the Justice Department and FBI.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in his statement, adding that his “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department” and “has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033949216001_6033949304001-vs FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033949216001_6033949304001-vs FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775

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House Delivers Impeachment Charges to Senate, Paving the Way for a Trial

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-livevote-vid-facebookJumbo House Delivers Impeachment Charges to Senate, Paving the Way for a Trial United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schiff, Adam B Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — A team of newly appointed House impeachment managers marched two charges against President Trump across the Capitol on Wednesday, delivering them to the Senate along with a formal notification that they were ready to begin only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

The highly choreographed procession, hours after the House voted almost entirely along party lines to send the articles and appoint the managers, was the beginning of what promises to be a historic, if partisan, impeachment trial, a proceeding that has already opened divisions in the normally staid Senate.

The tribunal, the first impeachment trial to play out in a presidential election year, has the potential to shape Mr. Trump’s legacy, to stoke the country’s political polarization and to inject new uncertainty into the 2020 elections.

The 228-to-193 vote to adopt the articles and appoint the managers came almost a month after the House impeached Mr. Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, formally accusing him of seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine and then trying to conceal his actions from a House inquiry. Only one Democrat, Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, joined every Republican in voting “no.”

Now the trial is set to begin. On Thursday the Senate will invite the impeachment managers to formally exhibit the articles. Once they do, the Senate will summon Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to preside and all senators will take an oath to administer “impartial justice.”

The Senate must promptly issue a summons to the president informing him of the charges and requesting a response. At the White House on Wednesday, an irate Mr. Trump denounced the inquiry anew as a “hoax,” and encouraged Republican lawmakers to rally to his defense shortly before the vote.

“I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you,” he told lawmakers during a signing ceremony for an initial trade deal with China, instructing them to leave if they needed to cast votes at the Capitol against moving forward with impeachment. “They have a hoax going on over there — let’s take care of it.”

The process could damage the president, exposing conduct that some voters find unacceptable, but Mr. Trump is almost certain to use his likely acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate as a complete exoneration and turn the considerable apparatus of his campaign to stoking public outrage over the process. Democrats believe the proceeding will put pressure on Republicans — particularly those facing tough re-election challenges — to condemn Mr. Trump or risk being cast as an apologist for his misdeeds.

“We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she spoke on the House floor before the vote. Regardless of the outcome, she added, Mr. Trump would be “impeached for life.”

Earlier Wednesday, Ms. Pelosi introduced the lawmakers who would serve as prosecutors, or managers, of the case. Both chambers were also grappling on Wednesday with a trove of new documents related to Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign that played into Democrats’ arguments that any trial must include new witnesses and evidence. More material was expected to be disclosed, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.

“Time has been our friend in all of this because it has yielded incriminating evidence, more truth into the public domain,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters, arguing that the revelations had validated her strategy to delay pressing charges for weeks.

In the Senate, the contours of an unpredictable trial were taking shape as crucial Republicans indicated they would soon debate the issue of whether to call witnesses during the proceedings.

Senator Susan Collins, a moderate from Maine, said she had worked with a cluster of like-minded Republicans — Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah — to ensure a vote on the matter after opening arguments from each side, which Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has already proposed.

Ms. Pelosi announced an ethnically and geographically diverse prosecution team that will be led by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee who led the Ukraine inquiry.

He will be joined by Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Zoe Lofgren of California, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val B. Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas.

Several of the lawmakers have courtroom experience of some kind, a quality Ms. Pelosi said she had sought. Two, Mr. Crow and Ms. Garcia, are both first-term members.

The managers met for the first time as a group on Wednesday to discuss strategy in the basement chambers of the Intelligence Committee, where the impeachment inquiry unfolded last fall.

In the coming days and weeks, the managers will try to lift their arguments against Mr. Trump above partisan politics. Their task is twofold.

First they will aim to recreate the highlights of the two-month investigation into the Ukraine matter, relying on testimony from more than a dozen senior American diplomats and White House officials who outlined a broad campaign by Mr. Trump to use the levers of his government to exert pressure on Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and claims that the Democrats colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 election. The president, they said, ultimately withheld $400 million in military aid earmarked for Ukraine and a coveted White House meeting for its new leader as leverage.

“This trial is necessary because President Trump gravely abused the power of his office when he strong-armed a foreign government to announce investigations into his domestic political rival,” Mr. Nadler said during a brief debate on the House floor before the vote.

But Republican leaders on both sides of the Capitol appeared unmoved. Mr. McConnell called the House’s three-month Ukraine investigation “a pale imitation of a real inquiry.” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, called the whole process a “national nightmare.”

Both men also accused Democrats of hypocrisy for their decision to delay bringing the charges for nearly a month after arguing that the threat posed by Mr. Trump to the 2020 election was urgent and demanded speed action to remove him.

“I have three questions for my friends on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats,” Mr. McCarthy said. “What happened to impeachment being urgent? What happened to Congress being on the clock? What happened to the House being derelict in our duty if we did not act immediately?”

The trial itself is not expected to start until Thursday, when the managers will most likely exhibit the articles inside the Senate chamber.

Republican leaders have said the proceeding will not begin in earnest until Tuesday, after the long holiday weekend. That will give them time to clear other pending legislative items, including a North American trade agreement, and finish preparing for a process that could consume senators for weeks.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a gorgeous image of Jupiter’s dynamic surface.

A group of swirling clouds can be seen in Jupiter’s North-North Temperate Belt, along with several bright-white “pop-up” clouds, as NASA describes it.

The color-enhanced image was taken when Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet’s cloud tops.

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Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0

NASA’s Juno captured the above image of Jupiter. (Enhanced image by Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

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According to the space agency, two citizen scientists created the photograph using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

An anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval, can also be seen in the image.

Juno launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2011, and it was a mission to examine Jupiter’s gravity field, composition and polar magnetosphere. The craft will also seek clues on the planet’s formation and its winds — which can reach speeds of up to 384 miles per hour.

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Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0   Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0

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Pelosi Taps Diverse Team of Impeachment Managers With Legal Credentials

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-managers-sub1-facebookJumbo Pelosi Taps Diverse Team of Impeachment Managers With Legal Credentials United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Nadler, Jerrold Lofgren, Zoe Jeffries, Hakeem impeachment House of Representatives Garcia, Sylvia R. Democratic Party Demings, Val Crow, Jason

WASHINGTON — All but one of them come with legal experience, whether gleaned from evening law courses or honed while winning the conviction of an F.B.I. agent who was seduced by a Soviet spy and traded secrets for cash and gold.

Two have served in Congress for more than a quarter century, while another two have just finished their first year there.

In selecting the seven lawmakers who will serve as managers of the impeachment case against President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California turned to a diverse team from her Democratic caucus with an array of litigation credentials. Its task, which officially began on Wednesday as the House voted to appoint them, is to prosecute the case for removal of a president in only the third such Senate trial in American history.

“The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom,” Ms. Pelosi said Wednesday at a news conference to announce her choices, hours before the House voted to ratify them. “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people.”

The group also reflects the historic diversity of the House Democrats, with two African-Americans, a Latina and three women.

“The gorgeous mosaic of the House Democratic caucus is represented by its racial, its gender, its regional, its ideological and its religious diversity,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who with the other managers flanked Ms. Pelosi at her news conference Wednesday morning in a studio in the Capitol. “That is what we saw onstage.”

It offered a vivid contrast with the group of managers who prosecuted President Bill Clinton during the Senate’s last impeachment trial in 1999, a team of 13 white men.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which led the investigation into charges that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to help his re-election campaign, will be the lead prosecutor. Mr. Schiff and Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, were unsurprising choices to present the case against Mr. Trump, given their public roles in the inquiry and drafting of impeachment articles.

And on Wednesday, it fell to Mr. Nadler, who earned his law degree by attending evening courses while serving in the New York State Assembly, to oversee Wednesday’s debate on the resolution that formally approved the impeachment managers, allowing the articles of impeachment to be sent to the Senate. Behind him sat Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Schiff and the other managers: Mr. Jeffries, Representatives Val B. Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado, Zoe Lofgren of California and Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas.

Ms. Lofgren is the sole House Democrat to have participated in the past three presidential impeachment processes, having worked as a committee aide during the proceedings against Richard M. Nixon and served on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. And while Ms. Demings does not have a formal background as a lawyer, she was the first woman to be police chief of Orlando, Fla., and sits on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, giving her a prominent perch to participate in the impeachment inquiry.

The two freshmen lawmakers named to the group, Ms. Garcia and Mr. Crow, both bring critical perspectives for the arguments to remove Mr. Trump. Ms. Garcia, one of the first two Latina women to represent Texas in Congress, was a former judge, while Mr. Crow, a former Army ranger and litigator, is considered an authority on national security matters, which are at the heart of the Democratic argument for Mr. Trump’s removal.

And Mr. Schiff, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who secured the conviction against the F.B.I. agent, won his seat by defeating James E. Rogan, a Republican who had served as an impeachment manager in the 1999 Clinton trial. In a quirk of history, Mr. Rogan’s predecessor had also worked on an impeachment inquiry, into the Watergate break-in that led to Nixon’s resignation.

Ms. Pelosi began conducting individual meetings with lawmakers this month to gauge their interest in the role of manager, according to a person familiar with the meetings but not authorized to discuss them publicly. She called most of the group on Tuesday to inform them of their selection, and then met with the full group privately Wednesday morning.

“This is all about protecting the Constitution,” Ms. Demings told reporters as she left the news conference. “I’ve taken four oaths in my lifetime — two as a law enforcement officer and two here — and I take them very, very seriously.”

With only two presidential impeachment trials to serve as a guide, it is up to the group of seven to determine how they will divide the responsibilities. The group huddled behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon, but most lawmakers would not say what they discussed.

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NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a gorgeous image of Jupiter’s dynamic surface.

A group of swirling clouds can be seen in Jupiter’s North-North Temperate Belt, along with several bright-white “pop-up” clouds, as NASA describes it.

The color-enhanced image was taken when Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet’s cloud tops.

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Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0

NASA’s Juno captured the above image of Jupiter. (Enhanced image by Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

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According to the space agency, two citizen scientists created the photograph using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

An anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval, can also be seen in the image.

Juno launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2011, and it was a mission to examine Jupiter’s gravity field, composition and polar magnetosphere. The craft will also seek clues on the planet’s formation and its winds — which can reach speeds of up to 384 miles per hour.

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Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0   Westlake Legal Group nasa-juno-jupiter NASA’s Juno captures stunning Jupiter image showing ‘white oval’ storm fox-news/science/jupiter fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 08a52bf7-7699-546f-a167-1319b5398ea0

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Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss

Westlake Legal Group Marquese-Chriss2 Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss fox-news/sports/nba/golden-state-warriors fox-news/sports/nba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 63ef058b-b3d3-5393-b482-6164b4fc0fef

Guard Damion Lee signed a multiyear contract with the Warriors on Wednesday as expected given his time as a two-way player had expired and Golden State wanted to keep him for the remainder of the season.

The team also brought back forward Marquese Chriss as a two-way player after he had been waived to clear room for Lee’s promotion. With Lee coming up, that left an open two-way spot and Chriss came through waivers and was available.

The 22-year-old Chriss will split time with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G League. He has provided a boost for the injury-plagued Warriors after signing as a free agent in late September, averaging 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 17.7 minutes over 37 games with three starts.

Coach Steve Kerr was asked before Tuesday’s 124-97 home defeat to the Dallas Mavericks whether it surprised him Chriss remained available.

“It did. I guess the one thing that maybe hurt him in terms of not being picked up was the trade deadline coming up and teams wanted to hang on to roster spots and flexibility. That would be my only guess, but we are the beneficiaries of that,” Kerr said. “Assuming everything goes cleanly tomorrow, it would be good to get him back and back in the flow.”

The 27-year-old Lee, Golden State star Stephen Curry’s brother-in-law, also spent last season as a two-way player. With all the Warriors’ injuries this season, he has provided valuable minutes and contributions. He is averaging 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists playing 26.8 minutes over 26 games with 13 starts.

Westlake Legal Group Marquese-Chriss2 Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss fox-news/sports/nba/golden-state-warriors fox-news/sports/nba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 63ef058b-b3d3-5393-b482-6164b4fc0fef   Westlake Legal Group Marquese-Chriss2 Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss fox-news/sports/nba/golden-state-warriors fox-news/sports/nba fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 63ef058b-b3d3-5393-b482-6164b4fc0fef

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Ex-Cowboys great Drew Pearson disappointed after being passed over for Hall of Fame: ‘They broke my heart’

Former Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson was surrounded by family and friends when he realized he had been passed over for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial Class on Wednesday.

A video showed Pearson upset and understandably frustrated when he found out he was not a part of the group that was going to be enshrined to the Hall of Fame this summer.

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“They broke my heart,” Pearson says in the clip.

The former Cowboys receiver is the lone member of the 1970s All-Decade team who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He later told ESPN that he’s not giving up hope about one day making it to Canton, Ohio.

“It’ll stick with me until later today and after all these texts and internet stuff stops coming through, and I’ll move on,” he said. “This is the story of my life. Nothing has ever come easy. I came in here as [an] undrafted free agent. I had a bone disease as a kid, went to Tulsa, had three losing seasons in four years, three head coaches in four years, on probation three years, not getting drafted, signing for $150, making the team, overcoming the odds with 100 rookies in camp. Then turning that opportunity after making it. I made All-Pro my second year, had over 1,000 yards my second year.”

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“It’s like that Robert Frost poem. I’ve taken the road less traveled. My career was always about the road less traveled,” Pearson said.

Westlake Legal Group Drew-Pearson-Getty Ex-Cowboys great Drew Pearson disappointed after being passed over for Hall of Fame: 'They broke my heart' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0bbc7ae4-8523-5197-be36-7497d6a15a58

Drew Pearson played his entire career with the Cowboys. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Pearson said he was happy for the guys who did get in and didn’t want his frustrations to take away from their day. His former teammate and safety Cliff Harris, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; offensive linemen Jim Covert, Winston Hill and Duke Slater; wide receiver Harold Carmichael, defensive ends Ed Sprinkle and Mac Speedie, defensive backs Bobby Dillon and Donnie Shell, defensive tackle Alex Karras and former general manager George Young were named to the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class.

“If it happens, I’ll be so appreciative,” Pearson said. “I’ll still be the same excited because I think I deserve it and hopefully one day it happens. If it doesn’t, I can’t just wait around for that. I can’t sit and hope anymore.

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“If you can’t get in on your merits as an All-Decade player of the ’70s and watch others who did make it that weren’t All-Decade players, I’m not discounting them,” he added. “All I’m saying is if they are, then I am too. That’s what’s frustrating. I respect the process, but I was disappointed with the way this played out.”

Pearson spent his entire career, from 1973 to 1983, with the Cowboys. He had 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Pro receiver and won one Super Bowl.

Westlake Legal Group Drew-Pearson-Getty Ex-Cowboys great Drew Pearson disappointed after being passed over for Hall of Fame: 'They broke my heart' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0bbc7ae4-8523-5197-be36-7497d6a15a58   Westlake Legal Group Drew-Pearson-Getty Ex-Cowboys great Drew Pearson disappointed after being passed over for Hall of Fame: 'They broke my heart' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0bbc7ae4-8523-5197-be36-7497d6a15a58

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U.S.-China Trade Deal: What’s in (and Not in) the Agreement

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167185629_454abf37-fc8c-40ea-9ad9-c41d2ad54fd6-facebookJumbo U.S.-China Trade Deal: What’s in (and Not in) the Agreement United States International Relations United States Economy International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) Currency China Agriculture and Farming

President Trump’s long-awaited trade deal with China includes some significant changes to the economic relationship between the world’s largest economies.

The agreement signed Wednesday includes some victories for Mr. Trump: China has committed to buy an additional $200 billion of American goods and services by 2021 and crack down on business practices that the Trump administration has criticized. But text of the accord does not provide enough information to determine how it will work in practice.

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The Parties recognize that the United States produces and can supply high-quality, competitively priced goods and services, while China needs to increase the importation of quality and affordable goods and services to satisfy the increasing demand from Chinese consumers.

Mr. Trump said his deal is a boon for farmers, who have been among the hardest hit by his trade war. The deal includes significant commitments from China to buy agricultural products, as well as airplanes, pharmaceuticals and oil and gas.

China’s commitment to purchase additional American exports is based on 2017 levels, and includes $52.4 billion of energy exports, $32 billion of agricultural commodities, $77.7 billion of manufactured goods and $37.9 billion of services.

Although American businesses and farmers will be pleased by those commitments, China is only agreeing to make purchases for the next two years and is vague about what happens thereafter. The agreement says the countries “project that the trajectory” of increased purchases would continue through 2025, but it remains to be seen how it will actually play out. The shopping list also leaves several open questions: What happens to China’s existing contracts with other countries for products like soybeans? Can it get out of such commitments if there isn’t domestic demand? Will the purchases distort commodities markets?

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The Parties shall ensure fair, adequate, and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Each Party shall ensure fair and equitable market access to persons of the other Party that rely upon intellectual property protection.

The theft of intellectual property was one of the Trump administration’s main reasons for starting a confrontation with China. Previous administrations have tried to get China to crack down on this practice with limited success.

Mr. Trump’s agreement seeks to make it easier to identify and punish such theft. For instance, the deal requires China to “enumerate additional acts that constituting trade secret misappropriation,” including “electronic intrusions,” a reference to hacking of computer systems.

The agreement also aims to make it easier for companies to seek redress in China if they believe their trade secrets have been stolen. The pharmaceutical industry appears to have secured significant gains, including commitments by the Chinese government to do more to protect patent owners from copycats.

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To ensure prompt and effective implementation of this Agreement, the Parties establish the following Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Arrangement (the “Arrangement”).

Among the biggest questions going in to the negotiations with China was how any agreement would be enforced. Having watched previous agreements with China fail to live up to their promise, many American experts and business executives were skeptical that the Trump administration could get China to keep the commitments it makes.

The new deal creates something called the Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Offices to receive and evaluate complaints. The deal also includes an appeals process where issues can be elevated from midlevel officials all the way up to the offices of the United States trade representative and the vice premier of China.

If the United States or China believes that the other is acting in bad faith, either country can give written notice and withdraw from the deal. Of course, Mr. Trump has already made clear that under such a scenario he would impose more tariffs on Chinese imports, thus returning the two countries to a trade war footing.

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The Parties shall work constructively to provide fair, effective, and nondiscriminatory market access for each other’s services and services suppliers. To that end, the Parties shall take specific actions beginning with the actions set forth in this Chapter with respect to the financial services sector.

It’s not clear that the agreement gives the United States big new gains in financial services. In an attempt to defuse tension with the Trump administration, China had already moved in 2017 to give foreign firms more sway in its financial sector, and American banks and other firms have been taking majority stakes in Chinese ventures.

For years, credit card companies Visa, Mastercard and American Express sought entry into China. In the deal, China agreed to accept license applications by these companies, but it did not automatically grant them access to its market. Even if China did approve their applications, it is not clear that those businesses would make many inroads in the country’s advanced electronic payment system, which is dominated by domestic companies.

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The Parties shall refrain from competitive devaluations and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes, including through large-scale, persistent, one-sided intervention in exchange markets.

Mr. Trump has long been a critic of China’s currency policy, arguing that it weakens the renminbi to achieve a competitive advantage for its exports. Last year the Trump administration labeled China a currency manipulator, before removing the tag this week as a result of China’s new currency commitments.

The country has pledged not to competitively devalue its currency and has promised to be more transparent about its interventions in foreign exchange markets.

To accomplish this, China has agreed to make public disclosures about its foreign exchange reserves and its quarterly imports of goods and services, among other things. However, much of what China is agreeing to do is in line with commitments it has already made through the Group of 20 and its obligations to the International Monetary Fund.

Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations, was unimpressed by the new currency provisions, pointing out that China is primarily promising things that it already does and that it will continue to be circumspect about its actual interventions. “Certainly it doesn’t provide the market with any new information about China’s actual currency practices,” Mr. Setser said.

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REALIZING that it is in the interests of both countries that trade grow and that there is adherence to international norms so as to promote market-based outcomes;

The trade war between China and the United States has weighed on the economies of both countries. The tensions appear to have sent a chill through the United States manufacturing sector. China’s exports to the United States have plunged.

The partial truce struck Wednesday could restore some confidence, and the Chinese purchases will help some sectors of the American economy, but the pact preserves the bulk of the tariffs on $360 billion of goods from China. Administration officials have said that they will not lift those tariffs until the countries manage to agree to a phase 2 agreement. Prolonged strains in the relationship could prompt American firms to spend less in China and vice versa.

Keith Bradsher and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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