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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 11)

In Phone Call, Trump Lends Saudi Crown Prince U.S. Support

Westlake Legal Group 5d7d4de1230000580553ca40 In Phone Call, Trump Lends Saudi Crown Prince U.S. Support

President Donald Trump on Saturday offered U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense in a phone call hours after drone strikes left swaths of Saudi oil fields aflame and disrupted global energy production. 

Two sites, including the world’s largest oil processing facility and a massive Saudi oil field, were hit by explosives, leaving a smoke trail reportedly visible from space. 

Trump, the White House confirmed, told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman that the U.S. “strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure.” 

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, part of a yearslong war led by the Saudis against the Iran-backed group. Earlier this month a Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on a Houthi detention center, leaving at least 100 dead and dozens more injured. It was the Saudi side’s deadliest attack so far this year, according to the Yemen Data Project.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency was first to report the call between American and Saudi leadership.

“Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust,” the White House said in a statement. “The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the Houthi drone strikes directly on Iran, currently at odds with the U.S. as a nuclear arms deal reached by the Obama administration has steadily unraveled in the Trump era.

In a pair of tweets, Pompeo called on the international community “to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks” while hinting at possible consequences for Tehran.

It was not immediately clear whether the drone strikes led to any injuries or deaths at the two oil fields. Seeking to assure global markets, Saudi officials told The Wall Street Journal that the facilities would return to normal production levels Monday.

The International Energy Agency, which represents top energy-consuming nations, said it was monitoring the situation closely. 

The deadly conflict has sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In Yemen ― the Arab world’s poorest country ― 10 million people are “one step away from famine,” the United Nations announced earlier this year.

Nearly 100,000 have died since a Saudi-led coalition began battling the Houthi rebels in early 2015, months after Houthis seized the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

Trump has faced strong criticism at home for his chummy relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince ― who is accused of human rights abuses including the brutal 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

The call to the Crown Price, commonly referred to by his initials, MBS, came just a few days after the U.S. said it would release the name of a Saudi national involved in carrying out the 9/11 terrorist attacks to families of the victims. 

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Pompeo accuses Iran of ‘unprecedented attack’ after drones hit Saudi oil facilities

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the international community to join him Saturday in condemning Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, which he described as “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister Mohammad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” Pompeo tweeted, referring to the nation’s president and foreign affairs minister. ” … There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack hours before Pompeo’s tweet. The world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field were impacted, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

DRONE STRIKES TARGET WORLD’S LARGEST OIL FIELD PROCESSING FACILITY, SAUDI OIL FIELD; ATTACK CLAIMED BY IRANIAN-BACKED REBELS

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” Pompeo concluded.

According to multiple news reports that cited unidentified sources, the drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world’s largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days. It remained unclear if anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo’s description of the attack, calling it an “irresponsible simplification.”

“The Saudis and Houthis are at war. The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it’s just not as simple as Houthis=Iran,” he added.

Saturday’s attack comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage. The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

In a short address aired by the Houthi-controlled Al-Masirah satellite news channel, military spokesman Yahia Sarie said the rebels launched 10 drones after receiving “intelligence” support from those inside the kingdom. He warned that attacks by the rebels would only get worse if the war continues.

“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” Sarie said.

The rebels hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other parts f the Arab world’s poorest country. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has fought to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, called the strikes “extremely worrying” and urged “all parties to prevent such further incidents, which pose a serious threat to regional security, complicate the already fragile situation and jeopardize [the] UN-led political process.”

Trump called Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of the drone strikes and expressed the United States’ readiness to cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability, according to a news release from the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Trump said recent attacks against Saudi state-run oil facilities have had a negative impact on the U.S. and global economies.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The White House readout of the same call said the president spoke to the crown prince to “offer his support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure,” the White House statement added. “Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust. The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6   Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6

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Drone attack by Yemeni rebels sets off fires at major Saudi Arabian oil facilities

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Drone attack by Yemeni rebels sets off fires at major Saudi Arabian oil facilities

Drones claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco early Saturday, sparking a huge fire at a processor crucial to global energy supplies. (Sept. 14) AP, AP

Drones launched by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels hit key Saudi Arabian oil installations Saturday, setting off fires at a major oil processing facility and oilfield, according to Saudi and rebel officials.

The facilities are operated by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant, and produce up to 70% of the country’s crude oil output.

Rising smoke from the fires at the sites could be seen by satellites in space.

President Donald Trump discussed the attacks with Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman in a phone call Saturday to “offer his support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense,” according to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure,” Deere said. “Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust. The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”

The official Saudi Press Agency, quoting an an interior ministry spokesperson, said the fires at the facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were under control. The ministry confirmed that the blazes erupted after the facilities were hit by drones around 4 a.m.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting “people familiar with the matter,” reported that Saudi Arabia is shutting down about half of its oil output following the strikes.

The shutdown would amount to a loss of about 5 million barrels a day, the Journal said, quoting its source, or roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil. 

The attack had no immediate impact on global oil prices as markets were closed for the weekend, the Associated Press reports. Benchmark Brent crude had been trading at just above $60 a barrel.

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid said on Twitter that Washington “strongly” condemned the attacks.

“These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” he wrote.

Earlier this year: Saudi Arabia says its oil infrastructure attacked by drones

In a short address aired by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel, military spokesman Yahia Sarie said the rebels launched 10 drones in their coordinated attack on the sites after receiving “intelligence” support from those inside the kingdom. He warned that attacks by the rebels would only get worse if the war continues.

“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” Sarie said.

Saturday’s drone attack was only the latest against the Saudi oil infrastructure by Houthi rebels who are themselves in a war against a Saudi-led coalition aided by U.S. logistical and intelligence assistance.

Since the start of the war in 2015, Houthi rebels have been using drones in combat. The first appeared to be off-the-shelf, hobby-kit-style drones. Later, versions nearly identical to Iranian models turned up. Iran denies supplying the Houthis with weapons, although the U.N., the West and Gulf Arab nations say Tehran does.

In August, a Houthi-claimed attack sparked a fire at Aramco’s Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility but no casualties were reported by the company, Al Jazeera reports.

The rebels hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other territory in the Arab world’s poorest country. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has fought to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

The war has generated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, pushing the country to the edge of famine and killed more than 90,000 people since 2015, according to the U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks the conflict.

Read more: House votes to block Trump administration’s weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threat

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq as “the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world.”

The facility turns sour crude oil into sweet crude, then sends it to transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea or to refineries for local production. It can process and estimated 7 million barrels of crude oil a day, or around 70% of Saudi Arabia’s recent daily output of more than 9 million barrels of crude oil a day.

The plant has been targeted in the past by militants. Al-Qaeda-claimed suicide bombers tried but failed to attack the oil complex in February 2006.

The Khurais oil field is believed to produce over 1 million barrels of crude oil a day. It has estimated reserves of over 20 billion barrels of oil, according to Aramco.

Contributing: Associated Press

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/09/14/drone-attack-saudi-arabia-yemeni-rebels-set-fire-oil-facilities/2325055001/

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Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two key oil installations deep inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday, facilities that process the vast majority of the country’s output, raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, which backs the Houthis, calling it “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and asserting, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

It was the single most audacious attack on Saudi Arabia that the Houthis have claimed since the kingdom intervened in Yemen’s war more than four years ago, devastating the impoverished country and creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The two facilities can process 8.45 million barrels of crude oil a day between them, the bulk of production in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. It was not immediately clear how badly the facilities were damaged, but shutting them down for more than a few days would affect global oil supply.

The attacks — some 500 miles from Yemeni soil — not only exposed a Saudi vulnerability in the its war against the Houthis, but demonstrated how relatively cheap it has become to stage such high-profile attacks. The drones used in Saturday’s attack may have cost $15,000 or less to build, said Wim Zwijnenburg, a senior researcher on drones at PAX, a Dutch peace organization.

The difference in resources available to the attacker and the victim could hardly have been greater, illustrating how David-and-Goliath style attacks using cheap drones are adding a new layer of volatility to the Middle East. Such attacks not only damage vital economic infrastructure, but can also increase security costs, disrupt markets and spread fear.

While the Houthis do not have significant financial resources, the drones have given them a way to hurt Saudi Arabia, which was the world’s third highest spender on military equipment in 2018, investing an estimated $67.6 billion on arms.

“This has given the Saudis a challenge they can’t confront, no matter what their financial, military or intelligence capabilities are,” said Farea Al-Muslimi, co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, which focuses on Yemen.

The attacks hit deeper into Saudi territory than most previous strikes, and the Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the operation, which they said was one of the largest aerial operations they have carried out. It set off blazes whose smoke could be seen from space.

The war in Yemen began in 2014, when the Houthi rebels seized control of the capital and most of Yemen’s northwest, sending the government into exile. A coalition of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with some support from the United States, began bombing Yemen in 2015, hoping to push the Houthis back and restore the government.

Instead, the war has settled into a stalemate and the Houthis have developed increasingly sophisticated ways of striking back at Saudi Arabia, most notably with drones. The first indications of the Houthis using drones emerged last year, and their capabilities have improved since.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160746084_80a8951c-0d10-4623-9719-4dbb27b9b4fd-articleLarge Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike Yemen Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Houthis Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces

A still image from a video obtained from social media showing smoke billowing at an Aramco facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, one of two oil processing centers struck by drones on Saturday. It was not clear how badly damaged the facilities were, but such strikes have the potential to disrupt world oil supplies.Creditvia Reuters

The Houthis are part of a regional network of militant groups aligned with and backed by Iran, and United States and Saudi officials suspect that Iran has dispatched technicians to Yemen to train the Houthis on drone and missile technology.

United Nations investigators have written that the Houthis have advanced drones that could have a range of up to 930 miles. That leaves open the possibility that drones used Saturday had flown from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. But they may also have been launched in another country, such as Iraq, or from inside Saudi Arabia itself.

The Houthis have attacked Saudi infrastructure before, primarily with less accurate ballistic missiles.

Mr. Zwijnenburg, the researcher, said the drones gave the Houthis an edge because they were cheap to produce, hard to detect and shoot down, and able to cause damage and disruption that was hugely disproportionate to their cost. While the Houthis’ exact capabilities are not known, they have clearly developed over time.

“They are learning to adapt their drone capabilities to specifically attack Saudi targets, avoiding detection, avoiding interception, which means that in the future they have a larger set of targets to choose from,” he said.

The Houthis’ alliance with Iran also raises the possibility that their successes could be shared with other Iran-aligned militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, he added.

The strike on one of the centers hit, in Abqaiq, is particularly worrying because it processes crude from several key Saudi oil fields, said Helima Croft, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, an investment bank.

“This is the mother lode for an attack on Saudi infrastructure,” she said. “We have always been concerned about an attack on Abqaiq.”

Whether world oil supplies are disrupted “will depend on the degree of the damage,” she said. Such a disruption could lead to a release of oil from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Rapidan Energy Group, a Washington-based market research firm, called Abqaia by far the most important oil facility in the world and said repairing it could take months.

“A successful attack on Abqaiq is about the worst thing energy security planners think about,” because the specialized equipment there would be difficult to quickly replace, Robert McNally, Rapidan’s president and a former White House energy adviser under President George W. Bush, said in an interview.

If the damage turns out to be major, he said, the disruption could outlast Saudi oil supplies. The firm estimated the Saudis have 188 million barrels of oil on hand, or enough to cover a disruption of 5 million barrels per day for 37 days.

Westlake Legal Group 04mag-yemen-newpromo2-articleLarge-v3 Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike Yemen Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Houthis Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces

How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate — and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Saudi Arabia thought a bombing campaign would quickly crush its enemies in Yemen. But three years later, the Houthis refuse to give up, even as 14 million people face starvation.

Mr. McNally predicted that oil traders would quickly “start doing the math,” potentially sending prices upward.

He added that this attack is “likely to put on ice” talk of easing sanctions on Iran, with the consequences depending on how closely Tehran can be linked to the attacks.

“Forget about easing sanctions,” he said. “We are talking about a step up on geopolitical risks.”

Sadad al-Husseini, a former senior executive of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, said the company had enough reserves to keep world supplies steady if the plants were shut down for a few days. A long disruption would be another matter, analysts say.

While there were no reports of casualties, the attacks struck at the core of the Saudi economy. They came just as Aramco accelerated plans for what could be the largest initial public offering of stock in the world, an event being closely watched by investors around the world.

An Aramco spokesman declined to comment.

The Saudi interior ministry reported fires at the two processing centers, in Abqaiq and Khurais, before dawn on Saturday, and later said they had been attacked with drones. The ministry said both fires had been “controlled and contained,” the Saudi-owned news network Al Arabiya reported without any further details.

A Houthi spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, said in a statement broadcast by Al-Masirah, the faction’s news organization, that the group’s forces “carried out a massive offensive operation of 10 drones targeting Abqaiq and Khurais refineries.”

The Houthis — supported by Saudi Arabia’s chief rival in the region, Iran — have tried to take the fight to Saudi Arabia before. But those efforts have been pinpricks compared to the devastation in Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians, many of them in Saudi airstrikes using American-made weapons. It has also created a massive humanitarian crisis with millions at risk of starvation and millions of others homeless.

In a report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, a panel of experts said both sides in the conflict were committing horrific human rights abuses, including arbitrary killings, rape and torture, with impunity. The atrocities underscored the collective failure of the international community, the panel said.

After a period of relative calm, following a cease-fire brokered late last year, tensions have escalated again in recent months. Houthi forces attacked Saudi pipelines and other oil infrastructure in May, temporarily halting the flow of crude oil, and in June they struck an airport in Saudi Arabia, wounding dozens of people.

In July, in a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition, the United Arab Emirates, which had been providing arms, money and, crucially, ground troops in Yemen, announced a rapid pullout from a conflict that had become too costly. The move left diplomats and analysts wondering whether Saudi Arabia would continue the war on its own.

Although the Trump administration has been a vocal supporter of Saudi efforts to deter Iran and its allies in the region, congressional opposition to the sale of arms and the deployment of extra troops in Saudi Arabia has limited the scope of support from the United States.

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Trump says Taliban have ‘never been hit harder’ after nixing peace talks

Westlake Legal Group AP19252812373145 Trump says Taliban have 'never been hit harder' after nixing peace talks Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/politics/defense/wars fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/politics fnc b4ef9f13-b3e2-55ba-8fba-387f959b28b9 article

President Trump claimed on Twitter Saturday that the Taliban have “never been hit harder,” one week after he abruptly canceled peace talks with the Islamist organization.

“Killing 12 people, including one great American soldier, was not a good idea,” Trump said. “There are much better ways to set up a negotiation. The Taliban knows they made a big mistake, and they have no idea how to recover!”

The message came hours after the president announced that the son of Usama bin Laden, Hamza, had been killed in a recent counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Hamza bin Laden had been a high-ranking member of Al Qaeda, the terror group his father formerly led.

DRONE STRIKES TARGET WORLD’S LARGEST OIL FACILITY, SAUDI OIL FIELD; ATTACK CLAIMED BY IRANIAN-BACKED REBELS 

Reports of Hamza’s death had surfaced in July but were not confirmed until the president’s Saturday statement.

The message about the Taliban also came one day after its negotiators landed in Moscow to meet with Russian officials.

Last Saturday, Trump announced that he had canceled meetings with Taliban and Afghan officials at Camp David following a recent attack which killed an American soldier.

TROPICAL STORM HUMBERTO FORMS EAST OF BATTERED BAHAMAS 

“[I]n order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled [sic] the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?”

The Afghan government was largely shut out of the negotiations and concerned that any finalized U.S.-Taliban deal would delay the elections while a national unity government was formed, forcing the exit of President Ashraf Ghani.

On Saturday, Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi told reporters that a peace deal with the Taliban could only come after holding the presidential election scheduled for Sept. 28.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Nothing will impede the presidential election from happening,” said Seddiqi. ” … Legitimacy of peace cannot be achieved without elections.”

The Taliban, who consider the Afghan government a U.S. puppet and have refused to hold direct talks with it, have warned Afghans not to vote and that polling stations will be targets.

Sediqqi said that the Afghan government has suspended its own peace efforts for now. After the elections, the “progress of the peace process” would be a priority, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19252812373145 Trump says Taliban have 'never been hit harder' after nixing peace talks Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/politics/defense/wars fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/politics fnc b4ef9f13-b3e2-55ba-8fba-387f959b28b9 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19252812373145 Trump says Taliban have 'never been hit harder' after nixing peace talks Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/politics/defense/wars fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/politics fnc b4ef9f13-b3e2-55ba-8fba-387f959b28b9 article

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Biden, Sanders continue sparring on health care after third debate

Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Biden-AP Biden, Sanders continue sparring on health care after third debate Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0267ace6-0bf9-5db0-993c-587396ee056d

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have kept up their debate over health care following their spat during Thursday night’s Democratic debate, with Biden accusing Sanders of effectively handing Americans a pay cut and Sanders accusing Biden of distorting the socialist’s “Medicare-for-all” plan.

“I do not doubt the motives of either of the two leaders on the issue of Medicare-for-all. I don’t doubt their motives,” Biden said in Houston Friday while discussing Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “but it’s going to cost over $3.4 trillion dollars a year just to fund Medicare. $3.4 trillion a year.

“That is twice the entire federal budget save interest on the debt. And so how do you do that without raising taxes? There’s not enough taxes to cut — eliminate tax breaks for the wealthy — there’s not enough out there to get you there,” he added.

Biden, the frontrunner, has faced criticism from multiple candidates for wanting to build on the Affordable Care Act rather than advocating a larger, single-payer program like Medicare-for-all.

BIDEN MOCKS SANDERS: ‘FOR A SOCIALIST, YOU’VE GOT A LOT MORE CONFIDENCE IN CORPORATE AMERICA THAN I DO’

On Friday, the Sanders campaign accused Biden of “dishonest attacks” and furthering the health care industry’s narrative on the issue.

“It’s disappointing Joe Biden is echoing the deceptions and falsehoods of the health care industry … Joe Biden may love the insurance industry and the outrageously high premiums, co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses they charge us. Most Americans don’t,” a campaign statement read.

During a campaign stop in Nevada Friday, Sanders repeated his refrain that health care is a human right and that Medicare-for-all would cover every man, woman and child in the country. It requires no premiums, no deductibles and no out-of-pocket costs and would expand Medicare to include such things as dental care, hearing aids and home health care.”

“Apparently the vice president thinks it is just wonderful for people to be paying $1,000 a month … just for health care premiums,” he said during the town hall event in Carson City. “Having deductibles of $4,000 or $5,000 or more — not a problem. Paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs — not a problem. Well, I think those are problems.”

“It’s not a terribly radical idea because in one form or another it exists in countries all over the world, including Canada,” Sanders said. “Is it free? No. It is funded out of the general fund in a progressive manner.”

Later in the event, Sanders listened as a 58-year-old Navy veteran with Huntington’s disease told the senator he was planning to kill himself after losing his health care and racking up $139,000 in medical expenses.

SANDERS LAUGHS OUT LOUD AT BIDEN’S ‘RATHER HUMOROUS’ CLAIM HE’S TOO TRUSTING OF ‘CORPORATE AMERICA’

Sanders responded, “No, you’re not,” and promised to meet with the man privately after the event, according to the Las Vegas Journal-Review.

The scrap between Biden and Sanders is a microcosm of a broader, ongoing debate within the Democratic Party. Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, has championed progressive proposals and adopted a more aggressive, anti-corporate tone than Biden has.

When the two faced off on Thursday, Biden attempted to mock Sanders’ anti-corporate image by accusing him of trusting employers too much in his “Medicare for all” proposal. Biden argued that employers who now pay a share of workers’ premiums would pocket that money instead of giving workers raises if the government were to cover all health care costs.

“Let me tell you something, for a socialist, you’ve got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do,” Biden said.

Sanders later laughed that statement off during an interview with Fox News following the debate.

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“One of us voted for the Wall Street bailout — that was Biden, by the way. One of us voted for disastrous trade agreements that were sponsored by corporate America — that was Biden. One of us voted for a bankruptcy bill that was pushed by the banks — that was Biden,” he said.

“So, to suggest that Bernie Sanders is sympathetic to the corporate elite, I think, is rather humorous.”

Fox News’ Madeleine Rivera, Brooke Singman, Charles Creitz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Biden-AP Biden, Sanders continue sparring on health care after third debate Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0267ace6-0bf9-5db0-993c-587396ee056d   Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Biden-AP Biden, Sanders continue sparring on health care after third debate Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0267ace6-0bf9-5db0-993c-587396ee056d

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Curtis Hill: Is Google an illegal monopoly? 48 state attorneys general – including me – are investigating

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6085003690001_6085002488001-vs Curtis Hill: Is Google an illegal monopoly? 48 state attorneys general – including me – are investigating fox-news/us fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics/regulation fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/orthopedics/technology fox-news/entertainment/events/industry fox news fnc/opinion fnc Curtis Hill article 59681f3c-07e0-59cb-bd3e-827c0a585fe2

“Our aim is not to do away with corporations,” President Theodore Roosevelt once said. “We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”

A few days ago I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow attorneys general on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. The occasion was our announcement of a wide-ranging multistate investigation into Google’s business practices – particularly its advertising techniques and its search engine.

GOOGLE HITS BACK AT CRITICS AMID ANTITRUST INVESTIGATIONS

We are determined to learn whether this giant of the tech industry has engaged in anti-competitive behavior in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this investigation is its bipartisan nature. Our group of attorneys general includes 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans. We represent 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. These days, achieving this kind of consensus among so diverse a collection of individuals is a virtual miracle.

The common cause that brings us together is our mutual interest in protecting our states’ consumers by making sure Google plays by the rules.

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We’re talking about a company that controls a hefty chunk of all online searches and advertising.

In fact, as The Washington Post reported, Google captures 75 percent of all spending on U.S. search ads. This year the company is forecast to earn more than $48 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue. Google’s parent company has more cash on hand – $117 billion – than any other company in the world.

On Google’s explosive success, let’s be clear: If the company has gained its advantages in the marketplace through free and fair competition, then good for Google. There is no doubt, after all, that Google provides useful products and valuable services to Americans and others around the globe.

These days, folks looking for relevant information online are figuring out that Google’s top search results often take them to entities paying premium fees to appear first in the search results.  Or, in other cases, the top search results lead them to other Google-operated sites such as YouTube.

If facts uncovered in this investigation indicate that Google engaged in calculated manipulation to improperly thwart competition, however, then we must pursue appropriate follow-up actions to protect the free market. We must promote conditions under which all entities may compete on a level playing field in accordance with the rule of law.

In the long run, monopolies often wind up providing customers lower quality and/or higher prices than companies forced to compete.

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These days, folks looking for relevant information online are figuring out that Google’s top search results often take them to entities paying premium fees to appear first in the search results.  Or, in other cases, the top search results lead them to other Google-operated sites such as YouTube.

Consider the wisdom of economist Milton Friedman, who spent his life advocating for the free market.

“The great danger to the consumer is the monopoly – whether private or governmental,” Friedman once said. “His most effective protection is free competition at home and free trade throughout the world. The consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him.”

Google’s control of online advertising markets has been particularly harmful to online journalism outlets and other web publishers. Free societies benefit when the marketplace rewards the dissemination of news, research and ideas produced by diverse sources.

Speaking for myself, I never take lightly the decision to participate in actions against businesses.

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We all recognize the great contributions of companies large and small to the American way of life: employing workers; providing goods and services to consumers; generating tax revenue and producing all the other benefits that businesses create for society in general.

We all should support policies that enable businesses to innovate and thrive. This includes maintaining an environment of free and fair competition.

Just like individual citizens, corporations must be held accountable for following the law. To this end, I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow state attorneys general to continue this investigation.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6085003690001_6085002488001-vs Curtis Hill: Is Google an illegal monopoly? 48 state attorneys general – including me – are investigating fox-news/us fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics/regulation fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/orthopedics/technology fox-news/entertainment/events/industry fox news fnc/opinion fnc Curtis Hill article 59681f3c-07e0-59cb-bd3e-827c0a585fe2   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6085003690001_6085002488001-vs Curtis Hill: Is Google an illegal monopoly? 48 state attorneys general – including me – are investigating fox-news/us fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics/regulation fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/orthopedics/technology fox-news/entertainment/events/industry fox news fnc/opinion fnc Curtis Hill article 59681f3c-07e0-59cb-bd3e-827c0a585fe2

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Houthi Drone Strikes Disrupt Almost Half Of Saudi Oil Exports

Westlake Legal Group saudi-ae7e5f61a75e93f04737080ea610315fe56cdbf0-s1100-c15 Houthi Drone Strikes Disrupt Almost Half Of Saudi Oil Exports

Smoke fills the sky at the Abqaiq oil processing facility on Saturday, in Saudi Arabia. AP hide caption

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AP

Westlake Legal Group  Houthi Drone Strikes Disrupt Almost Half Of Saudi Oil Exports

Smoke fills the sky at the Abqaiq oil processing facility on Saturday, in Saudi Arabia.

AP

Updated at 4:51 p.m. ET

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for drone strikes on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities early Saturday, according to a statement by a Houthi spokesman.

Reuters and The Wall Street Journal report that about half of the country’s oil production has been disrupted, or 5 million barrels a day. Saudi Arabia produces approximately one-tenth of the world’s crude oil, but for now, the impact on global oil prices is unknown, as markets are closed for the weekend.

According to the website of Al-Masirah, a Houthi-run satellite news channel, spokesman Yahya Saree vowed additional attacks if Saudi coalition forces did not withdraw from Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry confirmed the strikes on the oil-processing facility in Abqaiq and an oil field in Khurais, both owned by state-owned Saudi Aramco. Abqaiq is about 230 miles away from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, and the field in Khurais is 100 miles away.

According to Aramco’s website, the facility in Abqaiq is both the company’s largest oil processing facility and the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world, playing a “pivotal role” in the company’s operations.

Bob Tippee, editor of the trade publication Oil and Gas Journal, said that the facility in Abqaiq held light crude oil as opposed to heavy crude oil, which requires more intense refining to remove sulfur and other impurities. He said that factories that are built to refine only light crude oil may not be able to find another crude exporter to fill the gap during the disruption.

“If the light crude that’s been disrupted cannot be replaced with light crude of similar grade and similar quality immediately, which it probably cannot, there will be some problems in the market,” Tippee said.

The attack also throws into question a rumored initial public offering of 5% of Aramco’s stock, for which the company had hired nine banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley, Reuters reported. Tippee said the offering, which is expected to raise $100 billion, is part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on the price of crude oil.

Videos posted online showed several large fires and plumes of smoke presumably at the Abqaiq facility, as well as the sounds of apparent gunfire in the area surrounding the plant. The Saudi Press Agency reported that Aramco security had controlled the fires at both facilities. No casualties have been reported. The Abqaiq plant was attacked in 2006 by al-Qaida in a failed suicide bomb attack, NPR reported.

Houthi rebels, partnered with Iran, have clashed with a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015, after the rebels ousted Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in January of that year. The Houthi rebels now control large parts of northern Yemen and have launched similar strikes on oil facilities and airports in Saudi Arabia this year. A cease-fire between the Houthis and Saudi-backed government forces was agreed to in December, but has not held.

The Saudi coalition is bolstered in part by the United States, through logistics and intelligence support, as well as weapons sales and aerial refueling.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s drone strikes, President Trump spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman “to offer his support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense,” the White House said in a statement. “The United States strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure. Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust,” the statement read.

In a separate statement on Twitter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the attack on Iran and accused the nation’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of duplicity.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The war in Yemen has strained relations between Congress and President Trump, after Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have ceased U.S. involvement in the coalition by invoking the 1973 War Powers Act. A measure to override the veto failed by 14 votes.

The political clash came after the October 2018 dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which the Senate blamed on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in another resolution introduced in December 2018. The Trump administration has declined to confirm or deny a CIA report concluding that the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, and vetoed resolutions to halt the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia in July.

Tehran’s support for the Houthi rebels could escalate the confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump pulled out of in 2018. Immediately after the withdrawal, the U.S. put in place a campaign of “maximum pressure,” blocking most of Iran’s crucial oil exports. NPR reported that the July seizure of an Iranian oil tanker by British authorities in Gibraltar sparked an international diplomatic crisis, as the U.S. pushed to keep the ship detained under suspicion that it was headed to supply Syria. The ship was eventually released.

Andrew Murrison, a British foreign affairs minister with oversight of the Middle East, tweeted that “the Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure.”

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Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two key oil installations deep inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday, facilities that process the vast majority of the country’s output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, which backs the Houthis, calling it “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and asserting, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

It was the single most audacious attack on Saudi Arabia that the Houthis have claimed since the kingdom intervened in Yemen’s war more than four years ago, devastating the impoverished country and creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The two facilities can process 8.45 million barrels of crude oil a day between them, the bulk of production in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. It was not immediately clear how badly the facilities were damaged, but shutting them down for more than a few days would affect global oil supply.

The attacks — some 500 miles from Yemeni soil — not only exposed a Saudi vulnerability in the its war against the Houthis, but demonstrated how relatively cheap it has become to stage such high-profile attacks. The drones used in Saturday’s attack may have cost $15,000 or less to build, said Wim Zwijnenburg, a senior researcher on drones at PAX, a Dutch peace organization.

The difference in resources available to the attacker and the victim could hardly have been greater, illustrating how David-and-Goliath style attacks using cheap drones are adding a new layer of volatility to the Middle East. Such attacks not only damage vital economic infrastructure, but can also increase security costs, disrupt markets and spread fear.

While the Houthis do not have significant financial resources, the drones have given them a way to hurt Saudi Arabia, which was the world’s third highest spender on military equipment in 2018, investing an estimated $67.6 billion on arms.

“This has given the Saudis a challenge they can’t confront, no matter what their financial, military or intelligence capabilities are,” said Farea Al-Muslimi, co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, which focuses on Yemen.

The attacks hit deeper into Saudi territory than most previous strikes, and the Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the operation, which they said was one of the largest aerial operations they have carried out. It set off blazes whose smoke could be seen from space.

The war in Yemen began in 2014, when the Houthi rebels seized control of the capital and most of Yemen’s northwest, sending the government into exile. A coalition of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with some support from the United States, began bombing Yemen in 2015, hoping to push the Houthis back and restore the government.

Instead, the war has settled into a stalemate and the Houthis have developed increasingly sophisticated ways of striking back at Saudi Arabia, most notably with drones. The first indications of the Houthis using drones emerged last year, and their capabilities have improved since.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160746084_80a8951c-0d10-4623-9719-4dbb27b9b4fd-articleLarge Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike Yemen Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Houthis Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces

A still image from a video obtained from social media showing smoke billowing at an Aramco facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, one of two oil processing centers struck by drones on Saturday. It was not clear how badly damaged the facilities were, but such strikes have the potential to disrupt world oil supplies.Creditvia Reuters

The Houthis are part of a regional network of militant groups aligned with and backed by Iran, and United States and Saudi officials suspect that Iran has dispatched technicians to Yemen to train the Houthis on drone and missile technology.

United Nations investigators have written that the Houthis have advanced drones that could have a range of up to 930 miles. That leaves open the possibility that drones used Saturday had flown from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. But they may also have been launched in another country, such as Iraq, or from inside Saudi Arabia itself.

The Houthis have attacked Saudi infrastructure before, primarily with less accurate ballistic missiles.

Mr. Zwijnenburg, the researcher, said the drones gave the Houthis an edge because they were cheap to produce, hard to detect and shoot down, and able to cause damage and disruption that was hugely disproportionate to their cost. While the Houthis’ exact capabilities are not known, they have clearly developed over time.

“They are learning to adapt their drone capabilities to specifically attack Saudi targets, avoiding detection, avoiding interception, which means that in the future they have a larger set of targets to choose from,” he said.

The Houthis’ alliance with Iran also raises the possibility that their successes could be shared with other Iran-aligned militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, he added.

The strike on one of the centers hit, in Abqaiq, is particularly worrying because it processes crude from several key Saudi oil fields, said Helima Croft, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, an investment bank.

“This is the mother lode for an attack on Saudi infrastructure,” she said. “We have always been concerned about an attack on Abqaiq.”

Whether world oil supplies are disrupted “will depend on the degree of the damage,” she said. Such a disruption could lead to a release of oil from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Rapidan Energy Group, a Washington-based market research firm, called Abqaia by far the most important oil facility in the world and said repairing it could take months.

“A successful attack on Abqaiq is about the worst thing energy security planners think about,” because the specialized equipment there would be difficult to quickly replace, Robert McNally, Rapidan’s president and a former White House energy adviser under President George W. Bush, said in an interview.

If the damage turns out to be major, he said, the disruption could outlast Saudi oil supplies. The firm estimated the Saudis have 188 million barrels of oil on hand, or enough to cover a disruption of 5 million barrels per day for 37 days.

Westlake Legal Group 04mag-yemen-newpromo2-articleLarge-v3 Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike Yemen Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Houthis Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces

How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate — and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Saudi Arabia thought a bombing campaign would quickly crush its enemies in Yemen. But three years later, the Houthis refuse to give up, even as 14 million people face starvation.

Mr. McNally predicted that oil traders would quickly “start doing the math,” potentially sending prices upward.

He added that this attack is “likely to put on ice” talk of easing sanctions on Iran, with the consequences depending on how closely Tehran can be linked to the attacks.

“Forget about easing sanctions,” he said. “We are talking about a step up on geopolitical risks.”

Sadad al-Husseini, a former senior executive of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, said the company had enough reserves to keep world supplies steady if the plants were shut down for a few days. A long disruption would be another matter, analysts say.

While there were no reports of casualties, the attacks struck at the core of the Saudi economy. They came just as Aramco accelerated plans for what could be the largest initial public offering of stock in the world, an event being closely watched by investors around the world.

An Aramco spokesman declined to comment.

The Saudi interior ministry reported fires at the two processing centers, in Abqaiq and Khurais, before dawn on Saturday, and later said they had been attacked with drones. The ministry said both fires had been “controlled and contained,” the Saudi-owned news network Al Arabiya reported without any further details.

A Houthi spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, said in a statement broadcast by Al-Masirah, the faction’s news organization, that the group’s forces “carried out a massive offensive operation of 10 drones targeting Abqaiq and Khurais refineries.”

The Houthis — supported by Saudi Arabia’s chief rival in the region, Iran — have tried to take the fight to Saudi Arabia before. But those efforts have been pinpricks compared to the devastation in Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians, many of them in Saudi airstrikes using American-made weapons. It has also created a massive humanitarian crisis with millions at risk of starvation and millions of others homeless.

In a report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, a panel of experts said both sides in the conflict were committing horrific human rights abuses, including arbitrary killings, rape and torture, with impunity. The atrocities underscored the collective failure of the international community, the panel said.

After a period of relative calm, following a cease-fire brokered late last year, tensions have escalated again in recent months. Houthi forces attacked Saudi pipelines and other oil infrastructure in May, temporarily halting the flow of crude oil, and in June they struck an airport in Saudi Arabia, wounding dozens of people.

In July, in a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition, the United Arab Emirates, which had been providing arms, money and, crucially, ground troops in Yemen, announced a rapid pullout from a conflict that had become too costly. The move left diplomats and analysts wondering whether Saudi Arabia would continue the war on its own.

Although the Trump administration has been a vocal supporter of Saudi efforts to deter Iran and its allies in the region, congressional opposition to the sale of arms and the deployment of extra troops in Saudi Arabia has limited the scope of support from the United States.

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Coco Gauff Reflects On Her Tear-Jerking U.S. Open Moment With Naomi Osaka

Westlake Legal Group 5d7d311c2400002e2a7a5585 Coco Gauff Reflects On Her Tear-Jerking U.S. Open Moment With Naomi Osaka

Coco Gauff has shared some of what she was feeling during her widely praised moment with Naomi Osaka at this year’s U.S. Open.

Osaka, who was defending her U.S. Open title, embraced an emotional Gauff after defeating her in the third round of the tournament on Aug. 31. Osaka then invited the 15-year-old tennis star to join her for a tearful post-match interview.

During a Friday visit on the “Today” show, Gauff told the hosts that she was “shocked” at that moment, adding, “No one ever does that.”

“I couldn’t thank her enough,” Gauff said, noting that she was feeling a wide range of emotions at the time, first having lost the match and then getting support from Osaka.

Gauff made history earlier this year when she became the youngest tennis player in the Open era to qualify for Wimbledon’s main event. She then defeated five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round of the main event.

Last month, Gauff tweeted a picture of her meeting former first lady Michelle Obama, who autographed the tennis prodigy’s copy of Obama’s memoir “Becoming.”

“Today I got to meet my idol @MichelleObama,” Gauff wrote. “Her words and wisdom on my journey will stay with me on the court over the course of my career. She is a true inspiration. I have never arrived, I am always becoming! Thank you for your time.”

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