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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 132)

Robert Forster, Star Of ‘Jackie Brown,’ Dead At 78

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Forster, the handsome and omnipresent character actor who got a career resurgence and Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in “Jackie Brown,” died Friday. He was 78.

Publicist Kathie Berlin said Forster died of brain cancer following a brief illness. He was at home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, including his four children and partner Denise Grayson.

Westlake Legal Group 5da1bc9b2100003d07acd199 Robert Forster, Star Of ‘Jackie Brown,’ Dead At 78

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Forster died of brain cancer following a brief illness.

Condolences poured in Friday night on social media.

Bryan Cranston called Forster a “lovely man and a consummate actor” in a tweet. The two met on the 1980 film “Alligator” and then worked together again on the television show “Breaking Bad” and its spinoff film, “El Camino,” which launched Friday on Netflix.

“I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood,” Cranston wrote.

His “Jackie Brown” co-star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted that Forster was “truly a class act/Actor!!”

A native of Rochester, New York, Forster quite literally stumbled into acting when in college, intending to be a lawyer, he followed a fellow female student he was trying to talk to into an auditorium where “Bye Bye Birdie” auditions were being held.

He would be cast in that show, that fellow student would become his wife with whom he had three daughters, and it would start him on a new trajectory as an actor.

A fortuitous role in the 1965 Broadway production “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” put him on the radar of Darryl Zanuck, who signed him to a studio contract. He would soon make his film debut in the 1967 John Huston film “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” which starred Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.

Forster would go on to star in Haskell Wexler’s documentary-style Chicago classic “Medium Cool” and the detective television series “Banyon.” It was an early high point that he would later say was the beginning of a “27-year slump.”

He worked consistently throughout the 1970s and 1980s in mostly forgettable B-movies — ultimately appearing in over 100 films, many out of necessity.

“I had four kids, I took any job I could get,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year. “Every time it reached a lower level I thought I could tolerate, it dropped some more, and then some more. Near the end, I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, no nothing. I was taking whatever fell through the cracks.”

It was Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film “Jackie Brown” that put him back on the map. Tarantino created the role of Max Cherry with Forster in mind — the actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for a part in “Reservoir Dogs,” but the director promised not to forget him.

In an interview with Fandor last year, Forster recalled that when presented with the script for “Jackie Brown,” he told Tarantino, “I’m sure they’re not going to let you hire me.”

Tarantino replied: “I hire anybody I want.”

“And that’s when I realized I was going to get another shot at a career,” Forster said. “He gave me a career back and the last 14 years have been fabulous.”

The performance opposite Pam Grier became one of the more heartwarming Hollywood comeback stories, earning him his first and only Academy Award nomination. He ultimately lost the golden statuette to Robin Williams, who won that year for “Good Will Hunting.”

After “Jackie Brown,” he worked consistently and at a decidedly higher level than during the “slump,” appearing in films like David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” ″Me, Myself and Irene,” ″The Descendants,” ″Olympus Has Fallen,” and “What They Had,” and in television shows like “Breaking Bad” and the “Twin Peaks” revival.

He said he loved trying out comedy as Tim Allen’s father in “Last Man Standing.” He’ll also appear later this year in the Steven Spielberg-produced Apple+ series “Amazing Stories.”

Even in his down days, Forster always considered himself lucky.

“You learn to take whatever jobs there are and make the best you can out of whatever you’ve got. And anyone in any walk of life, if they can figure that out, has a lot better finish than those who cannot stand to take a picture that doesn’t pay you as much or isn’t as good as the last one,” he told IndieWire in 2011. “Attitude is everything.”

Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and Grayson, his partner of 16 years.

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Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Westlake Legal Group 2019-ukraine-trump-timeline_wide-a8c7b9afc750ac948f172bc101bf362a28be0f04-s1100-c15 Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Clockwise from top left: Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. AFP/Getty Images and Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/Getty Images and Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Clockwise from top left: Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

AFP/Getty Images and Getty Images

When President Trump spoke to Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25th, Trump held the keys to two things the new Ukranian president needed in order to demonstrate he had full U.S. backing to push back on Russian aggression: military assistance and an Oval Office meeting. Both would send a necessary signal that the U.S.-Ukraine alliance was strong.

But the alliance was on shaky ground. In the months leading up to the call, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to launch investigations that stood to benefit the president politically. Trump was also withholding the White House meeting Zelenskiy coveted, in addition to military aid that was already approved by Congress.

What started as a mission to undermine former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation had morphed into an effort to sully a potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Now, Trump faces the greatest threat to his presidency — the risk of impeachment.

Here’s how we got there.

Trump’s Early Focus On Ukraine

April 21, 2017: Three months after his inauguration, President Trump sits for an interview with the Associated Press and floats a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in hacks of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the election.

“They get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server,” Trump says about the attack on the DNC, which U.S. intelligence has traced to Russian state actors. “… They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based.”

Trump is talking about CrowdStrike, the California cybersecurity firm that helped investigate the DNC attack — even providing federal investigators with evidence. In bringing up the company, the president appears to be alluding to a false narrative that has emerged suggesting that Ukraine, not Russia, was involved in the hacking, and that CrowdStrike helped cover it up.

“I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard,” he tells the AP.

It’s a theory the president returns to more than two years later on his July 25, 2019 call with Zelenskiy.

Giuliani Enters The Fray

Late 2018: Rudy Giuliani participates in a Skype call with the former top Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was ousted from office after multiple Western leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, pressed for his removal. Leaders complain Shokin was failing to tackle corruption. It’s around this time that Giuliani says he first learned of a possible Biden-Ukraine connection.

January 2019: Giuliani meets in New York with the top Ukrainian prosecutor at the time, Yuriy Lutsenko. This is when Giuliani says his investigation into the Bidens began.

A man named Lev Parnas says he attended the meeting with Lutsenko and arranged the call with Shokin. Parnas tells NPR he attended at least two meetings Giuliani had with Lutsenko. Parnas and an associate, who also worked with Giuliani, are later arrested and charged with violating campaign finance law in a separate matter.

March 31: The first round of presidential elections take place in Ukraine. Zelenskiy, a comedian who once played a president on television, comes out ahead of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. The race goes to a runoff.

April 7: In an interview on Fox News, Giuliani, unprompted, brings up a Biden-Ukraine connection. He says that while investigating the origin of the Russia investigation, “some people” told him “the story about Burisma and Biden’s son.” Giuliani suggests that as vice president, Biden pressed to remove Shokin, the former prosecutor, because he was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that had Biden’s son Hunter on its board for several years.There is no evidence to support this claim.

Zelenskiy Elected, Trump Talks “Corruption”

April 21: Zelenskiy is elected president of Ukraine and President Trump calls to congratulate him. A White House readout of the call says Trump “expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”

April 25: Trump, calls in to Sean Hannity’s TV show and says he has heard rumors about Ukrainian “collusion.” He tells the Fox News host he expects Attorney General Bill Barr to look into it. “I would imagine he would want to see this,” Trump says.

May 6: Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and an Obama appointee, ends her assignment in Kyiv. According to the whistleblower complaint filed against Trump, she had been “suddenly recalled” to the U.S. by senior State Department officials a week earlier.

Giuliani later says in an interview that she was removed “because she was part of the efforts against the President.” Yovanovitch tells Congress that she learned from the deputy secretary of state “there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018,” according to prepared remarks reported by multiple outlets.

May 9: Giuliani tells The New York Times he will travel to Ukraine “in the coming days” to push for investigations that could help President Trump. Giuliani says he hopes to meet with President-elect Zelenskiy to push for inquiries into the origins of the Russia investigation and the Bidens’ involvement with Burisma.

“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani tells the Times.

“There’s nothing illegal about it,” he says. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

May 10: Facing a backlash, Giuliani cancels his trip. “I’m not going to go because I think I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, in some cases, enemies of the United States,” he tells The Washington Post.

There are echoes of this language in Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukranian president. After mentioning that his assistant recently spoke with Giuliani, Zelenskiy tells the president, “I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us.”

May 14: Trump allegedly instructs Vice President Mike Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Zelenskiy’s inauguration, according to the whistleblower complaint brought against the president. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will travel in his place.

May 19: In an interview with Steve Hilton on Fox News, President Trump puts the focus on Biden and Ukraine:

“Look at Joe Biden, he calls them and says ‘don’t you dare prosecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ — The prosecutor was after his son. Then he said ‘If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be OK. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, we’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?”

Biden did, in fact, press for the prosecutor, Shokin, to be sacked because of concerns that he was turning a blind eye to corruption. However, the effort was in keeping with U.S. policy at the time and consistent with the goals of European allies and the International Monetary Fund.

May 30: Zelenskiy receives a letter from Trump inviting him to Washington for an official visit, according to Ukranian media reports. The Ukrainian government says plans are being made for a visit, but no date is set for the visit.

June 12: Trump tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would consider taking damaging information on political rivals from a foreign government.

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump says. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

Funding For Ukraine

June 18: The Defense Department announces that it intends to provide $250 million to Ukraine in “security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.” This follows a May 23 letter from a top Defense Department official certifying “that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption” and “increasing accountability.”

June 21: Giuliani tweets that Zelenskiy is “silent on investigation of Ukranian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery.”

July 18: President Trump blocks nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine. According to the whistleblower complaint, officials in the Office of Management and Budget “stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of the policy rationale.”

It is not clear that the Ukrainians knew the funding was being held.

July 19: According to text messages released by Giuliani and House investigators, Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations, has breakfast with Giuliani to discuss Ukraine. Volker later connects Giuliani via text with Andrey Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskiy, and suggests scheduling a call together.

That same day, Volker texts Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Ambassador Bill Taylor, the chief of mission in Ukraine, about the upcoming call between Trump and Zelenskiy. “Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation,” Volker writes.

July 24: Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump takes to Twitter suggesting the hearing went well for him.

July 25, 8:36 a.m.: In a text message sent shortly before the call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Volker tells Yermak: “Heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down a date for visit to Washington.”

9:03 a.m. to 9:33 a.m.: Trump and Zelenskiy speak. According to the Ukrainian readout of the call, the two leaders discussed “investigation of corruption cases.” It also mentions a planned visit by Zelenskiy to the U.S. The U.S. readout of the call also mentions a meeting.

While on the call, Zelenskiy mentions wanting to purchase anti-tank missiles from the U.S., according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House. Trump responds, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” Trump brings up investigating both the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and the Bidens. He repeatedly tells Zelenskiy he should talk to Giuliani and Attorney General Barr.

Zelenskiy mentions an Oval Office meeting. “Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out,” Trump says, according to the rough transcript, which according to the whistleblower complaint, was later put on “lock down” by “senior White House officials.”

10:15 a.m.: Yermak texts Volker. “Phone call went well. President Trump proposed to choose any convenient dates. President Zelenskiy chose 20, 21, 22 September for the White House Visit. Thank you again for your help!”

He also mentions an upcoming meeting with Giuliani.

The Aftermath

August 9 to 17: In a series of text threads released by House investigators, State Department officials, Giuliani and Yermak discuss a statement that would commit Ukraine to investigate both the 2016 election and Burisma.

In one exchange, Sondland tells Volker that Trump “really wants the deliverable,” but the Ukrainains make clear they don’t want to release such a statement until a White House meeting is set. “Once we have a date, will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of US-UKRAINE relationship, including among other things Burisma and election meddling investigations,” Yermak writes.

August 12: The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, receives the anonymous whistleblower complaint now at the center of the impeachment inquiry. It alleges “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

August 28: Politico reports that U.S. military aid to Ukraine is being held up. Yermak sends a text to Volker the next day linking to the article and says,”Need to talk with you.”

August 29: Trump cancels a trip to Poland to commemorate World War II. He is scheduled to meet with Zelenskiy while on the trip, but plans change so that he can stay in Washington to monitor an approaching hurricane. Meanwhile, congressional pressure to release aid to Ukraine heats up.

September 1: Ambassador Taylor, a career foreign service officer, texts Sondland asking a pointed question. “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland replies, “Call me.”

Separately, Vice President Pence, who is traveling in Poland in place of Trump, meets with Zelenskiy.

September 2: Pence tells reporters he didn’t discuss Biden with Zelenskiy. But he says they did discuss “corruption” and “the upcoming decision the President will make on the latest tranche of financial support.”

“But as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.”

September 9: On the day that the congressional intelligence committees are formally notified of the existence of the whistleblower complaint, Ambassador Taylor in a text with Sondland says, “As I said on the phone, I think it is crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland responds five hours later by saying, “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind” adding “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Sondland spoke with Trump before sending this response.

September 11: Under pressure from lawmakers, the White House releases the funding for Ukraine without any explanation of what changed.

September 13: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., subpoenas the Acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to provide the whistleblower complaint to Congress. Maguire, had refused to do so, citing guidance from the Justice Department.

September 18: The Washington Post reports on the standoff over the whistleblower complaint, thrusting its substance into public view. Media reports later indicate the complaint was prompted by a call involving the Ukrainian president.

September 22: Departing the White House, President Trump tells reporters the call with Zelenskiy was “absolutely perfect” and “a beautiful, warm, nice conversation.” He also admits that he brought up corruption accusations against Biden.

“We had a great conversation. The conversation I had was largely congratulatory. It was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine. And Ukraine — Ukraine has got a lot of problems,” Trump says.

Over the course of the next several days, he shifts his description of why he held up funding to Ukraine. First he says it’s because not enough was being done to fight corruption. He then suggests it’s because European nations should contribute more.

September 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announces a formal impeachment inquiry. “The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi says. “No one is above the law.”

September 25: The White House releases the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy reminds Trump of an earlier invitation to visit Washington. Trump again suggests he talk to Barr and Giuliani before mentioning a visit. “Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out,” Trump says, according to the rough transcript.

That same day, President Trump and President Zelenskiy finally meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Zelenskiy says he didn’t feel pressured by Trump, and adds, “I want to thank you for the invitation to Washington. You invited me. But I think — I’m sorry, but I think you forgot to tell me the date.”

The visit has still not been scheduled.

September 26: The House Intelligence Committee releases the whistleblower complaint. It reads, in part, “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

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AOC gets choked up at climate forum: ‘My dreams of motherhood are now bittersweet’

Westlake Legal Group AOC-AP AOC gets choked up at climate forum: 'My dreams of motherhood are now bittersweet' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/media fnc db3cfae2-ba16-5783-8c8d-0ed235cb57d7 article

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., got emotional on Friday as she discussed how climate change affected her own personal outlook on life.

“I speak to you not as an elected official or a public figure, but I speak to you as a human being,” the freshman congresswoman told a climate summit in Copenhagen. “A woman whose dreams of motherhood now taste bittersweet, because of what I know about our children’s future,” she added, apparently choking back tears.

She was giving her keynote address at the C40 World Mayors Summit which recently approved a global version of her “Green New Deal.”

Ocasio-Cortez went on to decry the impacts of climate change and indicating that Puerto Ricans died because they lived “under colonial rule.”

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ’S LATEST CLIMATE FIX — NO CHILDREN FOR YOU

“I speak to you as daughter and descendant of colonized peoples who have already begun to suffer. Just two years ago one of the deadliest disasters in the United States struck in the form of Hurricane Maria,” she said.

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“The climate change-powered storm killed over 3,000 Puerto Ricans, American citizens — my own grandfather died in the aftermath — all because they were living under colonial rule, which contributed to the dire conditions and lack of recovery.”

She added that it wasn’t a “coincidence” that Hurricane Dorian had similar impacts on the Bahamas. “As many have noticed in an — noted in an awful turn the climate crisis has passed is first impacting those who have not only contributed to our emissions the least but have already suffered greatly in the global history of inequality, colonization, and imperialism stacking one injustice upon another,” she said.

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The New York congresswoman traveled to Copenhagen for a meeting with the C40, a group of 94 mayors led by Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti — who was just announced as the group’s new chair. There, several U.S. mayors supported the “Global Green New Deal.”

The plan aims to halve carbon emissions by 2030 through cleaner alternatives and the “strictest possible building codes.” It also seeks to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Westlake Legal Group AOC-AP AOC gets choked up at climate forum: 'My dreams of motherhood are now bittersweet' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/media fnc db3cfae2-ba16-5783-8c8d-0ed235cb57d7 article   Westlake Legal Group AOC-AP AOC gets choked up at climate forum: 'My dreams of motherhood are now bittersweet' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/media fnc db3cfae2-ba16-5783-8c8d-0ed235cb57d7 article

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Simone Biles surprised by her greatness: I really don’t know how I do it sometimes

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Simone Biles surprised by her greatness: I really don't know how I do it sometimes

SportsPulse: As we march towards the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, here are three fun facts about one of the United States’ biggest stars, Simone Biles. USA TODAY

STUTTGART, Germany — Simone Biles has embraced her greatness.

She has cemented herself as the best gymnast of her, and every other generation, surpassing what she did in 2016. And like Serena Williams and the U.S. women’s soccer team, she sees no reason to shy away from it.

That confidence, and her willingness to own all of her emotions, is what she hopes will be her legacy, every bit as much as what she’s done on the floor.

“It’s important to teach our female youth that it’s OK to say, ‘Yes, I am good at this,’ and you don’t hold back,” Biles said Friday in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY Sports the day after winning her fifth all-around title at the world championships. “You only see the men doing it. And they’re praised for it and the women are looked down upon for it. But I feel like it’s good (to do) because once you realize you’re confident and good at it, then you’re even better at what you do.

“It’s not out of cockiness,” she added. “I’ve won five world titles and if I say, ‘I’m the best gymnast there is,’ (the reaction is) ‘Oh, she’s cocky. Look at her now.’ No, the facts are literally on the paper. I think it’s important to teach (young girls) that.”

Williams was one of Biles’ favorite athletes growing up, not only for her dominance but for her willingness to speak out and show emotion. As Biles has gotten older – she’ll be 23 in March – she has been increasingly willing to use the platform that her place in the sport affords her.

She has been a leader in talking about the sexual assault scandal in her sport. USA Gymnastics only stopped holding national team training camps at the Karolyi ranch after Biles announced she didn’t want to go back there, saying for the first time that she, too, had been abused by Larry Nassar.

Her pointed criticism of federation CEO Kerry Perry’s ineptitude, and interim leader Mary Bono’s tone-deafness, hastened both of their departures.

She has continued to hold both USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee accountable for their failings.

She’s also been honest about her emotions, the highs and the lows. She ran off the podium laughing and sticking out her tongue after a great uneven bars routine at the national championships in August, and did a mic drop after wrapping up her fifth world title on floor Thursday night.

Q&A:Simone Biles on where she keeps all those medals, her favorite athletes, her future

ROCKY RELATIONSHIP: Why Simone Biles has a ‘love-hate’ relationship with the balance beam

She talked of being so nervous she wanted to vomit before team finals, and made no secret of her displeasure with herself after falling the first time she tried her triple-twisting, double somersault pass on floor exercise in competition.

“I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that it’s OK to show real, raw emotion,” Biles said. “You don’t have to be a robot all the time, and you don’t always have to seem happy out there.”

Asked if she realizes the impact that can have, for youngsters in particular to see someone at the top of her game struggling with the same emotions they do, Biles said she does.

That’s why she is willing to do it.

“It also shows kids that it’s OK, if you’re enjoying the moment, to smile, to be happy. If you’re not having a good time, it’s OK, you don’t have to hide that from people,” she said. “Not saying you should scream or punch things. You could probably do that behind the scenes. But if you’re upset, you can show that you’re upset.”

Managing her emotions is sure to take on greater importance in the month’s leading up next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Someone has to fill the void left by the retirements of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, and no athlete has more star power than Biles. Expect to see her everywhere in the lead-up to the Game, and hear about all the medals she will win.

“I try to stay focused on myself and the expectations I have for myself going in. But at times it’s overwhelming,” Biles said, pausing. “I don’t know. Somehow I just manage it.”

This isn’t the position Biles expected to be in when she came back after taking off the year after the Rio Olympics.

She couldn’t imagine being able to top 2016, when she left the Games with five medals, four of them gold. She’d won the world title the three years prior to that, the first woman to win three in a row. And she had a winning streak of three-plus years, an unheard of run of consistency and dominance in a sport often decided by tenths and hundredths of a point.

Yet she has not only topped what she did the last quadrennium, she’s surpassed her former self.

She won her fifth world title by 2.1 points, her largest margin of victory yet at the world championships. Her 22 medals at worlds is only one less than the record by Belarus’ Vitaly Scherbo, and she’ll blow by that this weekend, having qualified for all four event finals.

Oh, she’s also had three new skills named for her in the past year, one each on floor exercise, vault and balance beam.

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“Coming back, I was really nervous if I could top my 2016 performances,” Biles said. “Once we started training and putting more skills in, and we competed for the first time, I was like ‘Wow, I think I am better than 2016.’ That’s what blew my mind. Just looking at the differences in the videos.

“Even with my form,” she added. “It’s a little bit cleaner, too, on some of the things because we’ve paid attention to detail there.”

Like Williams, like the U.S. women’s soccer team, Biles is simply in a class by herself.

She was gifted with natural athletic ability, yes. But her technique is flawless, which allows her to do the skills that set her apart – far apart – from everyone else.

Her triple-double in the team final was so huge, fans several rows up had to look up to watch it. That meant she was probably 9 feet in the air. Yet she stuck her landing, her feet not moving an inch.

Her double-twisting, double somersault dismount on balance beam, considered by the International Gymnastics Federation to be so difficult that it watered down its value so other gymnasts wouldn’t try it, is done with more ease than normal people would do a cartwheel.

Biles appreciates the magnitude of what she’s doing, because there are times she herself can’t believe it, either.

“I wish I could have an out-of-body experience to witness it because sometimes I think I’m going crazy,” she said Thursday night. “I really don’t know how I do it sometimes.”

Because she’s the best gymnast there is. And she’s not afraid to own it.

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Trump campaign ‘still hasn’t paid security bills for rallies to at least six cities’

Westlake Legal Group udKTSeOSk0Uer3HwlhH8W-2Jkd_Ccir10VZUiovV1vg Trump campaign 'still hasn't paid security bills for rallies to at least six cities' r/politics

In June, the Center for Public Integrity reported Mr Trump owed more than $840,000 from invoices across the US, not including the latest bill from Minneapolis. CNN found that six of those cities still are waiting for checks.

Mr Trump’s largest invoice came from El Paso, where a February rally cost $470,417.

Among Mr Trump’s outstanding bills were a $65,124 tab from Spokane, Washington in May 2016 and a $47,398 bill from a rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in April 2016, both several months before the election.

While in office, Mr Trump racked up unpaid bills in Mesa, Arizona; Lebanon, Ohio; and Burlington, Vermont, for a total of $89,122.

Each city should start adding extortionate rates of interest.

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Bozell and Graham: NBA grovels and makes spineless concession to China’s brutally repressive regime

Westlake Legal Group 2373dfae-NBA-HK-Wizards Bozell and Graham: NBA grovels and makes spineless concession to China’s brutally repressive regime Tim Graham L. Brent Bozell III fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 8b5d542a-b8e7-5247-8a91-ce200988d368

The National Basketball Association found itself in the middle of a political firestorm of its own making when the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted something simple and admirable: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

The NBA’s first statement was cowardly. It began: “We recognize that the views expressed by… Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.”

Morey buckled and deleted his tweet. The NBA then went overseas to grovel.

POMPEO CALLS FOUL ON NBA’S CHINA TREATMENT

A statement posted on the NBA’s Weibo social media network in China stated that it was “extremely disappointed in the inappropriate comment,” and as a result, Morey “has undoubtedly seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese basketball fans.”

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China is a huge and lucrative market for the NBA. If business means turning your back on freedom while defending one of the most brutally repressive regimes in human history – so be it.

That abject surrender, that spineless concession to a government now shooting pro-democracy protesters in the streets drew near-universal condemnation in America, ranging in Washington from conservative Sen. Ted Cruz to socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

So the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, readjusted to insist the league would not discourage athletes or executives from speaking freely. “We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression” – which is disingenuous. That is exactly what all of the NBA’s “extremely disappointed” remarks implied.

And the duplicity continued. In Philadelphia, a 76ers fan named Sam Wachs and his wife brought a pair of signs that read “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK” as the Sixers took on the Guangzhou Loong Lions, a Chinese Basketball Association team.

Wachs said he lived in Hong Kong for two years, so he sympathized with the protests. First, security confiscated the signs. When the couple yelled “Free Hong Kong” during the second quarter, Wachs said they were removed from the game.

Then the same Chinese team played the Washington Wizards in D.C., and the routine repeated itself. Several fans standing with a sign reading “Free Hong Kong” and “Google: Uighurs” had them confiscated prior to the game. (The Uighurs are a Muslim minority in northwestern China, with an estimated 1 million people held in concentration camps.)

The NBA now doesn’t want to be political. But it’s been very political on the home front, when it has suited its purposes, which is to say, when it placates the left.

The league moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over a North Carolina law that in government offices, transgender people should use the bathroom of their gender “assigned at birth.”

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The NBA commissioner criticized President Trump’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries as going “against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA.”

The NBA allowed players to wear “I can’t breathe” shirts to protest police after Eric Garner suffocated while laying down on the sidewalk in New York.

National Review’s Jim Geraghty underlined the hypocrisy: “Apparently the NBA is fine with protesting American police brutality, but not Hong Kong police brutality.”

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Speaking of American police brutality, nobody’s found Colin Kaepernick saying anything about China’s grip on the NBA.

The man with the Nike sneaker-selling slogan of “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” is silent while Nike orders the removal of all the Houston Rockets merchandise from its stores in China. Apparently, America is still the most horrible country in the world that was founded on racism, slavery and genocide.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY L. BRENT BOZELL

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

Westlake Legal Group 2373dfae-NBA-HK-Wizards Bozell and Graham: NBA grovels and makes spineless concession to China’s brutally repressive regime Tim Graham L. Brent Bozell III fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 8b5d542a-b8e7-5247-8a91-ce200988d368   Westlake Legal Group 2373dfae-NBA-HK-Wizards Bozell and Graham: NBA grovels and makes spineless concession to China’s brutally repressive regime Tim Graham L. Brent Bozell III fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/sports fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 8b5d542a-b8e7-5247-8a91-ce200988d368

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7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Westlake Legal Group ap_19256019442672_custom-ebb013b33449ef65d37420e8e0af1aec64114fb6-s1100-c15 7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talk and touch heads before the September Democratic presidential primary debate. David J. Phillip/AP hide caption

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David J. Phillip/AP

Westlake Legal Group  7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talk and touch heads before the September Democratic presidential primary debate.

David J. Phillip/AP

The focus of the last two weeks has been President Trump and the congressional impeachment inquiry. But next week, Democrats running for president will take center stage again.

A dozen candidates, the most so far on one stage, will gather Tuesday for the fourth primary debate in Westerville, Ohio, at Otterbein University sponsored by CNN and the New York Times. The debate will also be simulcast on local NPR stations.

With less than four months until the first votes are cast, the scrutiny is going to become sharper, and there are lots of questions facing the candidates as they head into primary crunch time:

1. Do any of the candidates go after Joe and Hunter Biden?

There is no evidence to the conspiracies (that we won’t repeat in this space) President Trump is promulgating about Joe and Hunter Biden.

But there is a legitimate question as to whether it was appropriate for Hunter Biden to seemingly cash in on his father’s name and serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company when his vice president father was the point man for the country in the Obama administration.

Most of the candidates will probably say that even dignifying that with an answer is playing into Trump’s hands. But Elizabeth Warren struggled when she was asked about it, at first saying, no, she wouldn’t let her vice president’s child do that, before quickly backtracking and saying she didn’t know. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that she’s asked to clarify. And will every single of the dozen candidates on the stage not answer the question, especially when they are looking to take Biden down a couple notches — or get him out altogether?

After all, the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll has shown Biden vulnerable to the attack — by a 50%-28% margin; Americans said they think him being brought into the Ukraine controversy will hurt Biden, and his favorability rating ticked down slightly in the past two weeks since the controversy has been bubbling. Still, more than 70% of Democrats have a favorable view of Biden, meaning any attack on him could be political murder-suicide in a primary.

2. Does Elizabeth Warren face new scrutiny and how does she handle it?

Just like that, Biden is no longer the front-runner in the polls. Biden and Warren are now co-front-runners. This past week, Warren caught Biden in an average of the polls after her steady rise through the summer. Given that status, do moderators pose more pointed questions to Warren around things like the cost of her sweeping — and liberal — plans.

Warren has shown tremendous facility as a candidate, and, so far, other vulnerabilities haven’t hurt her in the primary, including Trump’s “Pocahontas” attack and her botched DNA test rollout.

Perhaps as evidence of her rise, she’s faced new scrutiny for her story of losing a teaching job because she was pregnant.

If her rise continues, expect there to be more turning over of stones of her record and biography.

Does that begin at this debate?

3. How does Sanders do, given this is his first debate since suffering a heart attack?

Westlake Legal Group ap_19272858547852_custom-ee2dd868d91027d8dd9a02c0ad2ee4d6507e55ff-s1100-c15 7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Students listen, as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Cheryl Senter/AP hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Students listen, as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

Cheryl Senter/AP

It’s not every day that a candidate has a heart attack — and continues to campaign. But that’s what happened to Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, since the last Democratic debate. It brings to the fore one of the latent issues of the campaign — age.

Sanders has had no record of heart attack before this episode, but he is 78. He’s the oldest candidate in the race, followed by Biden who is 76; Warren is also a septuagenarian at 70. It’s somewhat taboo to talk about, but it’s real — and some of the candidates have tried to, subtly, make an issue of it. Rep. Eric Swalwell, before dropping out, told Biden he needed to “pass the torch,” and Julián Castro, the former Obama Housing secretary, accused Biden of “forgetting” something he said earlier in the debate.

Sanders is someone who has campaigned vigorously and enthusiastically, and he’s going to have to show he can return to the form voters have come to expect.

4. How does Tom Steyer do?

Westlake Legal Group ap_19144756988582_custom-4800c0529bf2497397c956e51ca28cb61a45440b-s1100-c15 7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Billionaire investor Tom Steyer speaks during a “Need to Impeach” town hall event in March. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  7 Questions Ahead Of The Next Democratic Primary Debate

Billionaire investor Tom Steyer speaks during a “Need to Impeach” town hall event in March.

Steven Senne/AP

The newest face to the debate stage is Tom Steyer. The California billionaire investor — and political novice — made a name for himself with his climate activism and his multi-million-dollar campaign supporting President Trump’s impeachment. So how does he do, especially now that impeachment is all the rage in the Democratic Party?

One thing to watch for: does he become a target, a useful foil for the populists on stage. After all, he is a billionaire, and some in the race have accused him of buying his way onto the debate stage. By the way, Steyer has already qualified for the November debate, so you will see him again.

5. How do the candidates handle impeachment?

The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll out this week showed that while a slim majority are now in favor of the impeachment inquiry, 58% would prefer to see Trump’s fate decided at the ballot box rather than through the impeachment process (37%).

That presents a challenge for the Democrats on stage. Democratic voters are hungry to impeach Trump, but the general public is a more reticent.

So will the candidates carefully walk the line to keep the majority who now say they favor the impeachment inquiry on board — or not?

6. Do the candidates play to the middle at all?

One worry from veteran Democratic strategists about this field is just how liberal the candidates are. Forget Bill Clinton’s party, this isn’t even Barack Obama’s party. Sure, Democrats have a deep well of fondness for Obama, but many in the base feel, in the age of Trump, Obama’s caution and aspirations of unity are naïve.

They want a fighter — and someone who will be able to deliver a vision of what they see as justice, not incremental progress. That’s all well and good, but strategists are biting their nails over what they see as a potential blown opportunity in 2020. Trump is playing to the base, they say, leaving the persuadable voters he won in 2016 up for grabs.

After all, it’s been that — albeit increasingly narrow — slice of persuadable voters who tend to decide presidential elections. The other theory of the case is: because of that narrowing middle, it’s most important to energize the base.

It is the fall, and more people are likely going to start tuning in to see what Democrats are offering. So what on their menu will dominate the narrative?

7. Is this really just a three-person race — or can someone else show they belong?

It’s hard to deny the trend line. Biden, Warren and Sanders have consistently been the top three candidates for a very long time in this race.

Aside from a period in the spring and after the first debate in July when Kamala Harris got a bounce, no one — no one — has broken 10% in the polling average.

Even in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, it’s Biden, Warren, Sanders in varying order — with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10% in New Hampshire. But that’s it.

Of course, that could change, but that likely depends on whether the top three falter or how the candidates fair in these debates.

The last debate saw some candidates taking more risks in their lines of attack. Will that play out again this time, and what will they do exactly to get attention?

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Limiting The Scope of Impeachment Makes No Sense When New Crimes Are Revealed Daily

Westlake Legal Group mGWCxkE2DD-mxVgjLgBCyzPsaOhr_iYiIsJfqtQ3s4A Limiting The Scope of Impeachment Makes No Sense When New Crimes Are Revealed Daily r/politics

It actually makes perfect sense. There’s a reason that support for impeachment among the public has surged over the last few weeks. It’s because the Ukraine thing is understandable. It’s simple and clear. The crime is evident even to those who don’t follow politics closely, which is the majority. And that public support is crucial.

Nothing is preventing Congress from following up with new impeachment articles later, and nothing is preventing law enforcement, once Trump is out of office, from following up with indictments.

But in the meantime, a limited approach is smart, and it’s working. Pelosi knows what she’s doing.

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Kim Komando with 5 mistakes that shorten the life of your gadgets

Spill one cup of coffee, and you fry your laptop. Drop your tablet while taking a photo, and it can plunge to its doom. Lose your grip on a smartphone, and your $1,000 device could slip through a drainage grate and disappear forever.

Most of us can’t afford to regularly replace our devices, which is why we have to take good care of them. I have tons of practical tips on my site to help. Some popular ones are how to clean your camera, improve your Windows performance, and remove viruses from your iPad or iPhone.

Based on calls to my show, email, and questions posted on my site’s tech support forums, here are five mistakes that people routinely make.

1. Going the cheap route

In theory, you can buy a Lightning cable at your local corner store. But many fail to acknowledge that the specific charger and cable included in the box with any new device is designed especially for that product.

If you lose your charger or the USB cable gets frayed, do not buy the cheapest charger and cable you can find. The few dollars you save on a low-cost substitute will very likely negatively affect your device’s performance.

The dirty secret these one-size-fits-all charger and cable makers don’t want you to know is that often their products do not have the proper voltage needed to work with your specific device. Why does that matter? Your battery may end up not getting the juice it needs to charge fully. Worse, it may erode the battery’s life.

These cheap chargers can even be a threat to your life. Many generic phone chargers are less likely to meet established safety and quality testing guidelines than their name-brand counterparts and could lead to severe shocks and burns.

Sound extreme? Tap or click here to read about how a generic charger caused a fire in a woman’s bed, burning both her sheets and arms.

The lesson: Spend a little more on getting a replacement charger and cable from the devices’ manufacturers or certified third-party makers.

2. Being an over-charger

The newest batteries for smartphones, tablets, and laptops are a vast improvement over past years, and most of them are made of high-quality lithium-ion or lithium-polymer. While it may seem counter-intuitive, over-charging your battery can damage it.

The rule of thumb is to keep your phone, tablet, and laptop charged somewhere between 40% and 80%. Batteries containing a higher charge are more stressed. Tap or click here for more battery tips for your gadgets.

As for your laptop, those batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles. If you frequently let your battery completely run out of juice, it affects the charge-discharge cycle and diminishes its intended lifespan. That’s why you should try to keep your battery charged to at least 40% levels.

RELATED: 5 signs it’s time for a new laptop

3. Charging all the time

Do you plug your device into the wall socket and forget about it? Fortunately, when the new generation of batteries reaches maximum charge, they have mechanisms to prevent excess charging. That holds true for tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

While it’s not considered harmful to keep your smartphone or tablet plugged in all night, do try to turn them off when you can to give them a rest. A huge side benefit is that a device’s performance gets a huge boost from a power off, power on cycle.

Don’t keep your laptop plugged in all the time. Batteries can overheat and even cause fires, a remote but real possible danger.

4. Not paying attention

The latest phones are fairly rugged: tough, water-resistant, and less likely to shatter when dropped. But leaving your device in a hot car or out in the sun can cause serious damage. Not only can it cause the battery to leak or overheat, but it can also cause data to be lost or corrupted.

Like those knockoff chargers, a low-quality battery can also be dangerous. In Oklahoma City, a woman left a lithium-ion battery meant for her iPhone inside her hot car. The battery didn’t just overheat; it exploded and set the woman’s car on fire. The battery was purchased from an unauthorized third-party dealer.

Extreme cold temperatures also wreak havoc on your phone. Lithium-ion batteries can stop discharging electricity in extremely cold temperatures, leading to shortened battery life, display problems, and even cracking the display glass.

RELATED: How to fix the 7 most irritating Windows 10 features

5. Being a Pig Pen

Whether you’re cleaning your laptop, iPad, smartphone, or favorite mouse, here are a few useful cleaning items to have on hand. They’re flexible for tidying up just about anything.

  • Compressed air – This is especially useful when spraying into extremely tight quarters and crevices that are difficult to reach.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – Do not use household cleaning products like Windex, glass cleaner, or countertop cleanser on your electronic devices. A good rule of thumb is if you would use it to clean your kitchen, it’s not appropriate for your computer or electronics.
  • Distilled or purified bottled water – Don’t rely on tap water, which could potentially leave mineral spots and stains.
  • Soft cloths – Try to aim for lint-free if you can, and don’t simply opt for paper towels. If you have a 100% cotton cloth, this is also appropriate, but not things like tissues.
  • Toothbrush – A soft toothbrush can be used on harder-to-reach areas and with spots that need light scrubbing.

Tap or click here for the exact steps to clean vents, ports, keyboards, touchpads, and mouse.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group iphone-11-pro-getty-images Kim Komando with 5 mistakes that shorten the life of your gadgets The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 8f22f225-d70e-5d3f-89d8-63851efe1f36   Westlake Legal Group iphone-11-pro-getty-images Kim Komando with 5 mistakes that shorten the life of your gadgets The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 8f22f225-d70e-5d3f-89d8-63851efe1f36

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Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Westlake Legal Group 2019-ukraine-trump-timeline_wide-a8c7b9afc750ac948f172bc101bf362a28be0f04-s1100-c15 Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Clockwise from top left: Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. AFP/Getty Images and Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Trump, Ukraine And The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline

Clockwise from top left: Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

AFP/Getty Images and Getty Images

When President Trump spoke to Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25th, Trump held the keys to two things the new Ukranian president needed in order to demonstrate he had full U.S. backing to push back on Russian aggression: military assistance and an Oval Office meeting. Both would send a necessary signal that the U.S.-Ukraine alliance was strong.

But the alliance was on shaky ground. In the months leading up to the call, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to launch investigations that stood to benefit the president politically. Trump was also withholding the White House meeting Zelenskiy coveted, in addition to military aid that was already approved by Congress.

What started as a mission to undermine former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation had morphed into an effort to sully a potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Now, Trump faces the greatest threat to his presidency — the risk of impeachment.

Here’s how we got there.

Trump’s Early Focus On Ukraine

April 21, 2017: Three months after his inauguration, President Trump sits for an interview with the Associated Press and floats a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in hacks of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the election.

“They get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server,” Trump says about the attack on the DNC, which U.S. intelligence has traced to Russian state actors. “… They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based.”

Trump is talking about CrowdStrike, the California cybersecurity firm that helped investigate the DNC attack — even providing federal investigators with evidence. In bringing up the company, the president appears to be alluding to a false narrative that has emerged suggesting that Ukraine, not Russia, was involved in the hacking, and that CrowdStrike helped cover it up.

“I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard,” he tells the AP.

It’s a theory the president returns to more than two years later on his July 25, 2019 call with Zelenskiy.

Giuliani Enters The Fray

Late 2018: Rudy Giuliani participates in a Skype call with the former top Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was ousted from office after multiple Western leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, pressed for his removal. Leaders complain Shokin was failing to tackle corruption. It’s around this time that Giuliani says he first learned of a possible Biden-Ukraine connection.

January 2019: Giuliani meets in New York with the top Ukrainian prosecutor at the time, Yuriy Lutsenko. This is when Giuliani says his investigation into the Bidens began.

A man named Lev Parnas says he attended the meeting with Lutsenko and arranged the call with Shokin. Parnas tells NPR he attended at least two meetings Giuliani had with Lutsenko. Parnas and an associate, who also worked with Giuliani, are later arrested and charged with violating campaign finance law in a separate matter.

March 31: The first round of presidential elections take place in Ukraine. Zelenskiy, a comedian who once played a president on television, comes out ahead of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. The race goes to a runoff.

April 7: In an interview on Fox News, Giuliani, unprompted, brings up a Biden-Ukraine connection. He says that while investigating the origin of the Russia investigation, “some people” told him “the story about Burisma and Biden’s son.” Giuliani suggests that as vice president, Biden pressed to remove Shokin, the former prosecutor, because he was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that had Biden’s son Hunter on its board for several years.There is no evidence to support this claim.

Zelenskiy Elected, Trump Talks “Corruption”

April 21: Zelenskiy is elected president of Ukraine and President Trump calls to congratulate him. A White House readout of the call says Trump “expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”

April 25: Trump, calls in to Sean Hannity’s TV show and says he has heard rumors about Ukrainian “collusion.” He tells the Fox News host he expects Attorney General Bill Barr to look into it. “I would imagine he would want to see this,” Trump says.

May 6: Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and an Obama appointee, ends her assignment in Kyiv. According to the whistleblower complaint filed against Trump, she had been “suddenly recalled” to the U.S. by senior State Department officials a week earlier.

Giuliani later says in an interview that she was removed “because she was part of the efforts against the President.” Yovanovitch tells Congress that she learned from the deputy secretary of state “there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018,” according to prepared remarks reported by multiple outlets.

May 9: Giuliani tells The New York Times he will travel to Ukraine “in the coming days” to push for investigations that could help President Trump. Giuliani says he hopes to meet with President-elect Zelenskiy to push for inquiries into the origins of the Russia investigation and the Bidens’ involvement with Burisma.

“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani tells the Times.

“There’s nothing illegal about it,” he says. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

May 10: Facing a backlash, Giuliani cancels his trip. “I’m not going to go because I think I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, in some cases, enemies of the United States,” he tells The Washington Post.

There are echoes of this language in Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukranian president. After mentioning that his assistant recently spoke with Giuliani, Zelenskiy tells the president, “I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us.”

May 14: Trump allegedly instructs Vice President Mike Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Zelenskiy’s inauguration, according to the whistleblower complaint brought against the president. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will travel in his place.

May 19: In an interview with Steve Hilton on Fox News, President Trump puts the focus on Biden and Ukraine:

“Look at Joe Biden, he calls them and says ‘don’t you dare prosecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ — The prosecutor was after his son. Then he said ‘If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be OK. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, we’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?”

Biden did, in fact, press for the prosecutor, Shokin, to be sacked because of concerns that he was turning a blind eye to corruption. However, the effort was in keeping with U.S. policy at the time and consistent with the goals of European allies and the International Monetary Fund.

May 30: Zelenskiy receives a letter from Trump inviting him to Washington for an official visit, according to Ukranian media reports. The Ukrainian government says plans are being made for a visit, but no date is set for the visit.

June 12: Trump tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would consider taking damaging information on political rivals from a foreign government.

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump says. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

Funding For Ukraine

June 18: The Defense Department announces that it intends to provide $250 million to Ukraine in “security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.” This follows a May 23 letter from a top Defense Department official certifying “that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption” and “increasing accountability.”

June 21: Giuliani tweets that Zelenskiy is “silent on investigation of Ukranian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery.”

July 18: President Trump blocks nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine. According to the whistleblower complaint, officials in the Office of Management and Budget “stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of the policy rationale.”

It is not clear that the Ukrainians knew the funding was being held.

July 19: According to text messages released by Giuliani and House investigators, Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations, has breakfast with Giuliani to discuss Ukraine. Volker later connects Giuliani via text with Andrey Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskiy, and suggests scheduling a call together.

That same day, Volker texts Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Ambassador Bill Taylor, the chief of mission in Ukraine, about the upcoming call between Trump and Zelenskiy. “Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation,” Volker writes.

July 24: Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump takes to Twitter suggesting the hearing went well for him.

July 25, 8:36 a.m.: In a text message sent shortly before the call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Volker tells Yermak: “Heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down a date for visit to Washington.”

9:03 a.m. to 9:33 a.m.: Trump and Zelenskiy speak. According to the Ukrainian readout of the call, the two leaders discussed “investigation of corruption cases.” It also mentions a planned visit by Zelenskiy to the U.S. The U.S. readout of the call also mentions a meeting.

While on the call, Zelenskiy mentions wanting to purchase anti-tank missiles from the U.S., according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House. Trump responds, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” Trump brings up investigating both the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and the Bidens. He repeatedly tells Zelenskiy he should talk to Giuliani and Attorney General Barr.

Zelenskiy mentions an Oval Office meeting. “Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out,” Trump says, according to the rough transcript, which according to the whistleblower complaint, was later put on “lock down” by “senior White House officials.”

10:15 a.m.: Yermak texts Volker. “Phone call went well. President Trump proposed to choose any convenient dates. President Zelenskiy chose 20, 21, 22 September for the White House Visit. Thank you again for your help!”

He also mentions an upcoming meeting with Giuliani.

The Aftermath

August 9 to 17: In a series of text threads released by House investigators, State Department officials, Giuliani and Yermak discuss a statement that would commit Ukraine to investigate both the 2016 election and Burisma.

In one exchange, Sondland tells Volker that Trump “really wants the deliverable,” but the Ukrainains make clear they don’t want to release such a statement until a White House meeting is set. “Once we have a date, will call for a press briefing, announcing upcoming visit and outlining vision for the reboot of US-UKRAINE relationship, including among other things Burisma and election meddling investigations,” Yermak writes.

August 12: The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, receives the anonymous whistleblower complaint now at the center of the impeachment inquiry. It alleges “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

August 28: Politico reports that U.S. military aid to Ukraine is being held up. Yermak sends a text to Volker the next day linking to the article and says,”Need to talk with you.”

August 29: Trump cancels a trip to Poland to commemorate World War II. He is scheduled to meet with Zelenskiy while on the trip, but plans change so that he can stay in Washington to monitor an approaching hurricane. Meanwhile, congressional pressure to release aid to Ukraine heats up.

September 1: Ambassador Taylor, a career foreign service officer, texts Sondland asking a pointed question. “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland replies, “Call me.”

Separately, Vice President Pence, who is traveling in Poland in place of Trump, meets with Zelenskiy.

September 2: Pence tells reporters he didn’t discuss Biden with Zelenskiy. But he says they did discuss “corruption” and “the upcoming decision the President will make on the latest tranche of financial support.”

“But as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.”

September 9: On the day that the congressional intelligence committees are formally notified of the existence of the whistleblower complaint, Ambassador Taylor in a text with Sondland says, “As I said on the phone, I think it is crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland responds five hours later by saying, “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind” adding “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Sondland spoke with Trump before sending this response.

September 11: Under pressure from lawmakers, the White House releases the funding for Ukraine without any explanation of what changed.

September 13: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., subpoenas the Acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to provide the whistleblower complaint to Congress. Maguire, had refused to do so, citing guidance from the Justice Department.

September 18: The Washington Post reports on the standoff over the whistleblower complaint, thrusting its substance into public view. Media reports later indicate the complaint was prompted by a call involving the Ukrainian president.

September 22: Departing the White House, President Trump tells reporters the call with Zelenskiy was “absolutely perfect” and “a beautiful, warm, nice conversation.” He also admits that he brought up corruption accusations against Biden.

“We had a great conversation. The conversation I had was largely congratulatory. It was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine. And Ukraine — Ukraine has got a lot of problems,” Trump says.

Over the course of the next several days, he shifts his description of why he held up funding to Ukraine. First he says it’s because not enough was being done to fight corruption. He then suggests it’s because European nations should contribute more.

September 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announces a formal impeachment inquiry. “The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi says. “No one is above the law.”

September 25: The White House releases the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy reminds Trump of an earlier invitation to visit Washington. Trump again suggests he talk to Barr and Giuliani before mentioning a visit. “Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out,” Trump says, according to the rough transcript.

That same day, President Trump and President Zelenskiy finally meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Zelenskiy says he didn’t feel pressured by Trump, and adds, “I want to thank you for the invitation to Washington. You invited me. But I think — I’m sorry, but I think you forgot to tell me the date.”

The visit has still not been scheduled.

September 26: The House Intelligence Committee releases the whistleblower complaint. It reads, in part, “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

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