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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 133)

I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

Westlake Legal Group ap_19329568262810_custom-c5cce65a090c7844462f4e7e8036c5b61a02b0d7-s1100-c15 I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

Two male turkeys from North Carolina named Bread and Butter hang out in their hotel room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington ahead of Tuesday’s pardoning. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Westlake Legal Group  I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

Two male turkeys from North Carolina named Bread and Butter hang out in their hotel room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington ahead of Tuesday’s pardoning.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Once again, on this week of Thanksgiving, a U.S. president will “pardon” a turkey Tuesday.

Why, you ask? Good question. It’s one your author has been asking for 10 years now. And we have answers, including when all this started and who the first president was to pardon a turkey.

But first, understand, this is a strange and misunderstood tradition that doesn’t go back as far as you might think and has been sustained by a special interest group – the turkey lobby.

The National Turkey Federation, whose website is literally EatTurkey.org, sponsors the event and has spent almost $3 million on lobbying efforts since 1998, according to a search of the Center for Responsive Politics’ lobbying database.

Big Turkey has been giving presidents turkeys since 1947. But these turkeys were originally meant to be eaten, not pardoned.

The first Thanksgiving turkey on record to receive a reprieve was in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy received a 40-pound turkey with a sign around its neck that read, “GOOD EATING, MR. PRESIDENT!”

Westlake Legal Group ap_31330392127-0ddeddd432f2996d5821b99e14e60dcd91b54b1d-s1100-c15 I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

President John F. Kennedy, left, reaches out to touch a turkey presented to him at the White House from the turkey industry. Harvey Georges/AP hide caption

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Harvey Georges/AP

Westlake Legal Group  I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

President John F. Kennedy, left, reaches out to touch a turkey presented to him at the White House from the turkey industry.

Harvey Georges/AP

“We’ll just let this one grow,” Kennedy said.

A Los Angeles Times article from Nov. 20, 1963 about the event the day before was headlined: “Turkey gets presidential pardon.”

A hundred years before that, there is record of Abraham Lincoln “pardoning” a turkey, but it had been meant for Christmas dinner, not Thanksgiving.

“[A] live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner, but [Lincoln’s son Tad] interceded in behalf of its life. … [Tad’s] plea was admitted and the turkey’s life spared,” according to an 1865 dispatch from White House reporter Noah Brooks, according to the White House Historical Association.

A deflection from a scandal

Kennedy never used the word pardon when referring to his bird. The first president to do so in referring to letting a turkey go was Ronald Reagan — and it was a joke deflecting from the Iran-Contra scandal.

During the yearly turkey presentation in 1987, ABC News’ Sam Donaldson pressed Reagan on whether he would pardon two key players involved in the weapons sale, Oliver North and John Poindexter.

Reagan was already set to let the turkey presented to him go to a petting zoo, like Nixon also had previously, and answered: “If they’d given me a different answer on Charlie and his future, I would have pardoned him.”

Westlake Legal Group ap_8911180217_custom-efe0f047d82a8b0134dff7281aad847765ce59fa-s1100-c15 I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

President George H.W. Bush and Shannon Duffy, then 8, of Fairfax, Virginia, look over a Thanksgiving turkey in 1989. The 50-pound bird is the first to be officially pardoned by a president. Marcy Nighswander/AP hide caption

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Marcy Nighswander/AP

Westlake Legal Group  I Beg Your Pardon: The Strange History Presidents Sparing Turkeys

President George H.W. Bush and Shannon Duffy, then 8, of Fairfax, Virginia, look over a Thanksgiving turkey in 1989. The 50-pound bird is the first to be officially pardoned by a president.

Marcy Nighswander/AP

After that informal use of the word, the event was formalized by his vice president, George H.W. Bush, in his first year as president.

“[L]et me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy,” Bush said in 1989. “He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.”

One of today’s turkeys will be spending the rest of its — perhaps limited — days at “Gobbler’s Rest” at Virginia Tech University’s Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

“Virginia Tech has a long tradition of supporting the turkey industry through research and outreach,” said Rami Dalloul, a Virginia Tech professor, in a press release, “so it’s fitting that the Presidential Turkeys becoming part of the Hokie Nation is a new tradition.”

Dalloul, Virginia Tech says, is “a world-renowned poultry immunologist who a few years ago sequenced the turkey genome.”

It’s the fourth consecutive year the pardoned turkey will head there. Expect, by the way, for — despite a contest being run by the White House about which turkey should be pardoned, Bread or Butter — both birds to be spared, as they have in the past few years. The White House is using the “contest” to build its email list.

(People will be able to meet the pardoned turkeys Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. ET at the Livestock Judging Pavilion in Blacksburg, Va. So, if you’re near Virginia Tech with the kids this weekend….)

Previous turkeys have gone to Disneyland and the unfortunately named Frying Pan Park in Virginia.

A confused history

There has been some confusion about the history of the presidential turkey pardon, sowed by none other than a president who was pardoning a turkey.

“Let me thank again the National Turkey Federation on their Golden Anniversary for donating a Thanksgiving turkey to the White House every year for 50 years,” President Bill Clinton said in 1997. “That’s right, now this marks the 50th year when we give one more turkey in Washington a second chance.”

Funny line, but it’s not true.

[embedded content]

YouTube

Clinton then added more explicitly, “President Truman was the first president to pardon a turkey.”

Also false. The Truman Library disputed this in 2003, writing:

“The Library’s staff has found no documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, or other contemporary records in our holdings which refer to Truman pardoning a turkey that he received as a gift in 1947, or at any other time during his Presidency. Truman sometimes indicated to reporters that the turkeys he received were destined for the family dinner table.”

Big Turkey may have gotten involved in 1947, but the tradition of sending turkeys to presidents (for their eating) goes back at least 73 years before the industry’s involvement.

Harold Vose of Rhode Island, a man known then as the “Poultry King,” sent unofficial Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys to the White House from 1873 until Vose’s death in 1913, according to the White House Historical Association.

After that, the turkeys came flying from all around the country. The White House Historical Association:

“In 1921, an American Legion post furnished bunting for the crate of a gobbler en route from Mississippi to Washington, while a Harding Girls Club in Chicago outfitted a turkey as a flying ace, complete with goggles. First Lady Grace Coolidge accepted a turkey from a Vermont Girl Scout in 1925.”

Bread and Butter, this year’s turkeys

This year’s turkeys come from a turkey farm in North Carolina — and they are staying at a fancy hotel in Washington as in past years.

The White House claims “Bread” loves “college basketball and a cold Cheerwine,” while Butter is a bagpipes, sweet potato fries and NASCAR fan.

One thing is clear: this season of impeachment is a good reminder that presidents will have a hard time letting go of this pardon power.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

When Mom Slams a Brand on Instagram

Westlake Legal Group 26mominfluencers-4-facebookJumbo When Mom Slams a Brand on Instagram Social Media parenting BlogHer Armstrong, Heather B

As a mom with influence, Caitlin Houston felt the need to act.

Ms. Houston, of Wallingtonford, Conn., read a post on Instagram this summer by Karen Feldman, the founder of the Striped Sheep, a mommy-and-me clothing company, claiming that one of her designs had been ripped off by Tuckernuck, a high-end women’s clothing retailer.

So Ms. Houston did what comes naturally to her: She posted stories about the Striped Sheep’s predicament on Instagram, and encouraged friends who are mom influencers to do the same. Members of her audience — she gets roughly 34,000 views a month through her website and social media — commented on Tuckernuck’s various online platforms, demanding the company not only apologize but explain itself. Soon Tuckernuck removed the disputed items from its website and apologized via a comment on Ms. Feldman’s Instagram page, offering her a share of profits from the products. The company also called Ms. Feldman directly to apologize.

The Striped Sheep gained thousands of new followers and sold out of its inventory. “Now I’m making six new colors in the same style, as well as a new style,” Ms. Feldman said. “It was a huge boost for me, the best thing that could have happened. It was tons of free P.R.”

Tuckernuck, started by three friends who also happen to be mothers, was not as pleased.

“I think it told her story, but we were very misrepresented,” Jocelyn Gailliot, the chief executive and a founder of Tuckernuck, said of the situation. She declined to provide details, adding: “But we are a positive brand, a happy brand, and we are women who have children. We don’t feel social media is the right place to engage over this, and it’s a bad precedent to set for future generations.”

A card from one of the companies that send Ms. Houston products to promote.Credit…Yael Malka for The New York Times Recording an Instagram video for a product review.Credit…Yael Malka for The New York Times

There are 4.5 million mom influencers in the United States, according to Mom 2.0, a conference that brings them together. They use websites and social media to record seemingly every detail of their lives: the sweater they bought for the fall, their child’s favorite new toy, which coffee helps them wake up. What began, for many, as a creative outlet or a way to build community has morphed over the years into big business with a more direct link to brands and companies.

Their followers spend money on the items they endorse and boycott the ones they pan. (Some influencers receive money if people buy products after clicking on the links they provide, and they sometimes have sponsorship deals with brands.) Millennial mothers are 18 percent more likely than those from Generation X to rely on advice from their fellow moms, according to research done by Mom 2.0.

“People think: ‘This woman also drives around four kids and gets crumbs in her seat. She is just like me, so I am going to listen to her,’” said Elisa Camahort Page, a co-founder and former chief operating officer of BlogHer, a media company that put on events and acted as a publisher for female content creators.

Influential moms have been using their power to pressure brands for at least a decade. Heather B. Armstrong, who lives in Salt Lake City and runs a website that receives 250,000 views a month, discovered her power in 2009 after buying a $1,300 Maytag washing machine that kept breaking. After her interactions with customer service and corporate headquarters frustrated her, she posted five tweets that other mom influencers picked up.

“Within 12 hours, someone from headquarters called me, and then they flew someone out to fix my washing machine,” said Ms. Armstrong, who is known as Dooce to her followers. “I got their attention.”

But with influence comes responsibility, and some have raised questions about when and how mom influencers should use their power. How much research should be done before discussing a brand? What constitutes an experience worth sharing? What is, in other words, proper mom influencer etiquette?

“We have to look out for each other,” Ms. Houston said. “If I see a mom who has started a business and is now getting squashed by a bigger person, I want to use the influence I have.”

She acknowledged that in the Striped Sheep situation her research did not extend beyond reading the blog post by Ms. Feldman and talking to other mom influencers. “I had to take her word for it,” Ms. Houston said.

For Ms. Armstrong, keeping companies in check is a positive use of her influence. “It’s like we have these tools, we have power against these companies who want to take advantage of us,” she said. Her rule is if she can’t resolve something through regular customer service channels, she can engage on social media.

Other influencers feel that endorsing or deflating a brand, regardless of how much interaction they have had with it, is their responsibility to their audience. It’s part of portraying their day-to-day lives authentically.

An indoor herb garden sent to Ms. Armstrong for her to promote.Credit…Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times For Ms. Armstrong, keeping companies in check is a positive use of her influence. “It’s like we have these tools, we have power against these companies who want to take advantage of us,” she said.Credit…Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Kermilia White, a full-time influencer who lives in Birmingham, Ala., has 75,000 followers across her social media platforms, including on Instagram, where she posts as themillennialsahm. She often writes about products meeting her expectations or disappointing her. (Her position is complicated by the fact that these brands often give her free products or sponsorships. She says her reviews represent her honest opinion, whether she gets the product free or not.)

“There was a start-up company I worked with in January that had a stroller attachment,” she said. “I felt there was a good return on investment for that brand, so I made sure they could get some eyes on it as soon as they launched. I have a huge new-mom following.”

She added: “I always make it clear this is my experience. I say, ‘It won’t necessarily be the same for you, but for me, this is what happened.’”

Some influencers aim to be more journalistic. Liz Gumbinner’s website, Cool Mom Picks, gets millions of readers and hundreds of thousands of social followers. She also runs Cool Mom Tech, Cool Mom Eats and social media communities for mothers. Part of what the sites do is review products, especially start-up brands owned by women and mothers.

Ms. Gumbinner has a team of writers, whom she pays, and she encourages them to do thorough research before posting a review.

“Our writers may try a new cosmetic product for a month, for example, before recommending it,” she said in an email. “With every product we write about, we need to earn our readers’ trust.”

Companies clearly like positive coverage. But when they are on the receiving end of negative chatter, they often feel at a disadvantage. Once a criticism goes viral, the damage is hard to undo.

Mom 2.0 and Dad 2.0, a conference for father content creators, hold training sessions that help participants communicate more effectively with brands and share their experiences with audiences. Keynote speakers and members of panels discuss the topic, and there are small-group workshops and round-table meetings.

At this year’s Mom 2.0 Summit session topics included “How to Connect and Work With Global Brands” and “Activism as an Influencer: How to Be the Driver of Change in Your Community.”

“I’ve seen somebody go after a hotel when they could have called the front desk to fix the problem,” said John Pacini, a co-founder of the conference. “We are trying to apply the same standards to our industry that work in normal face-to-face culture.”

Sometimes, Ms. Houston said, it is best to just back away from the internet. She recounted what she told to a friend, a new influencer popular with mothers, who asked Ms. Houston whether she should talk publicly about a bad experience at her neighborhood’s new coffee shop.

“I said: ‘No! They are brand new. Why would you want to ruin them?’” Ms. Houston said. “It’s good she even asked us, though. A lot of people, that thought, to check, doesn’t even cross their mind.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly’

Prince Andrew’s downfall is only beginning.

Following a disastrous interview the Duke of York gave to the BBC about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, one royal expert is claiming the 59-year-old royal won’t continue with anything official in that capacity — ever.

“His entire public existence has been wiped out by his own behavior,” royal historian Robert Lacey told People magazine for this week’s issue.

Just days after the British royal announced he was “stepping away” from public duties for the “foreseeable future,” Andrew was forced to pull out of a trip to Bahrain for an international meeting of his Pitch@Palace organization, which promotes entrepreneurs and new ideas in tech, the outlet reported.

Andrew’s office is also set to be moved out of Buckingham Palace and center around Pitch rather than his own official royal work.

PRINCE ANDREW’S JEFFREY EPSTEIN WOES ARE FAR FROM OVER DESPITE STEPPING DOWN FROM ROYAL DUTIES

Westlake Legal Group da51abe8-Prince-Andrew-split Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

Prince Andrew, right, is dealing with harsh backlash from critics and media personalities over an interview about his relationship with now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the numerous sexual assault allegations against the British royal. (Getty)

MEGHAN MARKLE ‘HORRIFIED’ BY PRINCE ANDREW’S JEFFREY EPSTEIN INTERVIEW: SOURCES

Lacey shared the moves to distance the monarchy from Andrew’s connection with the disgraced financier have occurred after discussions between the prince’s mother Queen Elizabeth, her eldest son Prince Charles, as well as other senior royals.

“[The decision] shows that the royals can move very swiftly and very ruthlessly,” said Lacey.

However, Elizabeth, 93, hasn’t completely rejected her son. The outlet revealed she was spotted alongside Andrew on horseback with two escorts on Nov. 22 — a seemingly private moment that would have been captured by photographers.

The outlet shared that the outing is likely a signal that despite her decision to ask Andrew to withdraw from public work on her behalf, the queen still stands by her son.

PRINCE ANDREW FORCED TO MOVE OFFICE OUT OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE: REPORT

Westlake Legal Group Queen-elizabeth-crying Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 10, 2019. – Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

DOMINIC GREEN: PRINCE ANDREW ALLEGATIONS COULD BE ‘BIGGEST ROYAL SCANDAL SINCE EDWARD VIII PALLED AROUND WITH NAZIS’

Andrew participated in a tell-all interview with the BBC in which he discussed his controversial relationship with the sex offender and the sexual assault allegations against him.

“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he said in reference to Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), who alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times between 1999 and 2002 in London and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.

“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of Elizabeth said.

Giuffre claimed Epstein paid her to have sex with the British royal and that she was just 17 years old during her first experience.

PRINCE ANDREW SHOULD SPEAK TO US INVESTIGATORS OVER JEFFREY EPSTEIN AFFILIATION, LAWYER SAYS

Westlake Legal Group Andrew-Accuser Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

JEFFREY EPSTEIN ACCUSER VIRGINIA ROBERTS WASN’T THE ONLY ‘YOUNG WOMAN’ SEEN WITH PRINCE ANDREW, PODCAST CLAIMS

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. In August, the palace said in a statement that Andrew was “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.”

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent,” the palace said.

The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010 video appearing to show Andrew inside Epstein’s opulent Manhattan home as the prince waved goodbye to a young woman.

The video was recorded two years after Epstein’s controversial plea deal in which he admitted to a Florida state felony charge of prostitution involving a minor. The terms of the deal included generous work release conditions for Epstein.

PRINCE ANDREW’S EX LEFT JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S NEW YORK APARTMENT ‘BECAUSE SHE WAS BEING WATCHED’

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Epstein Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves the headquarters of Crossrail at Canary Wharf on March 7, 2011, in London, England. Prince Andrew is under increasing pressure after a series of damaging revelations about him surfaced, including criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

PRINCE ANDREW TO ‘STEP BACK’ FROM PUBLIC DUTIES OVER JEFFREY EPSTEIN RELATIONSHIP

Andrew was photographed with Epstein in 2010 in New York’s Central Park after Epstein had finished serving his 18-month prison sentence. The photos sparked controversy at the time and led Andrew to quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011, according to Sky News.

In documents released in August, Johanna Sjoberg said she was 21 years old in 2001 when Andrew grabbed her breast at Epstein’s mansion in New York.

Sjoberg testified the incident was sparked when “someone” suggested those gathered take a picture, at which point Sjoberg said she and Ghislaine Maxwell (Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged “madam”) went to a closet and grabbed a puppet of Andrew.

“They told us to go get on the couch,” she said in the 2016 deposition. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap. And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”

QUEEN ELIZABETH IS HAVING ‘A ROUGH TIME’ AFTER PRINCE ANDREW’S JEFFREY EPSTEIN INTERVIEW, ROYAL EXPERT CLAIMS

Westlake Legal Group rtr4w5tt Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

Prince Andrew is the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and her second son. (Reuters/Neil Hall)

PRINCE ANDREW’S JEFFREY EPSTEIN INTERVIEW SLAMMED AS TOTAL DISASTER BY VIEWERS, MEDIA

She added: “I knew it was Prince Andrew because I knew him as a person.”

The court papers also include a photograph that has been in circulation since 2015 showing Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s bare waist in London in 2001. Giuffre said she was 17 at the time the photo was taken.

Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6105532658001_6105529276001-vs Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6105532658001_6105529276001-vs Prince Andrew’s ‘public existence has been wiped out,’ says royal expert: ‘The royals can move very swiftly' Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 743dab33-19ec-5141-8faa-8e4827d4f2fc

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Alibaba Raises Billions of Dollars in Hong Kong, Despite Protests

Westlake Legal Group 25alibaba-facebookJumbo Alibaba Raises Billions of Dollars in Hong Kong, Despite Protests Stocks and Bonds Recession and Depression Politics and Government Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China Alibaba Group Holding Ltd

HONG KONG — Shops are shuttered and tear gas still fills the streets, but that hasn’t put off investors looking for places to park their money.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, on Tuesday raised $11.2 billion in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that has been mired in political chaos for six months.

Alibaba shares finished their first day of trading there at $23.95, up 6.5 percent. That was more than a dollar higher than the offering price set by the company last week, though slightly lower than Alibaba’s original target of $24.

Alibaba’s share sale was the largest offering of any kind in Hong Kong since 2010, according to data from the stock exchange. The money raised by Alibaba will be added to the company’s cash pile, which now towers at $43 billion.

The successful listing is a boon for Hong Kong’s reputation as an international center for finance just when it needed a boost. A few times in recent weeks, lunchtime protests have filled Hong Kong’s financial district with tear gas and heavily fortified riot police. Some of the clashes between police and bankers have taken place just outside the territory’s stock exchange.

Earlier this summer, Alibaba said it would postpone its plans to sell its shares in Hong Kong as the protests turned violent. Over the summer months the stock market took a drubbing, losing virtually all of its gains for the year.

Still, Alibaba raised more money than executives had anticipated when it resumed its plan to sell shares. Alibaba runs online bazaars in which companies big and small can sell to Chinese consumers, and investors were drawn to that growth market despite both the protests and signs of a slowdown in the mainland. The company released extra shares last week to meet strong investor demand.

More broadly, investor sentiment has improved, even as protests have become more violent. Police have outlawed most large gatherings, leading to smaller protests that have consumed whole neighborhoods but have left much of the rest of the city unaffected. Despite transportation snarls and other problems, international companies have also been able to conduct business largely unimpeded.

Hong Kong’s stock market has now gained nearly 5 percent for the year. Several other high-profile public offerings are scheduled before the end of the year.

The stock market got another boost on Monday, after local elections that gave the territory’s pro-democracy moment a stunning victory took place without trouble.

A former British colony, Hong Kong operates largely separate from the mainland but has long served as a critical bridge to China. For years, multinational companies made the city their headquarters for the region because it offered access to a booming Chinese economy while also ensuring legal protections and free flow of information.

Many Chinese companies use Hong Kong to dip their toes into international waters for the first time by listing their shares on the territory’s stock exchange. So far this year, companies including Alibaba have raised some $34 billion from investors, according to the exchange.

It has also loosened some of its rules in recent years to attract more companies. For example, last year it agreed to allow companies that list there to sell so-called dual class shares, which give founders of tech companies more say than ordinary shareholders.

Alibaba’s offering was its second. It listed its shares in New York five years ago in the world’s largest public offering, a record set to be eclipsed by the I.P.O. of Saudi Aramco.

While Alibaba’s Hong Kong listing could buoy other companies looking to raise money from the financial markets, it will do little to help smaller mom-and-pop shops in Hong Kong.

Businesses in Hong Kong have been increasingly affected by weekly demonstrations protesting China’s tightening grip on the city. In October, the government announced the economy had slipped into a recession as businesses and the financial sector that keeps the city humming took a direct hit. The economy is expected to report a recession for the full year, according to Paul Chan, the territory’s financial chief.

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More than a dozen French soldiers killed in helicopter collision in Mali

French President Emmanuel Macron said a mid-air collision between two helicopters has killed 13 French soldiers fighting against Islamic extremists in Mali.

MALI ARMY POST TARGETED IN DEADLY MILITANT ATTACK, DOZENS KILLED, OFFICIALS SAY

Macron expressed “deep sadness” at the news of the Monday evening crash, which took place during a combat operation, according to the Associated Press.

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He expressed his support for the French military and stressed the “courage of the French soldiers” fighting the persistent Islamic threat in the Sahel region.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Rising, U.N. Report Says

Westlake Legal Group ap_19232846690760-1244081d95e1b1bce7a08dd2079b80596f0e463a-s1100-c15 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Rising, U.N. Report Says

Solar panels at Chile’s Quilapilún energy plant are part of a joint venture by Chile and China. China has been investing heavily in renewable energy technology. Esteban Felix/AP hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Rising, U.N. Report Says

Solar panels at Chile’s Quilapilún energy plant are part of a joint venture by Chile and China. China has been investing heavily in renewable energy technology.

Esteban Felix/AP

Greenhouse gas emissions have steadily risen for the last decade despite the current and future threat posed by climate change, according to a new United Nations report.

The annual report compares how clean the world’s economies are to how clean they need to be in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change — a disparity known as the “emissions gap.”

However, this year’s report describes more of a chasm than a gap. Global emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gasses have continued to steadily increase over the last decade. In 2018, the report notes that global fossil fuel CO2 emissions from electricity generation and industry grew by a mammoth 2%.

“There is no sign of [greenhouse gas] emissions peaking in the next few years,” the authors write. Every year that emissions continue to increase, “means that deeper and faster cuts will be required” in order to keep the Earth from warming more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Earth is already more than 1 degree warmer than it was before industrialization, and that is driving more frequent and severe storms, droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, if global emissions fail to fall in the coming decade, it will slow economic growth and cause serious damage to infrastructure and property in the United States.

“This is urgent, but we can do it,” says Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a climate policy think tank in Washington, D.C. The annual emissions gap report “heightens even further the public and political pressure on governments to do their utmost,” he says.

The United States is currently not on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, which the United States ratified and is technically still part of until its withdrawal takes effect in November 2020.

U.S. emissions have decreased in the last decade as appliances and vehicles get more efficient and the economy moves away from pollutant-heavy energy sources, such as coal. However, a strong economy paired with regulatory rollbacks have pushed emissions back up in recent years, slowing the country’s downward emissions trend.

According to the new report, six other major economies are also lagging behind their commitments, including Canada, Japan, Australia and Brazil.

Meanwhile, China’s greenhouse emissions have continued to grow, although they appear to be on track to peak before 2030, which is the target date that Beijing set for itself. The new U.N. report points out that per capita emissions in China are now “in the same range” as the European Union. China has also invested heavily in renewable energy such as solar and wind, and leads the world in electric vehicle infrastructure, although such investments have slowed in recent years.

The new report lays out recommendations for how the world’s top economies could cut emissions in the next decade. For example, countries could ban new coal-fired power plants, require all new vehicles to be CO2-free by 2030, expand mass transit and require all new buildings to be entirely electric.

The report comes just a few weeks before world leaders meet in Madrid for the annual Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they will discuss whether to make bolder national promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. The report warns that countries must promise to reduce emissions three to five times more than they already have.

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Cal Thomas: Democrats and Trump impeachment inquiry — A surprising lesson from ‘The Crown’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6108814182001_6108815368001-vs Cal Thomas: Democrats and Trump impeachment inquiry -- A surprising lesson from 'The Crown' Tribune Media Services fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Cal Thomas article 80a6496b-e567-55e2-be9c-b08ffd539a10

There is a telling scene in Season 3 of the Netflix drama “The Crown” about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II that can instruct contemporary America about Democrats’ attempt to impeach President Trump.

The episode is titled “Coup.” Harold Wilson is prime minister of Britain. He has just devalued the British pound and a bad economy has provoked street demonstrators to call for his removal from office.

A cabal ensues, led by Cecil King, the editor of the otherwise pro-Labour Party newspaper, the Daily Mirror. The plotters select Lord Mountbatten as the one they wish to replace Wilson.

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Wilson hears about the coup attempt and calls the Queen before the plotters can get to her. She then invites Mountbatten to Buckingham Palace where she admonishes her second cousin after which the following exchange takes place:

Mountbatten: “Why would you protect a man like Wilson?”

The Queen: “I am protecting the prime minister. I am protecting the Constitution. I am protecting democracy.”

Mountbatten: “But if the man at the heart of that democracy threatens to destroy it, are we supposed to just stand by and do nothing?”

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The Queen: Yes. Doing nothing is exactly what we do and bide our time and wait for the people who voted him in to vote him out again if, indeed that is what they decide to do.”

Mountbatten decides not to proceed. Whether this scene is accurate, or not (and much of the series claims fidelity to history), it makes a point Americans should take to heart. President Trump won the 2016 election in spite of many obstacles, including united media opposition, meddling by Russia and corrupt elements in Ukraine, which sought to tilt the U.S. election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

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Unlike 1968 when the economy was bad in Britain, the U.S. economy now is booming and consumer confidence is high. The impeachment hearings exposed disagreements over foreign policy, foreign policy the president has a right to make. They revealed a legitimate concern by the president that U.S. aid would go down a corruption rabbit hole, something the Obama administration had also been concerned about because it refused to send lethal aid to Ukraine “fearing that it would only escalate the bloodshed and give President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a pretext for further incursions.”

It appears that Trump also wanted the new leadership in Ukraine to investigate the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter in Ukraine, and whether they had become tainted, something the American media and President Obama’s Justice Department failed to do.

If articles of impeachment are passed by the House, it could take the Senate at least until the beginning of the primary election season in February to hold a trial. The process might drag on even further should Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decide to do so, and Republicans call witnesses of their own, including the Bidens.

While impeachment is a constitutional process, democracy is a greater one. The phrase “We the people” in the Preamble was critical to the founders. It separated America from the notion that the state and its leader, whether kings, queens, or dictators, and testimony from unelected bureaucrats is supreme. It says the people possess ultimate power.

That is why it should be up to voters this close to the next election. Wait for the people who voted Trump in either to reelect him or vote him out. Impeaching him will likely alienate half the country and could damage faith in our electoral process.

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If Democrats are right in their antipathy toward the president and if they can sell their version of facts to voters, they should try to do so. That is the best way to protect both our Constitution and our democracy.

Long live the Queen!

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World Powers Vowed to Cut Greenhouse Gases. They’re Still Rising Perilously.

Westlake Legal Group 26CLI-EMISSIONS1-facebookJumbo World Powers Vowed to Cut Greenhouse Gases. They’re Still Rising Perilously. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Coal Alternative and Renewable Energy

Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a United Nations report issued Tuesday, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.

“The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

The world’s 20 richest countries, responsible for more than three-fourths of emissions, must take the biggest, swiftest steps to move away from fossil fuels, the report emphasized. The richest country of all, the United States, however, has formally begun to pull out of the Paris accord altogether.

Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 1.5 percent every year over the last decade, according to the annual assessment, the Emissions Gap Report, which is produced by the United Nations Environment Program. The opposite must happen if the world is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, including more intense droughts, stronger storms and widespread food insecurity by midcentury. To stay within relatively safe limits, emissions must decline sharply, by 7.6 percent every year, between 2020 and 2030, the report warned.

Separately, the World Meteorological Organization reported on Monday that emissions of three major greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — have all swelled in the atmosphere since the mid-18th century.

Under the Paris Agreement, reached in November, 2015, every country has pledged to rein in emissions, with each setting its own targets and timetables. Even if every country fulfills its current pledges — and many, including the United States, Brazil and Australia, are currently not on track to do so — the Emissions Gap Report found average temperatures are on track to rise by 3.2 degrees Celsius from the baseline average temperature at the start of the industrial age.

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That trajectory is terrible for the future of humanity. According to scientific models, that kind of temperature rise sharply increases the likelihood of extreme weather events, the accelerated melting of glaciers and swelling seas — all endangering the lives of billions of people.

The Paris Agreement resolved to hold the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit; last year, a United Nations-backed panel of scientists said the safer limit was to keep it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to reduce emissions: quitting the combustion of fossil fuels, especially coal, the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel; switching to renewable energy like solar and wind power; moving away from gas and diesel guzzling cars; and halting deforestation.

In fact, many countries are headed in the wrong direction. A separate analysis released this month looked at how much coal, oil and natural gas the world’s nations have said they expect to produce and sell through 2030. If all those fossil fuels were ultimately extracted and burned, the report found, countries would collectively miss their climate pledges, as well as the global 2 degree Celsius target, by an even larger margin than previously thought.

A number of countries around the world, including Canada and Norway, have made plans to reduce emissions at home while expanding fossil-fuel production for sale abroad, that report noted.

“At a global level, it doesn’t add up,” said Michael Lazarus, a lead author of the report and director of the Stockholm Environment Institute’s United States Center. To date, he noted, discussions on whether and how to curb the production of fossil fuels have been almost entirely absent from international climate talks.

The International Energy Agency recently singled out the proliferation of sport utility vehicles, noting that the surge of S.U.V.s, which consume more gasoline than conventional cars, could wipe out much of the oil savings from a nascent electric-car boom.

Diplomats are scheduled to gather in Madrid in December for the next round of negotiations over the rules of the Paris Agreement. The world’s biggest polluters are under pressure to raise their pledges.

“This is a new and stark reminder,” Spain’s minister for ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, said of the Emissions Gap Report in an email. “We urgently need to align with the Paris Agreement objectives and elevate climate ambition.”

If there’s any good news in the report, it’s that the current trajectory is not as dire as it was before countries around the world started taking steps to cut their emissions. The 2015 Emissions Gap Report said that, without any climate policies at all, the world was likely to face around 4 degrees Celsius of warming.

Coal use is declining sharply, especially in the United States and Western Europe, according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. Renewable energy is expanding fast, though not nearly as fast as necessary. And city and state governments around the world, including in the United States, are rolling out stricter rules on tailpipe pollution from cars.

Those who have followed the diplomatic negotiations say they are confronted by something of a cognitive dissonance when they think about this moment. The world’s biggest polluters are nowhere near where they should be to draw down their emissions at a time when the human toll of climate change is near impossible to ignore.

And yet, renewable energy is spreading faster than could have been anticipated even a few years ago; electric buses and cars are proliferating and young people are protesting by the millions in rich and poor countries alike. Even in the United States, with its persistent denialist movement, how to deal with climate change is a resonant issue in the presidential campaign.

“There’s a bit of a best of times, worst of times about this,” said David Waskow, director of the international climate initiative at the World Resources Institute, a research and advocacy group.

Brad Plumer contributed reporting.

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Lewis the koala dies from injuries suffered in Australia fires

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106310327001_6106307456001-vs Lewis the koala dies from injuries suffered in Australia fires news.com.au fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fnc/world fnc article 74323d64-7f54-5565-9914-9e038dc92d0a

Lewis the koala, who was captured on video being pulled from charred NSW bushland by a heroic grandmother after a bushfire, has died.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital shared the heartbreaking news this afternoon, saying staff had made the decision earlier today to put him to sleep.

“We placed him under general anesthesia this morning to assess his burns injuries and change the bandages,” the hospital said in a post at about 2.30 p.m.

It stated Lewis’s burns got worse “and unfortunately would not have gotten better.”

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“The Koala Hospital’s number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made,” it reads.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106310327001_6106307456001-vs Lewis the koala dies from injuries suffered in Australia fires news.com.au fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fnc/world fnc article 74323d64-7f54-5565-9914-9e038dc92d0a   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106310327001_6106307456001-vs Lewis the koala dies from injuries suffered in Australia fires news.com.au fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fnc/world fnc article 74323d64-7f54-5565-9914-9e038dc92d0a

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House Dem reverses course on impeachment as polls show declining support

Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a prominent supporter of Kamala Harris who has previously supported the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, abruptly announced Sunday that she no longer saw any “value” in the process and called for her fellow Democrats to abandon impeachment in favor of a symbolic censure resolution.

Lawrence’s about-face came as polls have shown that independents are souring on the idea of impeaching and removing Trump from office, including in critical battleground states like Wisconsin, even as House Democrats aggressively presented their poll-tested “bribery” case against the president over the past two weeks.

Fifty percent of independents questioned in an NPR/PBS/Marist poll conducted Nov. 11-15 did not support impeaching and removing Trump from office, with just 42 percent backing such a move. That’s a noticeable dip in support compared with the previous NPR/PBS/Marist poll – conducted the first week in October – when support stood at 45 percent.

And, a Gallup poll conducted the first two weeks of November indicated that 45 percent of independent voters supported impeaching and removing the president – with 53 percent opposing the move. That’s a switch from October, when the previous Gallup survey put the split at 53-44 percent.

“We are so close to an election,” Lawrence said Sunday on a Michigan radio program, even as she asserted there was “significant” evidence to justify impeachment. “I will tell you, sitting here knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of taking him out of office. But I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable. It’s in violation of the office and the oath of office of a president of the United States, and we have to be clear that you cannot use your power of the presidency to withhold funds to get a foreign country to investigate an American citizen for your own personal gain. There’s no way around that.”

Lawrence continued: “I want him censured. I want it on the record that the House of Representatives did their job and they told this president and any president coming behind him that this is unacceptable behavior and, under our Constitution, we will not allow it. … I am a Democrat, but I am an independent United States of America citizen.”

Lawrence occupies a safely Democratic district that includes eastern Detroit, and her reluctance to move forward with impeachment suggested that moderate Democrats in swing districts may also be getting cold feet now that all scheduled hearings in the probe wrapped up last week.

Westlake Legal Group EJ1AVzJW4AIqX58 House Dem reverses course on impeachment as polls show declining support Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0ccab232-b5b3-548c-8bb5-71458166b9c3

Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence said she no longer supports impeachment, and called for a censure resolution. (House of Representatives)

The Washington Examiner noted that in a radio interview Oct. 4, before support for impeachment fell sharply, Lawrence was far more supportive of the proceedings.

“I feel strongly that for my legacy, for my time in history, sitting here at this table with an oath of office to protect this country, to protect the democracy of the United States of America, I cannot sit silent, that I must move forward with [impeachment] because this is egregious,” Lawrence said in October.

The House is now comprised of 431 members, meaning Democrats need 217 yeas to impeach Trump. There are currently 233 Democrats, so Democrats can only lose 16 of their own and still impeach the president. 31 House Democrats represent more moderate districts that Trump carried in 2016.

TWO WITNESSES UNDERCUT IMPROPER ‘QUID PRO QUO’ CLAIMS ; DEMS’ STAR WITNESS SONDLAND SAYS HE ‘PRESUMED,’ ‘GUESSED’ 

There have been signs close to home for Lawrence that Democrats should consider pulling the ripcord on the impeachment process. In an editorial last week, The Detroit News wrote that the House “should censure, not impeach” the president.

“Democrats still don’t have the strong case they’re seeking to justify removing President Donald Trump from office,” the paper wrote. “Censure amounts to a public shaming. … But it also recognizes the offense does not merit removal from office. That, too, seems appropriate, given the inconclusive testimony so far.”

SCHIFF SUGGESTS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY TO WRAP UP SHORTLY AFTER THANKSGIVING

Earlier this month, freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. — who flipped a GOP district in 2018 that Trump won by 7 points in 2016 — told Fox News that she was tentatively weighing all the evidence.

“My constituents expect me to make an objective decision,” Slotkin said as the hearings concluded, “not one based on an hour of testimony.”

Slotkin went on to acknowledge that launching an impeachment inquiry was a “politically tough thing to do.”

The censure process is not prescribed by the Constitution, and amounts essentially to a condemnation of conduct, without any substantive consequence, by a majority vote in either the House or the Senate.

“I don’t see the value of taking him out of office. … I want to censure.”

— Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence

President Andrew Jackson was censured in a largely political process by the Senate in 1834, although it was expunged three years later. Several other U.S. presidents have been reprimanded by Congress, including Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, and William Howard Taft.

Still, top Democrats have signaled they will go ahead with impeachment, at least for now. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced Monday that Democrats “are now preparing a report” for the House Judiciary Committee, indicating that his panel is wrapping up its work and that the next phase of the impeachment inquiry is imminent.

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Calling the evidence against the president “overwhelming, unchallenged and damning,” Schiff nevertheless asserted that investigative work would continue, and left open the possibility that Democrats would hold additional hearings.  But all scheduled public hearings before Schiff’s panel wrapped up on a testy note last week, and no new proceedings are planned.

“As required under House Resolution 660, the Committees are now preparing a report summarizing the evidence we have found this far, which will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess,” Schiff wrote in a letter to congressional colleagues.

He noted that the report “will catalog the instances of non-compliance with lawful subpoenas as part of our report to the Judiciary Committee, which will allow that committee to consider whether an article of impeachment based on obstruction of Congress is warranted along with an article or articles based on this underlying conduct or other presidential misconduct. Such obstruction was the basis of the third article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.”

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