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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 178)

Rep. Mike Conaway fights back after Schiff accuses him of interrupting witness

Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff Rep. Mike Conaway fights back after Schiff accuses him of interrupting witness Joshua Nelson fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/politics fnc dc520655-a633-5424-9d8d-909892d61e17 article

Thursday’s contentious public impeachment hearing saw a heated exchange between Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

After Conaway’s allotted five minutes to question State Department official David Holmes expired, Schiff asked Holmes to finish a statement that Schuff claimed Conaway had “cut off.”

“You were cut off when you were talking about [Ambassador to the European Union Gordon] Sondland’s indiscretion, did you want to finish that answer?” Schiff said.

EX-NSC AIDE CLASHES WITH GOP REPS OVER UKRAINE ‘FICTIONS’ CHARGE, IN TESTY HEARING

“Mr. Chairman, that’s patently unfair,” Conaway asserted.

“Mr. Conway …. to interrupt the witnesses as you have done repeatedly,” Schiff said.

Conaway responded, “You’re certainly willing to interrupt me during my five minutes. You’re the only person on this dais that has unlimited time. You have absolutely unlimited. You’re the only that has abused that power and you’re continuing to do that.”

FIONA HILL SAYS SHE WAS GIVEN STEELE DOSSIER JUST BEFORE IT WAS PUBLISHED

“We allow the witnesses to answer the question even if those asking the question don’t want to hear the answer,” Schiff said.

“Does that apply to you as well?” Conaway said.

“Yes it does,” Schiff said.

The testimony from Holmes described how he overheard a July 26 phone call between Sondland and President Trump about Ukraine’s willingness to conduct political investigations.

Holmes testified that he eventually understood that “demand” to be linked to a delay in $400 million in military aid. The White House countered, as it has in prior hearings, that the witnesses did not speak to any direct knowledge on the aid hold-up, while GOP lawmakers dismissed the alleged offense in question as nothing more than a “thought crime.”

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Also during the hearing, former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill clashed with Republicans, accusing some lawmakers of embracing the “fictional narrative” that only Ukraine — and not Russia — interfered in the 2016 elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff Rep. Mike Conaway fights back after Schiff accuses him of interrupting witness Joshua Nelson fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/politics fnc dc520655-a633-5424-9d8d-909892d61e17 article   Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff Rep. Mike Conaway fights back after Schiff accuses him of interrupting witness Joshua Nelson fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/politics fnc dc520655-a633-5424-9d8d-909892d61e17 article

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Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry

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Trump Impeachment Hearings: Day 5 Highlights

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, an aide at the United States Embassy in Kyiv, testified before the House Intelligence Committee.

“Beginning in March 2019, the situation at the embassy and in Ukraine changed dramatically. Specifically, the three priorities of security, economy and justice, and our support for Ukrainian democratic resistance to Russian aggression, became overshadowed by a political agenda promoted by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a cadre of officials operating with a direct channel to the White House. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speaker phone, I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The president’s voice was loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume. I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president and explain he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky quote, ‘loves your ass.’ I then heard President Trump ask: ‘So he’s going to do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s going to do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to do.’ Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the president.” “Based on questions and statements I’ve heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests. And I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016. These fictions are harmful even if they’re deployed for purely domestic political purposes. President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives.” “Although the hold on the security assistance may have been lifted, there are still things they wanted that they weren’t getting, including a meeting with the president in the Oval Office. So — and I think that continues to this day, I think they’re being very careful. They still need us.” “Obviously what Mr. Giuliani was saying was pretty explosive in any case. He was frequently on television making quite incendiary remarks about everyone involved in this, and that he was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us. And in fact, I think that that’s where we are today. I had to go to the lawyers, to John Eisenberg, our senior counsel for the National Security Council, to basically say, ‘You tell Eisenberg,’ Ambassador Bolton told me, ‘that I am not part of this whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.’”

Westlake Legal Group 21impeach-image6-videoSixteenByNine3000 Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, an aide at the United States Embassy in Kyiv, testified before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164784012_55893262-e940-4646-a918-d62d726a225e-articleLarge Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, arriving to testify on Thursday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, said President Trump’s demands for Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the 2016 elections amounted to a “domestic political errand” that diverged from American foreign policy goals.

Her testimony made it clear that Dr. Hill, a longtime Russia expert, saw the pressure campaign on Ukraine as a purely political effort that had nothing to do with confronting corruption in Ukraine, the explanation that Mr. Trump and Republicans have frequently given for his actions.

Under questioning from the top Republican counsel on the House Intelligence Committee, Dr. Hill said she confronted Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union about his failure to coordinate with other members of the administration and later realized he was “being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy.”

Dr. Hill said she had told Mr. Sondland at the time that, “this is all going to blow up. And here we are.”

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Fiona Hill Calls Claim of Ukraine Interference a ‘Fictional Narrative’

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia, not Ukraine, “systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”

Based on questions and statements I’ve heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified. The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career Foreign Service is being undermined. U.S. support for Ukraine, which continues to face armed Russian aggression, has been politicized. The Russian government’s goal is to weaken our country, to diminish America’s global role and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests. President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance. I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. I do not think long-term conflict with Russia is either desirable or inevitable. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.

Westlake Legal Group 21vid-impeach-clip-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia, not Ukraine, “systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Dr. Hill criticized Republicans on Thursday for propagating a “fictional narrative” embraced by President Trump that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 elections.

In an implicit rebuke to the president she once served, she argued that the story was planted by Russia and dangerously played into Moscow’s hands, by sowing political divisions in the United States that adversaries are eager to exploit.

“These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” said Dr. Hill, the co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” Dr. Hill explained. “They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.

The impeachment inquiry centers on the accusation that Mr. Trump withheld a White House visit for Ukraine’s president and security aid for the country as leverage to push the government to announce investigations into Mr. Biden, and the claim that Ukraine conspired to help Democrats in the 2016 election.

Dr. Hill called the claim about Ukraine’s interference a fake story invented by Russian intelligence services to destabilize the United States.

David Holmes, a top aide in the United States Embassy in Kyiv, told lawmakers on Thursday that he became convinced by the end of August that Mr. Trump had frozen security aid for Ukraine because he was seeking to pressure the country to commit to an investigation into Mr. Biden.

“By this point,” Mr. Holmes said, “my clear impression was that the security assistance hold was likely intended by the president either as an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.”

Burisma is a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, on its board.

Both Mr. Holmes and Dr. Hill said it was clear that mentions of Burisma by Mr. Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, or others were clearly references to the investigations that the president wanted Ukraine to announce.

Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Mr. Sondland both testified that they believed Burisma was merely a reference to the need to eliminate corruption in Ukraine, given the history of corruption at the company.

But both witnesses on Thursday said unequivocally that Burisma was “code” for the Bidens, and that anyone working on Ukraine issues would know that. Asked whether “anyone involved in Ukraine matters in the spring and summer would understand that as well,” Mr. Holmes had a one-word answer.

“Yes,” he said.

Dr. Hill described an awkward White House meeting with Ukrainian officials on July 10 that ended abruptly after Mr. Sondland discussed pressing Ukraine to investigate Democrats in exchange for a White House meeting for the country’s new president.

Dr. Hill testified that after the meeting ended, Mr. Sondland explained precisely what he was up to: “That he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting would get scheduled.”

When she told John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, about that exchange, Dr. Hill testified, he instructed her to tell the National Security Council’s top lawyer about what Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney were up to, and say that, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

“I took it to mean investigations for a meeting,” Dr. Hill added, when asked what Mr. Bolton meant by “drug deal.”

Later, Dr. Hill said that Mr. Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” She understood that to refer to Mr. Giuliani’s “incendiary remarks” on television about Ukraine, and that he was “pushing views that would come back to haunt us.”

“In fact,” she added, “I think that’s where we are today.”

Mr. Holmes provided the first public testimony about a now-infamous July cellphone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, a conversation that Democrats believe establishes that the president was preoccupied with persuading Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that benefited him politically.

He told lawmakers that he could hear Mr. Trump, who was speaking loudly, asking Mr. Sondland whether Mr. Zelensky was “going to do the investigation.” Mr. Sondland told Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigation and do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Holmes said.

In Mr. Holmes’s account, Mr. Sondland later told him that Mr. Trump cared only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation.” Mr. Sondland did not dispute that account when he testified on Wednesday, but said he did not recall specifically mentioning Mr. Biden.

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‘Could I Actually Say Something’: Hill Responds After Republicans Avoid Questions

Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia, interrupted the impeachment inquiry proceedings after three Republican lawmakers avoided asking her questions.

“The disagreement wasn’t about Russian meddling. The disagreement was about whether or not President Trump conspired with Russia — a false allegation peddled by the Democrats.” “You guys want to be the laughingstock of history, to impeach a president of the United States because he didn’t take a meeting? Oh please, dear God.” “It’s time for this phase of the publicly announced and proclaimed Democrat coup to end. Thank you for your service. Thanks for being here. And I yield back.” “Could I actually say something? Because we’ve had three —” “Doctor, I was going to — I was going to ask you if you’d like to respond. There have been —” “I yielded back!” “I — gentleman will suspend. Dr. Hill, you may respond.” “I think that what Dr. Wenstrup [Republican of Ohio] said was very powerful, about the importance of overcoming hatred and certainly partisan division. And it’s unfortunate that Congressmen Turner and Ratcliffe have both left as well, because I think all of us who came here under a legal obligation also felt we had a moral obligation to do so. We came as fact witnesses. When I was referring to questions that I’d heard, it was in the context of the deposition that I gave on Oct. 14, because I was very worried about the turn in which some of the questions were taking. And I understand that the point is being read about individuals, as you have just said, Dr. Wenstrup, and that these articles lay out taking different positions in our elections. I don’t believe there should be any interference of any kind in our election. I think it was unfair for people to already call the election and to make attacks also on candidate Trump and on President Trump. And I know that this has put a huge cloud over this presidency and also over our whole democratic system. That’s actually why as a nonpartisan person and as an expert on Russia and an expert on Vladimir Putin and on the Russian security services, I wanted to come in to serve the country to try to see if I could help. I heard President Trump say that he wanted to improve the relations with Russia. I believe we have to. We can’t be in this unending confrontation with Russia. We have to find a way to stabilize that relationship and to professionalize that relationship, as well as to stop them from doing what they did in 2016 again in 2020. This is really the crux of the issue that I and others are trying to put across, and I think that you’ve put across very eloquently. The other matters related to this inquiry, we’re here just to provide what we know and what we’ve heard. I understand that for many members this may be hearsay. I’ve talked about things I heard with my own ears. I understand that Ambassador Sondland has said a lot of things. I have told you what he told me and what others told me. A lot of other people have said things to me, again, as well, and also to Mr. Holmes. And we’re here to relate to you what we heard, what we saw and what we did — and to be of some help to all of you in really making a very momentous decision here. We are not the people who make that decision. And I do again want to underscore what you said here, Dr. Wenstrup. It was very eloquent and very moving about your service and trying to bring us all together again, as Americans. We need to be together again in 2020, so the American people can make a choice about the future and about — to make their votes in a presidential election without any fear that this is being interfered in by any, from any quarter whatsoever. So I just want to thank you for making what I think was also a very elegant and eloquent and heartfelt defense.”

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-impeachvid-hill-videoSixteenByNine3000 Key Moments From Hill and Holmes’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia, interrupted the impeachment inquiry proceedings after three Republican lawmakers avoided asking her questions.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Representative Mike Turner of Ohio laced into Dr. Hill, using his time during Thursday’s hearing to lecture her, rather than question her and taking issue with her assertion that some Republicans denied that Russians interfered in the 2016 elections.

In her opening statement, Dr. Hill had said that “based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country.”

Mr. Turner took issue with that statement, calling it a “little small” on her part.

“Dr. Hill, you have provided me probably the greatest piece of evidence that’s before us to illustrate the problem with hearsay,” Mr. Turner said, pointing her to a Republican report that acknowledged Russian meddling in the election. “Dr. Hill, no matter how much we believe we know that what we’ve heard is true, it is still just what we’ve heard.”

Mr. Turner also criticized Mr. Holmes for testifying that Mr. Sondland told the president that Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” during a telephone call in Kyiv. Mr. Turner said that Mr. Holmes should not have used that phrase in his testimony about the call.

“It was anecdotal, it was extraneous,” Mr. Turner said. “Your interests in protecting Ukraine are very dubious when you embarrass President Zelensky by making those statements you didn’t have to make. Who cares that Ambassador Sondland said that?”

Mr. Turner did not ask a question for either Dr. Hill or Mr. Holmes to answer, nor did two others Republicans who used their five minutes to issue critical statements.

A few minutes later, under questioning from a Democratic lawmaker, Dr. Hill got the chance to respond to the speechifying. She described herself as a nonpartisan Russia expert who was appearing before the committee without an agenda.

“We are here to relate to you what we heard, what we saw and what we did and to be of some help to all of you in really making a very momentous decision here,” Dr. Hill said. “We are not the people who make that decision.”

Mr. Trump followed the day’s testimony, repeatedly retweeting Republican members of the committee who complained about the impeachment process and insisting that the president had done nothing wrong.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump took aim at Mr. Holmes’s credibility even as he began testifying, suggesting there was no way he could have heard what he claimed to have picked up the cellphone conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland.

The call is an important piece of evidence because it demonstrates that Mr. Trump was directing members of his administration to push the Ukrainians for the investigations, but the president on Thursday sought to cast doubt on its authenticity.

Even before the day’s hearing began, the president posted a string of angry tweets about Democrats and the impeachment investigation.

The Democrats leading the impeachment investigation are “human scum,” he said.

The public hearings over the last week are “the most unfair hearings in American History.” And, “never in my wildest dreams” did he think his name would be linked to the “ugly word, Impeachment!”

Mr. Trump also revived his complaints about the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign or aides were involved in Russia’s election interference.

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Meghan McCain rips Joy Behar, media, saying they’re ‘naive’ if they think hearings will bring down Trump

Westlake Legal Group joy20behar20Meghan20McCain20ABC Meghan McCain rips Joy Behar, media, saying they're 'naive' if they think hearings will bring down Trump Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc article 0a9d6706-b4ad-56dc-b218-cf32f6f57cd3

“The View” had a fiery clash Thursday between Meghan McCain and Joy Behar over the ongoing impeachment inquiry with the conservative host calling her liberal colleague and the mainstream media “naive” if they thought the hearings would have a negative impact on President Trump.

Wednesday’s testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland made explosive headlines when he declared Trump had directed what he himself described as a “quid pro quo,” even though he later clarified that he had no direct knowledge that the withholding of military aid to Ukraine was tied to Trump’s desired investigations into Burisma and Ukraine’s involvement into the 2016 election.

During the panel discussion, McCain threw a wet blanket on the “cast of characters” from the impeachment hearings in what she predicted would have a minimal impact on the 2020 election.

“One of the things that I pride myself in is that we can’t get too sucked into the beltway and the media circles,” McCain began. “What I saw last night on the debate stage is not going to be good enough to beat him. You all are very convinced, ‘he’s crazy, he’s whatever.’ He’s always been crazy like a fox. I knew he was going to win in 2016 and I’m telling you right now, if you think this impeachment hearing and everything with Sondland and the 30,000 cast of characters — which, by the way, every day is ticking lower and lower on ratings. If you think this is enough to have it locked and loaded, you are naive!”

“You know what I would like to see?” Behar reacted. “I’d like to see these people answer to the subpoenas; [Rudy] Giuliani, [Mick] Mulvaney, [John] Bolton and [Mike] Pompeo–“

“You’re not listening to what I’m saying!” McCain shouted. “You’re not listening to what I’m saying!”

“I am listening to you,” Behar said. “What I’m saying: there’s more to come.”

McCain doubled down, warning her liberal co-host, “Do you know what matters? It’s the Electoral College, which is what you all should be focusing on right now, and you’re not.”

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“Which was created to save slave states,” Behar shot back.

“Oh, for God’s sake,” McCain said as the show cut to commercial.

Westlake Legal Group The-view-screenshot Meghan McCain rips Joy Behar, media, saying they're 'naive' if they think hearings will bring down Trump Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc article 0a9d6706-b4ad-56dc-b218-cf32f6f57cd3   Westlake Legal Group The-view-screenshot Meghan McCain rips Joy Behar, media, saying they're 'naive' if they think hearings will bring down Trump Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc article 0a9d6706-b4ad-56dc-b218-cf32f6f57cd3

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A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Tonight

Westlake Legal Group ap_19225208602600_wide-b739b89dd5ea217cc5ea2a45b6dd4ce3d9d8444b-s1100-c15 A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Tonight

Part of the Perseid meteor shower, seen in Salgotarjan, Hungary, on Aug. 13. Two astronomers predict the Alpha Monocerotids showers will be a more intense showing. Peter Komka/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Peter Komka/AP

Westlake Legal Group  A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Tonight

Part of the Perseid meteor shower, seen in Salgotarjan, Hungary, on Aug. 13. Two astronomers predict the Alpha Monocerotids showers will be a more intense showing.

Peter Komka/AP

With a bit of luck, people in the Eastern United States will be able to witness a rare meteor shower known as the Alpha Monocerotids late Thursday night. Two astronomers predicted the outburst will last less than an hour and could even yield more than 400 meteors in that time.

Meteor experts Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen published their prediction in MeteorNews. They said interested parties should arrive at their preferred watch zone no later than 11:15 p.m. ET — 35 minutes before the forecast start time — to see the maximum number of meteors.

The American Meteor Society said observers in eastern North America, western Europe and northwestern Africa are in prime locations to view the display. Those in western North America do not have such luck.

“At the time of the predicted outburst, the radiant will lie near the horizon for observers located on the west coast of North America,” AMS’s Robert Lunsford wrote. “From that location only a few long earthgrazers may be seen shooting upward from the eastern horizon.”

The Alpha Monocerotids showers — named after the unicorn-shape constellation Monoceros — appears every year during late November, but it usually brings only three or four meteors per hour. However, it has brought huge meteor rates four times in the past, the latest being in 1995.

“The 1925 and 1935 outbursts reached even the level of a meteor storm with [zenithal hourly rates] of over 1000,” Jenniskens and Lyytinen wrote. “In 1985 and 1995 the activity reached a level with ZHRs of about 700 and 400.”

Jenniskens and Lyytinen are expecting similar numbers on Thursday night. However, at NASA, one meteorologist believes it won’t be so impressive.

Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office said the intensity of a meteor shower is dependent on the size of the parent comet’s orbit. The parent comet of Alpha Monocerotids has not been discovered, leading Cooke to question how accurate the prediction is.

“And since we have not yet discovered this mysterious parent comet, who knows how close the estimate of the orbit is to the actual?” he said.

But even if the meteor shower fails to impress, Cooke said, it will be a good use of a couple of hours.

“Even if there is no outburst, it doesn’t hurt to get out under the stars for a bit,” Cooke said.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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Escaped Missouri inmate caught living in makeshift hut ‘off the grid’ in Delaware, investigators say

A two-time Missouri jail escapee was captured Tuesday more than 1,000 miles away in Delaware, where he was living “off the grid” in a hut in the woods, investigators said.

Drake Kately, 27, of Kansas City, Mo., was being held at the Mercer County Jail on several charges, including firearm possession and burglary, when he escaped for the second time more than two months ago, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.

Kately had escaped in late August by tearing a hole in the back of his jail cell and leaving through the basement door, KTTN reported at the time.

Westlake Legal Group mercer-co-hut-final Escaped Missouri inmate caught living in makeshift hut 'off the grid' in Delaware, investigators say Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/us/crime/manhunt fox news fnc/us fnc article 488c1cf0-3fa1-50f7-8528-12fe79206fb3

Investigators said they found Kately living in a makeshift shelter made of foliage and vegetation. (U.S. Marshals Service)

OKLAHOMA WOMAN, 48, SMILES IN MUGSHOT AFTER ARREST IN HUSBAND’S STABBING DEATH

U.S. Marshals said the agency joined the county sheriff’s investigation in early September and followed leads across several states. In mid-October, investigators narrowed their search down to New Castle, Del., where Kately was believed to have traveled with an associate who had relatives in the area.

Deputies and task-force officers combed a wooded area in nearby Wilmington, where they suspected Kately was living “off the grid.” Investigators spotted clothing hanging from a tree branch and discovered a makeshift hut made of vegetation fashioned around a fallen tree — the escapee’s hideout, they said.

Westlake Legal Group drake-kately Escaped Missouri inmate caught living in makeshift hut 'off the grid' in Delaware, investigators say Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/us/crime/manhunt fox news fnc/us fnc article 488c1cf0-3fa1-50f7-8528-12fe79206fb3

Kately had escaped twice from the same Missouri jail. (Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and Jail via AP)

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Kately was taken into custody and held at the New Castle Police Department, where he was awaiting extradition to Missouri.

His attorney, Melinda Troeger, didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group drake-kately-hut-sbs Escaped Missouri inmate caught living in makeshift hut 'off the grid' in Delaware, investigators say Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/us/crime/manhunt fox news fnc/us fnc article 488c1cf0-3fa1-50f7-8528-12fe79206fb3   Westlake Legal Group drake-kately-hut-sbs Escaped Missouri inmate caught living in makeshift hut 'off the grid' in Delaware, investigators say Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/us/crime/manhunt fox news fnc/us fnc article 488c1cf0-3fa1-50f7-8528-12fe79206fb3

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Adam Schiff Erupts: Closing Statement On Contentious Impeachment Hearing

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‘We’re Going to Win’, Says Sanders, After New National Poll Shows Him Tied With Biden in 2020 Democratic Primary

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Canaparo & Jipping: In impeachment inquiry, ‘whistleblower’ testimony is vital

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6107102995001_6107096256001-vs Canaparo & Jipping: In impeachment inquiry, ‘whistleblower’ testimony is vital Thomas Jipping GianCarlo Canaparo fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee61d8c1-c3c3-5657-bac1-3c5a7eacfbd7 article

Democrats and Republicans have been fighting over whether the person who filed a complaint about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – sparking the impeachment inquiry now underway against Trump – should be called to testify publicly.

We believe the person, who is not technically a whistleblower, should be required to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats who control the committee disagree. They killed a motion to subpoena the so-called whistleblower, who has said through his attorney that he wants to remain anonymous.

Here’s why the person filing the complaint should testify:

FBI REACHED OUT TO WHISTLEBLOWER’S LEGAL TEAM FOR INTERVIEW, SOURCE TELLS FOX NEWS

Impeaching and removing a president is perhaps the most consequential thing Congress can do, short of declaring war. Impeachment and removal turns our representative democracy on its head, nullifying the last election.

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In the case of a first-term president, impeachment deprives the American people of the chance to pass judgment on his actions and decide if they want to reelect him.

Impeachment is designed to be a constitutional failsafe, a measure of last resort to save the republic from imminent harm posed by the executive.

Public understanding of such a grave step and confidence in its legitimacy demand that Democrats show that the impeachment proceedings now underway are more than simply an exercise of raw partisan politics.

The American people need to know as much as possible about what the president is accused of. Yet the impeachment inquiry against Trump has been marked by secret proceedings, rules favoring one party over the other, and explosive accusations by people who may not even have firsthand knowledge. These are not the marks of a legitimate process. Indeed, they actively undercut the people’s trust.

As then-Sen. Joe Biden said during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998: “We in Congress had better be very careful before we upset [the people’s] decision and make darn sure … that our decision to impeach him was based on principle and not politics.”

Biden, who went on to become vice president and is now seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump for the presidency next year, was right 21 years ago and his position is the right one today. Not surprisingly, Democrats are far more eager to impeach Republican Trump than they were to impeach Democrat Clinton.

As the House moves toward what appears to be Trump’s likely impeachment (followed by his likely acquittal in a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate), Democrats will need to gather all the facts and present them openly and honestly to the American people.

That means that the complainant needs to answer important questions like:

How did you learn about the Trump-Zelensky call?

Did you have any firsthand information?

Who provided you with second-hand information?

Why did you think this person or persons were trustworthy?

Did the accounts you heard from those sources differ from the memorandum of the call released by the president?

Many more questions need to be asked, of course.

The complainant’s attorneys have said he is willing to answer questions in writing, but that’s not sufficient. The American people need to weigh his credibility. Pieces of paper can’t answer questions.

And there are a lot of questions. As the intelligence community Inspector General noted, the complainant had significant ties to one of the current Democratic presidential candidates.

According to some media reports, the complainant is a registered Democrat who worked for then-Vice President Biden in addition to former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

If any of these and other unverified reports about the so-called whistleblower are true, then there is good reason to think the complainant is more like a partisan double agent than a true whistleblower.

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And especially because it appears the complainant lacked firsthand knowledge of the events he complained about, there’s the question of who did. And why did they seek him out to pass their information along?

Motive matters. If impeachment is to be anything other than a partisan assault on our democracy, a bipartisan consensus must agree that politics was not the animating factor behind the complaint as well as the subsequent impeachment inquiry.

Current House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., had some good advice back in 1998, when he was already serving in the House.

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“There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment, when impeachment is supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by the other,” Nadler said 21 years ago.  “Such an impeachment will produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.”

Congress should heed that old but wise and very relevant advice of Joe Biden and Jerrold Nadler today.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY GIANCARLO CANAPARO

Thomas Jipping is deputy director and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6107102995001_6107096256001-vs Canaparo & Jipping: In impeachment inquiry, ‘whistleblower’ testimony is vital Thomas Jipping GianCarlo Canaparo fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee61d8c1-c3c3-5657-bac1-3c5a7eacfbd7 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6107102995001_6107096256001-vs Canaparo & Jipping: In impeachment inquiry, ‘whistleblower’ testimony is vital Thomas Jipping GianCarlo Canaparo fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee61d8c1-c3c3-5657-bac1-3c5a7eacfbd7 article

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On a Dry Spreadsheet, a Stark Difference: A $200,000 Pay Gap

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152306991_04365e18-65d1-48b1-bf0e-48e3145ca4ee-articleLarge On a Dry Spreadsheet, a Stark Difference: A $200,000 Pay Gap Wages and Salaries Organized Labor News and News Media Labor and Jobs Book Trade and Publishing Advertising and Marketing

Hearst Tower in Manhattan. Employees of Hearst Magazines announced last week they had joined a union.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

With income inequality a focus of the current presidential candidates, workers in journalism, advertising and book publishing have anonymously posted salary information on crowdsourced spreadsheets, many of them hoping their efforts will lead to higher pay.

“Having salaries that aren’t transparent only benefits the people at the top,” said Sarah Kobos, a senior photo editor at the consumer products website Wirecutter, which is owned by The New York Times. Ms. Kobos started a spreadsheet for journalists last week.

The document, Real Media Salaries, has more than 1,400 anonymous entries, many listing sex, racial identity and years of experience in addition to salary information. It has given rise to several similar documents in the publishing and advertising industries.

On Tuesday, an Instagram account, Real Agency Salaries, linked to a spreadsheet that has more than 1,000 entries purporting to provide information on compensation in the ad business. The document states in an echo of the media spreadsheet: “Talking about how much or how little money you make feels taboo, and it shouldn’t.” Its existence was first reported by the trade news site AgencySpy.

Real Agency Salaries suggests there are striking disparities in pay for different demographic groups. A white, male freelance creative director in New York with 28 years of experience reported a salary of $300,000. A Latino man with the same job description in New Jersey and 25 years of experience said he made $95,000.

The third spreadsheet, Transparency in Publishing Salaries, had not caught on in the same way, with 15 entries on Wednesday evening. Another publishing spreadsheet had several hundred entries.

People are contributing to the lists during a wave of unionization in digital media, an industry of high valuations and young workers. Last week, employees of Hearst Magazines announced they had joined the Writers Guild of America East. Earlier, NBC News’s digital staff chose as its bargaining representative the NewsGuild of New York, which represents employees at The Times, The New Yorker and digital properties including BuzzFeed.

Ms. Kobos, the creator of Real Media Salaries, said in an interview that a recent union drive at Wirecutter had helped inspire the spreadsheet. She also acknowledged an antecedent: a 2017 spreadsheet in which media workers published allegations of sexual misconduct against men in the industry. That list, created as the #MeToo movement was expanding, led to investigations that resulted in the departures of prominent journalists.

The advertising industry had its own version last year, Diet Madison Avenue, an anonymous Instagram account that encouraged workers to submit reports of sexual misconduct. The account led to the dismissals of several men from ad agencies, but was eventually deleted and became the target of a defamation lawsuit that remains active.

Crowdsourced data allows for vast amounts of information to be collected — but it is a challenge to fact-check. Jessica Lessin, the founder and editor in chief of the tech website The Information, wrote on Twitter that the spreadsheet for journalists was “not even close to fact.” In an interview, she added that a listing that matched up with someone on her staff was inaccurate.

Similarly, some of the data on the advertising list seems to have been submitted in jest. One entry reported that an employee at the ad agency We Are Unlimited was paid in “White Claw and tears.” A person identified as a senior strategic planner at the VMLY&R agency claimed to have 111 years of work experience.

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A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics

Westlake Legal Group 21flamebait1-facebookJumbo A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics Social Media Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Politics and Government News and News Media elections

SAN FRANCISCO — At first glance, the websites Conservative Edition News and Liberal Edition News have only one thing in common: Both have been carefully curated to inflame America’s culture wars.

Conservative Edition News is a repository of stories guaranteed to infuriate the American right. Its recent headlines include “Austin sex-ed curriculum teaches kids how to obtain an abortion” and “HuffPost writer considers Christianity ‘dangerous.’”

On Liberal Edition News, readers are fed a steady diet of content guaranteed to drive liberal voters further left or to wring a visceral response from moderates. One recent story singled out an Italian youth soccer coach who called Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, a “whore.”

The sites are the work of Ken LaCorte, the former Fox News executive who was accused of killing a story about President Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, before the 2016 election.

Their content is written by a network of young Macedonians in Veles, a sleepy riverside town that was home to a collection of writers who churned out disinformation during the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Among Mr. LaCorte’s network was one writer who helped peddle a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had ties to a pedophile ring.

Until now, it was unclear who was behind the sites. But an investigation by The New York Times and researchers at Nisos, a security firm in Virginia, found that they are among several sites owned by Mr. LaCorte that push inflammatory items — stories, petitions and the occasional conspiracy theory — to the American public.

While big tech companies like Google and Twitter are trying to distance themselves from divisive politics by restricting or banning political ads, Mr. LaCorte’s websites are a reminder that there is a cottage industry of small sites happy to stoke passions on both sides of the political aisle and cash in on that anger.

Conservative Edition News and Liberal Edition News forgo bylines. The only hint of their maker is in fine print at the bottom of each page: “By Bivona Digital Inc.,” a corporation whose only known address is a drop box typically reserved for transient sailors off the San Francisco Bay in Sausalito, Calif.

Mr. LaCorte acknowledged in an interview this week that he operated the hyperpartisan sites with help from young Macedonians and American editors. He uses them, he said, to drive Facebook traffic to his flagship venture, LaCorte News, a “centrist-right” website that he brands as a “digital news start-up with the stated goal of restoring faith in the media.”

“I wanted to try to find middle ground,” Mr. LaCorte said. “Unfortunately, the things that work best right now are hyperactive politics. On one hand, that’s at odds with what I want to do. But you can be more successful by playing the edgy clickbait game.”

He added: “Where does that line turn from good business to ‘Eh, that’s sleazy’?”

Exploiting American cultural and political fissures to drive traffic to his websites has worked wonders. At last count, Mr. LaCorte had more than three million followers on the social network and 30 million unique visitors to his sites. Even he couldn’t believe his success.

“One day I woke up and more than 1 percent of Americans were following my sites,” he said.

Intentionally or not, the sites are mimicking Kremlin interference in 2016, when Russian operatives used fictitious personas to inflame American discord over Benghazi, border security, gun control and Black Lives Matter.

American officials have warned that Russia is laying groundwork for interference in 2020. In a rare joint statement this month, officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., the National Security Agency and other agencies warned that Russia, China, Iran and other nations would seek to interfere in the 2020 election through social media, disinformation and cyberattacks. The announcement was intended to assure Americans that the government was prepared.

What is less clear is how officials plan to address the growing and increasingly profitable marketplace for politically divisive content that is being operated by Americans. In this case, with help from Macedonia.

The spreading of politically divisive content or even blatant disinformation and conspiracy theories by Americans is protected free speech. Security experts said the adoption of Russian tactics by profit-motivated Americans had made it much harder to track disinformation.

“It’s this blending we’re most worried about,” said Cindy Otis, Nisos’ director of analysis and threat investigations. “It makes it much harder to determine motivation and even the actor.”

She added, “This slow-and-steady mainstreaming of disinformation-like tactics is normalizing things we would otherwise identify as inauthentic behavior.”

Mr. LaCorte had steered clear of promoting his role in the sites. His employees were careful to omit any mention of their involvement on their LinkedIn profiles. But The Times and Nisos traced their involvement through historical internet records, state business records, web server addresses, the WordPress publishing platform, and Facebook and Google Analytics accounts.

Mr. La Corte, an acolyte of Roger E. Ailes, the former Fox News chairman, served two decades at Fox before being pushed out in November 2016 as part of what he called a post-Ailes “corporate purge.”

He soon began devising his own venture, LaCorte News, “center to right leaning, but nothing like the hard-core political sites you see around,” he said in a Facebook post.

With a $1 million investment — including $250,000 of his own money and more from friends and family — he hired executives like John Moody, who left Fox after posting a racially inflammatory column, and Michael Oreskes, a former New York Times editor who was later ousted from an executive position at NPR amid sexual harassment allegations.

Almost immediately, Mr. LaCorte noted that there was little audience for his centrist news start-up on Facebook. “Facebook has created an onboarding system where I could not just go out and do standard news and have that be a successful strategy,” he said.

He set up several Facebook pages on science, history and humor, anticipating that they would eventually direct traffic back to LaCorte News. The pages accumulated nearly 300,000 followers, but the traffic rarely crossed over from Facebook to Mr. LaCorte’s websites.

In time, he reached a conclusion similar to one reached by the young Macedonians in 2016. They discovered they could make tenfold their country’s average monthly salary using Google AdSense’s pay-per-click ads next to inflammatory stories aimed at pro-Trump American audiences.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Buzzfeed found more than 100 Macedonian pro-Trump websites that pumped out false and inflammatory stories.

Mr. LaCorte said he hadn’t followed Macedonia’s fake-news industry until early 2017, but came to admire its ads and traffic. He reached out to a 19-year-old Macedonian on Facebook and put a handful of his friends on monthly wages to do what he called “journalism lite” — hot takes on sensationalist stories from The Daily Caller and other right-leaning sites.

Mr. LaCorte said his sites weren’t making things up. “It’s not like I went to Macedonians ‘R’ Us,” he said. “Every story went through a U.S. editor. It’s not like we were doing ‘Hillary Clinton’s Cronies Did This.’ It was fair news. It was real.”

Looking back, Mr. LaCorte said of the 15 stories that his various sites put out each day over the past two years, “I would only be embarrassed by four.”

Facebook shut down Mr. LaCorte’s pages and even employees’ personal accounts last week after researchers at Nisos and The Times asked about his business. The move, which Mr. LaCorte denounced as conservative censorship, killed off roughly 90 percent of his income.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the action had nothing to do with content. After learning of the pages, she said, Facebook concluded that Mr. LaCorte had violated its terms of service by buying and exchanging so-called site privileges, and that accounts in his network had engaged with well-known Macedonian “troll farms.”

While Mr. LaCorte waits to see if Facebook will turn the spigot back on, he is moving more content to YouTube and creating an anti-censorship Reddit-like “Free Speech Zone.”

That content will also have Macedonian help. “I wish I could have an office full of locals,” Mr. LaCorte said. “But there’s no chance I could stay alive and pay Bay Area salaries as a start-up.”

Recently, the Macedonian government began investing in media literacy, in an effort to extinguish its “fake news” reputation.

“I chuckled when I saw that,” Ms. Otis said. “It hasn’t gone away. What’s happening is they’re professionalizing into communication services that sound a lot more legitimate than teenagers just trying to make a buck. And now, Americans are hiring them.”

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