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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 182)

Presidential Historian Warns ‘We’re Heading Toward A ‘U.S. V. Trump’ Supreme Court Case,’ Calls Nixon’s Actions ‘Sedate’ Compared To Trump’s

Westlake Legal Group IAydDL6vpCivrNCnsL2U7eQ6-FL1VHKvIzyxWJtNOmc Presidential Historian Warns 'We're Heading Toward A 'U.S. V. Trump' Supreme Court Case,' Calls Nixon's Actions 'Sedate' Compared To Trump's r/politics

What blows my mind the most about all this is how Trump’s supporters blindly ignore things like this.

It’s one thing for them to not believe the accounting of Trump’s transgressions from the mouths of politicians. I am sympathetic of that. We’ve be lied to and misled before by politicians of all shapes and sizes throughout history.

But when the same sentiment is shared by former military generals, former CIA operatives, former FBI officials, every formalized body of legal practice in existence – public and private alike -, former supreme court justices, former Trump allies and colleagues, former presidents, college professors, historians, etc…. yet these people still choose to believe that Trump is in the clear because he tweeted so is just unfathomable.

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Blizzard Sets Off Backlash for Penalizing Hearthstone Gamer in Hong Kong

Westlake Legal Group 09xp-hkgamer-facebookJumbo Blizzard Sets Off Backlash for Penalizing Hearthstone Gamer in Hong Kong Hong Kong Protests (2019) Freedom of Speech and Expression E Sports Computer and Video Games China Activision Blizzard Inc

HONG KONG — Activision Blizzard became the latest American company to find itself caught between its business interests in China and the values of its core customers after it suspended an e-sports player who voiced support for the Hong Kong protests during a live broadcast.

The decision to suspend Chung Ng Wai, a professional Hearthstone player in Hong Kong, for a year, while forcing him to forfeit a reported $10,000 in prize money, prompted a backlash in the United States similar to the public relations debacle the N.B.A. has faced this week. Gamers posted angrily on social media and in forums, while politicians saw it as another troubling sign of China’s chilling clampdown on speech worldwide.

“Recognize what’s happening here. People who don’t live in #China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote on Twitter. “China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally.”

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, concurred, saying on Twitter that Activision Blizzard showed “it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party.”

“No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck,” he said.

Activision Blizzard, which has created some of the most popular games in e-sports, including Overwatch and StarCraft, said Mr. Chung had run afoul of a rule barring players from any act that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages” the company’s image.

In a post-match interview with the Taiwan stream of Hearthstone, Mr. Chung, who is known as Blitzchung, appeared with ballistic goggles and a gas mask, protective gear often worn by protesters during demonstrations in Hong Kong. Mr. Chung shouted in Mandarin: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” a popular slogan of the protesters.

Mr. Chung did not respond to an interview request on Wednesday. But in a chat with fans on Tuesday on Twitch, a live-streaming service, he expressed no regret.

“Today, what I have lost in Hearthstone is four years of time,” he said, referring to the years he spent playing the game. “But if Hong Kong loses, it would be the matter of a lifetime.”

In the second quarter of 2019, Activision Blizzard earned $173 million from the Asia Pacific region, about 12 percent of its $1.4 billion worldwide total revenues.

Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Several companies have recently apologized after offending Chinese sensitivities, or have pre-emptively self-censored to ensure that they do not lose access to the lucrative Chinese market.

This week, the N.B.A. was forced onto a tightrope after Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted support of the Hong Kong protests. An initial statement from the N.B.A. was widely seen as insufficiently supportive of Mr. Morey, prompting accusations that the league was more interested in its Chinese business interests than supporting free speech.

Last week’s “South Park” episodes mocked Chinese censors and American businesses that compromise their values for the Chinese market, causing the show to be pulled from Chinese platforms.

It was not yet clear what commercial impact the backlash to Blizzard would have, but many of its users reacted strongly. Threads on Reddit forums dedicated to Blizzard games lit up with criticism, while calls to boycott the company or cancel subscriptions spread throughout Twitter.

One person to cancel his World of Warcraft subscription was Mark Kern, who led the team that created the game.

In an interview, Mr. Kern said China was a major source of revenue for the gaming industry, and he knew he was “closing many doors” careerwise by speaking out on Twitter.

But Mr. Kern, who lived in Hong Kong as a teenager, said the company’s actions were “a deterioration of Blizzard values that really broke my heart.”

“It’s one thing to stay out of politics in games, quite another to take harsh, punitive actions designed to appease a government whose values are against what Blizzard has traditionally stood for,” he said.

Patrick Chow, 20, who works at an e-sports stadium in Hong Kong, said he used to play Hearthstone a lot but would immediately stop playing Blizzard games. He said Mr. Chung had the right to use his influence to help the people of Hong Kong, and that the company shouldn’t have “controlled the player’s freedom of speech.”

“It breaks my impression of Blizzard,” he said.

Tiffany May contributed reporting.

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Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested

Two of the three men wanted in connection to the killing of Joshua Brown, a key witness who testified in the high-profile murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, have been arrested while a third, Thaddeous Green, remained on the lam Wednesday morning.

The second suspect, Michael Mitchell, 32, was arrested by federal deputy marshals Tuesday night in Marksville, Louisiana, while Mitchell’s nephew, 20-year-old Jacquerious Mitchell, is in critical condition in a Dallas-area hospital with a gunshot wound.

Authorities believe the three men traveled from Alexandrian, Louisiana, to buy drugs from Brown, 28, in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex.

DALLAS POLICE NAME 3 SUSPECTS IN KILLING OF JOSHUA BROWN, WITNESS IN AMBER GUYGER MURDER TRIAL; 1 ARRESTED

Jecquerious Mitchell told the police that Brown shot him in the chest after an argument during the drug deal. Dallas Police Assistant Chief Avery Moore said that during the deal Green shot Brown twice.

Green left with Brown’s backpack and gun. Investigators also seized 12 pounds of marijuana, 149 grams of THC cartridges and more than $4,000 in cash during a search of Brown’s home. It was unclear how the three men came into contact with Brown or why they would have driven more than 300 miles from central Louisiana to purchase pot in Texas.

While there had been widespread speculation that Brown’s death had something to do with Guyger’s trial, Moore on Tuesday afternoon cautioned against it.

Westlake Legal Group green-mitchell Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe

Even though an attorney representing Brown’s family previously said Brown had reservations about testifying in the high-profile Guyger trial, Moore said Brown’s killing had nothing to do with the case.

Brown, who lived in the same apartment building, testified about what he heard the night Botham Jean was murdered. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Brown’s family, said Brown’s mother told him about her son’s reservations about his visibility in the Guyger trial. In November, Brown was wounded in the foot in a shooting that left a 25-year-old man dead outside a Dallas nightclub, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“He was concerned that the people who shot him there still wanted to do him additional harm,” said Merritt, who also represented Botham Jean’s family.

TEXAS JUDGE DEFENDS HUG, HANDING BIBLE TO AMBER GUYGER AS SHOW OF ‘LOVE AND COMPASSION’

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and other officials had asked the public to refrain from speculating about the killing of Brown while police investigated. Meanwhile, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. requested an independent investigation into Brown’s slaying, calling it “deeply alarming and highly suspicious” in a news release.

Dallas police had no comment on calls for an independent investigation.

Guyger testified that in September 2018, after working a long shift, she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder.

At the time of Jean’s shooting, Brown lived in the same apartment building as Guyger and Jean. Brown was killed at a different complex, investigators said.

Brown testified that on the night of Jean’s killing, he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived, and that he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots.

At times during his testimony, Brown became emotional and used his T-shirt and tissues to wipe away tears. He said he had met Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.

Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over Guyger’s trial, said Monday she was “saddened” and “stunned” to hear about Brown’s death, adding that “he seemed to be a very compassionate young man and I hate that his life has ended so soon.”

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Brown, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, graduated from South Florida State College. Following college, he managed Airbnb units in California and Georgia and worked to get a similar business off the ground in Dallas. He had three children – a 6-year-old and two toddlers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group JoshuaBrown720 Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe   Westlake Legal Group JoshuaBrown720 Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe

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Squirrels Did A Totally Nuts Thing To A Car

Westlake Legal Group 5d9db4ac210000c008acbbe2 Squirrels Did A Totally Nuts Thing To A Car

Squirrels squirreled away more than 200 walnuts under the hood of a car in Pittsburgh.

Holly Persic said she smelled burning while driving her Kia on Monday. She popped the hood and discovered the critters had been storing their food for winter ― which they’d taken from a walnut tree in her yard ― around the engine. The animals had also padded the hood with mounds of grass.

“They were everywhere, under the battery, near the radiator fan,” her husband, Chris Persic, told CNN of the stash. “The walnuts on the engine block were black and smelled like they were definitely roasting,” he added.

The couple pulled out most of the nuts themselves. Mechanics at a local garage removed even more ― enough to half-fill a trash can ― from areas of the engine the Persics couldn’t reach, reported CBS Pittsburgh. The vehicle was otherwise undamaged.

Chris Persic issued “a little PSA” on Facebook following the discovery.

“Long story short, if you park outside, do yourself a favor and check under the hood every once in awhile,” Persic wrote in the post, above.

“My truck may have had a squirrel chew through/pull out a fuel injector hose, and Holly’s looked like they were storing up for the next 3 winters,” he added. “Was absolutely nuts…no pun intended.”

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Gingrich on House Dems’ impeachment push: Trump ‘absolutely justified’ in refusing to cooperate

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-09-at-9.31.39-AM Gingrich on House Dems' impeachment push: Trump 'absolutely justified' in refusing to cooperate Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 6e630fa6-4ac2-5ea3-bac3-a2d38b16ef67

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that the Trump administration was justified in ordering the U.S. ambassador to the European Union not to appear at a deposition on the Ukraine controversy, which triggered a fiery new clash with House Democrats amid their impeachment inquiry.

“I think the president is absolutely justified in saying that he would not cooperate in any way until they establish a normal regular procedure,” Gingrich told “Fox & Friends.”

Trump dismissed the deposition as a “kangaroo court” as he defended the decision to block Gordon Sondland from appearing at the closed-door session on Capitol Hill.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS AMBASSADOR FROM TESTIFYING IN HOUSE IMPEACHMENT DEPOSITION

But the move, first reported by The New York Times, prompted new warnings from Democrats that such acts will be seen as an obstruction of their investigation into the controversy surrounding Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the July phone call, which was flagged as part of a whistleblower complaint, Trump urged Zelensky to look into possible interference by Ukraine in the 2016 election as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in the country.

“You can’t have a whistleblower in secret take on the president of the United States,” Gingrich said, calling the impeachment push a “clown show.”

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The decision to block Sondland’s appearance comes as Democrats have been pushing forward with their inquiry. On Monday, House Democrats issued a fresh round of subpoenas to the Pentagon and the White House Office of Management and Budget requesting documents relating to reports that Trump ordered then-acting OMB Chief Mick Mulvaney to freeze aid to Ukraine.

“What you’re seeing is a three-year war, which really is to have a coup against the Constitution by the Democrats in the House,” Gingrich said.

Fox News Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-09-at-9.31.39-AM Gingrich on House Dems' impeachment push: Trump 'absolutely justified' in refusing to cooperate Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 6e630fa6-4ac2-5ea3-bac3-a2d38b16ef67   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-09-at-9.31.39-AM Gingrich on House Dems' impeachment push: Trump 'absolutely justified' in refusing to cooperate Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 6e630fa6-4ac2-5ea3-bac3-a2d38b16ef67

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Matt Lauer Accused Of Raping NBC Staffer In Incident That Got Him Fired

Westlake Legal Group 5d9ddff42100005009acbc9b Matt Lauer Accused Of Raping NBC Staffer In Incident That Got Him Fired

Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer is accused of raping an NBC News employee in 2014, the incident that led to his firing in 2017, according to excerpts from journalist Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book.

Lauer’s accuser, Brooke Nevils, revealed her identity and details of her allegation, including that she was raped, in the book “Catch and Kill,” which Variety excerpted on Tuesday.

In 2017, NBC fired Lauer after an NBC News employee told network executives the “Today” host sexually assaulted her at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. At the time, she wished to remain anonymous for fear of personal safety and professional repercussions.

The same day Lauer was fired, Variety broke additional stories from multiple other women of Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct at NBC, and revealed that his alleged serial sexual predation was not a secret at the company.

Lauer emphatically denied the new allegations in a letter published Wednesday, in which he admits to having had an extramarital affair with Nevils but says the rape accusation is “dangerous and defamatory” and “categorically false.”

NBC News responded to the book excerpts Wednesday, calling his behavior “appalling, horrific and reprehensible,” the network said in a statement. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

Lauer’s former colleagues, “Today” show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, also responded on Wednesday’s broadcast of the show.

“This is shocking and appalling, and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” Guthrie said. “I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then. It’s not easy now, and we support her and any other women who have come forward with claims.”

“There are not allegations of an affair,” Kotb said. “They’re allegations of a crime. And I think that’s shocking to all of us here, who’ve sat with Matt for many, many years. I think we’re going to just sort of continue to process this part of this horrific story.”

According to Variety, Nevils told Farrow that Lauer anally raped her after a night of drinks with him and former “Today” show host Meredith Vieira, then a contributing host for the network’s Olympics coverage, and with whom Nevils was working at the time.

Nevils told Farrow that she went to Lauer’s hotel room to get her press credential. Lauer then invited her back for a second time, and she went because, according to Farrow, Nevils “had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.”

The excerpt from Variety goes on to detail the alleged rape.

Once she was in his hotel room, Nevils alleges, Lauer — who was wearing a T-shirt and boxers — pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her onto the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow writes. “She said that she declined several times.”

According to Nevils, she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it,’” Farrow writes.

Nevils told Farrow that she informed many people about the incident, including her superiors. When she moved to a different part of the company, she also told one of her new bosses, but no one took action, according to the excerpt.

“This was no secret,” Farrow writes in the book, according to Variety.

It was only after October 2017, when Farrow — along with New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey — reported on the years of sexual abuse allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, catalyzing the Me Too movement, that Nevils’ story came to light.

According to Farrow’s book, NBC colleagues were reminded of Nevils’ claim and began asking her about it. She then told Vieira about the incident, who told her to get a lawyer and report the alleged rape to NBC’s HR department, which led to Lauer’s firing.

At the time, Nevils’ lawyer accused NBC of not doing enough to protect her and honor her request for confidentiality. Farrow’s book reveals that other employees were able to figure out that the anonymous accuser was Nevils.

When she left the network, according to Farrow, executives “proposed a script she would have to read, suggesting that she had left to pursue other endeavors, that she was treated well, and that NBC News was a positive example of sexual harassment.”

Lauer’s firing also exposed NBC’s mishandling of the allegations, as many staffers had warned leadership of Lauer’s alleged misconduct, but the network failed to act, citing the fact that no one made any formal complaints against him. However, an internal investigation detailed that many employees described a culture of fear.

“Catch and Kill” also details NBC News’ attempts to dissuade and impede Farrow ― then an employee ― from investigating Weinstein’s alleged serial sexual misconduct. Farrow later took that reporting to The New Yorker. His work, along with that of Kantor and Twohey, uncovered decades of allegations against the movie mogul and attempted cover-ups by him and the people in his orbit. The ensuing Me Too reckoning exposed other alleged sexual predators and powerful institutions that looked the other way, including Lauer and NBC News.

This story has been updated with Lauer’s denial.

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Trans Discrimination Case Heads to SCOTUS

Westlake Legal Group 5d9deef121000029073430d4 Trans Discrimination Case Heads to SCOTUS

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Former funeral home director Aimee Stephens was fired from her job after coming out to her boss. Now, her former employer’s appeal is being heard by the Supreme Court, which will decide whether Title VII’s non-discrimination statute applies to a person’s gender identity.

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Turkey Launches Invasion Into Northeast Syria

Westlake Legal Group 5d9de38420000069054fec54 Turkey Launches Invasion Into Northeast Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies have launched their military operation into northeastern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that the offensive aimed to eliminate a “terror corridor” along the southern Turkish border.

Erdogan said the offensive, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring”, would aim to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the Islamic State militants, and enable the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey after the formation of a “safe zone” in the area.

“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan said on Twitter. “We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay)

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DHS secretary on being shouted off stage by protesters at Georgetown: I’m disappointed but ‘not surprised’

Westlake Legal Group dhs-secretary-f-and-f DHS secretary on being shouted off stage by protesters at Georgetown: I'm disappointed but 'not surprised' Julia Musto fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 85c08cb2-7a65-5027-a571-2b0c22669816

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday that he was “disappointed” but “not surprised” after getting shouted off the stage by protesters at Georgetown Law Center’s annual immigration conference.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends,” McAleenan told hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade that, “part of the irony here is that this is supposed to be a group of immigration law experts who wanted to hear the facts of what’s happening on the border. The facts of what’s broken about our immigration system.”

“I was going to challenge them on how we could talk and start a dialogue about how to fix it,” said McAleenan. “But, apparently [I] didn’t get that opportunity.”

“I was there [for] probably eight minutes,” he surmised. “I wasn’t going to be intimidated or deterred and we had a good message to share.”

BORDER APPREHENSIONS DOWN FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

McAleenan said that he had wanted to challenge those “operating in the immigration law space, especially on the advocate and activist side, to show them what’s broken about this system and why we still need Congress to act to help fundamentally change the dynamic.”

However, when it was clear that Georgetown Law Center was “not going to change that direction of that dialogue,” McAleenan recognized it was “time to go.”

The Law Center has since released a statement sharing McAleenan’s regret, saying “Georgetown is deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression.”

In a written statement released afterward, DHS echoed those concerns: “The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to free speech and assembly. Unfortunately, that right was robbed from many who were scheduled to speak and attend today’s event at Georgetown. Unfortunately, the Acting Secretary and the audience did not get the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue this morning due to the disruptions of a few activists.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The DHS, which published the secretary’s prepared remarks, said those in attendance would have “learned more about DHS’s successful strategy to work with international partners to reduce unlawful migration and end the exploitation of children by smugglers and cartels, and then they would have had the opportunity to participate in an unmoderated question and answer session.”

Nevertheless, McAleenan said that the department would continue on and “make progress on the agenda,” boasting strengthened partnerships with Mexico and Guatemala to stem the tide of migrants at the southern border.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group dhs-secretary-f-and-f DHS secretary on being shouted off stage by protesters at Georgetown: I'm disappointed but 'not surprised' Julia Musto fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 85c08cb2-7a65-5027-a571-2b0c22669816   Westlake Legal Group dhs-secretary-f-and-f DHS secretary on being shouted off stage by protesters at Georgetown: I'm disappointed but 'not surprised' Julia Musto fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 85c08cb2-7a65-5027-a571-2b0c22669816

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Turkey launches military offensive in Syria after Trump pulls back US troops

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Turkey launches military offensive in Syria after Trump pulls back US troops

President Donald Trump defended a plan to move U.S. troops out of Northern Syria despite a backlash Monday from the GOP. USA TODAY

Turkish forces have launched a military offensive into Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s president, said Wednesday.

“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria,” Erodgan announced on Twitter. “Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.”

The move comes in defiance of international criticism and just days after President Donald Trump announced U.S. troops supporting Kurdish forces in the area would be pulled back from the border zone.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish government’s chief spokesman, said Turkey seeks to “neutralize” Syrian Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria and to “liberate the local population from the yoke of the armed thugs.” He made those comments in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

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‘A reckless gamble’: Four reasons critics decry Trump’s ‘impulsive’ Syria withdrawal

Syria’s Kurds have partnered with U.S.-led coalition forces in northeastern Syria fighting the Islamic State group for nearly four years. But Turkey considers some of them to be militants linked to outlawed Kurdish rebels within Turkey who have for years waged a campaign of terror aimed at securing their autonomy from Ankara. 

Who are the Kurds?: A Middle Eastern people with ‘no friends but the mountains’

Trump has threatened to punish Turkey economically if it does “anything outside of what we think is humane.” However, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have condemned Trump’s actions, arguing that it not only poses a threat to a key U.S. ally but endangers the campaign against the Islamic State.

Syria’s Kurds have also been running detention centers in the region that are holding thousands of former Islamic State militants and their families.  

In a statement late Tuesday, the General Command of the Syrian Defense Forces — the group that’s been working with U.S. troops — said the border areas of northeast Syria “are on the edge of a possible humanitarian catastrophe …  This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded.” 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/10/09/turkeys-syria-offensive-imminent-after-trump-pulls-u-s-troops-back/3916434002/

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