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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 203)

Video surfaces of Sanders saying ‘a woman could be elected president,’ contradicting CNN report

Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d

An old video clip surfaced on social media on Monday showing Bernie Sanders claiming that a woman “could be elected president,” which contradicts a CNN report alleging that he had told his Senate colleague Elizabeth Warren the opposite.

CNN reported on Monday that according to multiple sources close to Warren and familiar with the encounter, Sanders had told the Massachusetts Democrat during a December 2018 meeting prior to either of them launching their presidential bids and after learning that she was running, Sanders “responded that he did not believe a woman could win.”

Since that report was published, a Twitter user shared a clip from 1988 of Sanders, who at the time was expressing his support for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign.

“The real issue is not whether you’re black or white, whether you’re a woman or a man — in my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States,” Sanders said. “The real issue is whose side are you on? Are you on the side of workers and poor people or are you on the side of big money and the corporations?”

SANDERS COMPARES TRUMP TAKING OUT SOLEIMANI TO PUTIN ‘ASSASSINATING DISSIDENTS’

The Warren campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News for comment. It also did not comment on CNN’s story.

Sanders, however, offered a strong denial against the claims that were made about him.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders told Fox News. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Supporters and surrogates of Sanders have also been circulating a report from The New York Times about the same meeting that was published around the time it happened, citing unnamed officials who told the paper that neither Sanders nor Warren “sought support from the other or tried to dissuade the other from running.”

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Others slammed the CNN for running the report without anyone alleging the claims going on record.

This “reporting” + self promotion @CNN is reprehensible. @BernieSanders has categorically denied saying this. So, you @mj_lee should name your sources publicly, retract the story, or change the lede. You do not know what was said. You weren’t there + have no recording. #bias,” former MSNBC anchor David Shuster reacted.

“This is a case in which journalists should demand people go on record or otherwise not run the story. Four sources, none in the room, all anonymous (and I’m willing to wager, all with a certain political motivation),” Daily Caller editor in chief Geoffrey Ingersoll wrote.

“None of the sources were in the meeting. How can CNN publish this?” The Young Turks’ Emma Vigeland asked.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Andrew Craft contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d   Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d

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Iran’s Grim Economy Limits Its Willingness to Confront the U.S.

Westlake Legal Group xxiranecon-facebookJumbo Iran’s Grim Economy Limits Its Willingness to Confront the U.S. United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Middle East Iran International Trade and World Market Embargoes and Sanctions Economic Conditions and Trends Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Banking and Financial Institutions

LONDON — Iran is caught in a wretched economic crisis. Jobs are scarce. Prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing. The economy is rapidly shrinking. Iranians are increasingly disgusted.

Crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have severed Iran’s access to international markets, decimating the economy, which is now contracting at an alarming 9.5 percent annual rate, the International Monetary Fund estimated. Oil exports were effectively zero in December, according to Oxford Economics, as the sanctions have prevented sales, even though smugglers have transported unknown volumes.

The bleak economy appears to be tempering the willingness of Iran to escalate hostilities with the United States, its leaders cognizant that war could profoundly worsen national fortunes. In recent months, public anger over joblessness, economic anxiety and corruption has emerged as a potentially existential threat to Iran’s hard-line regime.

Only a week ago, such sentiments had been redirected by outrage over the Trump administration’s Jan. 3 killing of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. But protests flared anew over the weekend in Tehran, and then continued on Monday, following the government’s astonishing admission that it was — despite three days of denial — responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner.

The demonstrations were most pointedly an expression of contempt for the regime’s cover-up following its downing of the Ukrainian jet, which killed all 176 people on board. But the fury in the streets resonated as a rebuke for broader grievances — diminishing livelihoods, financial anxiety and the sense that the regime is at best impotent in the face of formidable troubles.

Inflation is running near 40 percent, assailing consumers with sharply rising prices for food and other basic necessities. More than one in four young Iranians is jobless, with college graduates especially short of work, according to the World Bank.

The missile strikes that Iran unleashed on American bases in Iraq last week in response to Gen. Suleimani’s killing appeared calibrated to enable its leaders to declare that vengeance had been secured without provoking an extreme response from President Trump, such as aerial bombing.

Hostilities with the most powerful military on earth would make life even more punishing for ordinary Iranians. It would likely weaken the currency and exacerbate inflation, while menacing what remains of national industry, eliminating jobs and reinvigorating public pressure on the leadership.

Conflict could threaten a run on domestic banks by sending more companies into distress. Iranian companies have been spared from collapse by surges of credit from banks. The government controls about 70 percent of banking assets, according to a paper by Adnan Mazarei, a former I.M.F. deputy director and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. Roughly half of all bank loans are in arrears, Iran’s Parliament has estimated.

Many Iranian companies depend on imported goods to make and sell products, from machinery to steel to grain. If Iran’s currency declines further, those companies would have to pay more for such goods. Banks would either have to extend more loans, or businesses would collapse, adding to the ranks of the jobless.

The central bank has been financing government spending, filling holes in a tattered budget to limit public ire over cuts. That entails printing Iranian money, adding to the strains on the currency. A war could prompt wealthier Iranians to yank assets out of the country, threatening a further decline in the currency and producing runaway inflation.

In sum, this is the unpalatable choice confronting the Iranian leadership: It can keep the economy going by continuing to steer credit to banks and industry, adding to the risks of an eventual banking disaster and hyperinflation. Or it can opt for austerity that would cause immediate public suffering, threatening more street demonstrations.

“That is the specter hanging over the Iranian economy,” Mr. Mazarei said. “The current economic situation is not sustainable.”

Though such realities appear to be limiting Iran’s appetite for escalation, some experts suggest that the regime’s hard-liners may eventually come to embrace hostilities with the United States as a means of stimulating the anemic economy.

Cut off from international investors and markets, Iran has in recent years focused on forging a so-called resistance economy in which the state has invested aggressively, subsidizing strategic industries, while seeking to substitute domestic production for imported goods.

That strategy has been inefficient, say economists, adding to the strains on Iran’s budget and the banking system, but it appears to have raised employment. Hard-liners might come see a fight with Iran’s archenemy, the United States, as an opportunity to expand the resistance economy while stoking politically useful nationalist anger.

“There will be those who will argue that we can’t sustain the current situation if we don’t have a war,” said Yassamine Mather, a political economist at the University of Oxford. “For the Iranian government, living in crisis is good. It’s always been good, because you can blame all the economic problems on sanctions, or on the foreign threat of war. In the last couple of years, Iran has looked for adventures as a way of diverting attention from economic problems.”

How ever Iran’s leaders proceed, experts assume that economic concerns will not be paramount: Iran’s leaders prioritize one goal above all others — their own survival. If confrontation with outside powers appears promising as a means of reinforcing their hold on power, the leadership may accept economic pain as a necessary cost.

“The hard-liners are willing to impoverish people to stay in power,” said Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, a research institution in London. “The Islamic Republic does not make decisions based on purely economic outcomes.”

But Iran’s leaders need only survey their own region to recognize the dangers that economic distress can pose to established powers. In recent months, Iraq and Lebanon have seen furious demonstrations fueled in part by declining living standards amid corruption and abuse of power.

As recently as November, Iran’s perilous economic state appeared to pose a foundational threat to the regime. As the government scrambled to secure cash to finance aid for the poor and the jobless, it scrapped subsidies on gasoline, sending the price of fuel soaring by as much as 200 percent. That spurred angry protests in the streets of Iranian cities, with demonstrators openly calling for the expulsion of President Hassan Rouhani.

“That’s a sign of how much pressure they are under,” said Maya Senussi, a Middle East expert at Oxford Economics in London.

In unleashing the drone strike that killed General Suleimani, Mr. Trump effectively relieved the leadership of that pressure, undercutting the force of his own sanctions, say experts.

Within Iran, the killing resounded as a breach of national sovereignty and evidence that the United States bore malevolent intent. It muted the complaints that propelled November’s demonstrations — laments over rising prices, accusations of corruption and economic malpractice amid the leadership — replacing them with mourning for a man celebrated as a national hero.

A country fraught with grievances aimed directly at its senior leaders had seemingly been united in anger at the United States.

“The killing of Suleimani represents a watershed, not only in terms of directing attention away from domestic problems, but also rallying Iranians around their flag,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics.

Mr. Trump had supplied the Iranian leadership “time and space to change the conversation,” he added. Iranians were no longer consumed with the “misguided and failed economic policies of the Iranian regime,” but rather “the arrogant aggression of the United States against the Iranian nation.”

But then came the government’s admission that it was responsible for bringing down the Ukrainian passenger jet. Now, Iran’s leaders again find themselves on the wrong end of angry street demonstrations.

For now, the regime is seeking to quash the demonstrations with riot police and admonitions to the protesters to go home. But if public rage continues, hard-liners may resort to challenging American interests in the hopes that confrontation will force Mr. Trump to negotiate a deal toward eliminating the sanctions.

Iran may threaten the passage of ships carrying oil through the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for more than one-fifth of the world’s consumption of liquid petroleum. Disruption there would restrict the global supply oil, raising the price of the vital commodity. That could sow alarm in world markets while limiting global economic growth, potentially jeopardizing Mr. Trump’s re-election bid, as the logic goes.

Iran previously had a different pathway toward gaining relief from the sanctions: Under a 2015 deal forged by President Barack Obama, the sanctions were removed in exchange for Iran’s verified promise to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program.

But when Mr. Trump took office, he renounced that deal and resumed sanctions.

The Iranian leadership has courted European support for a resumption of the nuclear deal, seeking to exploit divergence between Europe and the United States. The Europeans have been unhappy about Mr. Trump’s renewed sanctions, which have dashed the hopes of German, French and Italian companies that had looked to Iran for expanded business opportunities.

Whatever comes next, Iran’s leadership is painfully aware that getting out from under the American sanctions is the only route to lifting its economy, say experts.

The nuclear deal was intended to give Iran’s leaders an incentive to diminish hostility as a means of seeking liberation from the sanctions. Mr. Trump’s abandonment of the deal effectively left them with only one means of pursuing that goal — confrontation.

“They see escalation as the only way to the negotiating table,” said Ms. Vakil. “They can’t capitulate and come to the negotiating table. They can’t compromise, because that would show weakness. By demonstrating that they can escalate, that they are fearless, they are trying to build leverage.”

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Will Smith says he regrets how he handled wife Jada Pinkett’s friendship with Tupac

Will Smith doesn’t think of himself as a jealous type of husband now, but once upon a time he was.

The movie star revealed in a recent interview that he regrets how he handled wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s close friendship with the late Tupac Shakur. (The rapper was killed in 1996.)

While appearing on the radio show “The Breakfast Club”, co-host Charlamagne tha God asked the 51-year-old “Bad Boys for Life” actor if he was every jealous of their relationship. “F–k yeah,” he confessed.

WILL SMITH SURPRISES RECEPTIONIST TO CELEBRATE HER RETIREMENT 30 YEARS AFTER MEETING

“That was in the early days,” Smith explained. “That was a big regret for me, too, because I could never open up to interact with Pac.”

Pinkett Smith and Shakur met as teens when they both attended the Baltimore School for the Arts.

“They never had a sexual relationship, but now they had come into that age where that was a possibility, and Jada was with me,” Smith said.

Back in 2015, Pinkett Smith confirmed to Howard Stern that she and Tupac weren’t physically attracted to each other. To prove it, she said she forced the musician to kiss her but they agreed it was “the most disgusting kiss” they ever had.

Westlake Legal Group will-smith-jada-pinkett-smith-ap Will Smith says he regrets how he handled wife Jada Pinkett's friendship with Tupac Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/will-smith fox-news/person/jada-pinkett-smith fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c852302-b822-5e1f-8281-27a22e4ba022

Will Smith, right, kisses Jada Pinkett Smith as they arrive at the premiere of “Aladdin” at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

The “Aladdin” star said he was more intimidated by their closeness. “She just loved him,” he said. “He was the image of perfection, but she was with the ‘Fresh Prince,’ so it was, like, we were in the room together a couple [of] times, I couldn’t speak to him. He wasn’t going to speak to me if I wasn’t going to speak to him.”

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Smith admitted his wife tried to get them to form a bond but it wasn’t happening: “That was a huge regret of mine. I couldn’t handle it,” he said.

The Hollywood power couple met on the set of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in 1994 and tied the knot three years later.

Westlake Legal Group Will-Smith Will Smith says he regrets how he handled wife Jada Pinkett's friendship with Tupac Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/will-smith fox-news/person/jada-pinkett-smith fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c852302-b822-5e1f-8281-27a22e4ba022   Westlake Legal Group Will-Smith Will Smith says he regrets how he handled wife Jada Pinkett's friendship with Tupac Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/will-smith fox-news/person/jada-pinkett-smith fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c852302-b822-5e1f-8281-27a22e4ba022

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Queen’s statement on Harry and Meghan: Royals watchers read between the lines

Westlake Legal Group Queen-H-M Queen's statement on Harry and Meghan: Royals watchers read between the lines Matt London fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 26c0d13c-7b54-5b6a-b34c-32c082b16fe9

Queen Elizabeth II expressed her support for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a new statement released Monday in response to the royal couple’s announcement that they intend to “carve out a progressive new role” for themselves within the British Royal Family.

“It feels like the most emotional words I’ve ever heard from the Queen,” said Steve Hilton, Fox News host and senior adviser to former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, on Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive.” “It’s very interesting. It feels very personal in a way that I’ve never seen before,” he continued.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” wrote the 93-year-old Queen after speaking with Harry and Meghan on Monday.

“We respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” the Queen’s statement continued. “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.”

“It only made one specific statement, though, that they do not want to take public funds,” observed Fox News political contributor Tammy Bruce.  “That is the only new thing, because that had also been the biggest complaint” of Harry and Meghan’s critics.

In the royal couples’ announcement last week, they addressed the issue of continuing to receive public funds, writing, “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent. while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”

“It hasn’t — as you say — resolved the big questions,” said Hilton, agreeing with Bruce. In fact, Harry’s father has attempted to address looming questions over the role of the British monarchy in the 21st century.

“It’s a point that Prince Charles himself has been making,” said Hilton, “which is in the modern era, people don’t want — in the phrase that’s used a lot in the U.K. — these hangers-on. … They’re never going to be king or queen, so why should the taxpayers fund their lavish lifestyle? Let’s just slim it all down and focus on the core Royals who are really much closer to the line of succession to carry out their constitutional duties. That’s the sort of underlying point. And that could have been worked out.”

“It was always known that Harry felt this way and increasingly so,” added Fox Business host Ashley Webster, who is a U.K. native. “And so it will come as no surprise to the Queen. The thing that really threw … a spanner in the works was the fact that he did this without telling anyone he was going to do it. They knew he felt this way. And that’s why the Queen was reportedly very hurt and disappointed.”

“Even if you are the Queen — that’s an embarrassment when this public statement [from Harry and Meghan] is made in such a grand way,” said Variety correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister.

Returning to the Queen’s statement, Hilton said that it does seem to reduce tensions. “What it does do, I think, is trying to take some of the heat and the kind of confrontation out of this situation. It’s a very conciliatory statement. And I think it’ll go a long way to say, ‘Look, you know, we’re a family. We’re talking about it. This is being done in a constructive way.’ The tone is interesting.”

“I think, Steve, you’re absolutely right,” said Wagmeister. “They’re trying to button this up and pretend like everything is fine. That’s what the royal family does. That’s what celebrities do. They always want to create a facade that everything is fine no matter what may be going on behind the scenes.”

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Westlake Legal Group Queen-H-M Queen's statement on Harry and Meghan: Royals watchers read between the lines Matt London fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 26c0d13c-7b54-5b6a-b34c-32c082b16fe9   Westlake Legal Group Queen-H-M Queen's statement on Harry and Meghan: Royals watchers read between the lines Matt London fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 26c0d13c-7b54-5b6a-b34c-32c082b16fe9

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Treasury Says China Is No Longer a Currency Manipulator

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-currency1-facebookJumbo Treasury Says China Is No Longer a Currency Manipulator United States Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Renminbi (Currency) Mnuchin, Steven T International Trade and World Market China

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration formally removed China’s designation as a currency manipulator on Monday, offering a major concession to the Chinese government as senior officials arrived in Washington to sign a trade agreement with President Trump.

The Treasury Department released its long delayed currency report on Monday afternoon, providing its first public analysis of China’s currency practices since it designated China as a manipulator in August at the direction of Mr. Trump. The report noted that China — which Mr. Trump accused of weakening its currency to make its goods cheaper to sell overseas — had made important commitments regarding the renminbi as part of the new trade agreement and that its value has appreciated since September.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

As part of the trade deal that Mr. Trump plans to sign on Wednesday, China and the United States have agreed to avoid devaluing their currencies to achieve a competitive advantage for their exports. The United States trade representative said last month that the agreement would include a currency chapter that details “high-standard commitments to refrain from competitive devaluations” and targeting of exchange rates. The trade pact is expected to include an enforcement mechanism, which U.S.T.R. said would ensure that China cannot use its currency practices to compete unfairly against American exporters.

Mr. Trump has long been critical of China’s currency practices, arguing that Beijing weakens the renminbi to make Chinese exports cheaper in the United States. Mr. Trump accused China of doing just that in August, when Beijing allowed its currency to weaken, saying it was an attempt to blunt the impact of tariffs he imposed on Chinese imports.

It is a rare point of bipartisan agreement, with Democrats like Chuck Schumer, the New York Senator, and Republicans like Senator Rick Scott of Florida agreeing that China deserves to be labeled a currency manipulator.

The decision to remove the label angered those and other lawmakers, who have argued that the president has undermined the credibility of the foreign exchange report by throwing the manipulation label around loosely.

“Just because we’re negotiating a trade deal doesn’t mean we should ignore Communist China’s bad acts,” Mr. Scott said on Twitter. “They are a currency manipulator. Period.”

Mr. Schumer, who has criticized China’s currency practices for years, accused Mr. Trump of caving to China in an attempt to score a political win.

“China is a currency manipulator — that is a fact,” Mr. Schumer said. “Unfortunately, President Trump would rather cave to President Xi than stay tough on China. When it comes to the president’s stance on China, Americans are getting a lot of show and very little results.”

The currency report released on Monday said that China had agreed to “publish relevant information related to exchange rates and external balances.” China will remain on Treasury’s watchlist of country’s whose currency practices warrant close attention.

The United States last labeled China as a currency manipulator in 1994. The designation, while seen as a type of public shaming, is largely a symbolic action. The label is supposed to trigger discussions between the United States, the International Monetary Fund and the Chinese government on how China can make its currency more fairly valued. The I.M.F. said in a report released last year that China’s currency was fairly valued.

While most economists agreed that China had been distorting the value of its currency more than a decade ago, in recent years it has been allowing market forces to play a role in letting the renminbi fluctuate within a set range. For much of last year, Chinese officials had actually been propping up the renminbi amid a weakening economy to prevent its value from falling too quickly.

“China’s foreign exchange reserves, a key indicator of the degree of foreign exchange market intervention, has been quite stable over the last year, said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “While China still has a sizable trade surplus with the U.S., its overall current position is near balance, further undercutting the characterization of China as a currency manipulator.”

Treasury’s currency report noted that the renminbi was trading at 7.18 per dollar in early September and is now trading at 6.93 per dollar.

China’s currency practices have long captured the attention of Mr. Trump, who promised as a presidential candidate to slap the manipulator label on China. Yet Mr. Mnuchin opted not to do so in the first five reports that his department issued. The department said China did not meet Treasury’s criteria for currency manipulation.

As trade negotiations with China dragged on last summer, Mr. Trump grew increasingly frustrated and seized upon China’s weakening currency as another source of leverage. Despite his own resistance, Mr. Mnuchin used his discretion as Treasury Secretary to impose the label at the urging of Mr. Trump.

“They did it for political reasons,” Chad P. Bown, an international trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “Clearly there was no legal basis or really an economic basis to so.”

Mr. Bown said that removing the label made sense now that the first phase of the trade deal is complete and that China probably was unhappy with the optics of being deemed a manipulator.

Senior Chinese officials arrived in Washington on Monday to put the finishing touches on the trade agreement, which will be signed at the White House on Wednesday. In addition to the currency provision, the deal is expected to include a commitment by China to purchase more farm products and to open more of its markets, like financial services, to foreign firms. The Chinese are also expected to agree to protect American intellectual property. In exchange, the Trump administration has reduced some tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Still, while the administration offered China an olive branch on its currency, it pressed ahead on Monday with new plans to scrutinize foreign investment that were designed with China in mind. The Treasury Department issued regulations to implement the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act that included exemptions for Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom from some of the more onerous requirements of the new law.

Mr. Trump’s currency ire has not been solely aimed at China. In December, the president said on Twitter that Brazil and Argentina were currency manipulators and that he would impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum imports.

Mr. Trump has since backed down from his threat to impose tariffs on Brazil and has yet to follow through with new tariffs on Argentina. Neither country tagged as a manipulator or placed on Treasury’s monitoring list on Monday.

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Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape

It was a secret that Jason, a Mississippi state inmate, couldn’t keep locked up in his mind any longer.

“I was in protective custody, and he was a general population inmate. He told me he was going to get me,” the inmate documented in written testimony, viewed by Fox News. “I came out of my cell for a shower when he called me to his cell. Then he pulled a knife on me.”

Jason chillingly recalled how he was thrown down despite his objections, the blade at this throat, and his perpetrator’s harsh threats not to make a sound; otherwise, he would be killed.

“Then, he raped me. He told me if I tell anyone, he would kill me. I went back to my cell and scrubbed myself with a rag,” the scrawled recollection underscored. “I took a bunch of pills and tried to commit suicide.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19348811054803 Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape Hollie McKay fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/reproductive-health/sexual-health fox news fnc/us fnc e6aa5850-66c3-55dd-9ae3-23c896708dd4 article

This 2016 photo shows a solitary confinement cell known as “the bing,” at New York’s Rikers Island. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

While Jason said he made it through the ordeal – now referring to himself as a “survivor” – he has pledged not to stay silent in the hopes of “making a difference.” And, he is far from alone in the ever-murky, unspoken world of rape and sexual assault behind bars.

“This type of violence is rampant in U.S. prisons and jails. Every year, a staggering 200,000 people are sexually abused while locked up,” Jesse Lerner-Kinglake, a spokesman for health and human rights organization Just Detention International, citing the most recent available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), told Fox News. “Both inmates and corrections officers perpetuate abuse, and contrary to public perception, at least half of all abuse is committed by officers.”

MALE RAPE EMERGING AS ONE OF THE MOST UNDER-REPORTED WEAPONS OF WAR

A report released late last year by the Department of Justice (DOJ), entitled, “Sexual Victimization Reported by Youth in Juvenile Facilities, 2018” – based on anonymous surveys issued to over 6,000 young people in detention facilities across the country – found that the percentage of youth reporting sexual assault declined from 9.5 percent in 2012 to 7.1 percent in 2018.

Correctional administrators reported 24,661 allegations of sexual victimization in 2015, nearly triple the number recorded in 2011. Among the allegations in 2015, a total of 1,473 were substantiated, 10,142 were unfounded, 10,313 were unsubstantiated and 2,733 were still under investigation, BJS reported.

Moreover, substantiated allegations rose from 902 in 2011 to 1,473 in 2015 – up 63 percent.

In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), making it compulsory that BJS “carry out a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape” each year and that it had to include the identification of the common characteristics of both victims and perpetrators and pinpoint the places with frequent incidents of prison rape.

Westlake Legal Group HMP-Berwyn-1-Getty Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape Hollie McKay fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/reproductive-health/sexual-health fox news fnc/us fnc e6aa5850-66c3-55dd-9ae3-23c896708dd4 article

Some 24,661 allegations of sexual victimization were reported in U.S. correctional facilities in 2015. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images, File)

In 2012, the DOJ put in place nationally enforceable mechanisms in an effort to expand upon the 2003 requirements aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to prison rape more effectively. Such requisites included prohibiting juveniles from being incarcerated with adults, video monitoring and a stop on cross-gender, pat-down searches.

Progress has been made, but the road has been long and winding.

“Not nearly enough is being done to combat the problem. Sexual abuse in detention is totally preventable, and the fact that it happens at all is shameful. Corrections officials are duty-bound to prevent this violence,” Lerner-Kinglake contended. “The investigations process is, overall, not adequate. The PREA rules do a good job of outlining what steps investigators must take and how investigations should be conducted – applying the same guidelines that any sexual assault investigation should follow.”

He acknowledged that while some facilities were making good faith efforts to conduct strong investigations, their most recent data showed that less than seven percent of sex-abuse reports were substantiated.

And, it’s an issue that’s affected both men and women behind bars.

Activists and the DOJ have pointed to cases where corrections officers have raped and impregnated incarcerated women. In some cases, inmates were raped to pay off debts; the crimes often were worse in overcrowded locations. Critics also said that, given the shame and fear surrounding the sensitive nature of the crimes, many incidents went under-reported.

The issue also has compounded concerns regarding the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Prisons and jails, according to BJS, have seen considerably higher rates of HIV than the general population. The most recent statistics showed roughly 2.2 million people in jail or prison in the U.S. According to BJS, about 1.5 percent of all inmates in state and federal prisons had HIV or AIDS, four times the prevalence rate of HIV in the general population.

Human Rights Watch pointed out that those most vulnerable to predators typically included those who were “young, small in size, physically weak, white, gay, first offender, possessing ‘feminine’ characteristics such as long hair or high voice; being unassertive, unaggressive, shy, intellectual, not street-smart or ‘passive’; or having been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor.”

In a statement provided to Fox News, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) underscored that it has taken “allegations of sexual misconduct seriously,” holding inmates “accountable for their actions.”

“We are committed to protecting the rights of our incarcerated population, and inmates are encouraged to immediately report allegations of sexual misconduct,” the statement continued. “All new staff are provided mandatory training on how to handle a PREA allegation and staff at all BOP correctional institutions receive annual training on procedures to address sexual misconduct, including inmate education and providing security to inmates who allege they are victims.”

Data provided on the federal level showed that from 2014 to 2018, serious sexual assault allegations grew from .01 per 1,000 inmates to .04 per 1,000 inmates, and in 2019 dropped again to .01 per 1,000.

However, Just Detention International has accused the government of omitting crucial data, such as failing to analyze groups such as youth with a history of sexual victimization who have been especially vulnerable, and underscoring the dynamics of staff abuse as in past reports.

“It’s clear that we’re making progress in the effort to prevent sexual abuse, but leaving out this information means that advocates and corrections officials alike have to move forward with one arm tied behind our back,” noted Lovisa Stannow, Just Detention’s executive director, who further emphasized that despite the overall dip, “there are youth facilities with appallingly high rates.”

LEGAL EAGLE RECALLS LAUNCHING CAREER IN DEFENSE OF JAPANESE WAR CRIMINALS

Jesse Kelley, the government affairs manager overseeing criminal justice policy at the R Street Institute think tank, stressed that the 2015 BJS report found that 58 percent of the allegations of sexual assault were made against corrections officers. In her view, not enough was being done to stop the assaults.

“Any crime that is committed within a prison should be investigated and prosecuted like any other offense that occurred outside of prison,” Kelley said. “Each detention facility should have a safety plan in place to limit any interaction between an accused guard and the reporting individual, at least until an adjudication is made.”

According to one convicted white-collar offender who recently spent over five years in federal prison at various custody levels and at multiple facilities, but requested his name not be used, inmates frequently were made aware of PREA and “how seriously” administrators were taking it.

But, each lockup had its own interpretation.

“At higher-security spots, they tend to focus more on rape as you would envision in the movies, guys that are lifers who prey on weak individuals and who wouldn’t think twice about killing you,” the insider revealed. “It’s a very different mindset in higher spots. The bottom line is that real dangerous rape is happening at the higher-security facilities where you have more predators and dangerous longtime convicts.”

Westlake Legal Group Central-Men-s-Jail-California-2017 Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape Hollie McKay fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/reproductive-health/sexual-health fox news fnc/us fnc e6aa5850-66c3-55dd-9ae3-23c896708dd4 article

Los Angeles County deputies inspecting a cell block at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Rape also has been used as a form of punishment within the prison community, the former inmate underscored, taking place in pockets that were “out of sight, more controlled by the group doing the preying, and places routinely not within the eye or earshot of a corrections officer.”

“It’s a political and press nightmare, and there will be scapegoats like in the [Jeffrey] Epstein officers who happened to be on shift at the time,” the source added. “I guarantee almost every officer has signed off of something that is way less than accurate.”

Two corrections officers faced charges of falsifying prison records after Epstein, the disgraced financier and convicted pedophile, turned up dead in his jail cell in New York City last August. The officers pleaded not guilty.

Just Detention asserted that victims of behind-bars sexual abuse were the “forgotten voices” of the #MeToo movement and that many people assumed that it was an inevitable part of prison life even during a time of accountability and heightened awareness. The group’s tagline: “Rape is not part of the penalty.”

Victims often have been trapped in hopeless situations – a perpetual cycle of frequent abuse, according to the experts.

However, others working closely in the system argued that prominent strides have been made in recent years, and much more was being done to counter what was once a festering epidemic cloaked by the obscurity of humiliation.

Gabe Morales, a 30-year corrections veteran and the executive director of Criminal Justice Solutions, which has provided training and career development in an endeavor to reduce crime in communities, concurred that jails and prisons have been on the path of improvement.

“The older, linear-celled style jails and prisons did not provide much observation by staff. Many facilities are now direct supervision. There is still the occasional inmate or inmate rape if double-celled or in enclosed areas that are not well-supervised,” he said.

But, the problem still has persisted.

“Usually, rape is inmate-on-inmate and not seen or condoned by the staff. Sexual relations by staff often happens by inmate manipulation whereby the staff is compromised to bring in drugs and contraband or be reported,” Morales noted. “Usually [the assault] happens at night, but sometimes in secluded areas in the daytime.”

He emphasized that he has never seen administrators turn a “blind eye” to such incidences, but he has encountered a “few bad apples” among the staff over his lengthy career.

“It was often done in teams of two or three, so they could have lookouts, but there are very secrets in corrections,” Morales continued. “Eventually someone tells, or they are caught in the act. If the staff was accused – and there were probably more false accusations by inmates for manipulation purposes, revenge, or trying to get rid of hard-nosed staff – the staff was immediately reassigned or put on administrative leave. If anything, PREA has made officials overreact because they do not want to sued or monitored more closely by the DOJ.”

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And, across the board, people working with survivors and inside the dark walls of incarceration have agreed about why the issue of prison rape rarely made headline news.

“A lot of the public – especially victims of crime – believe offenders deserve whatever punishment they get,” Morales added. “Many non-corrections civilians think inmates have it too good.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122153016001_6122158806001-vs Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape Hollie McKay fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/reproductive-health/sexual-health fox news fnc/us fnc e6aa5850-66c3-55dd-9ae3-23c896708dd4 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122153016001_6122158806001-vs Inside the shadowy, unspoken world of prison rape Hollie McKay fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/reproductive-health/sexual-health fox news fnc/us fnc e6aa5850-66c3-55dd-9ae3-23c896708dd4 article

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Green Bay Packers’ Preston Smith reveals what it’s like trying to take down Russell Wilson

Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith recorded two sacks in the team’s divisional-round win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and advanced to the NFC Championship game.

Russell Wilson did everything he could to get Seattle the victory, including weaving in and out of the pocket to avoid Packers defenders. After the game, Smith described what it was like trying to get to Wilson.

SEAHAWKS FANS CRY FOUL OVER QUESTIONABLE BALL PLACEMENT TOWARD END OF LOSS TO PACKERS

“It was like chasing a chicken in a field with no fence,” Smith told reporters, according to The Athletic.

Westlake Legal Group Preston-Smith3 Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith reveals what it's like trying to take down Russell Wilson Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox news fnc/sports fnc article 818e47e1-930f-5b9b-ac86-a9c4b501e9cd

Green Bay Packers’ Preston Smith sacks Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Wilson was sacked five times but didn’t turn the ball over once in the game. Green Bay led by as much as 18 points before Seattle got to within five points. However, Aaron Rodgers and the offense sealed the game with two key third-down conversions on the final drive.

49ERS VS. PACKERS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Smith has been one of the top Packers defenders during the 2019 season.

Green Bay signed him to a four-year deal in the offseason. He played in every game, recording 12 sacks, 56 combined tackles and one interception on the season. However, he wasn’t selected for an All-Pro or Pro Bowl team.

Westlake Legal Group Preston-Smith2 Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith reveals what it's like trying to take down Russell Wilson Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox news fnc/sports fnc article 818e47e1-930f-5b9b-ac86-a9c4b501e9cd

Green Bay Packers’ Preston Smith reacts after sacking Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

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He hasn’t missed a game since the Washington Redskins selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft.

Westlake Legal Group Preston-Smith3 Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith reveals what it's like trying to take down Russell Wilson Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox news fnc/sports fnc article 818e47e1-930f-5b9b-ac86-a9c4b501e9cd   Westlake Legal Group Preston-Smith3 Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith reveals what it's like trying to take down Russell Wilson Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox news fnc/sports fnc article 818e47e1-930f-5b9b-ac86-a9c4b501e9cd

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Penn Badgley Demonstrates How Easily He Shifts From Charming To Creepy In ‘You’

Penn Badgley does an exceptional job playing every single girl’s worst nightmare, Joe Goldberg, on the Netflix’s smash hit “You.”

And what makes his portrayal of his character so intriguing is how swiftly and seamlessly Badgley can transition from a charming — and seemingly dateable — guy into a sociopathic murderer who will lock you in a glass cage… or bury you alive… or throw you in a meat grinder.

On Friday, Badgley appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to talk all about “You” Season 2 when Colbert asked if he used a trick to go from Romeo to Ted Bundy (or we suppose Ted Bundy to Ted Bundy) so quickly.

“It is shockingly simple,” Badgley replied. “[But] it does not mean it’s easy.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e1cda21210000540014a382 Penn Badgley Demonstrates How Easily He Shifts From Charming To Creepy In ‘You’

Netflix Penn Badgley (Joe) and Elizabeth Lail (Beck) in Season 1 of “You.”

Before revealing what the trick is, Badgley explained the trick’s origin story.

He told Colbert that he discovered the trick while shooting promo photos for the first season of the show. For the photos, Badgley’s co-star Elizabeth Lail (who played his doomed love-interest, Beck) laid in a bed in a T-shirt and underwear while he stood “fully clothed with a windbreaker and … a hat” (aka Joe’s stalking outfit that he seems to think is like an invisibility cloak) and just stared at her.

Westlake Legal Group 5e1cda602100005e001f6d0f Penn Badgley Demonstrates How Easily He Shifts From Charming To Creepy In ‘You’

Netflix Joe sporting his stalker outfit.

“I arrive on the mark, I do nothing but look up, and the entire crew behind the camera goes, ‘Oh! Whoa man! That is phenomenal! That’s so creepy!’ … And I did nothing.”

And that’s the trick — he literally does nothing.

“If you put a fully clothed person staring at a woman in her underwear in bed when he’s not supposed to be there, it’s inherently creepy,” Badgley explained. “So you put yourself in a really questionable circumstance … and then you do nothing.”

Colbert then put Badgley to task and asked if he could demonstrate the shiver-inducing shift for the audience — and boy did he deliver.

Westlake Legal Group 5e1cd5e4210000540014a37d Penn Badgley Demonstrates How Easily He Shifts From Charming To Creepy In ‘You’

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube

Now excuse us while we delete our dating profiles.

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Stephanie Grisham Peddles Outrageous Defense Of Trump’s Anti-Muslim Retweet

Westlake Legal Group 5e1cda6321000053001f6d10 Stephanie Grisham Peddles Outrageous Defense Of Trump’s Anti-Muslim Retweet

President Donald Trump drew heated backlash on Monday after he retweeted an image doctored to show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wearing Muslim garb in front of the Iranian flag.

The outrage only intensified when White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham delivered a stunning defense of the president’s Islamophobic retweet later that day in which she accused Democrats of “almost taking the side of terrorists.”

The tweet, sent Monday morning by Twitter user @D0wn_Under before Trump shared it with his nearly 71 million followers hours later, featured the manipulated image along with the caption: “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”

Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats, as well as some Republicans, have criticized Trump for authorizing the Jan. 3 drone assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani without first consulting Congress or having specific evidence to show the Iranians planned an imminent attack against Americans.

The retweet faced immediate scrutiny on Twitter, including from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who bashed Trump for elevating “such repulsive anti-Muslim bigotry.”

“When #hate & division are on the rise, this is the opposite of what we need from the President,” Greenblatt wrote. “An apology is in order ASAP.”

Asked about the tweet and subsequent fallout during an appearance on Fox News, Grisham doubled down on Trump’s dangerous claims.

“I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans,” Grisham told host Harris Faulkner.

She continued: “I think the president was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries who want to kill Americans.”

Faulkner, failing to push back on Grisham’s suggestion that Democrats are terrorist sympathizers, responded that Trump’s recent tweet in Farsi in support of Iranian protesters was reportedly the “leading Persian tweet in Twitter’s history.”

“So followed by this retweet, you can understand why people are concerned,” she told Grisham, who went on to praise Trump’s leadership on Iran policy.

“If anything, it’s the Democrats who should be on the side of this president and rejoicing that a terrorist was killed,” she said. 

Grisham, already facing criticism this week for her claim that reporters who want regular press briefings are simply looking for “a moment” rather than information, echoed comments made by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) last week.

Collins, during an interview with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, had accused Democrats critical of Trump’s military action in Iran of being “in love with terrorists.”

He apologized for his remarks on Twitter later following backlash.

It was not immediately clear who @D0wn_Under is and whether the user has any connection to Trump or the White House. The account has not been verified by Twitter and the user’s profile picture appears to be a headshot of Italian professional motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi.

Neither Grisham nor Twitter user @D0wn_Under immediately responded to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Grisham’s abhorrent defense of Trump’s retweet follows her eyebrow-raising response to a letter written by several former White House officials urging the Trump administration to hold regular press briefings. Grisham shrugged off the letter as “groupthink” and said reporters who want more press briefings are seeking “a moment” rather than information.

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‘Help me’ sign in car window was a prank, California police say

Motorists on a highway in Northern California on Saturday called police after spotting a female juvenile in the backseat of a car holding up a sign that read: “Help me she’s not my mom!! Help!!”

Two California Highway Patrol officers and a K-9 unit performed a high-risk enforcement stop on the vehicle traveling on SR-99 in Stockton, about 80 miles west of San Francisco, police said.

Westlake Legal Group Sacramento-PD ‘Help me’ sign in car window was a prank, California police say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc d4a77f08-f59b-55cb-b372-af04d0a32447 Bradford Betz article

Police say a sign spotted by motorists on a California highway on Saturday was a hoax.  (Facebook/@chpsouthsacramento)

The vehicle pulled over to the right shoulder of the freeway and officers made contact with the driver, police said.

The officers determined that the juvenile in the backseat had written the sign as a joke and “thought it was a fun thing to do.”

Her mother, who was driving, was not aware of the girl’s prank, police said. The responding unit determined there was no foul play and allowed the mother and daughter to leave the scene.

OFF-DUTY SHERIFF’S DETECTIVE STRUCK AND KILLED IN CALIFORNIA AFTER AIDING ELDERLY WOMAN, POLICE SAY

CHP advised parents to “be aware of what their children are doing in the back seat at all times.” They said six CHP units were assigned to the apparent hoax rather than responding to “legitimate calls or patrolling their beats.”

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CHP’s Facebook post of the incident ended with the hashtags “notfunny,” “beawareofyourkids,” and “why?”

Westlake Legal Group Sacramento-PD ‘Help me’ sign in car window was a prank, California police say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc d4a77f08-f59b-55cb-b372-af04d0a32447 Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group Sacramento-PD ‘Help me’ sign in car window was a prank, California police say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox news fnc/us fnc d4a77f08-f59b-55cb-b372-af04d0a32447 Bradford Betz article

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