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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 220)

Scope Of Trump’s Ukraine Scheme Comes Into Focus As New Reports Emerge

Westlake Legal Group 5d9685532100003c02fa17f0 Scope Of Trump’s Ukraine Scheme Comes Into Focus As New Reports Emerge

Two reports published Thursday evening shed light on the apparent reach of President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump ordered the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed from her post after his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others close to Trump complained she was undermining the administration’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian leaders to investigate the Bidens.

The ouster of Marie Yovanovitch on May 6, also referenced in the recent whistleblower complaint by a member of the U.S. intelligence community concerning Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, came just months after Giuliani began pressing Ukrainian leaders for damaging information about the Bidens.

Trump on Thursday told reporters he had heard “very bad things” about Yovanovitch, a respected foreign service official, prior to her removal. “I don’t know if I recalled her or somebody recalled her but I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time. Not good,” he said.

Yovanovitch was also the subject of an attempted smear campaign earlier this year by Trump allies who sent a packet of documents with misinformation about her to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Politico reported earlier this week. Debunked conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden also were included in those documents, according to the Politico story.

Prior to Yovanovitch’s recall, conservative media outlets and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., accused her of being part of an alleged Ukrainian attempt to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump also made threatening comments about Yovanovitch during his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. “She’s going to go through some things” in the aftermath of her removal from the envoy post, Trump said, according to a White House summary of the conversation released last week.

Democrats now view Yovanovitch as potentially a key witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The false documents sent out about her “provide further evidence of a concerted, external effort to conduct a disinformation campaign against a career U.S ambassador, who has been the subject of baseless attacks, including by the president himself,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the second Thursday report, this one in The New York Times, two top U.S. diplomats drafted a statement for Zelensky that would have publicly committed him to carry out Trump’s request for an investigation that would have involved the  Bidens.

Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the envoy to Ukraine, prepared the statement, the Times said, citing three people who were briefed on the matter. The alleged statement, according to the newspaper, would have served the purpose of pushing Ukraine leaders beyond their private pledges to launch the investigation, which would have focused on the energy company Burisma on whose board Hunter Biden served.

Volker resigned from his post last week after he was implicated in the published whistleblower complaint which raised concerns that the pressure being applied on Ukraine by Trump for an investigation that included Joe Biden ― the potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee ― represented an effort to have foreign officials meddle in the U.S. election. The complaint spurred the opening of the impeachment inquiry by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

In the complaint, the whistleblower said that both Volker and Sondland spoke with Giuliani in an attempt to ”contain the damage″ done by Trump’s requests to Ukraine.

Volker testified before three House committees on Thursday as part of the impeachment inquiry.

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Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting

Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-AP Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma have officially begun filming their new movie, “Marry Me.”

The “Hustlers” star went on Instagram on Thursday to share photos from her first day of shooting the romantic comedy and praised the Colombian singer as well as her co-star Owen Wilson, calling her time with the crew a “dream come true.”

“The art of collaboration…it’s what I love about this business!!!” Lopez wrote in the caption of her post, in which she shared images of Wilson jotting down notes at the cast table-read and of herself working with Maluma on set.

“True magic happens when inspiration meets the absence of ego. It’s so much fun when different artists come together and everyone contributes to create something special and true and real for everyone to experience and enjoy!! Issa flow… Here we go!!! @maluma #owenwilson @MarryMeMovie #Day1 #musicandmoviesmeet #dreamcometrue.”

JENNIFER LOPEZ SHARES PHOTOS WITH ALEX RODRIGUEZ FROM STAR-STUDDED ENGAGEMENT PARTY

Maluma, 25 replied to Lopez’s post, writing, “I’m so grateful 🙏🏻.” He would also share his own photo from the first day of shooting, simply writing, “DAY ONE / DIA UNO 🎥 🎞@jlo,” with an image of the 50-year-old pop icon laughing while sporting black workout pants and a white long-sleeved crop-top shirt with her hair pulled tightly into a bun.

“Today I fulfilled a dream I had since I was little,” the “El Perdedor” singer also wrote in Spanish on his Instagram Story. “Thank you, God. Thank you, life.”

Lopez and Wilson were spotted filming scenes at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, according to Entertainment Tonight.

“Marry Me” is the film adaptation of a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby. The Kat Coiro-directed flick follows a successful pop singer who discovers moments before her wedding that her equally successful fiancé is cheating on her with her assistant. She then randomly picks an unsuspecting math teacher played by Wilson from her audience at a Madison Square Garden concert to marry her instead.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Lopez has garnered Oscar-worthy praise from many for her performance in “Hustlers,” currently in theaters. She was also tapped along with Shakira to co-headline the Super Bowl halftime show in Miami next year.

Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-hustlers-tiff-getty Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651   Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-hustlers-tiff-getty Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651

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Shepard Smith Dunks Trump: President ‘May Have Violated Federal Law… On Live TV’

Westlake Legal Group 5d967f872200007d03dcea85 Shepard Smith Dunks Trump: President ‘May Have Violated Federal Law... On Live TV’

President Donald Trump may have dug himself deeper into the impeachment hole on Thursday, and Fox NewsShepard Smith didn’t mince words when he reported on it.

“As the president faces impeachment proceedings for asking a foreign leader to investigate his political rival, today he did it again on live television,” Smith said as the opener to “Shepard Smith Reporting.” 

He was referring to comments the president made to reporters outside the White House on Thursday: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

This newest comment came in response to a question about what exactly Trump had wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he asked him in a July 25 phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. This call, which was brought to light by a whistleblower complaint, was the catalyst for an impeachment inquiry launched against the president last week.

Smith did not hesitate to point out that Fox News was not aware of any federal investigation into former Vice President Biden for any violations of U.S. law and that it is illegal to ask a foreign national or country for political assistance.

“If it is determined that the president made that request to help his campaign for reelection, President Trump may have violated federal law.”

“To our knowledge, no president before President Trump in American history has publicly asked an adversary to investigate a rival.”

Just hours after these comments, CNN reported that Trump discussed his two highest-polling rivals for 2020, Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in a June 18 conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two sources familiar with the call.

The Xi call was stored on the same secure server that the Zelensky call was stored on, CNN reported. This server is generally reserved for highly classified government secrets, according to intelligence officials.

Watch Smith’s segment on Fox News below:

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Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic

Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article

A tiny turtle that washed up on a shoreline in South Florida is just the latest fatality of plastic pollution plaguing marine life.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton posted a picture on Facebook of the deceased turtle alongside hundreds of pieces of plastic that became lodged in its intestinal tract.

“This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic,” the nature center said.

SPECIALLY TRAINED DOGS TRY TO SAVE THREATENED TURTLE SPECIES

Scientists warn that when plastic is dumped into the ocean as pollution, they break down into microplastics that get eaten by sea creatures.

According to Gumbo, it’s washback season, the period between August and November where young sea turtles wash ashore due to heavy winds and surf. Although volunteers and environmentalist groups attempt to rescue the turtles when they get caught on shorelines or wrapped in seaweed, they aren’t always successful because of the added dangers of pollution.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts,” the center said.

“This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free.”

The Sea Turtle Conservancy estimates that over 1 million marine animals, including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds, die each year due to plastic debris in the ocean and there are likely 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world.

Conservationists estimate that another 60 billion pounds of pollution will be produced in 2019.

Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article   Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article

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California man who fatally shot mountain lion gets 30 days in jail, 240 hours of community service

The Southern California man charged with shooting and killing a protected mountain lion this summer has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and was ordered to serve 240 hours of community service in an animal shelter after pleading guilty, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Alfredo Gonzalez, 60, of Simi Valley, Calif., will have to serve the community service at a Los Angeles County animal shelter, Senior Deputy District Attorney Karen Wold in Ventura County told Fox News.

Gonzalez will have to pay restitution that will include the cost for the collar he removed, which will be more than $2,300, Wold confirmed.

CALIFORNIA MAN CHARGED WITH FATALLY SHOOTING PROTECTED MOUNTAIN LION

Gonzalez was also placed on three years of probation and the rifle he used to shoot the mountain lion was declared a nuisance by the court and ordered to be destroyed, according to the District Attorney’s office.

“The weapon that was used was also ordered destroyed and that means it will never be used again to kill another animal,” Wold told Fox News.

Gonzalez admitted to shooting the collared mountain lion known as P-38 in the head after National Park Service biologists discovered the lion’s body in the Simi Valley area.

“The National Park Service got a mortality signal from the collar indicating that the lion was dead and they eventually went out to the location where the signal stopped and recovered the collar and discovered that it had been cut,” Wold told Fox News last month. “That’s when the Department of Fish and Wildlife started their investigation and after they located the mountain lion, they contacted our office.”

Westlake Legal Group Puma-NPS California man who fatally shot mountain lion gets 30 days in jail, 240 hours of community service Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/us fnc b4255c67-905e-50e5-881d-3e3f6adfecb9 article

The Southern California man charged with shooting and killing protected mountain lion P-38 (pictured here) this summer has been sentenced. (National Park Service)

The male lion was born in 2012 and was collared four years ago, she said, adding that he mainly roamed areas of the Santa Susana Mountains and the Santa Monica Mountains.

It is illegal to kill a mountain lion in California without a permit, but there are some exceptions. Wold said mountain lions are on the verge of becoming endangered in California.

Gonzalez had been charged with two misdemeanor counts, one for the unlawful taking of a protected mammal and one for vandalism of National Park Service property over the cutting of the lion’s collar, which Wold said was “very sophisticated” and is worth more than $2,300. The collar maintained data on the mountain lion.

MOUNTAIN LION SPOTTED PROWLING CALIFORNIA NEIGHBORHOOD PROMPTS WARNING

Gonzalez’ attorney, Shanit Frydman, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

He is expected to begin his jail sentence on October 25, followed by 30 days of work release and then 240 hours of community service.

“Because the defendant took early responsibility for his actions and has no prior criminal history I think it [the sentence] is fair and reasonable on the part of the court,” Wold said. “I think that this particular case is a great deterrent that will send a message to anyone who would want to kill a protected mountain lion.”

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Westlake Legal Group Puma-NPS California man who fatally shot mountain lion gets 30 days in jail, 240 hours of community service Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/us fnc b4255c67-905e-50e5-881d-3e3f6adfecb9 article   Westlake Legal Group Puma-NPS California man who fatally shot mountain lion gets 30 days in jail, 240 hours of community service Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox news fnc/us fnc b4255c67-905e-50e5-881d-3e3f6adfecb9 article

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Democrats: Trump’s former Ukraine envoy offered key evidence in impeachment inquiry

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Democrats: Trump's former Ukraine envoy offered key evidence in impeachment inquiry

Joe Biden sent a message to President Trump during a campaign event in Nevada. The Democratic presidential hopeful said he’s “not going anywhere.” USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, shared text messages with lawmakers and congressional attorneys Thursday suggesting that U.S. diplomats believed President Donald Trump had made an explicit link between U.S. aid to Ukraine and his push for that country to investigate Joe Biden.

Those texts were just one element of Volker’s nine-hour grilling behind closed doors as Democrats opened their impeachment inquiry into the Trump administration’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for damaging information on Biden, a leading Democratic candidate in the 2020 election.

 “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat stationed in Ukraine, wrote in one message to Volker and a second U.S. official, according to two Democratic lawmakers who attended Thursday’s session.

The second Trump official, Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, pushed back, writing: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” 

Sondland also said they should stop talking about the matter online, perhaps realizing the implications of such messages. The text messages were first reported by ABC News.

“I can confirm that was in the texts,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of the three panels spearheading the impeachment probe. Connolly said those messages were among 20 pages of texts that Volker shared with the committees. 

“It was further evidence of the underlying fact that has now spurred this formal impeachment inquiry,” Connolly told USA TODAY Thursday evening. The president “used military aid and other leverage to attempt to extort (the Ukrainian leader) for a narrow partisan domestic political reason: getting dirt on his prospective political opponent.” 

A second Democrat, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, said Volker’s testimony also provided new evidence that Trump held out the prospect of a White House meeting with Zelensky on the condition that Ukraine investigate Biden —  as well as Ukraine’s alleged involvement in interference with the 2016 U.S. election. The American intelligence community has concluded that Russia tried to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, a fact that has clouded Trump’s presidency.

“For Zelensky to get a meeting with Trump, Zelensky had to, one, investigate the 2016 election, essentially go back and exonerate the Russians’ role,” Swalwell told reporters after Volker’s deposition ended. “And two, that Zelensky would have to investigate Biden. That was an understood predicate for the meeting.” 

Connolly said Volker also told lawmakers and staffers that he had warned Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that his efforts to get dirt on Biden could damage U.S.-Ukrainian relations. 

For months, Giuliani had been pressing the Ukrainians for damaging information on Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when Biden was Obama’s No. 2. Trump and Giuliani have alleged wrongdoing by the Bidens, but Ukrainian officials have said they have not found any evidence to support those charges. 

Giuliani “was even warned … to be very careful about relying on really non-credible sources and to stop peddling that stuff because it was going to be injurious to our bilateral relationship,” Connolly said.

More: Here are 5 questions about the Trump-Ukraine controversy we still don’t have answers to

A former foreign service officer and longtime Europe expert, Volker is the first official interviewed by House Democrats as they investigate potentially impeachable allegations that Trump used the power of his office to seek foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election.

Thursday’s deposition, led by staff lawyers with the House Intelligence Committee, was attended by a handful of lawmakers from both sides.

Republicans characterized the proceedings as a sham that did little to provide Democrats any ammunition to impeach Trump.

Speaking to reporters outside the hearing room as Volker was still testifying, Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, slammed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for not allowing State Department lawyers to participate in the session. He also said the testimony he heard from Volker did not support Democrats’ impeachment narrative.

“Ambassador Volker has been very impressive and has said nothing that coincides with what the Democrats are seeing with their whole impeachment narrative,” said Jordan, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The Democrat-led House has launched an impeachment inquiry to examine the president’s pressure campaign, which became public last week when the White House released a summary of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

More: Impeachment pressure: Trump says China should investigate Joe Biden, family

Volker, who resigned Sept. 27 from his special envoy post, played a central role in connecting Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, with Ukrainian officials – a step critics say is highly inappropriate. And he was named in the explosive whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment proceedings.

Volker resigned less than 24 hours after Giuliani posted a private text message from the special envoy – in which Volker offered to set up a meeting with a top adviser to Zelensky. Giuliani was trying to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, the former vice president who is seeking to unseat Trump in 2020.

According to the whistleblower complaint, Volker and Sondland, had met with Giuliani to try to “contain the damage” his efforts were having on U.S. national security. The whistleblower said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the “differing messages” they were getting through official U.S. government channels and Giuliani’s private outreach.

Volker agreed to Thursday’s deposition, even as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has delayed other State Department officials from testifying. Because he resigned from his government post, he may have more freedom to talk to House Democrats than others who still work for the Trump administration. 

The complaint: Read the full declassified text of the Trump whistleblower complaint

Volker was named as Trump’s special envoy in July 2017, by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He came to the post with a stellar resume: a former U.S. ambassador to NATO in the George W. Bush administration and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a longtime Russia critic.

He took the envoy job on a volunteer basis, while continuing to serve as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Volker’s appearance is the first of what Democrats hope will be a parade of officials who have knowledge either of the administration’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government for help going after the Bidens or attempts by the White House to “lock down” information related to Trump’s July 25 call to Zelensky as the whistleblower complaint alleges.

Schiff told reporters Wednesday that Volker’s deposition before the committee will be followed Friday by an appearance from Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, whose office handled the whistleblower complaint.

“The last time that the inspector general testified, we did not have the complaint. We now do. And we certainly intend to ask (him) about the efforts that were made to corroborate that compliant which we now know that the inspector general found credible and urgent,” Schiff said.

Next week, the committee has scheduled a deposition of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was abruptly recalled from her post in May. And Schiff said the committee is “in discussion” with other State Department witnesses to secure their depositions.

More: Democrats see echoes of Russia in Trump’s call for China to investigate Joe Biden

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Southwest flight attendant’s post disses passenger in Trump T-shirt: ‘#dumpTrump #eeew’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Southwest flight attendant's post disses passenger in Trump T-shirt: '#dumpTrump #eeew'

From giving out a free Nintendo Switch to holding a hula hoop contest, Southwest Airlines has given passengers plenty of reasons to smile. USA TODAY

Travelers usually turn to Southwest Airlines’ Facebook page to ask travel questions, whine about fares and flight delays or share heartwarming customer service stories.

On Thursday, Mark Kaminski had one mission: to call out a Southwest flight attendant for shaming a passenger wearing a Trump T-shirt.

Kaminski, a 51-year-old Chicago resident, shared a screenshot of a personal Facebook post by a male Southwest flight attendant. A friend had shared it with him. Both are Trump supporters.

The flight attendant’s post featured a photo of a man in an aisle seat on a Southwest flight, dressed in shorts, a camouflage hat and a navy blue T-shirt with an American flag and the words “Trump 45” and “Suck it up Buttercup.” 

The caption: “Someone did NOT get my most Positively Outrageous Service today on my flight … #notgoingtosuckitup #dumpTrump #eeew.” The “outrageous” line is a customer service mantra long espoused by Southwest.

Kaminski asked Southwest, “So this is how they treat passengers?”

He criticized the flight attendant for not “giving his best to a customer because he hates the man’s shirt and our president.”

“Wow,” Kaminski added. “He should be fired because he can’t do his job. Very sad employee.”

A Southwest representative quickly replied to the post with one of the airline’s stock social media responses: “We aim to provide outstanding service to all who travel with us and regret if we missed the mark. We appreciate you sharing your feedback.”

And then the comments began pouring in, in most cases along party lines.

“Give this man a raise,” one said, while another said, “This guy should be fired.”

“I’m the farthest thing from a Trump supporter, but I am a ‘people’ supporter,” one poster said. “This is clearly unacceptable. Southwest Airlines, I love a lot of Trump supporters even though I don’t agree with them and frankly this kind of behavior from your FA is what’s making civil discussion in our country all but a memory. If you think it is OK for your (employee) to give lesser treatment to someone he disagrees with, I hope you’ll find it OK when I take my business to an airline I agree with.”

Hashtags emerged, including #boycottSouthwest. One poster handed out the number, extension included, of Southwest’s customer relations team.

The number of comments was approaching 100 by the time Southwest removed the post, a large number for a post that is not easy to find. The flight attendant also scrubbed photos and other information from his Facebook page and shortened his last name. He did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment. 

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Kaminski’s post on the airline’s Facebook page was removed “as we investigate and address the issue internally.”

He also further apologized for the post many considered out of line for a service employee and an invasion of the passenger’s privacy. (He was not identified in the post.)

“We aim to provide outstanding service to all who travel with us,” Mainz said in a statement to USA TODAY. “The post in question does not reflect the inclusive environment we strive to provide for our customers and employees.”

The flight attendant’s post is likely in violation of the airline’s social media policy, but Mainz would not disclose details of the protocol.

Flight attendant unions also have social media policies, but the union for Southwest’s flight attendants, Transport Workers Union Local 556,  did not respond to questions on the policy or the incident.

The policy for members of another flight attendants union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, includes these tips:

“When in doubt, do not post.”

“Remember, your postings online are permanent (even when subsequently deleted). Be sensitive to political issues you comment on.”

Beyond a response from Southwest and a few comments from people who don’t like Trump, Kaminski said he didn’t expect much from the post about the flight attendant.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It exploded, and very quickly.”

He said the fact that he’s a Trump supporter shouldn’t matter, though he responded to several comments on the post with his support for the president’s reelection.

The flight attendant was out of bounds, he said, just as he would be if he expressed opinions about people at his job as a city employee or took photos of others against social media policies.

“My job is to do my job and go home,” he said. “My job is not to be there and be ridiculing people, treating them like crap and having my opinion.

“You can’t just go out and lash out at people, just because that’s the way you feel, at your job. Even as a human being you shouldn’t do that. You should have a little bit of compassion.”

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The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today

Welcome to the Impeachment Briefing, a special edition of the Morning Briefing that explains the latest developments in the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Sign up here to get the briefing by email every weeknight.

I’m Noah Weiland, and I’m here to catch you up on the day’s news, along with insights from the Washington bureau, where I work, and the rest of the Times newsroom.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162047649_59948475-0981-41d6-bc5a-41fa645d9935-articleLarge The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

President Trump speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House today, as he headed to the presidential helicopter. CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

  • The Times has learned that two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine drafted a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The effort is more evidence that Mr. Trump’s fixation with Ukraine drove senior diplomats to bend U.S. foreign policy to the president’s political agenda.

  • People familiar with the statement told our reporters that the envoys — Kurt Volker, of the State Department, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union — believed that Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was “poisoning” his mind about Ukraine, and that a public commitment to investigate would encourage Mr. Trump to more fully support the new government there.

  • Mr. Volker was interviewed today as the first witness in the House impeachment inquiry. He disclosed a set of texts in which Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told him and Mr. Sondland, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” After speaking with Mr. Trump, Mr. Sondland messaged that there was no quid pro quo, adding, “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”

  • On the South Lawn of the White House this morning, Mr. Trump publicly called on China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden — flouting Democrats who are already investigating him for seeking electoral assistance from a foreign power in private.

  • The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to suspend impeachment proceedings until she had answered questions about how she would include Republicans. The move is part of the G.O.P.’s nascent but aggressive impeachment defense of Mr. Trump. In a message sent to Republican lawmakers this morning, Mr. McCarthy accused Democrats of “trying to discredit democracy” and “undo the 2016 election.”


In his decades-long public life, Mr. Trump has continually said things that shock (“Russia, if you’re listening …”). But today’s open request for China to investigate his political adversary still felt like new territory. I talked to my colleague Maggie Haberman, who has covered Mr. Trump for many years in New York and Washington, about the significance of his statements.

Maggie, why would he just blurt out that he wants China to investigate the Bidens?

He clearly knows something a wise person once said to me, which is that the value of a secret is its ability to be disclosed. So he tries to move the window of acceptability by publicly doing the very thing he is accused of doing in private.

What is it about his circumstances that might encourage him to make a request like this out loud?

He has led a consequence-free life despite enormously self-destructive behaviors over time. The divorces were marriages he wanted out of. The bankruptcies impacted his lenders most, not him. All of his behavior in 2016 ended with him winning the presidency. And the Mueller obstruction inquiry ended with no definitive answer.

Does his request this morning remind you of anything?

The period of time that is the most illuminating happened after the “Access Hollywood” tape came out. The next day, I wrote a story about Mr. Trump holed up at Trump Tower. He came downstairs sometime after 4 p.m. and went and immersed himself in a crowd of supporters who were outside on the street, and pumped his fist. The next day, he went to the debate in St. Louis and paraded Bill Clinton’s accusers in front of Hillary Clinton. It was the most savage thing I had ever seen anyone do in politics. And it underscored what Mr. Trump does when he is wounded.


  • Ben Smith outlines what he sees as Mr. Trump’s retaliation structure in Buzzfeed News’s “The Stakes 2020” newsletter:

What Mr. Trump is doing, he writes, “has one purpose, which is to build an alternate scaffolding of lies, truths, and random facts for the Trump movement to hang on to when the big impeachment wave comes. You have your Ukraine accusations? Republicans will have their own Ukrainian narrative. You have Robert Mueller? We have Rudy Giuliani. And so on. Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill mostly just need something to say, something to throw back in the faces of Trump’s accusers. He’s producing that narrative for them.”

  • Why do impeachment politics feel so personal? The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released a new survey that shows close to half of Americans think of politics as a struggle between good and evil.

  • CNN rejected a pair of ads from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign that derided the impeachment investigation, which the network said contained inaccuracies and unfairly attacked the network’s journalists.

  • The Washington Post put together a handy calendar to show what comes next in the impeachment investigation.

  • At an appearance at Amherst College this evening, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked by a student to characterize this moment in American history. “As an aberration,” she said.

  • This summer, after Mr. Trump said that he would be open to taking information from a foreign power, Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, posted a statement to Twitter reminding him (indirectly) that taking anything election-related was against the law. She posted it again today and added, with a microphone emoji, “Is this thing on?”


I’m eager to know what you think of the newsletter, and what else you’d like to see here. Email your thoughts to briefing@nytimes.com.

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

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today

Welcome to the Impeachment Briefing, a special edition of the Morning Briefing that explains the latest developments in the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Sign up here to get the briefing by email every weeknight.

I’m Noah Weiland, and I’m here to catch you up on the day’s news, along with insights from the Washington bureau, where I work, and the rest of the Times newsroom.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162047649_59948475-0981-41d6-bc5a-41fa645d9935-articleLarge The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

President Trump speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House today, as he headed to the presidential helicopter. CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

  • The Times has learned that two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine drafted a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The effort is more evidence that Mr. Trump’s fixation with Ukraine drove senior diplomats to bend U.S. foreign policy to the president’s political agenda.

  • People familiar with the statement told our reporters that the envoys — Kurt Volker, of the State Department, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union — believed that Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was “poisoning” his mind about Ukraine, and that a public commitment to investigate would encourage Mr. Trump to more fully support the new government there.

  • Mr. Volker was interviewed today as the first witness in the House impeachment inquiry. He disclosed a set of texts in which Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told him and Mr. Sondland, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” After speaking with Mr. Trump, Mr. Sondland messaged that there was no quid pro quo, adding, “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”

  • On the South Lawn of the White House this morning, Mr. Trump publicly called on China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden — flouting Democrats who are already investigating him for seeking electoral assistance from a foreign power in private.

  • The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to suspend impeachment proceedings until she had answered questions about how she would include Republicans. The move is part of the G.O.P.’s nascent but aggressive impeachment defense of Mr. Trump. In a message sent to Republican lawmakers this morning, Mr. McCarthy accused Democrats of “trying to discredit democracy” and “undo the 2016 election.”


In his decades-long public life, Mr. Trump has continually said things that shock (“Russia, if you’re listening …”). But today’s open request for China to investigate his political adversary still felt like new territory. I talked to my colleague Maggie Haberman, who has covered Mr. Trump for many years in New York and Washington, about the significance of his statements.

Maggie, why would he just blurt out that he wants China to investigate the Bidens?

He clearly knows something a wise person once said to me, which is that the value of a secret is its ability to be disclosed. So he tries to move the window of acceptability by publicly doing the very thing he is accused of doing in private.

What is it about his circumstances that might encourage him to make a request like this out loud?

He has led a consequence-free life despite enormously self-destructive behaviors over time. The divorces were marriages he wanted out of. The bankruptcies impacted his lenders most, not him. All of his behavior in 2016 ended with him winning the presidency. And the Mueller obstruction inquiry ended with no definitive answer.

Does his request this morning remind you of anything?

The period of time that is the most illuminating happened after the “Access Hollywood” tape came out. The next day, I wrote a story about Mr. Trump holed up at Trump Tower. He came downstairs sometime after 4 p.m. and went and immersed himself in a crowd of supporters who were outside on the street, and pumped his fist. The next day, he went to the debate in St. Louis and paraded Bill Clinton’s accusers in front of Hillary Clinton. It was the most savage thing I had ever seen anyone do in politics. And it underscored what Mr. Trump does when he is wounded.


  • Ben Smith outlines what he sees as Mr. Trump’s retaliation structure in Buzzfeed News’s “The Stakes 2020” newsletter:

What Mr. Trump is doing, he writes, “has one purpose, which is to build an alternate scaffolding of lies, truths, and random facts for the Trump movement to hang on to when the big impeachment wave comes. You have your Ukraine accusations? Republicans will have their own Ukrainian narrative. You have Robert Mueller? We have Rudy Giuliani. And so on. Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill mostly just need something to say, something to throw back in the faces of Trump’s accusers. He’s producing that narrative for them.”

  • Why do impeachment politics feel so personal? The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released a new survey that shows close to half of Americans think of politics as a struggle between good and evil.

  • CNN rejected a pair of ads from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign that derided the impeachment investigation, which the network said contained inaccuracies and unfairly attacked the network’s journalists.

  • The Washington Post put together a handy calendar to show what comes next in the impeachment investigation.

  • At an appearance at Amherst College this evening, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked by a student to characterize this moment in American history. “As an aberration,” she said.

  • This summer, after Mr. Trump said that he would be open to taking information from a foreign power, Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, posted a statement to Twitter reminding him (indirectly) that taking anything election-related was against the law. She posted it again today and added, with a microphone emoji, “Is this thing on?”


I’m eager to know what you think of the newsletter, and what else you’d like to see here. Email your thoughts to briefing@nytimes.com.

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

Ancient miniature stone tools unearthed by scientists in Sri Lankan cave

Tiny stone tools — known as microliths — were essential to the growth of our species thousands of years ago.

According to a new paper published in PLUS One, microliths seen in the Fa Hien cave in the tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka date to 45,000 years ago. Their existence at this location suggests a range of “more diverse ecological contexts” for their use by Homo sapiens, researchers believe.

The island of Sri Lanka has been seen as a vital area for examining how hunter-gatherers adapted in prehistoric times.

ANCIENT DNA PUTS BLACK DEATH’S ORIGIN IN RUSSIAN REGION

Westlake Legal Group mini-stone-tools-max-planck-institute Ancient miniature stone tools unearthed by scientists in Sri Lankan cave fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 3cadf1c6-7a1c-52df-a1a6-cd0a17291702

The oldest microlith artifacts from Fa Hein cave in Sri Lanka. (Max Planck Institute)

Discovering these types of artifacts in this setting is significant, according to scientists, because the tools have been most typically linked to hunting medium to large animals in grassland areas.

“Interestingly, our evidence also shows that stone tool technology changed little over the long span of human occupation, from 48,000 to 4,000 years ago,” said Andrea Picin, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and co-author of the study, in a statement.

Researchers believe this is evidence that the technological adaptation practiced by these early rainforest inhabitants was very successful over the course of thousands of years.

IN GLOBAL PANDEMIC, WHICH COUNTRIES ARE SAFEST HAVEN?

Westlake Legal Group fa-hein-cave-max-planck-institute-for-the-science-of-human-history Ancient miniature stone tools unearthed by scientists in Sri Lankan cave fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 3cadf1c6-7a1c-52df-a1a6-cd0a17291702

The Fa Hien Cave overlooking the rainforest in Sri Lanka. (Max Planck Institute)

“While we suspect that these small stone tools were used as part of projectile technologies, as we have also found for bone tools at the same site, residue analysis and impact fracture analysis is ongoing,” explained Michael Petraglia, co-corresponding author of the paper.

“Whatever the results, these miniaturized stone tools place Sri Lanka in a central position in terms of discussing technological sophistication among our species. We have essentially uncovered the ‘Upper Palaeolithic’ of the rainforest,” Petraglia added.

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Westlake Legal Group fa-hein-cave-max-planck-institute-for-the-science-of-human-history Ancient miniature stone tools unearthed by scientists in Sri Lankan cave fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 3cadf1c6-7a1c-52df-a1a6-cd0a17291702   Westlake Legal Group fa-hein-cave-max-planck-institute-for-the-science-of-human-history Ancient miniature stone tools unearthed by scientists in Sri Lankan cave fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 3cadf1c6-7a1c-52df-a1a6-cd0a17291702

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