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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 220)

Impeachment Investigators Exploring Whether Trump Lied to Mueller

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-mueller-facebookJumbo Impeachment Investigators Exploring Whether Trump Lied to Mueller United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III

WASHINGTON — Impeachment investigators are exploring whether President Trump lied in his written answers to Robert S. Mueller III during the Russia investigation, a lawyer for the House told a federal appeals court on Monday, raising the prospect of bringing an additional basis for a Senate trial over whether to remove Mr. Trump.

The statement — during a hearing in a case over the House’s request for secret grand-jury evidence gathered by Mr. Mueller — came shortly after Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he may provide written answers about the Ukraine affair to impeachment investigators.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Mr. Trump wrote, after insulting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

During the Mueller investigation, Mr. Trump refused to testify orally about what he knew and did during the 2016 campaign in relation to Russia’s election interference operation, or his later efforts to impede the special counsel’s inquiry. But he did provide lawyerly written answers to some questions, which were appended to the Mueller report.

On Monday, Douglas Letter, the general counsel for the House, told a federal appeals court panel that impeachment investigators have an “immense” need to see the grand jury evidence — redacted portions of the Mueller report, as well as the underlying testimony transcripts they came from — because Mr. Trump may have lied.

“Was the president not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” Mr. Letter said, adding: “I believe the special counsel said the president had been untruthful in some of his answers.”

He was referring to Mr. Mueller’s congressional testimony in July. Near the end of the hearing, a lawmaker brought up Mr. Trump’s written responses and asked whether “his answers showed that he wasn’t always being truthful.” Rather than demurring as he had to similar questions, Mr. Mueller instead appeared to confirm her assessment, responding, “I would say generally.”

Both the lawmaker in July and Mr. Letter on Monday appeared to be referring in particular to the question of whether Mr. Trump lied about his campaign’s advance knowledge of and contacts with WikiLeaks about its possession of hacked Democratic emails and plans to publish them.

Mr. Trump wrote that he was “not aware during the campaign of any communications” between “any one I understood to be a representative of WikiLeaks” and people associated with his campaign, including his political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted at trial last week for lying to congressional investigators about his efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks and his discussions with the campaign.

“I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him,” Mr. Trump also wrote of Mr. Stone, “nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign.”

But the publicly available portions of the Mueller report suggest that evidence exists to the contrary. Several Trump aides, including Michael D. Cohen and Rick Gates, testified that they heard Mr. Trump discussing coming WikiLeaks releases over the phone. And in October 2016 Stephen K. Bannon, the campaign chairman, wrote in an email that Mr. Stone had told the campaign “about potential future releases of damaging material” by WikiLeaks shortly before it began publishing more hacked emails.

Mr. Letter brought up redactions in the report associated with Mr. Stone and a redacted reference to something that Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, had said to a grand jury.

“Manafort said that shortly after WikiLeaks’ July 22, 2016, released of hacked documents, he spoke to Trump [redacted]; Manafort recalled that Trump responded that Manafort should [redacted] keep Trump updated,” the Mueller report said, citing grand-jury material as the reason for the redactions.

Mr. Letter told the court, “The Manafort situation shows so clearly that there is evidence, very sadly, that the president might have provided untruthful answers,” he said, adding that this might be part of impeachment.

Attorney General William P. Barr permitted the House Judiciary Committee to see most of the Mueller report, including portions that are redacted from the public version because they pertained to ongoing cases, but has refused to let them see material that is subject to secrecy rules because it was presented to a grand jury.

In July, the House petitioned the chief judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia for an order that would permit it to gain access to that material too. Its court filings in that matter were the first time that it formally pronounced itself engaged in an impeachment inquiry; there is precedent, including in the Nixon Watergate scandal, permitting the House to get grand jury information for impeachment proceedings.

The judge in October ruled that the House Judiciary Committee should be permitted to see the grand-jury material in the report and its underlying basis. The Justice Department appealed that ruling. The hearing on Monday centered on whether the appeals court should temporarily stay the district judge’s ruling while it considers that appeal.

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Trump’s Made-for-TV Trade War Has No One Entertained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_164275284_1ba88126-ff22-41f4-a606-d6c65fb638b4-facebookJumbo Trump’s Made-for-TV Trade War Has No One Entertained United States International Relations United States Economy United States Politics and Government International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

When President Trump’s advisers suggested that Beijing resume buying around $20 billion in American farm products as part of a trade deal, Mr. Trump wasn’t satisfied. In a dramatic public retelling in the Cabinet Room, he said he pressed his team to more than triple that figure, then trimmed that a little and asked for up to $50 billion in annual purchases.

“My people had $20 billion done,” Mr. Trump recounted in an Oct. 21 cabinet meeting. “And I said, ‘I want more.’ They said, ‘The farmers can’t handle it.’ I said, ‘Tell them to buy larger tractors. It’s very simple.’” The cabinet members gathered around Mr. Trump laughed.

Mr. Trump has brought his characteristic love of show business to trade talks with China, injecting public drama into typically staid proceedings. He has alternated displays of anger and warmth toward Beijing and assumed the role of the insatiable negotiator, pairing ambitious goals for a trade pact with even bigger threats should China not accede to his terms.

But more than a year and a half into the biggest trade war in modern history, Mr. Trump’s approach has not yet produced the grand finale he hoped for. Instead, the president’s cliffhanger tactics appear to have made it even harder to bring complex trade talks to a close and exacerbated economic uncertainty across the globe.

Despite Mr. Trump’s Oct. 11 announcement that the United States and China had reached a “historic” Phase 1 trade agreement, actually signing a deal has proved elusive. The two sides continue to negotiate and a final agreement could be reached in the next few weeks, if negotiators decide to compromise. But Mr. Trump continues to give mixed signals about whether he actually wants a deal and if any of his tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods will ever be removed.

“We’re taking in billions of dollars in tariff money from China,” Mr. Trump said on Nov. 8. “I like our situation very much. They want to make a deal much more than I do, but we could have a deal.”

Businesses are not entertained. The unrelenting trade fight has prolonged financial pain for American farmers, companies and consumers, paralyzing firms that rely on robust trade flows between the world’s two largest economies.

Executives across the world say they have no choice but to postpone some hiring and investment, make sure any new expansions are not crippled by unforeseen policies, and conserve cash.

The uncertainty is weighing on the United States economy, particularly manufacturing, which has slumped over the past several months. Chinese economic growth has slowed to its lowest rate in nearly three decades, while Germany has barely avoided falling into recession.

“It’s striking that in almost every corner of the world geopolitical tensions are threatening to put the brakes on growth,” John Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said in a speech last week. “The uncertainty created by current events is no doubt having a lasting effect on the economic conditions we’re experiencing today.”

Mr. Trump’s theatrical embrace is not limited to China. He has injected similar drama into trade talks with other partners, including Europe, Japan, Canada and Mexico, publicly threatening them with tariffs and suggesting he might leave some trading partners behind.

The president says his approach has created leverage — and in some cases, he is right. The threat of tariffs has prompted officials from Mexico, Canada, Japan and elsewhere to make concessions they might not otherwise have agreed to. It has also brought China, which is heavily reliant on exports to the United States, to the negotiating table.

But that strategy may now be discouraging China from bringing the talks to a close. Mr. Trump’s tendency to waver and increase his demands have made China wary of offering concessions, for fear that he will only demand more, people familiar with Chinese trade policy said.

Eswar Prasad, a trade professor at Cornell, said the president’s “mercurial temperament and predilection to undercutting his own negotiating team” had complicated the already challenging task of striking a deal. “By hyping up expectations and setting unrealistic goals for the trade talks, Trump makes the prospects for any sort of trade deal with China more uncertain and volatile,” he said.

The two sides have been unable to reschedule a meeting between Mr. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Chile that was canceled because of domestic protests. Mr. Trump has since said that a deal signing would take place in United States “farm country,” but the Chinese have been reluctant to commit to a meeting until a deal that includes tariff reductions is finalized.

Without a set deadline, the two sides have lost a source of external pressure to get the deal done. Beijing is also concerned about the president’s unpredictable behavior — as demonstrated by his abrupt departure from a high-profile meeting last February in Hanoi with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. They fear that Mr. Trump may end up giving fewer concessions than they anticipate, resulting in an embarrassing trip for Mr. Xi, according to people familiar with their thinking.

Mr. Trump continues to insist his tactics will be worth it, saying he is the only president tough enough to take on China without fear of repercussions and that the United States will be better off. Many businesses agree that China has long taken advantage of the United States and support Mr. Trump’s efforts to remove trade barriers and end coercive practices that have disadvantaged American firms operating in China.

But they have struggled with his approach, which has repeatedly escalated tensions, prolonging the trade fight far longer than most expected. The lack of resolution has been discouraging, given that many analysts believe that the administration is tackling only the easiest issues in its Phase 1 deal, and leaving more contentious topics, like the subsidies that China gives to its industry, for later talks.

The roller-coaster ride has been exasperating for businesses that thrive on certainty and cannot easily shift supply chains or adjust shipments of products that need weeks to cross oceans. The most recent twists in the China trade talks have left firms uncertain whether a 15 percent tariff that the Trump administration had planned to impose Dec. 15 on another $160 billion of goods, including smartphones, laptops and footwear, would go into effect — or whether a 15 percent tariff imposed on consumer goods in September would remain.

“It makes for better theater to hold this to the last minute,” said Phil Levy, the chief economist at Flexport, which coordinates international shipments for companies. “It really doesn’t fit well with the world of global supply chains. And we’re talking to a lot of businesses who are having difficulty with that.

Even Mr. Trump’s supporters have trouble at times disguising their frustration with his focus on showmanship over substance and a nagging feeling that the president doesn’t want the show to end.

In a letter to the president in May, Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau, said farmers faced “near-unprecedented economic uncertainty and hardship” stemming from the escalation of tariffs in China and other key markets. He urged Mr. Trump to make a deal as soon as possible, saying “time is running out for many in agriculture.”

But Mr. Trump’s approach has complicated his ability to get a final deal, including securing the big farm commitments that he showcased last month. American negotiators are now left with the difficult task of translating the massive purchases Mr. Trump requested — larger purchases “than any time in our history, by far” — into the actual text of a trade agreement.

While China needs and wants to buy agricultural goods like soybeans and pork, it has balked on terms that would leave it exposed to accusations that it favors American products over other countries’, as well as agreements that could result in more American tariffs if its purchases do not come through.

Even if American negotiators secure better market access for beef, pork, dairy and genetically modified products, Washington-based analysts who have done the calculations say they have difficulty figuring out how the United States could increase its agricultural exports to China to much more than $30 billion a year, without diverting trade from elsewhere.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs also remain a source of uncertainty, with his administration sending mixed signals about whether any of the existing levies will be removed if a deal is reached.

The president announced the Phase 1 trade deal during a meeting in the Oval Office with Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator. While Mr. Trump canceled an increase in tariffs planned for Oct. 15, he made no mention of rolling back any levies. That has not gone over well with the Chinese, who have since been under pressure domestically for seemingly giving away too much to the United States.

“Without rolling back some of the tariffs, or reducing the uncertainty of not raising additional tariffs, then I would ask what is the additional incentive of implementing this deal on the Chinese part?” He Jianxiong, the former executive director for China at the International Monetary Fund, said at a Nov. 6 event at the Peterson Institute in Washington.

Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

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U.S. Firms Get 90-Day Extension To Work With Huawei On Rural Networks

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1176167606_wide-1dd2628e9a9ed2ad1d2e916120968accb302b9cb-s1100-c15 U.S. Firms Get 90-Day Extension To Work With Huawei On Rural Networks

The U.S. government is letting American businesses work with Chinese tech giant Huawei for another three months, in a third delay to a ban enacted in May for national security reasons. Stefan Wermuth/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Stefan Wermuth/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  U.S. Firms Get 90-Day Extension To Work With Huawei On Rural Networks

The U.S. government is letting American businesses work with Chinese tech giant Huawei for another three months, in a third delay to a ban enacted in May for national security reasons.

Stefan Wermuth/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is giving American companies another three months to do business with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the Commerce Department said Monday.

It is the third time the U.S. has extended a reprieve, which is meant to help ease disruption for Huawei customers. Many Internet and cellphone carriers in rural parts of the U.S. buy networking equipment from Huawei, and the temporary extension means they can keep their networks up to date.

“The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement.

The U.S. first put Huawei on a blacklist, known as the “Entity List,” in May, amid an escalating trade war with China. American firms are barred from selling to or buying products to companies on the list due to national security concerns.

The Trump administration is worried that Huawei and other big Chinese companies could be spying for Beijing, or stealing intellectual property from U.S. firms. Huawei denies the allegations and says the U.S. has given no evidence that the company presents a threat.

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Rare World War II ‘escape kits’ sold at auction

A rare collection of “escape kits” from World War II POWs that included hidden maps, a pencil with a dagger inside and a shaving razor blade have been sold at auction.

The secret devices were made for and built by British prisoners in an effort to help them evade capture and get out of detention camps, SWNS reports. The items sold for $486 (375 British pounds) at an auction held by East Bristol Auctions in Hanham, Bristol, the news agency added.

The blue pencil, which has Royal Sovereign designs on it and sports a metal spike dagger inside, sold for $77, or 60 British pounds. The shaving razor blade, stemming from the Kleen brand, is actually a compass. It also has a magnetized blade that will point true north when placed in water.

Westlake Legal Group world-war-2-pencil Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

A rare original WWII Second World War SOE Special Operations Executive ‘Escape & Evade’ secret dagger pencil. It is a normal ‘Royal Sovereign No.107’ blue pencil but it has a secret large, metal spike dagger inside. (Credit: SWNS)

RARE PATEK PHILLIPE WATCH SELLS FOR $31M AT AUCTION

The razor sold for $65 or 50 British pounds at auction.

Westlake Legal Group world-war-2-razor Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

A rare WWII Second World War 1945 dated British SOE ( Special Operations Executive ) Escape & Evade razor, with a compass razor blade. The blade made by Kleen, and still present within its original paper envelope. (Credit: SWNS)

A collection of four double-sided World War II Royal Air Force pilot maps on silk were also sold at auction for $84, or 65 British pounds. It includes maps of Istanbul, Batumi, Al-Jawf, and Ankara, all four of which are marked ‘restricted,” SWNS added.

Westlake Legal Group world-war-2-maps Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

A rare collection of 4 original vintage WWII Escape & Evade RAF Pilot / Officer’s maps on silk. Includes maps of Istanbul, Batumi, Al-Jawf, and Ankara. Each is double-sided and all are marked “restricted.” (Credit: SWNS)

The British news agency also noted that an original Kelton wristwatch, which hid a compass on the back of its face, sold for $259, or 200 British pounds.

Westlake Legal Group a95ac8e9-world-war-2-watch Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

(Credit: SWNS)

Westlake Legal Group world-war-2-watch-2 Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

(Credit: SWNS)

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Westlake Legal Group a95ac8e9-world-war-2-watch Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a   Westlake Legal Group a95ac8e9-world-war-2-watch Rare World War II 'escape kits' sold at auction fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 70e57bb4-06df-519d-b266-ca9f34c8217a

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Burgess Owens blasts Colin Kaepernick’s lack of common sense, ‘elitism’

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-18-at-12.32.06-PM Burgess Owens blasts Colin Kaepernick's lack of common sense, 'elitism' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/sports fnc c6b29b90-0ea2-5b97-8507-6d3832258479 article

After Colin Kaepernick held a workout session in Atlanta for talent scouts, former NFL player Burgess Owens weighed in on Monday, saying that the ex-quarterback is not in-tune “with the way the real world works.”

“He’s been out of the game for three years. That’s forever, that’s [an] eternity to the NFL,” Burgess told “Fox & Friends.”

“The real world shows you cannot be paid on your past or potential, we’re paid on actually earning it and he’s not earning it right now and that’s why he’s going to be out of the game, in my mind, for the rest of his life.”

COLIN KAEPERNICK DOES NOT APPEAR TO MOVE NEEDLE INTO HIS DIRECTION AFTER CONTROVERSY-LADEN WORKOUT

Kaepernick, who started a firestorm in the NFL when he decided to kneel during the national anthem to draw awareness to perceived racial and social injustices in the U.S., threw passes for about 40 minutes on Saturday at an Atlanta high school. While an NFL executive told ESPN his arm talent was “elite” and that he “threw the ball well,” Kaepernick left the field without a team and still out of the NFL.

COLIN KAEPERNICK’S FORMER TEAMMATE BELIEVES ALL 32 TEAMS, INCLUDING HIS, COULD USE QUARTERBACK

Kaepernick’s workout session drew controversy because he changed the location at the last minute. From the 25 teams that were apparently scheduled to be at the training facility for the workout, about six teams were able to make it to the new location.

Owens, who played safety for 10 years for the Jets and Raiders, argued that there are too many young people graduating from college that think the way Kaepernick does.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“He’s interviewing for a job, if I’m correct, and he’s asking people to pay him a lot of money and now he’s going to dictate to them the conditions? It doesn’t work that way in the real world,” he said.

“This is the result of our leftist colleges, having kids come out of school with no common sense [and] elitism. … You have to show up every day. You’re gonna have to play by the rules and if you don’t, you’re not gonna have a job.”

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-18-at-12.32.06-PM Burgess Owens blasts Colin Kaepernick's lack of common sense, 'elitism' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/sports fnc c6b29b90-0ea2-5b97-8507-6d3832258479 article   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-18-at-12.32.06-PM Burgess Owens blasts Colin Kaepernick's lack of common sense, 'elitism' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/sports fnc c6b29b90-0ea2-5b97-8507-6d3832258479 article

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Joe Biden Still Thinks Marijuana Might Be A ‘Gateway Drug’

Westlake Legal Group 5dd2bd75210000226d34d489 Joe Biden Still Thinks Marijuana Might Be A ‘Gateway Drug’

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to see more data about the effects of marijuana use before supporting efforts to legalize it on the federal level.

“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” the 2020 Democratic presidential contender said at a Nevada town hall on Saturday, according to Business Insider. “It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”

The majority of marijuana users do not go on to use other, more dangerous substances, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the agency said more research is needed to determine whether it is a “gateway drug.” Scientists have not yet found solid evidence of marijuana leading people to harder drugs more so than other readily available substances like alcohol or tobacco.

Support for legalizing marijuana has grown steadily over recent decades ― according to a Gallup poll conducted last month, two-thirds of Americans such a policy. Medical use of the drug has been legalized in a majority of the 50 states, and in 11 of them and the District of Columbia recreational use is also permitted. But use and possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law (even as enforcement of those prohibitions has become more lax).

Biden said he supported marijuana use for medical purposes, as well as leaving it to individual states to decide whether to legalize recreational cannabis.

“States should be able to make a judgment to legalize marijuana,” Biden said at the town hall.

Most of Biden’s rivals in the 2020 Democratic primary race have said they would push to legalize marijuana on the federal level if elected president, including Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (Vt.).

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who would become majority leader if Democrats win control of the chamber next year, also supports decriminalizing cannabis on the federal level.

Biden has faced criticism over his record of advocating laws that helped fuel the war against drugs and mass incarceration, including the controversial 1994 crime bill. That measure led to much harsher sentences for use and possession of an array of drugs, including marijuana, causing the U.S. prison population to balloon. Minority communities were hit especially hard by the crackdown.

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Impeachment Week 9

WASHINGTON – Two diametrically opposed figures in President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine – Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman – are among the witnesses scheduled in week nine of the House impeachment inquiry.

Vindman, who listened to Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and reported his concerns about Trump demanding investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee.

Sondland, who worked with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, urging Ukraine to pursue investigations through back-channel talks is scheduled Wednesday.

Each of the hearings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will begin at 9 a.m. Here is what’s coming this week:

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Week 9

Tuesday: Vindman, Williams, Volker, Morrison testify

Vindman, a Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, reported his concerns about the July 25 call to the council’s top lawyer.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the gain would be for the president in investigating the son of a political opponent.” 

Also on Tuesday morning, the committee will hear from Jennifer Williams, a National Security Council aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and who listened to the July 25 call.

On Tuesday afternoon, the panel will hear from Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia.

Republicans had asked to hear from Volker and Morrison to compare their testimony to Vindman’s. Volker in his closed-door testimony described Trump’s longstanding presumption of corruption in Ukraine. The special envoy also said “no,” when asked if Trump asked Ukraine to manufacture dirt on the Bidens, in contrast to looking for evidence of whether Burisma tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election.

“Even if he’s asking them to investigate the Bidens, it is to find out what facts there may be rather than to manufacture something,” Volker said.

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Week 9

Wednesday: Sondland, Cooper, Hale

Sondland has become a key figure because he is an ally of Trump, but also testified about demands for investigations that were made of Ukraine while military aid was withheld.

Sondland told the inquiry Oct. 17 that Trump assured him repeatedly that there was no quid pro quo for Ukraine to begin investigations in exchange for military aid. But he amended his sworn testimony Nov. 4 to say that he met with Ukrainians in Warsaw Sept. 1 and told them that the resumption of aid depended upon an anti-corruption announcement.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified Nov. 13 that an aide overheard Sondland chatting by phone from Kyiv with Trump on July 26. Sondland told the aide after the call that Trump cared more about investigating the Bidens than about Ukraine policy, Taylor said.

David Holmes, the State Department official who overheard the conversation between Trump and Sondland, told lawmakers during a closed-door deposition Friday that the ambassador assured the president that Zelensky “loves your ass.”

Holmes testified, “I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.'”

On Wednesday afternoon, the committee will hear from Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs, and David Hale, the undersecretary of State for political affairs.

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Week 9

Thursday: Fiona Hill

Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, who described former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s opposition to demanding investigations from Ukraine.

After Yovanovitch’s recall, Hill said Sondland told her that he had authority from the president to oversee Ukraine policy. At a White House meeting with Ukraine officials July 10, Sondland said there was an agreement for Trump to meet with Zelensky if Ukraine began investigations.

“Ambassador Sondland blurted out: ‘Well, we have an agreement with the Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,” Hill said.

John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser, abruptly halted the meeting and told Hill to report it to council lawyers. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill. She also testified that Bolton was “pained,” and called Giuliani a “hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up.”

Trump has insisted he was justified in urging the investigation of corruption in Ukraine. Congressional Republicans contend the president has the right to set foreign policy.

Hill also suggested Sondland posed a major “counterintelligence risk” and he seemed either unwilling or unable to follow normal diplomatic protocols. “Ambassador Sondland would frequently give people my personal cell phone to call up and demand meetings” with her or with Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, Hill told lawmakers. “We had all kinds of officials from Europe … literally appearing at the gates of the White House, calling on our personal phones, which are actually in lock boxes.”

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Lamar Jackson’s teammate defends him from doubters in MVP race: ‘Come see me’

Westlake Legal Group Lamar-Jackson3 Lamar Jackson's teammate defends him from doubters in MVP race: 'Come see me' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/lamar-jackson fox news fnc/sports fnc article 4f434e6d-5221-5e9f-8504-8a5db408cdd3

When it comes to the NFL MVP race, Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram is the biggest supporter of his teammate Lamar Jackson.

Jackson put together an epic, four-touchdown-pass performance along with 222 passing yards against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Baltimore won the game 41-7.

HOUSTON TEXANS’ DEANDRE HOPKINS TAKES SHOT AT NFL OFFICIAL OVER PASS INTERFERENCE NO-CALL

After the game, Ingram made it clear to any naysayers he was ready to fight if there was any doubt that Jackson should be the MVP.

“The MVP frontrunner,” he told reporters after the game. “If anybody got to say something different about that, then come see me. I’m right here in B’more outside [M&T Bank Stadium]. If you’ve got an issue with that, come see me. I’m about that. Big trust. Whoop whoop. Lamar Jackson, in the flesh, yes sir.”

TOM BRADY ELABORATES ON FRUSTRATION WITH PATRIOTS OFFENSE AFTER QUIET WIN OVER EAGLES

Jackson has turned the Ravens into a high-flying offense that has taken the league by storm. Baltimore has moved to 8-2 on the season with Sunday’s win over the Texans and its mostly thanks to what Jackson has brought to the field every game.

Through 10 games, Jackson has recorded 2,258 passing yards, 19 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

Over the last five weeks, he’s led the Ravens to victories over the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals, twice.

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The Baltimore offense is second in the NFL in yards per game with 428.6 and first in rushing yards per game with 203.8.

Westlake Legal Group Lamar-Jackson3 Lamar Jackson's teammate defends him from doubters in MVP race: 'Come see me' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/lamar-jackson fox news fnc/sports fnc article 4f434e6d-5221-5e9f-8504-8a5db408cdd3   Westlake Legal Group Lamar-Jackson3 Lamar Jackson's teammate defends him from doubters in MVP race: 'Come see me' Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/baltimore-ravens fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/lamar-jackson fox news fnc/sports fnc article 4f434e6d-5221-5e9f-8504-8a5db408cdd3

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Jon Gosselin says ex-wife Kate is putting fame before their children

Former “Jon and Kate Plus 8” star Jon Gosselin opened up about his ex-wife, Kate, in a tell-all interview with Dr. Oz in which he questioned her fitness as a mother.

The 42-year-old spoke out on “The Dr. Oz Show” and got candid about his ex-wife seeking the spotlight and its effect on their eight children’s lives.

“Well, I believe that her belief system is skewed,” Jon says in the clip that aired Monday. “That’s what I believe. I believe her intentions, in the beginning, were good intentions. Bringing kids into the world that she fought to have, these kids. But I think once fame and money got involved, it twisted her belief system. On my end, I’ve been fighting to get my kids off TV forever.”

JON GOSSELIN ALLEGES EX-WIFE KATE MENTALLY ABUSED THEIR SON, ‘SENT HIM AWAY’ TO SPECIAL NEEDS INSTITUTION

The couple are parents to 19-year-old twins, Cara and Mady, and 15-year-old sextuplets, Aaden, Collin, Joel, Alexis, Hannah and Leah.

Westlake Legal Group 0d90cb84-KateGosselin640 Jon Gosselin says ex-wife Kate is putting fame before their children Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e8d2e447-b08f-5041-aca1-82fe68817211 article

Kate Gosselin’s ex-husband, Jon, called her out in a recent interview with Dr. Oz. (AP)

During their TLC reality show’s run in 2009, Kate filed for divorce from Jon after 10 years of marriage. This sparked a nasty public feud as well as a tense legal battle over custody of their children. Jon was sued by the network for breach of contract when he decided to stop letting cameras into their home.

He described that period of time to Dr. Oz during his Monday interview.

“I literally hung a sign on my gate saying if any crew members show up I’ll have you arrested for trespassing,” he told the host. “They [TLC] sued me for breach of contract. I pretty much bankrupted myself but I did it for moral reasons, obviously.”

He claimed to have spent $1.7 million in legal fees defending his children from the spotlight, only to see Kate drag them back with her long-running spinoff “Kate Plus 8.”

JON GOSSELIN ‘FURIOUS’ WITH EX-WIFE KATE FOR ALLOWING KIDS TO FILM ‘KATE PLUS 8’ AGAINST JUDGE’S RULING

“I didn’t understand, at first, why, but now I understand why,” Jon said. “All she wanted was legal custody to film my kids to sustain her lifestyle and their lifestyle. It gets all warped. That’s fame though. It just twists things around.”

Westlake Legal Group gosselin Jon Gosselin says ex-wife Kate is putting fame before their children Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e8d2e447-b08f-5041-aca1-82fe68817211 article

DJ Jon Gosselin performs at The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort on May 30, 2015 in Atlantic City, N.J. (Tom Briglia/FilmMagic)

Jon called out his ex-wife in October 2018, after she allowed their kids to appear on TV despite a judge’s order that it wasn’t good for them.

“The judge and the guardian ad litem both agreed that it wasn’t in my children’s best interests to be filmed, but my ex-wife and TLC had other ideas,” Gosselin told DailyMailTV at the time. “They put profits and ratings ahead of the well-being of my children and filmed illegally without work permits.”

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In a preview clip for the interview, Jon explained that he doesn’t have a relationship with Kate and that he doesn’t believe they’ll ever be able to co-parent.

Westlake Legal Group gosselin Jon Gosselin says ex-wife Kate is putting fame before their children Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e8d2e447-b08f-5041-aca1-82fe68817211 article   Westlake Legal Group gosselin Jon Gosselin says ex-wife Kate is putting fame before their children Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e8d2e447-b08f-5041-aca1-82fe68817211 article

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Kanye West At Joel Osteen’s Church: I Am ‘Greatest Artist’ God Ever Created

Rapper and producer Kanye West visited America’s largest church on Sunday to talk about his newfound calling: serving as an evangelist for Christ.

West spoke with televangelist Joel Osteen at Houston’s Lakewood Church during a morning service, giving the 16,000 attendees a glimpse of his spiritual awakening ― and his signature swagger. 

“Jesus has won the victory because now ― I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already ― now, the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him,” West said.

West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, their daughter, North West, and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had front row seats to the conversation, the Houston Chronicle reported.

West’s 20-minute talk was followed by another appearance at Lakewood’s evening service, where West and his Sunday Service choir performed songs from his new album “Jesus is King.” The concert also featured songs from West’s previous albums, such as “Jesus Walks,” as well as covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” and Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

West apparently cast himself as a supporting player for much of the concert ― appearing an hour into the gospel performance and standing at a microphone near the back of the stage with North West.

He reportedly altered his 2016 song “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” with a reference to Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed. Reed, who has received support from several celebrities, including West and Kardashian, was granted an execution stay on Friday. Kardashian West visited Reed in prison on Friday.

Tickets to the free concert were gone in minutes online, and attendees packed Lakewood Church’s main hall. The church building is the former Compaq Center, once home to the Houston Rockets. 

Osteen, whose television broadcasts reach millions of people around the world, has said he offered West the platform after the pair developed a friendship through phone conversations about faith.

“We come from different backgrounds. Styles are different. But we’re still brothers in Christ. We’re all on the same team,” Osteen told reporters on Sunday.

Westlake Legal Group 5dd2bc972500008f08d2d6a7 Kanye West At Joel Osteen’s Church: I Am ‘Greatest Artist’ God Ever Created

Michael Wyke / ASSOCIATED PRESS Kanye West, right, answers questions from senior pastor Joel Osteen, left, during a service at Lakewood Church, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston. 

West’s music has often included references to his Christian beliefs, but “Jesus is King” is the artist’s first album to focus exclusively on religious themes.

West, during his Sunday conversation with Osteen, revealed that he believes God has been calling him for a long time, while the devil has been trying to distract him from his purpose. In 2016, when he was hospitalized for mental health treatment, God “was there with me, sending me visions and inspiring me,” he said. West has spoken about his struggle with bipolar disorder in the past.

He told Osteen that during the 2016 hospitalization, he drew a picture of a church and wrote about wanting to start a church in Calabasas, near his home in California.

West started hosting Sunday Service concerts on his property in January. Since then, the pop-up religious events have been held at various churches around the country and at the Coachella festival. Kardashian has described these services as West’s “musical ministry.” 

At Lakewood, Osteen played a clip of  “God Is,” a song on West’s new album, and called it “very, very powerful,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

“You said more in 60 seconds than I say in my 30-minute message,” Osteen told West.

Osteen has been criticized by some Christians for appearing to promote the prosperity gospel, which suggests that God guarantees wealth and health to those who are faithful in just the right way.

Some Christians have also been wary about West’s foray into the Christian music scene ― especially after the artist’s suggestion that slavery was a choice, and his support for President Donald Trump.

West said Sunday that he is “in service to God.”

“All of that arrogance and confidence and cockiness that y’all seen me use before, God is now using for him,” he said. “Because every time I stand up, I feel that I’m standing up and drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘I’m here in service to God, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.’”

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