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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 227)

Joe Biden’s Vote for War

Westlake Legal Group 00biden2002-facebookJumbo Joe Biden’s Vote for War War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Lugar, Richard G Iraq War (2003-11) Bush, George W Biden, Joseph R Jr

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. proposed a compromise.

It was the fall of 2002 and the Bush administration was pushing for sweeping authority to act against Saddam Hussein, claiming he had weapons of mass destruction. Some Democrats questioned the stated threat posed by Iraq and bristled at President George W. Bush’s broad request.

Mr. Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, had been scrambling to draft a bipartisan resolution that would grant Mr. Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq, but was more restrictive than the war authorization that the president had sought.

As he often had in his long career, Mr. Biden sought bipartisan middle ground — this time, between those opposed to potential war and the White House desire for more open-ended power. Some antiwar members of his committee resisted his effort, worried that it would still pave the way to conflict. “We disagreed very strenuously,” said former Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.

Mr. Biden’s plan ultimately did not succeed, and he chose to focus on Mr. Bush’s reassurances of a diplomacy-first approach.

“At each pivotal moment,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Bush, “he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation, and I believe he will continue to do so. At least that is my fervent hope.”

On Oct. 11, he was one of 77 senators to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. Twenty-three colleagues, some of whom harbored grave doubts about the danger Iraq posed at the time, refused to back the president’s request.

Nearly two decades later, Mr. Biden, who by 2005 was calling that vote a mistake, is running for president in part on his foreign policy experience, emphasizing his commander-in-chief credentials at a moment of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Yet the Iraq war vote is part of the extensive record he cites, and he has struggled to accurately account for it on the campaign trail, repeatedly suggesting he opposed the war and Mr. Bush’s conduct from the beginning, claims that detailed fact checks have deemed wrong or misleading.

The vote has exposed him to direct and implicit criticism from his chief presidential rivals, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a military veteran, and especially Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted against the war as a Vermont congressman and whose campaign has sharpened its criticism of Mr. Biden in recent days.

Now, three weeks before the Iowa caucuses — held in a state with a fierce antiwar streak — the issue threatens to be a campaign liability for Mr. Biden as he seeks to assure voters of his ability to handle a foreign crisis even as he works to distance himself from a war that has had enormous costs for his own family, and for the nation.

A review of how Mr. Biden operated in the fall of 2002, as he weighed the question of authorizing the use of military force, reveals core truths about how he has worked for decades: as a Senate dealmaker at heart, with a reverence for bipartisan compromise that his supporters admire — and that critics say has colored his judgment during some of the most consequential moments of his career.

In the summer of 2002, as the Bush administration sounded alarms about Iraq, Mr. Biden, too, was concerned about the perceived threat of Mr. Hussein and his “relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” as he put it in a New York Times Op-Ed he wrote with Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana.

In the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Mr. Biden, a respected if long-winded chairman, convened two days of hearings about Iraq, soliciting testimony from a procession of experts.

“These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam Hussein,” Mr. Biden said, “or Saddam Hussein must be dislodged from power.”

But he also worried about the possible long-term consequences of confronting Mr. Hussein. “It would be a tragedy if we removed a tyrant in Iraq, only to leave chaos in its wake,” he said.

After Mr. Bush asked Congress in September to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, Mr. Biden and his colleagues grappled with how to proceed. Some Democrats balked that fall at the pressure to grant the president sweeping power, unmoved by Bush administration warnings of national security considerations, which turned out to be based in part on faulty intelligence and distortions of available information.

“Saddam Hussein is a threat, but the threat is not so great that we must be stampeded to provide such authority to this president just weeks before an election,” admonished Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia.

Mr. Biden was uneasy with the administration’s broad language and worried about the precedent pre-emptive action could set, but he was also focused on showing unity behind the commander in chief as the nation reeled from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He hoped that, as he eventually said on the floor of the Senate, a “strong” congressional vote would ultimately give the United States a more forceful diplomatic position.

“We didn’t want to neuter the president because he’s our president, he conducts foreign policy, but at the same time we didn’t want to give him a blank check,” said former Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, who worked closely with Mr. Biden.

Ever focused on bipartisan consensus, Mr. Biden joined forces with Mr. Lugar to produce alternative language that would give Mr. Bush narrower authority. The resolution authorized military action specifically for the purpose of dismantling a weapons of mass destruction program, and it emphasized “the importance of international support,” Mr. Biden and Mr. Lugar said at the time.

Some Democrats on Mr. Biden’s committee, alarmed by divergent intelligence assessments, were skeptical of his compromise effort.

“He tried hard to get us all together, he really did, he tried,” recalled Ms. Boxer, who detailed her concerns about the intelligence in her book, “The Art of Tough.” “But if there’s just a point where you feel the whole thing is based on false information, we couldn’t come on in good conscience.”

Their posture was deeply frustrating to Mr. Biden, a Senate institutionalist who was focused on vote counts.

“Does anybody here think the White House doesn’t have 55 votes for their resolution if we don’t have an alternative?” he railed at antiwar colleagues, according to his 2007 book, “Promises to Keep.” He added in the book, “I begged them to at least vote Biden-Lugar out of committee, but they made it clear they wouldn’t do it — on principle. They wanted purity.”

Reluctant Senate colleagues represented only one challenge that Mr. Biden faced. In a late-night phone call to Mr. Biden’s home, Mr. Lugar had informed him of a brewing counter-effort: The administration was working with Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, the House Democratic leader, on alternative language. Mr. Gephardt struck a deal with Mr. Bush and appeared with him and other lawmakers in the Rose Garden. (He was later critical of the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq.)

The deal had effectively torpedoed Mr. Biden’s proposal — and he seemed to know it.

“I’m sure the argument will be, well, why are we nit-picking?” he told reporters at the Capitol, clutching a coffee cup and, at one point, apparently exasperated, dismissing a reporter’s line of inquiry as “malarkey.”

The debate in Washington unfolded in a nation gripped by fears about terrorism.

“This country was really off balance and petrified and looking to the president to protect them,” Mr. Hagel said. “Members of Congress couldn’t get too far out politically to push back on the president, to say, ‘Well, I’m not sure that’s that important, I’m not sure he has weapons of mass destruction.’”

Politically ambitious Democrats were also leery of appearing weak on national security matters — and in the November 2002 midterm elections, Republicans would regain control of the Senate.

After his own proposal fell apart, Mr. Biden continued to meet with Bush administration officials. He found Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to be an influential and steady hand in the administration, and said publicly that the war resolution had been sufficiently improved from what the president had originally sought.

Nearly two decades later, the faith that Mr. Biden put in Mr. Bush is now a target for criticism.

“Many of his comments provided cover for proponents of the war — the war that many have come to realize was a fatal mistake,” said Jim Manley, who at the time was press secretary for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and a leading opponent of the war authorization.

On Saturday, the Sanders campaign released a blistering statement excoriating Mr. Biden for his Iraq war vote.

“Bernie Sanders saw the same information and had the judgment to vote against the Iraq war,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said in the statement. Mr. Biden, he suggested, “undermined Democratic opposition, enthusiastically supported a disastrous war, refuses to admit mistakes, and then tries to rewrite history.”

Mr. Biden’s allies argue that his vote was intended to support the strengthening of diplomatic efforts in the hopes of preventing military conflict.

“For Biden and for a number of others who voted for the resolution, it was a vote for tough diplomacy,” said Antony J. Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser who served as Democratic staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is more likely that diplomacy will succeed, he argued, if the other side knows military action is possible.

As Mr. Biden eventually acknowledged, that did not work as he had hoped.

“It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2005.

But on the campaign trail this election cycle, he has suggested he opposed the war and Mr. Bush’s conduct from the beginning, claims that do not match the historical record.

“Immediately, the moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment,” he told NPR in an interview in September. His campaign later said he had misspoken, according to a fact check from The Washington Post. At a campaign stop in Des Moines this month, Mr. Biden said, “The president then went ahead with ‘shock and awe,’ and right after that, and from the very moment he did that, right after that, I opposed what he was doing,” a misleading assertion at best, according to an assessment from CNN.

Mr. Biden did ultimately become a vocal opponent of the Bush administration’s stewardship of the war, and went on to serve as vice president to Barack Obama, a critic of the conflict. The war took a personal toll when his elder son, Beau Biden, deployed to Iraq in 2008 with the Delaware Army National Guard. Beau Biden died in 2015 from brain cancer, and his father has discussed the possibility of a link between the illness and exposure to pits of burning waste on military bases.

Ms. Boxer attended a fund-raiser for Mr. Biden last week, though she said she was not yet formally endorsing him, and spoke warmly about her former Foreign Relations Committee colleague in an interview. She emphasized his record and all he had done in the nearly two decades since they clashed on Iraq.

“They fought very hard to get us on board and we fought very hard to get them to stop,” Ms. Boxer said. “Once he saw that it was a mistake, he really stepped up to the plate to try and come up with a way out of this war.”

Ahead of that 2002 vote, Mr. Biden stood on the Senate floor to explain his support for the war authorization. He followed Senator Hillary Clinton of New York — who in her later presidential campaigns also faced scrutiny over her Iraq war vote — and spoke for an hour.

“I do not believe this is a rush to war,” Mr. Biden said. “I believe it’s a march to peace and security.”

Hours later, he cast his vote in the affirmative.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Steve Hilton goes off on ‘establishment Republicans’ criticizing Trump

Westlake Legal Group Steve-Hilton_FOX Steve Hilton goes off on 'establishment Republicans' criticizing Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-next-revolution fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8b003ee6-5b5a-5ec3-b4db-5fca433c9c01

Steve Hilton offered strong praise for President Trump Sunday and took aim at his Republican critics after Iran’s apparent stand-down in the latest confrontation between Washington and Tehran.

“I don’t think there has been proper recognition of the substance of what this president is doing. It’s completely different than what we’ve seen before. It doesn’t fit into the establishment traditional ideological boxes,” Hilton said Sunday on “The Next Revolution.”

“That’s why they waste our time with pointless political games with impeachment,” Hilton continued. “We saw the new approach clearly with Iran. The Democrats, never-Trumpers and their lackeys branded him a warmonger. But his strategy has been consistent with day one. He’s anti-war, but he’s also anti-weak. He doesn’t want to invade deserts of sand…but he doesn’t want to put his head in the sand like the isolation nuts either.”

ANTI TRUMP REPUBLICANS LAUNCH PAC TO DEFEAT HIM

Rattling off a series of accomplishments by the Trump administration, Hilton devoted much of his monologue to what he called the “Trump revolution” and fired back at “establishment Republicans” who criticize the president.

“This is the Trump revolution,” Hilton said. “Pragmatic. Non-ideological. He approaches issues as a businessman. It’s a revolution in ideas and it goes way beyond foreign policy. “

Hilton credited Trump for “combining the best of traditional conservative ideas with positive populism,” highlighting his tax cuts, criminal justice reform, job creation, low unemployment rates, and the confirmation of several conservative judges.

“How are the establishment Republicans reacting? he asked, pointing to a recent New York Times op-ed penned by a group of prominent anti-Trump Republicans that announced the launch of a new super PAC  aimed at preventing the GOP incumbent’s 2020 re-election. The article, published in December, is titled “We are Republicans and we want Trump defeated.”

“As Americans, we need to stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and American character,” the article reads.

“What? Trump’s damage?” Hilton fired back. “Who backed the human and economic catastrophe of the Iraq war? Who brought in the disastrous 1986 immigration reform creating the broken system Trump is trying to fix? Who let China into the World Trade Organization devastating American manufacturing to the point where we literally can’t even print bibles in America? Who pushed ruling class trade globalism that spawned the disastrous NAFTA putting so many Americans out of work in the heartland? And who assaulted the American family with policies that collapsed marriage rates and family stability?

“No, Not the ‘evil Trump,'” Hilton continued. “It was you, the Republican establishment who did this to America. These never Trumpers are apologists for an elitist ideology that is anti-worker, anti-family and anti-community.”

“They can write whatever pompous self-righteous nonsense they want in the New York Times. The establishment Republican party is not coming back. It is dead,” Hilton concluded, “…killed by their policy failure and Donald Trump’s policy success.”

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“After Trump, it will be a different Republican party…and for American workers, families, and communities, that is fantastic news.”

Westlake Legal Group Steve-Hilton_FOX Steve Hilton goes off on 'establishment Republicans' criticizing Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-next-revolution fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8b003ee6-5b5a-5ec3-b4db-5fca433c9c01   Westlake Legal Group Steve-Hilton_FOX Steve Hilton goes off on 'establishment Republicans' criticizing Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-next-revolution fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8b003ee6-5b5a-5ec3-b4db-5fca433c9c01

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49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game

The San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers are set to face off in the NFC Championship on Sunday, Jan. 19, with both teams trying to make it back to the Super Bowl for the first time in several years.

The 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, 27-10, to reach the conference championship game. The Packers held off the Seattle Seahawks, 28-23, on Sunday to reach the title game.

Here are some things to know before next Sunday’s game.

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GREEN BAY PACKERS FEND OFF SEATTLE SEAHAWKS TO ADVANCE TO NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

5). HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Westlake Legal Group Jimmy-Garoppolo4 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Packers and the 49ers are the two best teams in the NFC and will meet to determine who represents the conference at Super Bowl LIV. The Packers won the NFC North division and the 49ers won the NFC West division during the 2019 season.

The two teams met during the regular season. The 49ers blew the doors off the Packers, 37-8, at Levi’s Stadium. Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and only threw for 104 yards in the loss. Jimmy Garoppolo had 253 passing yards and two touchdown passes in the win.

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PACKERS’ ZA’DARIUS SMITH SENDS ONE-WORD MESSAGE TO CRITICS AFTER SACK

4). THE KID & THE VET

Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Rodgers5 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers warms up before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

It will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s first NFC title game appearance since he took over as the team’s starting quarterback. The lack of playoff experience didn’t appear to diminish his performance against the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round. He was 11-for-19 with 131 passing yards and had a touchdown pass in the win.

Aaron Rodgers will enter his third NFC title game. Rodgers has only made the Super Bowl once having lost in the conference title game the last two times he’s appeared in one. However, the veteran showed his poise against the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. He was 16-for-27 with 243 passing yards and two touchdown passes and had the game-sealing pass in the fourth quarter to Jimmy Graham.

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3). FIRST TIMERS

Westlake Legal Group Kyle-Shanahan2 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, center, is greeted by with cornerback Richard Sherman, left, and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, right, in the final minutes of the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers won 27-10. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Both 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Packers coach Matt LaFleur are making the conference title game for the first time as head coaches. It is Shanahan’s third season as head coach and LaFleur’s first. Shanahan had not had a winning record before the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see how each coach deals with the pressures of potentially making the Super Bowl.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS’ RICHARD SHERMAN AFTER PLAYOFF WIN: ‘I GET TIRED OF HEARING THE EXCUSES FOR WHY I’M GREAT’

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2). NEW TWIST, OLD CLASSIC

Westlake Legal Group Packers-Favre-Football-2 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

Brett Favre helped the Packers beat the 49ers in the last meeting between the two teams in the NFC title game. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File) (The Associated Press)

The 49ers and the Packers are both storied franchises with an incredible history. The 49ers have won five Super Bowls while the Packers have won four. These teams have played seven times in the playoffs – the last one coming in 2014. The 49ers got the best of the Packers in that game, 23-20, to advance to the divisional round.

The two teams last met in the NFC Championship game during the 1997 season. Brett Favre, Dorsey Levens and Antonio Freeman led the Packers to a, 23-10 victory. The 49ers only received a field goal from Gary Anderson and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Chuck Levy. Steve Young was sacked four times and threw one interception in the loss.

Green Bay has won four of the seven playoff matchups between the two teams.

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1). WHEN IS KICKOFF?

Westlake Legal Group 49ers-defense 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

San Francisco 49ers’ Raheem Mostert (31) celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumble against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The 49ers and the Packers will play Sunday, Jan. 19, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Calif. The game is set to begin at 6:40 p.m. ET and will air on FOX.

Westlake Legal Group Garoppolo-Rodgers_AP 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article   Westlake Legal Group Garoppolo-Rodgers_AP 49ers vs. Packers: 5 things to know about the NFC Championship game Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc de8dbeec-5874-5fa1-a9b4-765526c60c4b article

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Green Bay Packers fend off Seattle Seahawks to advance to NFC Championship

The Green Bay Packers are back in the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 2016 season after defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 28-23, on Sunday night.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay on the final drive to seal the deal thanks to a 9-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham, who narrowly got past the first-down marker. It was part of his 16-for-27, 243-yard performance.

He added two touchdown passes to his night as well.

PACKERS’ ZA’DARIUS SMITH SENDS ONE-WORD MESSAGE TO CRITICS AFTER SACK

The Packers offense was buoyed by running back Aaron Jones, who had 62 rushing yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Davante Adams led the Packers with 160 yards receiving on eight catches. He had both of Rodgers’ touchdown passes.

Seattle gave the Packers all they had.

JIMMY JOHNSON LEARNS ABOUT HALL OF FAME INDUCTION ON FOX HALFTIME SHOW

Green Bay led Seattle 21-3 at the half but Seattle stormed back with running back Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run from the 1-yard line and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Lynch would score another rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the game to within five points.

However, the Seahawks’ final drive stalled out after a sack on Wilson from linebacker Preston Smith. The Packers defense got to Wilson five times. Seattle never got the ball back after the Smith sack.

Preston Smith and linebacker Za’Darius Smith had two sacks each. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark had one other.

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Green Bay is now poised for a classic NFC Championship matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

The title game will be played Sunday, Jan. 19 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Rodgers4 Green Bay Packers fend off Seattle Seahawks to advance to NFC Championship Ryan Gaydos fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/wisconsin fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/zadarius-smith fox-news/person/tyler-lockett fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox-news/person/marshawn-lynch fox-news/person/davante-adams fox-news/person/aaron-rodgers fox-news/person/aaron-jones fox news fnc/sports fnc article 910339cc-a2d8-5f57-958a-2fe1818fa09f   Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Rodgers4 Green Bay Packers fend off Seattle Seahawks to advance to NFC Championship Ryan Gaydos fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/wisconsin fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/green-bay-packers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/zadarius-smith fox-news/person/tyler-lockett fox-news/person/russell-wilson fox-news/person/preston-smith fox-news/person/marshawn-lynch fox-news/person/davante-adams fox-news/person/aaron-rodgers fox-news/person/aaron-jones fox news fnc/sports fnc article 910339cc-a2d8-5f57-958a-2fe1818fa09f

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Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence with new book supporting priest celibacy

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has reemerged as the co-author of a new book expressing his belief in priestly celibacy, a potential point of conflict with Pope Francis after bishops in the recent synod on the Amazon called for the ordination of married men as priests to address the Roman Catholic priest shortage.

After he vowed to remain “hidden from the world” and pledge obedience to the new pope when he retired in 2013, Benedict’s book, entitled “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” made the case that celibacy was a necessary foundation of the priesthood.

“The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter into a life that consists of becoming one with him and renouncing all that belongs only to us,” Benedict wrote, according to excerpts from the English version which The Associated Press obtained. “For priests, this is the foundation of the necessity of celibacy but also of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the renunciation of material goods.”

RETIRED POPE BENEDICT WEIGHS IN ON CATHOLIC CHURCH SEX ABUSE SCANDALS, BLAMES IT ON SWINGING ’60S

Marriage, he wrote, required man to give himself totally to his family. “Since serving the Lord likewise requires the total gift of a man, it does not seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously. Thus, the ability to renounce marriage so as to place oneself totally at the Lord’s disposition became a criterion for priestly ministry.”

Co-authored by Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who has led the Vatican’s liturgy office and was seen as a silent critic of Francis, the book weighed in on a controversial topic that has taken the spotlight since Francis floated the opinion that celibacy was a tradition, not doctrine, suggesting exceptions could be made to accept married priests into the church.

Westlake Legal Group Popes Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence with new book supporting priest celibacy Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 8138e075-656f-5fa1-b1eb-2dac9def4ac1

Pope Francis, right, hugging Pope Benedict XVI prior to the start of a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

“It is urgent and necessary for everyone—bishops, priests and lay people—to stop letting themselves be intimidated by the wrong-headed pleas, the theatrical productions, the diabolical lies and the fashionable errors that try to put down priestly celibacy,” the two authors wrote. “It is urgent and necessary for everyone—bishops, priests and lay people—to take a fresh look with the eyes of faith at the Church and at priestly celibacy which protects her mystery.”

A majority of bishops at the synod in October said married men should be ordained to offer a supply for the shortage of priests. Francis has said he would write a document based on the outcome of that meeting.

Benedict’s book could be considered a public attempt by the retired pope to sway the thinking of the current pope.

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The implications for such an intervention are likely to fuel renewed anxiety about the unprecedented situation of two popes, but both authors wrote in the book that it was written “in a spirit of filial obedience to Francis.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Popes Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence with new book supporting priest celibacy Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 8138e075-656f-5fa1-b1eb-2dac9def4ac1   Westlake Legal Group Popes Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence with new book supporting priest celibacy Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/religion/vatican fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 8138e075-656f-5fa1-b1eb-2dac9def4ac1

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Baltimore sees 12 shot, 5 dead in just 1 day of shootings

Westlake Legal Group Baltimore-Police-Cars Baltimore sees 12 shot, 5 dead in just 1 day of shootings Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/topic/baltimore-crime-and-corruption fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc article 759e9faa-462b-5396-a4a2-e85aed8df922

Twelve people were shot and five of them were killed in a total of eight separate shootings Saturday in Baltimore, according to reports.

The first of Saturday’s shootings was reported at about 2:30 a.m. and involved three women, all found with apparent gunshot wounds in a car in a northeastern section of the city. One victim, a 28-year-old woman, died shortly after she arrived at a hospital.

A few hours after, police in Southeast Baltimore said they found a 46-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the leg. Then, a second shooting victim, a 40-year-old man, walked into a hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound to his leg.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday, police found a man shot to death in Southeast Baltimore. Less than half an hour later, a shooting in central Baltimore wounded a 37-year-old man.

A 38-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound around 7 p.m. Saturday in Northeast Baltimore.

BALTIMORE CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS OPPOSE AERIAL SURVEILLANCE PILOT PROGRAM

A shooting in Southwest Baltimore about an hour later killed one man and wounded another. More gunfire a few minutes after in Northeast Baltimore killed a 37-year-old man.

Saturday’s violence ended shortly before 11 p.m., when cops found a 24-year-old man shot to death in Northwest Baltimore.

“It goes without saying that the level of violence in the city yesterday was deeply disturbing and deeply troubling,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said during a news conference at police headquarters.

Harrison added his department “so far” has been unable to find “any connection between the five murders.”

None of the names of the victims was released.

City council president Brandon Scott, a Democrat running for mayor, issued a statement Sunday condemning the violence: “Due to the senseless violence that occurred throughout our city yesterday, there are five people who are no longer with us who should be. Today, there are five families who are suffering from the grief and trauma of losing a loved one. This trauma does not get buried with the victims. It extends to the survivors, families, and communities who are left to cope with the aftermath and pick up the pieces. This violence is heartbreaking and must stop now.”

Scott said he planned to question Baltimore’s police commissioner and other agency heads about what they were doing in the affected communities before and after the shootings.

The Maryland city recorded 348 homicides last year, its fifth consecutive year with more than 300 murders and the most violent year ever on a per-capita basis.

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Baltimore has been in the throes of a steep rise in violent crime since 2015 when the homicide rate spiked amid the city’s worst rioting in decades following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Baltimore-Police-Cars Baltimore sees 12 shot, 5 dead in just 1 day of shootings Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/topic/baltimore-crime-and-corruption fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc article 759e9faa-462b-5396-a4a2-e85aed8df922   Westlake Legal Group Baltimore-Police-Cars Baltimore sees 12 shot, 5 dead in just 1 day of shootings Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/topic/baltimore-crime-and-corruption fox-news/politics/state-and-local/issues fox-news/politics/state-and-local/controversies fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc article 759e9faa-462b-5396-a4a2-e85aed8df922

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Nunes letter to ICIG demands answers about whistleblower complaint

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121921660001_6121920370001-vs Nunes letter to ICIG demands answers about whistleblower complaint Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/devin-nunes fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc f2c92885-50ca-5aef-bbf7-4db54b5fef37 article

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., demanded answers Saturday from the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s office regarding the whistleblower complaint about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Nunes sent a letter to ICIG Michael Atkinson raising several questions about the complaint, which ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment, and repeated requests for information that he said went unanswered for months. While several officials met for closed-door sessions to answer questions following the complaint, Atkinson’s testimony has not been released to the public.

“He’s the only one of all the star chamber games that were played in the basement of the Capitol, with the secretive interviews. The only one that’s not released is the one with the IC Inspector General. That’s unacceptable,” Nunes told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

HOUSE INTEL REPUBLICANS INVESTIGATING INSPECTOR GENERAL HANDLING OF WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT

Nunes, along with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., previously had sent a letter to Atkinson in September 2019 in which they raised a number of issues related to the whistleblower’s complaint. Nunes’ new letter claimed Atkinson’s office has not responded satisfactorily.

Among Nunes’ main concerns: the decision to revise a form for whistleblower complaints that removed the requirement of first-hand information in order for a complaint to be relayed to Congress.

Nunes’ September letter had inquired about the update to the form that had left out the first-hand knowledge requirement, and how it had been dated August 2019 despite evidence that it was created on Sept. 24, 2019. Atkinson’s office later claimed that the form had been backdated in error because it had received preliminary approval in August. Now, Nunes is asking that if that was the case, why it took until late September for it to be posted alone.

“What he’s claiming is, essentially, ‘We’re just dumb, we made mistakes, it was a huge mistake,’” Nunes said Sunday. “That’s fine if you want to claim incompetence, but you need to have the documentation, the evidence to prove that you were indeed incompetent.”

FISA SELECTS FORMER OBAMA ADMIN LAWYER, LEFT-WING BLOGGER TO OVERSEE FBI’S SURVEILLANCE REFORMS

Nunes’ letter asked for information regarding all revisions to the form since May 24, 2018, as well as who approved them and copies of each revised version. Prior to then, the form stated that first-hand knowledge was required.

After media reports first noted the form change, Atkinson said in a lengthy statement that the whistleblower had actually filled out the older version of that form, which retained the requirement that whistleblowers have first-hand information. The ICIG revealed that the whistleblower had said he or she had first-hand information, as well as second-hand information, but it was unclear what the first-hand information was.

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The letter also sought ICIG policies regarding “the criteria for making a credibility determination” in cases where complaints have been deemed an “urgent concern,” such as the complaint about Trump’s call.

Nunes said he specifically wanted to know if Atkinson’s office changed its assessment of the whistleblower’s credibility in light of “incorrect or incomplete information” provided.

Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121921660001_6121920370001-vs Nunes letter to ICIG demands answers about whistleblower complaint Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/devin-nunes fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc f2c92885-50ca-5aef-bbf7-4db54b5fef37 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121921660001_6121920370001-vs Nunes letter to ICIG demands answers about whistleblower complaint Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/devin-nunes fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc f2c92885-50ca-5aef-bbf7-4db54b5fef37 article

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The Trump Administration’s Fluctuating Explanations for the Suleimani Strike

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-iranquotes1-facebookJumbo The Trump Administration’s Fluctuating Explanations for the Suleimani Strike United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Pompeo, Mike Esper, Mark T

Since the Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important general, the Trump administration has offered shifting rationales for the attack. Here are some of the administration’s evolving justifications.

— Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Twitter

General Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite security and intelligence forces, was deemed responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq. Neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama ordered him killed, judging that such a move would could lead to war in Iran.

Later in the morning, appearing on CNN, Mr. Pompeo elaborated on the administration’s justification for the strike, saying that General Suleimani “was actively plotting in the region to take actions, a big action as he described it, that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk.”

This action would have taken place “not just in Iraq,” he added. “It was throughout the region.”

The question facing the Trump administration was, what was different now about General Suleimani’s plans that necessitated risking war with Iran? Since the strike against the Iranian general, administration officials have struggled to answer that question.

— President Trump, in remarks to reporters

The president joined in the description of the attack as “imminent,” and against the backdrop of a public worried about an imminent shooting war with Iran, he insisted: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

But launching a drone strike against a military commander of a sovereign state is a lot different than launching a strike against a stateless terrorist leader. The administration took the action without consulting Congress. Now Democrats in the House and the Senate, along with some Republicans, demanded a justification for the strike, and a description of the “imminent” attack.

— Mr. Pompeo, on “Meet the Press”

Mr. Pompeo played down the importance of an “imminent attack” in the decision to kill General Suleimani, despite the fact that the Trump administration had been highlighting a specific threat for days since the strike on General Suleimani.

— Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in remarks to reporters

General Milley was more specific than other administration officials when pressed on what “imminent” attacks meant. But other military and intelligence officials disputed his timeline and said General Suleimani had not yet received permission from Iran’s supreme leader to carry out an attack.

— Mr. Pompeo, in a news conference

Mr. Pompeo, referring to a rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia that led to the death of an American contractor in Iraq, further emphasized previous actions connected to Suleimani in justifying the strike, conflating them with the “imminent threats” he presented.

The administration continued to make emphatic but vague assertions of intelligence indicating an imminent threat by General Suleimani. General Milley would later tell reporters that not taking forceful action to stop the imminent attack would be a dereliction of duty. But officials still did not describe the threat in detail.

— Mr. Trump, in a news conference

Mr. Trump made his first remarks identifying a specific threat against a specific target in the region: the American Embassy in Baghdad.

But later in the news conference, Mr. Trump appeared to conflate the suggested threat of bombing the embassy with protesters who had broken into the embassy compound at the time.

“If you look at those protesters, they were rough warriors. They were Iranian-backed,” Mr. Trump said. “Had they gotten through, I believe we would have either had a hostage situation or we would’ve had a, worse, we would’ve had a lot of people killed.”

Mr. Trump’s assertions came on the same day that his own officials were still refusing to go into detail with members of Congress during briefings on Capitol Hill. Defense officials say that their hands were tied because the intelligence was classified. Disclosing it, they said, could compromise intelligence sources.

— Mr. Pompeo, on Fox News

Mr. Pompeo raised further questions about the “imminent attack” General Suleimani was planning when he said the United States did not have specific intelligence on where or when an attack would take place.

— Mr. Pompeo, in a news conference

Mr. Pompeo was insisting that the attacks were still “imminent” even though the United States did not know specifically where or when they would take place.

There appeared to be a disconnect at this point between Trump administration officials and skeptics. The officials insisted that the threats were imminent but gave no specifics. Skeptics pointed to the Iraq war, when the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction turned out to be untrue.

— Mr. Trump, on Fox News

Mr. Trump asserted without evidence that four American embassies, not just the one in Baghdad, had been targeted by General Suleimani.

— Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on CBS’s “Face the Nation”

Mr. Esper appeared to contradict Mr. Trump, saying that he never saw any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies.

In another interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Esper declined to answer the same question, saying that he was “not going to discuss intelligence matters here on the show.”

This was the second time in a week that the Pentagon contradicted Mr. Trump on Iran. The first time was when Mr. Trump threatened to target Iranian cultural sites if Tehran attacked the United States. Mr. Esper later said that the United States military would follow international laws governing armed conflict, which make targeting cultural sites a war crime.

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Irving returns with 21 points, Nets pound Hawks 108-86

Westlake Legal Group Kyrie-Irving3 Irving returns with 21 points, Nets pound Hawks 108-86 fox-news/sports/nba/brooklyn-nets fox-news/sports/nba/atlanta-hawks fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/person/kyrie-irving fnc/sports fnc d5198dc2-2871-50c2-b584-2de92781312a Associated Press article

Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in 20 minutes of an easy return from a two-month absence with an injured right shoulder, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving shot 10 for 11 from the field after missing 26 games with an impingement. The shoulder looked fine and his handle looked as good as ever while he dribbled his way around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return that still seemed a ways away just a week ago, the Nets led by 39 points and won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.

Taurean Prince scored 14 points for the Nets, who made it such an easy night that their fans didn’t need to worry about the scoreboard as they roared for Vince Carter’s two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The 42-year-old former Nets star finished with eight points in his final road appearance against the franchise.

Irving began feeling pain in his shoulder early in the season, and he took himself out of the lineup after a game in Denver on Nov. 14. The Nets held up well without him for a while thanks mostly to Spencer Dinwiddie’s strong play, but had faltered recently and struggled especially in crunch time.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24, revealing last weekend his options were that or surgery. He gave no indication then he was close to returning, but participated fully in practice this week.

He started alongside Dinwiddie to share the playmaking responsibilities and did most of his scoring near the basket, making the only 3-pointer he attempted. The Nets were already leading 70-46 at halftime before he went 5 for 5 for 10 points in a dazzling six-minute stretch of the third quarter.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Carter got a nice ovation when he checked in and then when he checked out for good in his final road appearance against the Nets. He spent 4 1/2 seasons with the franchise when it was in New Jersey and is third on the Nets’ scoring list. His old team was a bit premature with its goodbye, playing a tribute video for Carter when the Hawks played here last year, though he had given no indication he planned to retire. He ended up coming back and became the first player to play 22 NBA seasons. … Coach Lloyd Pierce said Young got treatment in Washington, where the Hawks practiced Saturday, and was still sore Sunday. Brandon Goodwin started in his place.

Nets: Brooklyn has won the last eight meetings. That’s only halfway to the longest winning streak in the series, as Atlanta won 16 straight from 1986-89. … Brooklyn’s previous biggest lead in a game this season was 26 points against Philadelphia on Dec. 15.

FAN FAVORITES

Young and Irving are the leading vote-getters among Eastern Conference guards after the second returns of fan balloting for the NBA All-Star Game. Young had received 1,389,628 votes in totals announced Thursday, and Irving had 1,351,997.

STATEMENT SHIRTS

The Nets warmed up in shirts reading “No Place for Hate.” The shirts were designed in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League after a number of anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn over the past few months.

Westlake Legal Group Kyrie-Irving3 Irving returns with 21 points, Nets pound Hawks 108-86 fox-news/sports/nba/brooklyn-nets fox-news/sports/nba/atlanta-hawks fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/person/kyrie-irving fnc/sports fnc d5198dc2-2871-50c2-b584-2de92781312a Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group Kyrie-Irving3 Irving returns with 21 points, Nets pound Hawks 108-86 fox-news/sports/nba/brooklyn-nets fox-news/sports/nba/atlanta-hawks fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/person/kyrie-irving fnc/sports fnc d5198dc2-2871-50c2-b584-2de92781312a Associated Press article

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‘When They See Us’ Wins Big At Critics’ Choice Awards After Snubs

Westlake Legal Group 5e1bc7bb2100003100af8ab1 ‘When They See Us’ Wins Big At Critics’ Choice Awards After Snubs

Ava DuVernay’s searing Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” bounced back from its Golden Globes snubs by winning big at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night. 

The Jharrel Jerome-fronted series that reframed the real-life stories of the “Exonerated Five” ― a group of five Black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully accused of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989 ― picked up the award for Best Limited Series at the 25th annual ceremony.

After the star-studded crowd rose to its feet, the Oscar-nominated director seemingly addressed the lack of awards recognition at the Globes in her acceptance speech by thanking the Critics Choice Association for “finally letting us take the stage.”

“We made a four-part, five-hour film that was an act of love,” DuVernay said, before thanking the cast and crew, as well as Netflix for letting a “black woman do her things.” 

“This series began with a tweet from Raymond Santana and now he, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and the mighty Korey Wise, stand for something larger than they ever imagined,” DuVernay shared. “They stand for justice, they shine bright like the gems they always were but that we never saw.”

“If you watched their story and felt something in that moment, I invite you to doing something,” she continued. “There’s no right thing to do. Do what you feel where you are, but don’t let your anger and sadness be all.”

DuVernay previously addressed the series being completely shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which determines the Golden Globe nominations, on Twitter following fan outcry. 

“These things are a cherry on top,” DuVernay tweeted in response to a fan the day the nominations were announced. “The sundae is yummy with or without it. And this one has been particularly delicious.”

“When They See Us” was expected to make a strong showing at the Globes after Jharrell Jerome made history at the Emmys last year by becoming the first Afro-Latino to win the trophy for acting. 

The series was, however, the most nominated series at the Critics’ Choice ceremony with Jerome also picking up an award for Best Actor in a Limited Series, while co-stars Asante Blackk, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash and Marsha Stephanie Blake also received nods. 

Fans of the series watching at home were, of course, thrilled by the win, taking to Twitter to express their enthusiasm. 

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