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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 232)

Republicans’ Emerging Defense: Trump’s Actions Were Bad, but Not Impeachable

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Republicans’ Emerging Defense: Trump’s Actions Were Bad, but Not Impeachable United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Ernst, Joni Alexander, Lamar

WASHINGTON — Even as they are set to acquit President Trump in his impeachment trial this week, Senate Republicans appear to be increasingly breaking with his defense that he did nothing wrong.

On Sunday, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who was a key vote against calling witnesses in the Senate trial, expanded upon his criticism that Mr. Trump was “crossing the line” in his pressure campaign against Ukraine. And Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, who has remained a reliable defender of the president during his trial, called his actions “not what I would have done.”

A day before the first contest of the 2020 election, two days before Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address and three days before his expected acquittal, they and other Republicans appeared to be coalescing around a more nuanced argument: Mr. Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine into investigating a political rival while withholding critical military aid might not have been appropriate. But that did not warrant the president’s removal from office for the first time in American history.

“I think he shouldn’t have done it — I think it was wrong,” Mr. Alexander said Sunday on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “Inappropriate, was the way I’d say it. Improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is: Who decides what to do about that?”

“The people,” he added. “The people, is my conclusion.”

Mr. Alexander first took that position last week, when he announced that he would vote against the consideration of new witnesses and documents in Mr. Trump’s trial. He acknowledged the merits of the House case for removing the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress: that the president had withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.

But Mr. Alexander’s decision was in part influenced by the proximity of the election. (When pressed about how he would have voted outside an election year, he said he most likely would have arrived at the same conclusion.)

“I don’t think it’s the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president,” he said on Sunday.

That argument has come under fire from Democrats, who say the nature of Mr. Trump’s offense — trying to persuade a foreign nation to interfere in the 2020 race — could compromise the election.

“They need to remove him from office because he is threatening to still cheat in the next election by soliciting foreign interference,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead House impeachment manager, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And so the normal remedy for a president’s misconduct isn’t available here because the elections, he is already trying to prejudice and compromise with further foreign interference.”

The Republicans’ argument also stands starkly at odds with what Mr. Trump — who has deemed a phone call he had with Ukraine’s president “perfect” and has resisted any suggestion that he acted improperly — has demanded from his defenders.

But Mr. Alexander’s reasoning was echoed by multiple Republicans who voted against allowing new witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us,” said Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska.

Among them is Ms. Ernst, who has repeatedly said the scrutiny over Hunter Biden’s work for an energy company in Ukraine — the basis for the investigation Mr. Trump had demanded — could affect the presidential campaign of the elder Mr. Biden.

“I think, generally speaking, going after corruption would be the right thing to do; he did it maybe in the wrong manner,” Ms. Ernst said Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN. “I think that he could have done it through different channels.”

But she added that “whether you like what the president did or not,” the charges did not clear the bar for removing him. “Does it come to the point of removing a president from office?” she said. “I don’t believe this does.”

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said in a statement late last week that while some of Mr. Trump’s actions were “wrong and inappropriate,” they did not “rise to the level of removing a duly-elected president from office and taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election.”

“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office,” said Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. (He later added on Twitter that he did not find either of the two articles of impeachment brought against Mr. Trump to be proved beyond a doubt.)

Even one member of the president’s defense team seemed to adopt a similar argument. As he continued to walk back remarks he made during the trial that suggested a president’s actions in pursuit of re-election were inherently in the country’s interest, Alan M. Dershowitz, the constitutional law scholar, said that actions that might be wrong might not be impeachable.

“On Election Day, as a citizen I will allow that to enter into my decision who to vote for. But it’s not an impeachable offense,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I was there to argue a constitutional issue, not to tell people who to vote for, for president.”

With nine months left in the campaign, Mr. Alexander said he hoped that the consequences of Mr. Trump’s phone call with Ukraine — becoming the third American president to stand trial for high crimes and misdemeanors — would resonate with the commander in chief.

“Enduring an impeachment is something no one should like,” Mr. Alexander said. “If a call like this gets you an impeachment, I would think he would think twice before he did it again.”

Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

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The Senate has become a threat to democracy itself

Westlake Legal Group cZeBh9-We0v60A1XSQond9xyNyL-YoXUDfblAxzIEQg The Senate has become a threat to democracy itself r/politics

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Lev Parnas releases recording of Trump dinner: Full video

Westlake Legal Group pNVkm11amOl7arU7QWzl_L07SlXGPK3F_koqCnmIEKU Lev Parnas releases recording of Trump dinner: Full video r/politics

This is who the ultra-wealthy are. This is them

This is who the wealthy are who support TheRump, the grifters, the trust fund children, the dumb lucky assholes who think they did something no one else could do because they really don’t know how they did it themselves, the cheaters, the liars, the greedy pieces of shit who tell the homeless to get a job and get out of their way, the scum bags who don’t have a clue how the universe works and how fucking fortunate they are to have not been born into poverty with the wrong color skin, or religion, or culture, or country. The worst humans alive on the planet today.

All that being said, there are wealthy people who are not like this, who humbly acknowledge their good luck and give back to the less fortunate, and they think TheRump sucks too.

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Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say

The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts.

The prospect is daunting. A pandemic — an ongoing epidemic on two or more continents — may well have global consequences, despite the extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by China and other countries, including the United States.

Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however, so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause. But there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily transmitted between humans.

The Wuhan coronavirus is spreading more like influenza, which is highly transmissible, than like its slow-moving viral cousins, SARS and MERS, scientists have found.

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

“But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know.”

In the last three weeks, the number of lab-confirmed cases has soared from about 50 in China to 14,000 in 23 countries; there have been over 300 deaths, all but one in China.

But various epidemiological models estimate that the real number of cases is 100,000 or even more. While that expansion is not as rapid as that of flu or measles, it is an enormous leap beyond what virologists saw when SARS and MERS emerged.

When SARS was vanquished in July 2003 after spreading for nine months, only 8,098 cases had been confirmed. MERS has been circulating since 2012, but there have been only about 2,500 known cases.

The biggest uncertainty now, experts said, is how many people around the world will die. SARS killed about 10 percent of those who got it, and MERS now kills about one of three.

The 1918 “Spanish flu” killed only about 2.5 percent of its victims — but because it infected so many people and medical care was much cruder then, 20 to 50 million died.

By contrast, the highly transmissible H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic of 2009 killed about 285,000, fewer than seasonal flu normally does, and had a relatively low fatality rate, estimated at .02 percent.

The mortality rate for known cases of the Wuhan coronavirus has been running about 2 percent, although that is likely to drop as more tests are done and more mild cases are found.

It is “increasingly unlikely that the virus can be contained,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who now runs Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit devoted to fighting epidemics.

“It is therefore likely that it will spread, as flu and other organisms do, but we still don’t know how far, wide or deadly it will be.”

In the early days of the 2009 flu pandemic, “they were talking about Armageddon in Mexico,” Dr. Fauci said. (That virus first emerged in pig-farming areas in Mexico’s Veracruz State.) “But it turned out to not be that severe.”

An accurate estimate of the virus’s lethality will not be possible until certain kinds of studies can be done: blood tests to see how many people have antibodies, household studies to learn how often it infects family members, and genetic sequencing to determine whether some strains are more dangerous than others.

Closing borders to highly infectious pathogens never succeeds completely, experts said, because all frontiers are somewhat porous. Nonetheless, closings and rigorous screening may slow the spread, which will buy time for the development of drug treatments and vaccines.

Other important unknowns include who is most at risk, whether coughing or contaminated surfaces are more likely to transmit the virus, how fast the virus can mutate and whether it will fade out when the weather warms.

Westlake Legal Group china-wuhan-coronavirus-maps-promo-articleLarge-v6 Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say Wuhan (China) World Health Organization Viruses United States Politics and Government Schaffner, William SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Piot, Peter MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) Lipkin, W Ian Influenza Frieden, Thomas R Fauci, Anthony S Epidemics Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

The virus has sickened more than 14,500 people in China and 23 other countries.

The effects of a pandemic would probably be harsher in some countries than in others. While the United States and other wealthy countries may be able to detect and quarantine the first carriers, countries with fragile health care systems will not. The virus has already reached Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines and rural Russia.

“This looks far more like H1N1’s spread than SARS, and I am increasingly alarmed,” said Dr. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Even 1 percent mortality would mean 10,000 deaths in each million people.”

Other experts were more cautious.

Dr. Michael Ryan, head of emergency responses for the World Health Organization, said in an interview with STAT News on Saturday that there was “evidence to suggest this virus can still be contained” and that the world needed to “keep trying.”

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a virus-hunter at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health who is in China advising its Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that although the virus is clearly being transmitted through casual contact, labs are still behind in processing samples.

But life in China has radically changed in the last two weeks. Streets are deserted, public events are canceled, and citizens are wearing masks and washing their hands, Dr. Lipkin said. All of that may have slowed down what lab testing indicated was exponential growth in the infection.

It’s unclear exactly how accurate tests done in overwhelmed Chinese laboratories are. On the one hand, Chinese state media have reported test kit shortages and processing bottlenecks, which could produce an undercount.

But Dr. Lipkin said he knew of one lab running 5,000 samples a day, which might produce some false-positive results, inflating the count. “You can’t possibly do quality control at that rate,” he said.

Anecdotal reports from China, and one published study from Germany, indicate that some people infected with the Wuhan coronavirus can pass it on before they show symptoms. That may make border-screening much harder, scientists said.

Epidemiological modeling released Friday by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control estimated that 75 percent of infected people reaching Europe from China would still be in the incubation periods upon arrival, and therefore not detected by airport screening, which looks for fevers, coughs and breathing difficulties.

But if thermal cameras miss victims who are beyond incubation and actively infecting others, the real number of missed carriers may be higher than 75 percent.

Still, asymptomatic carriers “are not normally major drivers of epidemics,” Dr. Fauci said. Most people get ill from someone they know to be sick — a family member, a co-worker or a patient, for example.

The virus’s most vulnerable target is Africa, many experts said. More than 1 million expatriate Chinese work there, mostly on mining, drilling or engineering projects. Also, many Africans work and study in China and other countries where the virus has been found.

If anyone on the continent has the virus now, “I’m not sure the diagnostic systems are in place to detect it,” said Dr. Daniel Bausch, head of scientific programs for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, who is consulting with the W.H.O. on the outbreak.

South Africa and Senegal could probably diagnose it, he said. Nigeria and some other countries have asked the W.H.O. for the genetic materials and training they need to perform diagnostic tests, but that will take time.

At least four African countries have suspect cases quarantined, according to an article published Friday in The South China Morning Post. They have sent samples to France, Germany, India and South Africa for testing.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

At the moment, it seems unlikely that the virus will spread widely in countries with vigorous, alert public health systems, said Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“Every doctor in the U.S. has this top of mind,” he said. “Any patient with fever or respiratory problems will get two questions. ‘Have you been to China? Have you had contact with anyone who has?’ If the answer is yes, they’ll be put in isolation right away.”

Assuming the virus spreads globally, tourism to and trade with countries besides China may be affected — and the urgency to find ways to halt the virus and prevent deaths will grow.

It is possible that the Wuhan coronavirus will fade out as weather warms. Many viruses, like flu, measles and norovirus, thrive in cold, dry air. The SARS outbreak began in winter, and MERS transmission also peaks then, though that may be related to transmission in newborn camels.

Four mild coronaviruses cause about a quarter of the nation’s common colds, which also peak in winter.

But even if an outbreak fades in June, there could be a second wave in the fall, as has occurred in every major flu pandemic, including those that began in 1918 and 2009.

By that time, some remedies might be on hand, although they will need rigorous testing and perhaps political pressure to make them available and affordable.

In China, several antiviral drugs are being prescribed. A common combination is pills containing lopinavir and ritonavir with infusions of interferon, a signaling protein that wakes up the immune system.

In the United States, the combination is sold as Kaletra by AbbVie for H.I.V. therapy, and it is relatively expensive. In India, a dozen generic makers produce the drugs at rock-bottom prices for use against H.I.V. in Africa, and their products are W.H.O.-approved.

Another option may be an experimental drug, remdesivir, on which the patent is held by Gilead. The drug has not yet been approved for use against any disease. Nonetheless, there is some evidence that it works against coronaviruses, and Gilead has donated doses to China.

Several American companies are working on a vaccine, using various combinations of their own funds, taxpayer money and foundation grants.

Although modern gene-chemistry techniques have made it possible to build vaccine candidates within just days, medical ethics require that they then be carefully tested on animals and small numbers of healthy humans for safety and effectiveness.

That aspect of the process cannot be sped up, because dangerous side effects may take time to appear and because human immune systems need time to produce the antibodies that show whether a vaccine is working.

Whether or not what is being tried in China will be acceptable elsewhere will depend on how rigorously Chinese doctors run their clinical trials.

“In God we trust,” Dr. Schaffner said. “All others must provide data.”

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Stand Here for Your Candidate: Iowans State Their Preferences in Public

Westlake Legal Group 02iowa-dynamics-facebookJumbo Stand Here for Your Candidate: Iowans State Their Preferences in Public United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Sand, Rob (1982- ) Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Axelrod, David

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — It is a public display of civic duty unique in American politics: Iowans on Monday night will stand in front of their neighbors and express their preference for a candidate for president. No curtains covering a voting machine. No private paper ballots. Just a declaration of loyalty before fellow Democrats.

The Iowa caucuses are at once both quaint and globally significant, with a singular power to elevate, or deflate, candidacies. But for all of their idiosyncrasies, perhaps their most distinctive element is the sheer transparency they provide to the selection process.

At a time of such political polarization, underpinned by anxiety among Iowa Democrats that they will elevate a nominee unable to defeat President Trump, the public nature of the caucuses has amplified the stakes. In interviews with scores of Iowans over the last three months, many expressed ambivalence about making a choice, desperately trying to assess what kind of candidate others might want to elect. Many appeared wary of picking sides, and risking fragmentation, at the expense of presenting a united front; they vowed to support the eventual nominee no matter what.

Some caucusgoers said, tellingly, that they were eager to knock doors for candidates they supported but preferred to do so in nearby towns or counties lest they alienate their neighbors.

“The idea is that the caucuses are this very romantic Jeffersonian thing, with neighbors gathering in small groups to discuss ideas and candidates, and help choose leadership that will organize volunteers and lead us to electoral victory,” said Nathan Thompson, the Democratic chairman in Winneshiek County. “Well, in reality, it can be a very frustrating and divisive thing for all of these volunteers and attendees.”

It is another complicating factor in a race full of them.

Even elected officials are trying to divine the best approach. Rob Sand, the state auditor and a rising star in the Democratic Party, said he planned to caucus for “uncommitted,” a category for those who do not want to align themselves with a candidate. Or he may not caucus at all.

“Ultimately, many of us will have a nominee who was not our first choice — we are going to have to put that aside and do our duty to help that nominee win,” Mr. Sand said. “So, I’m planning to set aside my own ability to make a choice to be a voice for unity.”

As the caucuses loom, Iowa Democrats are preparing to make what may be their most significant decision ever, one that could set the party on a path to ousting Mr. Trump from the White House or divide it further. And rarely has the outcome of the caucuses been so difficult to predict or so highly anticipated.

“Anything can happen here,” said David Axelrod, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama. “There’s growing clarity — but there’s not a lot of clarity.”

Adding to the sense of uncertainty, both the progressive and moderate wings of the party have taken turns asserting their dominance. All four of the leading candidates — Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., — have led polls here in recent months. Another challenger, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, has edged closer but not yet close enough.

Most recently, Mr. Sanders has appeared to open up a lead in Iowa, consolidating liberal backing as more moderate candidates in the race continue to split their support. A nascent attempt by moderate Democrats at thwarting his rise before it is too late has shown signs of backfiring. Mr. Sanders’s campaign raised more than $1 million off a negative ad last week that targeted him by name.

Iowa is already on tenterhooks. For months, it has defended itself against criticism that it is too white, its caucuses too exclusionary, to have the privilege of being the first state in the nominating process. Candidates have questioned the state’s leadoff position in the calendar. Across the state, Iowans are wary that the absence of a clean victory could muddle the choice for Democrats in other states and undermine Iowa’s claim to serving as a springboard to the nomination.

“I do think the Iowa caucuses might come to an end, especially if the results are indecisive,” said John Grennan, the Democratic chairman in Poweshiek County. “2016 was very messy. 2020 could be, too.”

Yet the race’s prevailing uncertainty has not stopped strategists, campaign aides and caucusgoers from prognosticating that has grown more frenetic as the Iowa contest approaches. It is a parlor game that has been rendered even more difficult by a complex new set of caucus rules.

For the first time, the Iowa Democratic Party will report, on a rolling basis, three numbers on caucus night — a delegate count and the amount of support on both the first and second rounds, known as alignments — leaving open the possibility that more than one candidate could claim victory.

What if Mr. Sanders receives the most support on the first alignment but another candidate wins on the delegate count? What if the top candidates are clustered together, separated by only a few percentage points? Such inconclusive results would make it difficult for any candidate to ride unrivaled momentum into New Hampshire one week later. And should voters remain as undecided in New Hampshire as in Iowa, Democrats could be staring at an extended primary fight that could leave everyone bruised.

For Democrats hoping for a clearer picture after Monday’s caucuses, it could lead to more hand-wringing and division. Candidates have already begun attacking their rivals in a bid for dominance.

Some campaigns have provided clues as to how they will assess the results on caucus night. Senior advisers to Mr. Sanders have indicated the Sanders campaign will declare victory if Mr. Sanders gets the most support on the first alignment. Aides to Mr. Buttigieg, on the other hand, are focusing on the delegate count. The Iowa Democratic Party and other party officials have encouraged the news media to report the delegate count, as has traditionally been done.

With so many undecided caucusgoers, the results could come down to how well organized campaigns are, particularly at the precinct level, where the final persuading will take place. Some campaigns have put in place precinct teams to persuade and wrangle caucusgoers before and after the first alignment. Precinct captains will be in touch constantly with their campaign headquarters for directives on their strategy inside the room.

Among caucusgoers, the persistent discussion of statewide political angst has only produced more angst. The degree of uncertainty, lingering even at this final stage of the precaucus season, has confounded some Democratic officials.

“Most people are undecided, and not only are they undecided but they’re considering staying undecided on caucus night,” said Judy Downs, the executive director of the Polk County Democrats. “Considering the sheer number of candidates and length of the campaign season, I didn’t think we would be in this position so close.”

Lisa Lerer contributed reporting from Des Moines, and Reid Epstein from Coralville, Iowa.

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Jake Tapper Calls Out Biden For Declining Interview Requests

Westlake Legal Group 5e3714c323000057006ec421 Jake Tapper Calls Out Biden For Declining Interview Requests

CNN’s Jake Tapper took a jab at former Vice President Joe Biden for consistently declining requests to appear on Sunday morning politics shows throughout his 2020 presidential campaign.

Tapper thanked Pete Buttigieg for being interviewed on “State Of The Union” Sunday, then called out Biden for refusing to do the same.

“We appreciate you coming and taking our questions,” Tapper told the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at the end of a 10-minute interview. “Vice President Biden has yet to do a Sunday show interview. … I can’t even count how many times you’ve agreed to do interviews.”

It’s unclear what’s behind Biden’s decision to not accept the interview requests. In August, the Biden campaign reportedly considered scaling back his public schedule in an effort to limit potential gaffes on the campaign trail. 

The Biden campaign declined to comment for this story.

According to a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday, Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are tied at 25% for the first choice of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa. Buttigieg follows with 21% of support, according to the poll, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) trailing at 16%.

Watch Tapper’s full interview with Buttigieg below. He mentions the Biden interview requests around the 10-minute mark.

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Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents ‘speak English’

Thousands of Brexit supporters waving the Union Jack, and others even dressed as the twelfth-century English King Richard the Lionheart, gathered in London’s Parliament Square Friday night for a massive celebration of the United Kingdom’s official exit from the European Union.

BREXIT IS OFFICIAL: UK LEAVES EUROPEAN UNION

Meanwhile, police in Norwich, England, investigated “racist” flyers telling residents in order to have a “Happy Brexit Day,” they should “speak English” or go back to their home country so the local government could let British people live in their public housing apartments. And anti-Brexiteers in Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU in 2016, held solemn vigils instead of the more rowdy celebrations in London.

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-7 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage shakes hands with his supporters in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU at 23:00 GMT Friday, the first nation in the bloc to do so. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Following the historic departure, Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, will travel to Washington Sunday in order to attend President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday.  In a London speech, he shot down speculation he’d be joining Trump on his 2020 campaign trail – telling the crowd he’ll spend most of next year in the UK to ensure Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers on Brexit policy proposals.

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-4 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

Brexit supporters celebrate during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Britain leaves the European Union after 47 years, leaping into an unknown future in historic blow to the bloc. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

“The war is over,” Farage said in his speech. “This is the single most important moment in the modern history of our great nation…We have to make sure that we watch every step of this journey over the next 11 months and more and we will do that.”

Three and half years after the British public voted to leave the EU, Brexit was finally set into motion Friday night. The historic referendum vote was held months before Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Now an 11-month transition period will allow the UK to negotiate new deals on trade and security while following the bloc’s rules.

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-6 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

Brexit supporters trample on a European Union flag during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

“We’re open for business from the rest of the world. We want unity, peace and stability,” Caroline Jones, of the Welsh Brexit Party, told the BBC. “That’s what we didn’t have because we were in limbo for three and a half years, so as well as it being exciting, it’s also a relief.”

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-1 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

The colors of the British Union flag illuminate the exterior of 10 Downing street, the residence of the British Prime Minister, in London, England, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Britain officially left the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A recording of Big Ben’s bells sounded when the departure became official at 11 p.m. London time when the clock struck midnight in Brussels, Belgium, where the EU is headquartered. The crowd belted “God Save the Queen,” as some were photographed setting fire to the European Union flag in the streets, others trampling on the bloc flag, covering it in a thick layer of mud and grass.

Meanwhile in Scotland, which voted to remain in the European Union during the 2016 referendum vote, solemn Brexit vigils were held in several cities, government buildings in Edinburgh were lit up in the EU’s blue and yellow, and the bloc’s flag continued to fly outside the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Brexit was “a moment of profound sadness.” British flags were quietly removed from the bloc’s many buildings in Brussels.

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-3 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

Brexit supporters celebrate during a rally outside Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland as Britain left the European Union on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Britain officially left the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

On Sunday, police in Norfolk, England, launched an investigation“Happy Brexit Day” notices stuck to the doors in a 15-story public apartment building demanding residents speak English or get out following Friday’s departure from the European Union.

“We finally have our great country back… we do not tolerate people speaking other languages than English in the flats,” the flyers posted on the doors in Winchester Tower, a public housing building for people ages 55 and up, reportedly said, according to BBC. “We are not our own country again” and the “Queens English is the spoken tongue here.”

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“If you do want to speak whatever is the mother tongue of the country you came from then we suggest you return to that place and return your flat to the council so they can let British people live here and we can return to what was normality before you infected this once great island,” the notices, which surfaced Friday before being taken down, read.

Residents and other demonstrators denounced the flyers as racist and protested outside the building Sunday, posting new notices reading: “Everybody is welcome in Norwich,” The Guardian reported.

Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-8 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16   Westlake Legal Group AP-Brexit-Day-8 Brexit prompts rowdy London parties, quiet Scottish vigils and protesters demanding public housing residents 'speak English' fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article a4eb7020-3bbb-5d22-9bca-97dce8a20c16

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What to Expect From Super Bowl LIV Commercials

ImageWestlake Legal Group 02SUPERBOWLADS-quad-articleLarge What to Expect From Super Bowl LIV Commercials Trump, Donald J Television Super Bowl Google Inc Fox Broadcasting Co Bloomberg, Michael R Anheuser-Busch InBev NV Advertising and Marketing

Super Bowl 2020 ads, clockwise, from top left: Sabra, Snickers, TurboTax and Bud Light Seltzer.Credit…Sabra; Snickers; TurboTax; Bud Light

During a polarized time, with the impeachment trial drawing to a close in Washington and the 2020 campaign at a fever pitch in Iowa, the commercials set to be shown during the year’s most-watched television event are here to tell us that everything’s going to be all right.

In one Super Bowl ad after another, Verizon, Sabra and other companies are emphasizing — and celebrating — what Americans have in common beneath their differences.

Don’t we all complain about the same things? Don’t we all defy cultural stereotypes? And don’t we all love hummus?

Those are some of the messages that will figure in the sunny portrait of a nation that will emerge from the more than 80 commercials scheduled to appear during the Super Bowl LIV broadcast on Fox, which is expected to attract an audience of roughly 100 million.

“We’re at a moment in the country where it’s important that we all contribute to things that unite as opposed to things that separate,” said Diego Scotti, the chief marketing officer of Verizon. “It’s a sensitive point — we’re a big company and we have many, many customers, and our intention is in no way, shape or form to have a political message.”

To fill advertising slots costing as much as a $5.6 million for 30 seconds — a high — New York Life Insurance, Michelob and Snickers are among the brands with big-budget commercials showing a wide variety of Americans embracing their differences.

But politics cannot help but crash the annual TV party in a tense election year. President Trump’s re-election campaign has booked two 30-second commercials, and there will be a 60-second spot from Michael R. Bloomberg, the late-arriving Democratic presidential candidate who has set records for the amount spent on campaign advertising by dipping into his fortune to blanket television, radio and the internet with ads.

Another exception to the escapist fare is a spot on police shootings. Surprisingly, it comes from an organization that has shied away from the issue: the National Football League. The spot shows the retired 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin reflecting on the 2015 death of his cousin, who was shot by a police officer, and it includes a dramatic re-enactment of the killing.

The commercial promotes the N.F.L.’s Inspire Change initiative, a social outreach program that the league has put together with Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Jay-Z. Colin Kaepernick — Mr. Boldin’s onetime 49ers teammate — set off an uproar a year after the killing by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. The N.F.L. struggled with its response for years.

But the great majority of Super Bowl spots will be jaunty and optimistic. TurboTax has a commercial involving people of many races, genders, ages and walks of life dancing to a bounce-inflected earworm of a jingle, “All People Are Tax People.”

The mood continues a trend toward tonally light commercials that became pronounced in 2018. In 2017, a year after President Trump’s inaugural, Budweiser and Coca-Cola, among other brands, touched on immigration, equal rights and fair pay.

A Bud Light Seltzer commercial scheduled for the Sunday broadcast posits that the brain of Post Malone — the pop star and songwriter known for melding disparate musical styles — is operated by a diverse group of technicians in a control room who all bear his distinctive tattoos.

The hummus maker Sabra cast two former contestants from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, making it possibly the first Super Bowl commercial to feature drag queens. One Million Moms, a conservative activist group that recently pushed the Hallmark Channel to pull ads featuring brides kissing each other, circulated a petition demanding that the Sabra spot be removed, to no avail.

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Because Bernie Showed ‘There is a New Way Now,’ Younger Democrats Backing Sanders, Says Michael Moore | “There have been approximately 15 million 17-year-olds in the past four years that have turned 18. And they are massively behind change.”

Westlake Legal Group tn5FyS7fFPfw0E6fiLGESHP_J0LQZNJSQFJrV1CJg2I Because Bernie Showed 'There is a New Way Now,' Younger Democrats Backing Sanders, Says Michael Moore | "There have been approximately 15 million 17-year-olds in the past four years that have turned 18. And they are massively behind change." r/politics

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Parties on Super Bowl Sunday for homeless people are being held across the country

This is one party that’s definitely worth throwing.

While parties on Super Bowl Sunday tend to either be for watching the big game or checking out the commercials, one party-thrower is taking a different approach. Three years after inviting several homeless people to a party on Super Bowl Sunday, a young Internet personality has started a movement.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-1167239882 Parties on Super Bowl Sunday for homeless people are being held across the country Michael Hollan fox-news/news-events/super-bowl fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 1c7bf6bb-ce81-573a-9ef3-ff023f2ae138

“Super Bowl is this unofficial holiday in the US,” Meir Kalmanson explained to Fox 8. “There’s all this stuff going on for those who are experiencing homelessness around Christmas and Thanksgiving but nothing for the Super Bowl.” (iStock)

Meir Kalmanson was inspired to help the homeless after a chance meeting in New York City, Fox 8 reports.

“He was holding a cardboard sign and on it said, ‘I don’t want anything to eat. I don’t want to drink. All I want is to be seen. I want to talk to somebody,”‘ Kalmanson told the news outlet. “That just hit me in the gut.”

SUPER BOWL STADIUM TO INTRODUCE RECYCLABLE ALUMINUM CUPS TO REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE

After sitting down and talking to the man and hearing about he felt alone, Kalmanson says he was inspired to invite several homeless people to a rooftop party his friend was throwing on Super Bowl Sunday.

“Super Bowl is this unofficial holiday in the US,” Kalmanson explained. “There’s all this stuff going on for those who are experiencing homelessness around Christmas and Thanksgiving but nothing for the Super Bowl.”

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Over the following years, Kalmanson created Super Soul Party, which also hosts clothing drives and helps provide free hygiene kits, haircuts, manicures and on-site therapists.

This year, Super Soul Party is teaming up with homeless shelters in about 15 cities across the country and is hosting events on Super Bowl Sunday. In total, there are about 20 parties planned across the country.

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“Ultimately, the mission of the Super Bowl party is less about the party,” Kalmanson said. “It is just the stage for human beings to come together, put … aside our differences, our struggles or challenges, and connect on a human level to show love, compassion.”

Westlake Legal Group iStock-1167239882 Parties on Super Bowl Sunday for homeless people are being held across the country Michael Hollan fox-news/news-events/super-bowl fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 1c7bf6bb-ce81-573a-9ef3-ff023f2ae138   Westlake Legal Group iStock-1167239882 Parties on Super Bowl Sunday for homeless people are being held across the country Michael Hollan fox-news/news-events/super-bowl fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 1c7bf6bb-ce81-573a-9ef3-ff023f2ae138

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