web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 235)

Moderate Democrats Avoid Impeachment Backlash So Far

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. ― If moderate House Democrats are going to face a ferocious Republican backlash for supporting an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, it hasn’t started just yet.

At swing district town halls here and in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, two first-term Democrats, Reps. Max Rose of New York and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, saw their newfound support for an impeachment inquiry met mostly with applause. Both are the type of moderates that Republicans have sworn would pay a steep political price for backing impeachment. 

Their warm receptions show how rapidly the perceived politics of an impeachment inquiry are changing. Though Democrats long feared impeaching the president would gin up Trump’s fiercely conservative base voters and overshadow the party’s focus on health care and the economy, tightly crafted to appeal to swing voters. Instead, many Democratic operatives are increasingly seeing an impeachment inquiry as politically neutral. 

For instance, Priorities USA ― the largest Democratic super-PAC and a longtime advocate of the idea Democrats should remain focused on economic issues ― released polling this week aimed at showing “major warning signs for the GOP” on impeachment. The poll, conducted by Civis Analytics, found 45% of likely 2020 voters support impeachment, while 40% oppose it. (The poll is broadly in line with other recent public polling, though.) 

Westlake Legal Group 5d9572aa2200008c01dc8e91 Moderate Democrats Avoid Impeachment Backlash So Far

Andrew Kelly / Reuters Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) meets the press following a town hall where he announced his support for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

Rose, a military veteran and proud member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, unseated Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in November in a district that Trump won by nearly 10 percentage points in 2016. Until Wednesday evening, he had been one of just 11 House Democrats resisting coming out in favor of the impeachment inquiry. 

Speaking to over 100 constituents at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island on Wednesday, however, Rose revealed that Trump administration officials’ obstructionist attitude toward investigations of alleged misconduct had pushed him over the edge.

“Instead of allaying our concerns, the president and his administration have poured gasoline on the fire. The American people have a right to know if their president used the power of his or her office to get a foreign power to interfere in our elections,” he said, eliciting applause from the audience.

On its face, Rose’s decision to embrace the impeachment inquiry in a district where Trump won by a larger margin than he did carries clear risk.

But Rose was facing Republican attacks for effectively supporting impeachment even before he had staked out a stance on the matter.

The Republican National Committee already began blasting him at the end of September as part of a $2 million ad campaign targeting Rose and other vulnerable House Democrats.

“Instead of working to create more jobs, Rose wants more hearings,” the narrator of the RNC ad says as images of more liberal Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, appear on-screen. 

Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican New York Assemblywoman who has launched a bid to unseat Rose, nonetheless showcased how attacks against him could intensify now.

Rose, she tweeted, “tonight announced that he caved to Pelosi, AOC & socialist squad after saying he didn’t support impeachment.”

Speaking to reporters after the town hall, Rose, employing the sort of bravado native to his corner of New York, insisted that the attacks from Malliotakis and other Republicans did not frighten him.

“I am not concerned at all by [House Republicans’ campaign arm] or anyone that wants to try and challenge me because they already tried once, and we kicked their ass,” he boasted, referring to his 2018 victory. “And guess what: That’s exactly what is going to happen again. They have been absolute jokes. They will continue to be jokes. And I look forward to beating them by an incredible margin.”

 At the same time, Rose went out of his way during the town hall to distance himself from Ocasio-Cortez and other left-leaning Democrats whom Republicans have turned into a political cudgel against moderates like Rose. 

“On the one hand, we have Democrats who, before they have sworn the oath of office, want to impeach the president of the United States,” he said, making what appeared to be a veiled reference to comments by Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a member of the group of progressive congresswomen known as “the Squad.” “On the other side, though, we have Republicans who swore the same oath that I did, but suddenly they become deaf, mute and blind whenever allegations against the president come up. That’s an even greater threat to our democracy.”

(Wild, similarly, used a voter’s question to note she had worked to be a “sounding board and educator” after Omar and Tlaib made comments some considered anti-Semitic.)

On the campus of Muhlenberg College, Wild faced questions about improving public education, “Medicare for All” and climate change before a voter asked why she was more focused on impeachment than on improving schools in the area. 

“It’s a mistake to think that those of us in Washington are spending all of our time on impeachment,” she told the crowd of roughly 250 people.

The audience at the event was mostly on the side of Wild, who won her seat in this manufacturing-heavy area by 10 percentage points in 2018. Questioners who pressed her on impeachment were met with boos, while a voter who suggested House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff jail uncooperative Trump officials received applause. Before the event, Wild told reporters that phone calls to her office were running 85% in favor of impeachment or an impeachment inquiry. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d9574152200005c01dc8f0a Moderate Democrats Avoid Impeachment Backlash So Far

Bill Clark via Getty Images Rep. Susan Wild talks with constituents following a town hall meeting at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The crowd was largely supportive of her decision to back an impeachment inquiry.

Wild, who had opposed an impeachment inquiry until revelations about Trump pressuring Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to reopen an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden’s son, said she felt “the administration left us no choice” but to back impeachment. And, she said, voters were behind them.

“I think the issue of the Ukraine phone call is sufficiently troubling. And we’ve seen what the polls have done this week,” she told reporters, later adding that she wanted to keep the inquiry focused narrowly on Ukraine and avoid re-litigating special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “This was a single, discrete event that was very easy for people to understand.” 

Wild’s focus on polling is telling. Many Democrats have been privately surprised at how well the issue polls after months of surveys showing a majority of American voters opposed to any effort to remove Trump from office. But polling on a fast-developing issue is tricky, and impeachment could still turn sour for Democrats. Republicans boast that the issue will fire up their base, and Trump’s reelection campaign said it raised more than $15 million in the days after Democrats began more solid moves toward impeachment proceedings. 

Even with an impeachment inquiry looming, Rose and Wild were happy to highlight their work on other issues ― and their constituencies were happy to discuss them.

Rose, whose town hall was devoted to transportation and commuter concerns, relished getting into the policy details on expanding bus and ferry routes. He touted his collaboration with Republican lawmakers on efforts to protect Staten Island commuters from toll hikes on the Verrazzano Bridge into Brooklyn. And he even welcomed the unlikely prospect of a federal, bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“Nothing, nothing at all ― impeachment or otherwise ― will distract … me from my work fighting for you,” he declared.

Even conservatives at Wild’s town hall weren’t focused on impeachment, instead asking what she was doing to help Trump combat China and about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Several liberal questioners focused on climate change, and others focused on education. Wild said the high cost of prescription drugs was the “number one issue” in the district.

“I believe that I will get reelected on the basis of the work that I’ve done for the district and not on how this impeachment issue goes one way or another,” she told reporters.

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

Trump’s video taken off Twitter after band Nickelback complains

Westlake Legal Group iFjhbkDEc1quCzPu6_y1CPBGRcf4T9pOXwyYEMyVejQ Trump's video taken off Twitter after band Nickelback complains r/politics

Twitter has repeatedly complained that they can not enforce their own rules since it would mean banning a LOT of politicians. This would mean more problems from them, they would take part in the political process…. since ALL OF THEM are right wing. So, they can only enact the most clear cases, copyright being pretty much the only one… When POTUS spews violent rhetoric, Twitter can’t do ANYTHING. This allows his supporters also to use language and spread content that violates twitter rules.

One side in this fight, fights dirty. Same is with Youtube: they have had to implement almost totalitarian, blind rule that demonetizes pretty much all content that for ex revisionist also share. To block holocaust denialism being spread by their own algorithms, they also demonetize channels that speak about the actual history.

So. stop pointing the finger solely on social media companies. They are often totally helpless. Note: i do not say they are perfect, far from it. Just that not EVERYTHING is completely their fault, it is us, the users that are the biggest problem. Pretty much all of the social media sites have rules that can stop this but they can’t do it. They have to invent rules that are “fair and balanced” and treats both sides the same. One side just lies constantly and that causes a lot of collateral damage.

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

Hong Kong Takes a Symbolic Stand Against China Tech

HONG KONG — There’s no sign to mark it. But when travelers from Hong Kong cross into Shenzhen in mainland China, they reach a digital cut-off point.

On the Hong Kong side, the internet is open and unfettered. On the China side, connections wither behind filters and censors that block foreign websites and scrub social media posts. The walk is short, but the virtual divide is huge.

This invisible but stark technological wall has loomed as Hong Kong’s protests smolder into their fourth month. The semiautonomous city’s proximity to a society that is increasingly closed off and controlled by technology has informed protesters’ concerns about Hong Kong’s future. For many, one fear is the city will fall into a shadow world of surveillance, censorship and digital controls that many have had firsthand experience with during regular travels to China.

The protests are a rare rebellion against Beijing’s vision of tech-backed authoritarianism. Unsurprisingly, they come from the only major place in China that sits outside its censorship and surveillance.

The symbols of revolt are rife. Umbrellas, which became an emblem of protests in Hong Kong five years ago when they were used to deflect pepper spray, are now commonly deployed to shield protester activities — and sometimes violence — from the digital eyes of cameras and smartphones. In late July, protesters painted black the lenses of cameras in front of Beijing’s liaison office in the city.

Since then, Hong Kong protesters have smashed cameras to bits. In the subway, cameras are frequently covered in clear plastic wrapping, an attempt to protect a hardware now hunted. In August, protesters pulled down a smart lamppost out of fear it was equipped with artificial-intelligence-powered surveillance software. (Most likely it was not.) The moment showed how at times the protests in Hong Kong are responding not to the realities on the ground, but fears of what could happen under stronger controls by Beijing.

This week, as protesters confronted the police in some of the most intense clashes since the unrest began in June, umbrellas were opened to block the view of police helicopters flying overhead. Some people got creative, handing out reflective mylar to stick on goggles to make them harder to film.

“Before, Hong Kong wouldn’t be using cameras to surveil citizens. To destroy the cameras and the lampposts is a symbolic way to protest,” said Stephanie Cheung, a 20-year-old university student and protester who stood nearby as others bashed the lens out of a dome camera at a subway stop last month. “We are saying we don’t need this surveillance.”

“Hong Kong, step by step, is walking the road to becoming China,” she said.

Hong Kong’s situation shows how China’s approach to technology has created new barriers to its goals, even as it has helped ensure the Communist Party’s grip on power.

In building a sprawling censorship and surveillance apparatus, China has separated itself from broader global norms. Most people — including in Hong Kong — still live in a world that looks technologically more like the United States than China, where services like Facebook, Google and Twitter are blocked. With much of culture and entertainment happening on smartphones, China faces the challenge of asking Hong Kong citizens to give up their main way of digital life.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159653679_8e13c2a1-d54a-4149-9567-0c41b45199f4-articleLarge Hong Kong Takes a Symbolic Stand Against China Tech Surveillance of Citizens by Government Social Media Privacy Politics and Government Instant Messaging Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong facial recognition software Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Computers and the Internet Communist Party of China Censorship cameras

Protesters pulling down a smart lamppost during an anti-government rally in August.CreditAnthony Kwan/Getty Images

In the mainland, President Xi Jinping has strengthened an already muscular tech-powered censorship and surveillance system.

The government has spent billions to knit together sprawling networks that pull from facial-recognition and phone-tracking systems. Government apps are used to check phones, register people and enforce discipline within the Chinese Communist Party. The internet police have been empowered to question the outspoken and the small, but significant, numbers of people who use software to circumvent the internet filters and get on sites like Twitter.

“One country, two systems” — the shorthand to describe China’s and Hong Kong’s separate governance structures — has brought with it one country, two internets.

Undoing that is an ask that is too large for many. Apps like the Chinese messaging service WeChat, which some in Hong Kong use, in part to connect to people across the border, have garnered suspicion. Gum Cheung, 43, an artist and curator who travels to China for work, said he abandoned WeChat last year after he noticed some messages he sent to friends were not getting through.

“We have to take the initiative to hold the line. The whole internet of mainland China is under government surveillance,” he said.

The Cyberspace Administration of China did not respond to a faxed request for comment about the impact of internet censorship. The Hong Kong police did not respond to questions about their use of surveillance during the protests.

Beijing’s approach has sometimes encouraged the fears. In recent months, playing to a push from China’s government, Hong Kong’s airline carrier Cathay Pacific scrutinized the communications of its employees to ensure they do not participate in the protests. Twitter and Facebook took down accounts in what they said was an information campaign out of China to change political opinions in Hong Kong.

The debate over why, how, and who watches who has at times descended into a self-serving back-and-forth between the police and protesters.

The Hong Kong police have arrested people based on their digital communications and ripped phones out of the hands of unwitting targets to gain access to their electronics. Sites have also been set up to try to identify protesters based on their social media accounts. More recently, the police have requested data on bus passengers to pinpoint escaping protesters.

Protesters have called for the police to release footage showing what they alleged were abuses at Hong Kong’s Prince Edward subway station in Kowloon in August. Hong Kong’s subway operator fired back, pointing out that cameras that might have gotten the footage were destroyed by protesters. Other than a few screenshots, they have not released footage.

“Trust in institutions is what separates Hong Kong from China,” said Lokman Tsui, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “The fast-eroding trust in the government and law enforcement, and concurrently the growing fear and paranoia about government surveillance, is what makes Hong Kong society more and more like China’s.”

Privacy concerns on both sides have driven efforts to maintain real-life anonymity. Police officers have stopped wearing badges with names or numbers. Protesters have covered their faces with masks. Both sides are carrying out increasingly sophisticated attempts to identify the other online.

Each even has a matching, if often ineffective, countermeasure to video surveillance. Protesters shine laser pointers at lenses of police cameras to help hide themselves. Police officers have strobing lights attached to their uniforms that can make it hard to capture their images.

“Of course we’re worried about the cameras,” said Tom Lau, 21, a college student. “If we lose, the cameras recorded what we’ve done, and they can bide their time and settle the score whenever they want.”

“We still have decades in front of us,” he said. “There will be a record. Even if we don’t want to work for the government, what if big companies won’t hire us?”

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

Jeffrey Epstein Raked In $200 Million After Legal and Financial Crises

Jeffrey Epstein’s biggest client had deserted him, his money management firm had lost more than $150 million during the financial crisis, and he was a registered sex offender. But after he started a new company with a wildly speculative business plan in 2012, Mr. Epstein had no problem pulling in cash.

His start-up, Southern Trust, reported more than $200 million in revenues over the next five years, according to a review of previously unreported financial statements filed in the Virgin Islands.

Despite a name that calls to mind a financial services firm, the fledgling company with a handful of employees said it was developing a DNA data-mining service. Southern Trust was trying to gauge customers’ predisposition to cancer by “basically organizing mathematical algorithms,” Mr. Epstein told Virgin Islands officials as he sought a lucrative tax break in 2012.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00epsteinvi-03-articleLarge Jeffrey Epstein Raked In $200 Million After Legal and Financial Crises Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions St Thomas (Virgin Islands) Sex Crimes Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Corporate Taxes Banking and Financial Institutions

The 2013 balance sheet for Southern Trust, which Mr. Epstein founded for DNA research.

Mr. Epstein’s business revival is documented in financial statements and other filings obtained by The New York Times. The documents — from Southern Trust and his earlier firm, Financial Trust — offer a glimpse of Mr. Epstein’s mysterious finances. They show that Financial Trust peaked at the end of 2004, when it reported $563 million in assets and net income of $108 million. And they demonstrate how Mr. Epstein rebuilt his business in his later years, with Southern Trust reporting $175 million in retained earnings — leftover profits that can be reinvested — in 2017, the last year for which statements were available.

But the documents do not say who was paying vast sums of money to Mr. Epstein’s new venture just a few years after his 2008 guilty plea to soliciting a minor for prostitution. Nor do they offer an explanation for why customers would hand over money to a man who had apparently switched from financial services to DNA research.

They do, however, offer a reason for that sudden change in focus. In 2012, Mr. Epstein asked the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority to note that Financial Trust no longer managed money, so it would not have to register with federal securities regulators as required under the Dodd-Frank Act. Later that year, Financial Trust was replaced by Southern Trust, which Mr. Epstein told territorial officials would still maintain a “financial arm.”

The single-page unaudited financial statements for both companies — obtained through a public-records lawsuit against the territory’s Division of Corporations and Trademarks — are littered with curious line items.

At Financial Trust, a company with fewer than a dozen employees, investment expenses varied widely, from $1.3 million in 2000 to $16 million in 2004 to $42 million in 2005. In 2006 — the year Mr. Epstein was charged in Florida — Financial Trust pushed $117 million into an unnamed subsidiary whose purpose was undisclosed. The subsidiary was apparently transferred to Southern Trust in 2013, and by the end of 2017 the subsidiary accounted for more than half of the company’s $391 million in assets. The filings also disclose that Southern Trust received a $30.5 million loan that same year, but don’t say who provided it.

One thing the financial statements make clear: Mr. Epstein paid himself handsomely. He pocketed $400 million in dividends and other payments from the companies starting in 1999 — the first full year after he moved his operations to the Virgin Islands from New York.

The opacity of Mr. Epstein’s financial dealings has been a perplexing issue since he was arrested in July on federal charges of sex trafficking with underage girls. Although the criminal case against him closed after he committed suicide in federal custody in August, Mr. Epstein’s finances remain an important matter for women who are suing his estate claiming they were among his victims.

Two days before he killed himself, Mr. Epstein signed a will that placed his estate — estimated in court records at more than $500 million — into a trust, potentially an attempt to shield it from public scrutiny. The will lists Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, two longtime associates, as executors.

On this sheet, Southern Trust reported net income of more than $57 million in 2013, its first full year in business.

The financial statements and accompanying documents reviewed by The Times were signed at various times by Mr. Indyke, a lawyer who incorporated dozens of Mr. Epstein’s companies, and Mr. Kahn, a New York accountant. Mr. Indyke served as president of Financial Trust for two years, which included the period that Mr. Epstein was serving a prison sentence in Florida after his 2008 guilty plea.

Neither Mr. Indyke nor Mr. Kahn responded to repeated requests for comments. Lawyers for the men also did not respond to messages.

For many years, Mr. Epstein’s businesses in the Virgin Islands operated out of an office suite at a marina complex on St. Thomas. After Mr. Epstein’s death, a man at the office told a visitor through an intercom that no one at Southern Trust was available to talk.

Documents obtained from the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority show how officials rarely pressed Mr. Epstein on his dealings, even as they granted lucrative exemptions that allowed him to pay as little as 10 percent in corporate income tax. The tax breaks are granted to companies that agree to minimum hiring requirements and commit to investing at least $100,000 in an industry that advances the territory’s “economic well-being.” Currently 71 companies, including Southern Trust, receive the incentive.

By the end of 2017, Southern Trust reported having $175 million in leftover profits.

The development authority did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Government watchdogs and others have long criticized the territory’s history of light regulatory oversight. “Rich people have tried to make it their residence and do business there,” said Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who has led corruption investigations for several Senate committees. “The idea was to keep it all out of the hands of the I.R.S.”

Mr. Epstein set up shop in the Virgin Islands in 1998, calling himself a “financial doctor” who had decided to settle there after “vacationing up and down the world,” according to a transcript of a hearing the next year as he sought tax incentives that were ultimately granted. During his extensive remarks — an official interrupted Mr. Epstein’s soliloquy at one point to remind him he had only 15 minutes to make a presentation — he discussed working at Bear Stearns and opined about that “electronic mail” was rendering the fax machine obsolete.

He also boasted about managing money for Leslie H. Wexner, the longtime chief executive of the company that runs Victoria’s Secret, who recently said Mr. Epstein had misappropriated large sums of money from him.

The end of their association is evident in the income statements of Financial Trust. The company reported fee income — money charged to clients for services, rather than gains from investments — of $66 million in 2006. In 2007, the year that Mr. Wexner said he had cut ties with Mr. Epstein, Financial Trust’s fee income was just shy of $4 million. In 2008, it was $100,000.

Financial Trust reported fee income of $100,000 for the next three years, then none in 2012 — the year Southern Trust was founded.

In 2013, its first full year in existence, Southern Trust reported fee income of $51 million.

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

Diplomat Kurt Volker Caught Up In Whirlwind Of Impeachment Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1158048811_wide-71f4bc972e9860be02c13b04a40f4880da3e956c-s1100-c15 Diplomat Kurt Volker Caught Up In Whirlwind Of Impeachment Inquiry

Then-U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on July 27. Volker is being deposed on Thursday as part of the House impeachment inquiry. Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption

Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Diplomat Kurt Volker Caught Up In Whirlwind Of Impeachment Inquiry

Then-U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on July 27. Volker is being deposed on Thursday as part of the House impeachment inquiry.

Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

On paper, Kurt Volker’s job in the Trump administration was to support Ukraine and help end a war started by Russia in the east of the former Soviet Republic. Volker is now caught up in a political battle at home over President Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Volker will be deposed Thursday behind closed doors as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Volker, 54, was a career diplomat who focused on Europe and was tapped by then-President George W. Bush in 2008 to serve as the U.S. ambassador to NATO, a position he held for less than a year.

By the time Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and sent troops to foment an uprising in eastern Ukraine, Volker was out of government, running the McCain Institute, a think tank in Washington run by Arizona State University. He was critical of the Obama administration’s approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

“The most frequent phrase you hear out of mouths now is there is no military solution, and I think we just have to reject that,” he told NPR in a 2015 interview. “We are seeing a military solution play out before our eyes on the ground in Ukraine, and it happens to be one that we don’t like. It’s Putin’s military solution.”

Volker returned to the State Department in July 2017 when he was tapped by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to serve as U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

Andrew Weiss, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Volker was an unlikely fit in the Trump administration.

“It was indicative of just how hard it was to get credentialed middle-of-the-road or right-of-center Republicans to serve in this administration,” Weiss said. “So there was a real shortage of talented experienced people coming in. Kurt was one of the exceptions to that.”

Kurt was appointed with a specific role in mind, Weiss said: halting the conflict in eastern Ukraine. But that mandate broadened over time.

“He ended up having a far wider portfolio that involved running U.S. policy on Ukraine writ large,” Weiss said.

For one thing, Volker had to unify the Trump administration’s position on Ukraine.

“Donald Trump came into office with a very bad attitude about Ukraine as a candidate,” Weiss added. “[Trump] repeatedly talked about how Crimea would have been happier being part of Russia and how basically Ukraine was secondary to his all-important goal of resetting relations with the Kremlin.”

Volker, though, made sure that the Trump administration sided with Ukraine when it comes to Crimea. He also oversaw a change in policy, with the U.S. now providing anti-tank systems and other defensive weapons to Ukraine in its conflict with Russian-backed forces in Ukraine’s east.

Volker’s work with the State Department was a part-time, volunteer job. He held on to his position at the McCain Institute and BGR, a powerful lobbying firm that represents Ukraine and Raytheon.

Raytheon manufactures the Javelin missiles that were part of the Trump administration’s military aid package to Ukraine. The work raised questions about potential conflicts of interest. Volker did have an ethics agreement approved by State Department lawyers and recused himself from some of BGR’s work. He has not been accused of violating any conflict-of-interest rules.

Instead, it is Volker’s work with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that is now under investigation. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, tweeted on Sept. 27 that Volker has “a well deserved reputation for fairness, toughness and integrity.”

But, Murphy told NPR, “my esteem for Kurt frankly makes me even more disappointed that he has become part of this mess and perhaps facilitated the corruption of the State Department.”

Volker resigned as special representative on Sept. 27. Volker offered no public explanation, and Murphy — who recently visited Ukraine — is calling on him to speak up now.

“I’m glad that Kurt stepped down, and now he needs to fess up to what he knows and what he did,” said Murphy.

According to a whistleblower complaint filed last month about an interaction President Trump had with the leader of Ukraine, Volker visited Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv a day after the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Volker “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ ” Trump’s demands, according to the complaint. The as-yet unidentified whistleblower, citing multiple officials, claimed that Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The complaint is now central to the impeachment inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sept. 24.

The Carnegie Endowment’s Weiss said Volker may have believed he had to “corral the crazy stuff that Giuliani was doing to make sure that it wouldn’t contaminate or impede the important work of U.S. foreign policy.”

“Donald Trump clearly thought that embracing Giuliani’s quixotic quest to get the goods on the supposed Ukrainian interference in 2016 was the priority for U.S. foreign policy,” said Weiss. “He had this exactly backwards compared to work Volker and other career officials were doing.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making a different case. He told reporters during a news conference in Rome that Volker was focused on “taking down the threat that Russia poses there in Ukraine,” adding that continues despite “all this noise going on.”

Volker has not commented publicly on the matter, because of the House investigations.

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

Tennessee man left child alone in hot car while he bought cocaine: cops

Westlake Legal Group shawn-barber-new Tennessee man left child alone in hot car while he bought cocaine: cops fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 470ce139-5e47-5f26-884f-3d785e963a8b

A Tennessee man was charged with felony child neglect Wednesday after he allegedly left his 23-month-old great nephew unattended inside a hot car in a fast food restaurant parking lot and went to buy cocaine, police said.

ARIZONA 4-MONTH-OLD BECOMES STATE’S 4TH CHILD TO DIE IN HOT CAR THIS YEAR: COPS

Shawn Barber, 42, left the child inside his vehicle outside a Jack in the Box in Nashville on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Employees brought the child inside the restaurant, telling police they found him unattended in the vehicle, which had the windows rolled down and keys still inside, FOX 17 Nashville reported.

Responding police officers said they questioned Barber once he returned to the vehicle. He allegedly admitted leaving the child alone and went to another location to buy cocaine.

The child’s mother told police Barber came to her apartment to babysit her son while she left to pick up her other children from school. Barber drove off with the child after she left, according to FOX 17. The Nashville Fire Department transported the child to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to be evaluated. He was unharmed, authorities said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Temperatures reached as high as 90 degrees in Nashville on Wednesday, according to Time and Date. The National Security Council reports 47 children across the country perished in hot car deaths in 2019. Last year marked the highest year on record for hot car deaths in two decades after 53 children died from vehicular heatstroke.

Westlake Legal Group shawn-barber-new Tennessee man left child alone in hot car while he bought cocaine: cops fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 470ce139-5e47-5f26-884f-3d785e963a8b   Westlake Legal Group shawn-barber-new Tennessee man left child alone in hot car while he bought cocaine: cops fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 470ce139-5e47-5f26-884f-3d785e963a8b

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

McDonald’s announces new McCafe seasonal coffee, and it’s not pumpkin-spiced

McDonald’s is attempting to cram some late-fall flavors into its McCafé offerings.

On Thursday, McDonald’s announced the McCafé Cinnamon Cookie Latte as the latest seasonal drink to join a menu that already includes various flavored coffees and breakfast items.

‘HOT GUY’ COFFEE SHOP OPENS UP IN PLACE OF BIKINI-BARISTA LOCATION

Billed as McCafé’s first “new seasonal beverage in five years,” the Cinnamon Cookie Latte is made with espresso, milk, and “the sweet taste of cinnamon,” according to the somewhat vague description provided by McDonald’s.

Westlake Legal Group McCafeHoliday McDonald's announces new McCafe seasonal coffee, and it's not pumpkin-spiced Michael Bartiromo fox-news/lifestyle/food-trends fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox-news/food-drink/drinks/coffee fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 557c3569-d89f-558c-b81f-d237d7a1437e

The Cinnamon Cookie Latte will join the seasonal menu on Nov. 6 along with Donut Sticks, which were originally introduced to the menu in Feb. 2019. (McDonald’s)

The Cinnamon Cookie Latte will be available at locations across the country starting on Nov. 6, but only for a limited time “throughout the holidays.” The drink will also be available in both hot and iced varieties for $2 apiece.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

And, as the Internet has learned from Starbucks lo these many years, no seasonal beverage is complete without a festive cup. To that end, McDonald’s has decorated its cups in “a fresh coat of glistening snow.”

Along with its new latte, McDonald’s is bringing its Donut Sticks back to the McCafé menu after debuting the treats in February 2019 and attracting the ire of Dunkin’, who debuted its similar Donut Fries not long before. But unlike the Donut Fries before them, McDonald’s returning Donut Sticks will be accompanied by a brand-new chocolate dipping sauce, reportedly created in response to customer demand.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The Donut Sticks, too, will be available from Nov. 6 “throughout the holidays.”

Westlake Legal Group McCafeHoliday McDonald's announces new McCafe seasonal coffee, and it's not pumpkin-spiced Michael Bartiromo fox-news/lifestyle/food-trends fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox-news/food-drink/drinks/coffee fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 557c3569-d89f-558c-b81f-d237d7a1437e   Westlake Legal Group McCafeHoliday McDonald's announces new McCafe seasonal coffee, and it's not pumpkin-spiced Michael Bartiromo fox-news/lifestyle/food-trends fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox-news/food-drink/drinks/coffee fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 557c3569-d89f-558c-b81f-d237d7a1437e

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

Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’

Marie Osmond loves her husband so much that she married him twice.

The 59-year-old first tied the knot with Steve Craig in 1982 but the couple called it quits in 1985. However, the pair reunited and said “I do” again in 2011, 26 years after their divorce.

“Nothing is an accident,” the entertainer told People on Wednesday. “I am a spiritual person. So [I believe] God has his timing.”

MARIE OSMOND’S SON WAS BULLIED BEFORE HIS SUICIDE: ‘I NEVER TOOK ACTION’

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-577553148 Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

Steve Craig and entertainer Marie Osmond attend the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Jason Bourne” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on July 18, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

According to the outlet, Osmond was just 22 and fresh off her popular variety series “Donny & Marie” when she first married Craig. The pair first met when she was a teen. Less than a year later, the couple welcomed their son Stephen, now 36. However, Osmond admitted married life wasn’t so blissful — at least the first time around.

“Everyone was telling me my career was over,” she recalled, adding that her marriage to Craig “had some trouble.” They ultimately divorced.

“All of a sudden I’m a single mom and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent, let alone feed my kid,” said Osmond. “So I decided I had to get back to work.”

MARIE OSMOND OPENS UP ABOUT FAMILY’S HEALTH ISSUES, HOW FAITH GETS HER THROUGH TROUBLED TIMES

Westlake Legal Group OsmondFamily1 Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

The Osmonds: Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Jimmy, Donny, Marie and Alan Osmond, on May 28, 1975, in London. (Michael Putland/Getty Images)

The magazine shared Osmond began buying potential stage outfits from the Limited Express and hand sewing sequins onto the costumes. Within two years later, Osmond was at the top of the country music charts and enjoying a thriving career. She also married her second husband Brian Blosil in 1986.

Osmond admitted to the outlet that she rushed into that relationship.

“You have to be so careful not to jump into a relationship after you’ve been through a sad one,” explained Osmond. “You really need time on your own. And you need to know that you’re a good person in order to find a good person.”

Osmond and Blosil’s marriage ended in 2007. The couple shares six children. Osmond’s son Michael died in 2010 at age 19.

Westlake Legal Group MarieOsmond1 Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

Marie Osmond was announced as the new host for Season 10 of “The Talk” on May 7, 2019. (Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

MARIE OSMOND RECALLS THE ‘RIPPLE EFFECT’ SON MICHAEL’S SUICIDE LEFT ON FAMILY NEARLY 10 YEARS LATER

“I never wanted to be married again,” said Osmond. “I was like, ‘I’m fine, I’m good!’”

However, Osmond wasn’t prepared to reconnect with Craig again through their son Stephen.

“The thing about a second marriage is that you realize things you thought were so important, aren’t,” said Osmond. “I love being with my husband. He is the sweetest man I know. He lives to serve and really listens to people’s needs.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1130412640 Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

Marie Osmond gets candid about her marriage. (Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty)

Despite rekindling their relationship, their son Stephen was initially “a little scared” of his parents getting back together decades later.

MARIE OSMOND REFLECTS ON DATING RUMORS, BODY SHAMING AND BULLYING

“Stephen was getting married and we [realized] we can’t go to our son’s wedding and not be married,” said Osmond. “So we got married a few months before he did. He joked that he never thought it would happen, but it did!”

Osmond is in a much happier place, all thanks to her children.

Back in 2007, the star collapsed in front of a stunned audience after her samba routine at “Dancing with the Stars.” At the time, People reported host Tom Bergeron quickly sent the show to commercial as two medics and Osmond’s manager rushed to her side. The ballroom was silent for more than a minute before Osmond was helped to her feet.

At the time, Osmond told the magazine she knew something was wrong even before her fall.

DONNY AND MARIE OSMOND EXPLAIN WHY THEY ARE ENDING THEIR LAS VEGAS RESIDENCY

“Doing rehearsals, I was out of breath,” she recalled. Osmond added that during the previous five years, she gained 40 lbs. while caring for her parents, each of whom battled heart disease at the end of their lives, and struggled with her divorce of Blosil.

Westlake Legal Group marieosmond Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

Currently a spokesperson for Nutrisystem, Marie Osmond credits the weight loss program with helping her shed 50 pounds. (Reuters)

“[My son Stephen] said, ‘Mom, it would really be nice if you were there for my kids,’” said Osmond.

That’s when Osmond decided to embark on a weight-loss journey. The magazine noted that in five months she lost those 40 lbs. with the help of NutriSystem, as well as the strenuous dance routines she learned during her time on “Dancing with the Stars.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

“The hardest thing was worrying about what everybody else was going to eat,” she said. “But I told my family, ‘Mom has to focus on mom right now.’”

Westlake Legal Group Marie-Osmond-2007-Reuters Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article   Westlake Legal Group Marie-Osmond-2007-Reuters Marie Osmond on remarrying first husband Steve Craig: ‘Nothing is an accident’ Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/entertainment/events/marriage fox-news/entertainment/events/divorce fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e3c79869-cf4a-5662-a30c-57195ed8270f article

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

Teen Protester Who Was Shot In The Chest By Hong Kong Police Faces Criminal Charges

Westlake Legal Group 5d95a3002100003c02f9cb0c Teen Protester Who Was Shot In The Chest By Hong Kong Police Faces Criminal Charges

HONG KONG (AP) — Police say criminal charges will be filed against the 18-year-old Hong Kong student who was the first victim of police gunfire in the months-long pro-democracy protests.

The shooting Tuesday on one of the most violent days of the demonstrations inflamed anger against police, who already have been accused of being heavy-handed against protesters. 

The officer fired as the teen, Tsang Chi-kin, struck him with a metal rod. The government has said Tsang’s condition was stable after surgery. 

A police statement said the youth will be charged Thursday afternoon with two counts of attacking police. It is unclear if he will appear in court.

Thousands of people rallied Wednesday to demand police accountability for the shooting, with many saying the use of lethal weaponry was unjustified.

“The Hong Kong police have gone trigger-happy and nuts,” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said.

Mo, who said she repeatedly watched videos of the shooting, echoed what many people expressed.

“The sensible police response should have been to use a police baton or pepper spray, etc., to fight back. It wasn’t exactly an extreme situation and the use of a live bullet simply cannot be justified,” she said.

More than 2,000 people chanted “No rioters, only tyranny” as they filled an open-air stadium near Tsang’s school in Tsuen Wan district in northern Hong Kong on Wednesday night. Many held posters reading, “Don’t shoot our kids” and held an arm across their chest below their left shoulder — the location of Tsang’s gunshot wound.

Several other peaceful rallies were held elsewhere, with protesters vowing not to give up their fight for more rights including direct elections for the city’s leaders and police accountability.

But pockets of protesters vented their anger. Black-clad youths smashed ticket machines and vandalized facilities at two northern subway stations. In Tsuen Wan, hundreds marched along the streets. Some smashed Bank of China teller machines and others removed metal railings and dug up bricks from pavements to build barriers, blocking traffic.

Earlier Wednesday, hundreds of people, including students, sat crossed-legged outside Tsang’s school chanting anti-police slogans. One held a hand-written message condemning “thug police.”

Schoolmates said Tsang loves basketball and was passionate about the pro-democracy cause. A student who wore a Guy Fawkes mask and declined to be named because of fear of retribution said Tsang was “like a big brother” to him and other junior students.

“During the protests, we would feel safe if he is around because he was always the first to charge forward and would protect us when we were in danger,” the student said.

“I vividly remember him saying that he would rather die than be arrested. What an awful twist of fate that it was he of all people who was shot by the police.”

Many students felt that firing at Tsang’s chest, close to his heart, was an attempt to kill him. Police said Tsang has been arrested despite being hospitalized and that authorities will decide later whether to press charges.

More than 1,000 office workers also skipped their lunch to join an impromptu march in the city’s business district against the shooting, which police have defended as “reasonable and lawful.”

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said late Tuesday the officer had feared for his life and made “a split-second” decision to fire a single shot at close range. He denied police had been given permission to shoot to kill.

Responding to questions about why the officer shot at Tsang’s chest, instead of his limbs, Deputy Police Commissioner Tang Ping-Keung said Wednesday the officer had fired at an area that could immobilize the youth quickly.

Tang said the officer’s action was in line with international procedures, but that police would conduct an in-depth investigation into the shooting.

Videos on social media of the shooting showed a dozen black-clad protesters throwing objects at police and closing in on a lone officer, who opened fire as the masked Tsang came at him with a metal rod. Just as another protester rushed in to try to drag Tsang away but was tackled by an officer, a gasoline bomb landed in the middle of the group of officers in an explosion of flames.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Tuesday as usually bustling streets became battlefields. Thumbing their noses at Chinese President Xi Jinping, protesters ignored a security clampdown and fanned across the city armed with gasoline bombs, sticks and bricks.

Hong Kong’s government said the widespread rioting Tuesday was orchestrated, echoing Beijing’s stance, and called on parents and teachers to help restrain young protesters.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab criticized the shooting as “disproportionate” and some U.S. lawmakers also joined in the condemnation.

The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong accused British and American politicians of condoning violence and crime. It called the rioters the “greatest threat to Hong Kong and the common enemy of the international community.”

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

Judge hugs Amber Guyger, gives her a Bible after murder conviction, causing stir

The judge in the murder trial of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer sentenced to 10 years for fatally shooting her neighbor, caused a stir Wednesday when she hugged the convicted killer after the sentencing.

While some praised the move as a demonstration of religious faith, others — including former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill — criticized the judge’s action as “unacceptable.”

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, had been fired and charged with manslaughter after she entered Botham Jean’s apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, thinking it was her own and shot him twice, killing him. She was indicted on a murder charge two months later.

AMBER GUYGER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN SHOOTING THAT KILLED BOTHAM JEAN IN DALLAS; VICTIM’S BROTHER HUGS HER IN COURT

Westlake Legal Group AP19276009856037 Judge hugs Amber Guyger, gives her a Bible after murder conviction, causing stir fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 338e1af0-5852-5d40-8d10-c009e5c0284d

State District Judge Tammy Kemp gives former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger a hug before Guyger leaves for jail, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. Guyger, who said she mistook neighbor Botham Jean’s apartment for her own and fatally shot him in his living room, was sentenced to a decade in prison. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Following Wednesday’s sentencing, Judge Tammy Kemp comforted Jean’s family, then briefly spoke with Guyger and left the room. The judge soon returned with a Bible, WFAA-TV of Dallas reported.

“You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this,” she said, giving the Bible to Guyger.

Kemp and Guyger then embraced. The hug came after the brother of murder victim Botham Jean made a similar gesture toward Guyger.

“You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven,” the judge told Guyger, according to WFAA. “You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.”

Protesters and some on social media decried both the sentencing and Kemp’s embrace of Guyger.

“[T]his judge choosing to hug this woman is unacceptable,” Atlantic columnist Jemele Hill wrote on Twitter. “Keep in mind this convicted murderer is the same one who laughed about Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, and killing ppl on sight.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The courtroom was brought to tears earlier when Jean’s brother hugged Guyger and said, “I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want.”

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19276009856037 Judge hugs Amber Guyger, gives her a Bible after murder conviction, causing stir fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 338e1af0-5852-5d40-8d10-c009e5c0284d   Westlake Legal Group AP19276009856037 Judge hugs Amber Guyger, gives her a Bible after murder conviction, causing stir fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 338e1af0-5852-5d40-8d10-c009e5c0284d

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