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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 25)

U.N. Expert Clarifies Statistic On U.S. Detention Of Migrant Children

Westlake Legal Group facebook-default-wide U.N. Expert Clarifies Statistic On U.S. Detention Of Migrant Children

The author of a sweeping new U.N. study on the detaining and jailing of children worldwide acknowledges that he erred in saying the U.S. is holding more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention. The author, a human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak, says he wasn’t aware at the time that the number was from 2015. He adds that it reflected the number of children detained during the entire year.

Nowak acknowledges that his use of the statistic was misleading, but he also maintains that his main point about the U.S. having high incarceration and detention rates for children still stands. In an interview with NPR on Wednesday, he says he was citing a number from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

“I used the UNHCR data because it was the last UNHCR figure that was published, and that goes back to the year 2015,” Nowak says. “And I haven’t checked it that clearly in the press conference. So that was, of course, misleading.”

Nowak mentioned the number on Monday, as he discussed the U.N.-sponsored Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty at a news conference in Geneva.

Referring to children who were detained by the U.S. after arriving at the border either unaccompanied or with their parents, Nowak said earlier this week:

“The United States is one of the countries with the highest numbers. We have more than, still more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention in the United States of America. So that’s far more than all the other countries where we have reliable figures.”

His comments were reported Tuesday by multiple news outlets, including NPR, which removed its story when Nowak’s error became apparent.

Revelations that the U.S. detention statistic dated to the Obama administration drew intense attention because as he spoke about the detention figure, Nowak also pointedly criticized the Trump administration’s policies of separating children from their parents at the border.

“I would call it inhuman treatment for both the parents and the children,” he said on Monday, adding that he believes the policy runs afoul of several international civil rights treaties.

In the U.S., children who arrive at the border unaccompanied are placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, through its Unaccompanied Alien Children program and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

HHS says that over the 2019 financial year, approximately 69,550 unaccompanied children were referred to the UAC program. In its most recent news release about the number of minors in its care, the agency adds that since 2012, “this number has jumped dramatically.”

HHS currently has approximately 3,900 children in its custody through the UAC program, the agency says in an email to NPR.

“The system-wide average length of care for minors discharged from ORR in the month of September 2019 is 57 days, down from the recent high of 93 days in November 2018,” the agency says.

HHS also lists the number of children it has unified with a sponsor in recent fiscal years, under both the Trump and Obama administrations:

  • 2013-14 – 53,515
  • 2014-15 – 27,840
  • 2015-16 – 52,147
  • 2016-17 – 42,497
  • 2017-18 – 34,815
  • 2018-19 – 72,593

When asked about the latest HHS figures, Nowak says, “So perhaps it’s really down now to 69,000. That’s fine — but again, it’s much higher than other states that detain children in migration-related detention. So it’s still the highest number. So I think the main message remains the same.”

As for how he came to quote data from 2015 — the year before he was selected to lead the U.N.’s global study on child detentions — Nowak said he was trying to answer one of the first questions at Monday’s news conference, which focused on the U.S. detention of children as part of its migration policies.

“I received quick info from my assistant, where he said that’s the latest data that we have,” Nowak says. “But I didn’t know at that moment that it was [from] 2015. If I would have known that, I would not have mentioned it, because that’s sometime ago.”

The 2015 statistic does not appear in his global study’s section on the U.S., Nowak notes. And he adds that he stands by the figures that are compiled in his report.

“Whatever you read in the report is definitely accurate,” Nowak says, adding, “we really checked it very, very well.”

To compile the study, Nowak and his researchers sorted through official records and statistics from advocacy groups and countries’ replies. They also sent out questionnaires. Nowak said on Monday that the U.S. didn’t respond to his team’s official requests for data — but he added that many of the numbers they were seeking were publicly available.

The global study’s release coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. signed the agreement but never ratified it; today, the United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the U.N.’s treaty on children’s rights.

The study includes a key paragraph about the U.S. policy of detaining children in the process of enforcing migration laws, referring to a span that includes both the Trump and Obama administrations:

“In the United States, in a period of 3 years, between 2013 and 2015 immigration authorities detained 278,885 children. Apprehensions (and detention) of children reached a peak between October 2018 and August 2019, the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2019 (fiscal year, FY), when US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended 72,873 unaccompanied children and 457,871 members of ‘family units’ at or near the US-Mexico border. Between 2013 and 2018, the annual number of apprehensions of unaccompanied children varied between ca. 39,000 and ca. 69,000. The annual number of apprehensions of ‘family units’ varied between ca. 15,000 and 107,000 annually.”

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Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks

A police dashcam on Tuesday captured an Amtrak train in New Jersey slamming into the car of an alleged drunken driver who’d gotten stuck on the tracks.

The collision happened around midnight Tuesday underneath the Route #64 Bridge near the Princeton Junction Train Station in West Windsor, police said in a press release.

Westlake Legal Group NJ Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article

The moment after a westbound Amtrak train collided with a disabled vehicle on the tracks.  (WWPD)

Officers, responding to a call about a disabled vehicle on the tracks, found a 2012 Toyota Camry facing east while stuck on the westbound Amtrak track.

The driver, 23-year-old Amna Ahmed, approached one of the officers for assistance. Her father and sister had arrived on the scene in a white BMW to help.

Trains were notified to stop traffic because of the disabled Toyota and multiple people near the tracks.  Still, a westbound Amtrak approached at a high rate of speed, and an officer cautioned those by the tracks to take cover.

The train struck the Toyota, sending debris flying where the officers had been standing. The Toyota was destroyed and pushed into a patrol car which sustained significant damage.

OFF-DUTY NYPD COP KILLED, FDNY MEMBER AMONG 2 CRITICALLY INJURED, IN HORROR EARLY MORNING CRASH

Another patrol car and the white BMW sustained minimal damage after being hit with debris from the Toyota. The train sustained heavy damage to its engine car and numerous other trailing train cars, according to police.

Despite the damage, no injuries were reported. The collision shut down traffic in the surrounding area for several hours.

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Police determined Amna had been driving while intoxicated and transported her to police headquarters for processing. She was charged with reckless driving and DWI before being released pending a future appearance at the West Windsor Municipal Court, police said.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106784993001_6106790554001-vs Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106784993001_6106790554001-vs Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article

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Here’s how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build

Ford’s hoping the Mustang Mach-E will be a sales hit when it goes on sale late next year, but it definitely won’t be as big as the original pony car

Ford sold over 400,000 Mustangs in the 12 months following its April 1964 debut and more than a million by the end of 1965, but it only has the capability to produce about 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es, regardless of the demand for the all-electric SUV.

Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article

That’s according to Ford President Joe Hinrichs, who said battery availability is the limiting factor for the Mexican-made model, Detroit News reporter Ian Thibodeau reported.

Ford began taking orders on Sunday for the Mustang Mach-E, which has a starting price of $44,995, but hadn’t previously revealed how many would be available.

9 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE MUSTANG MACH-E

Tesla will be ramping up production of the similarly priced Model Y crossover at about the same time the Mustang Mach-E goes on sale. The California factory where the Model Y will be built has a proven capability to manufacture nearly 400,000 cars per year, which could increase in 2020, but Tesla hasn’t said how much of that capacity might be allocated to the Model Y.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article   Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article

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Discussion Thread: Day Four of House Public Impeachment Hearings – Afternoon Session – 11/20/2019 | Laura Cooper and David Hale – Estimated Live 4:30pm EST

Westlake Legal Group 8P_eCqT8F6FCrEXr6ZMMab73T8d1ONiem9lbOAOW1HE Discussion Thread: Day Four of House Public Impeachment Hearings – Afternoon Session - 11/20/2019 | Laura Cooper and David Hale – Estimated Live 4:30pm EST r/politics

This morning the House Intelligence Committee will hold their sixth round of public hearings in preparation for possible Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Testifying today are Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and David Hale, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

The hearing is estimated to begin at 4:30pm EST. You can watch live online on CSPAN or PBS. Most major networks will also air live coverage.)

You can listen online via C-Span or download the C-Span Radio App

For a great overview of the Impeachment Process, check out PBS News Hour’s Guide to the Impeachment Hearings


Today’s hearing is expected to follow the format for Impeachment Hearings as laid out in H.R. 660

  • Opening statements by Chairman Adam Schiff, Ranking Member Devin Nunes, Laura Cooper and David Hale, followed by:

  • Two continuous 45 minutes sessions of questioning, largely led by staff counsel, followed by:

  • Committee Members each allowed 5 minutes of time for questions and statements, alternating from Dem to Rep, followed by:

  • Closing statements by Ranking Member Devin Nunes and Chairman Adam Schiff


Day One archives – William Taylor and George Kent:

Day Two archives – Marie Yovanovitch:

Day Three archives – Morning Session – Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams:

Day Three archives – Afternoon Session – Kurt Vokler and Tim Morrison

Day Four archives – Morning Session – Gordon Sondland


Upcoming Hearings:

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Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia!

<img data-attachment-id="49938" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2017/10/train-depots-part-1/historic-bristol-train-station/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train.jpg" data-orig-size="1348,899" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"Historic Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol.\r\rVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"SWVA Cultural Heritage Foundation","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Historic Bristol Train Station","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Historic Bristol Train Station" data-image-description="

Historic Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train-1024×683.jpg” class=”alignright size-full wp-image-49938″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train.jpg” alt=”Historic Bristol Train Station” width=”100%” height=”100%” srcset=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train.jpg 1348w, https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train-300×200.jpg 300w, https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train-768×512.jpg 768w, https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train-1024×683.jpg 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1348px) 100vw, 1348px” data-jpibfi-post-excerpt data-jpibfi-post-url=”https://blog.virginia.org/2018/11/holiday-tours-by-train/” data-jpibfi-post-title=”Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia!” data-jpibfi-src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train.jpg”>

It’s the season when Virginia decks the halls and opens its doors to visitors, with historic home tours across the Commonwealth. Luckily, many of these tours are in places that are served by Amtrak, so you can skip the traffic jams and parking wars and pull right into town. Here’s a sampling of Virginia holiday tours and events that are within a short walk or Lyft ride from an Amtrak station:

 

Pull into this charming town via Amtrak and take a 7-minute walk to the city’s South East neighborhood, where seven historic homes are open for touring. The tour includes the Italianate style Hill Mansion, built in the 1850s. Tickets are available online for $20 or $25 cash in several locations.

Take the train into Williamsburg, walk south a few blocks and enter the setting for an 18th century Christmas. During Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, you can see the town dressed for the holidays, hear musical performances on stages throughout the historic area, and watch a spectacular display of fireworks. No event tickets are required to walk the streets, but you’ll need one to enter buildings.

Just a 10-minute stroll from the train station, this tour winds through the picturesque streets of Fredericksburg, and into homes adorned by professional decorators, designers and artists. Evening tours on Dec. 8; daytime and evening tours Dec. 8th and 9th. Event tickets are $15-$30.

A quick Lyft ride takes you from either of Richmond’s two Amtrak stations to the beautiful Fan District. This year, you can tour 11 historic homes in a variety of architectural styles — and one of them was used in the filming of Homeland. Free trolleys will run along the tour route. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the tour.

 

Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District is about an 8-minute Lyft ride from the Amtrak station — and this year, you can tour a number of this neighborhood’s beautifully decorated homes and public buildings. If you’re up for it after the walking tour, you can walk about 27 minutes (or Lyft it) to Battersea Villa for live music, a bonfire, historic re-enactors and holiday refreshments. Tour tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day-of.

 

To book your train ride to any of these tours, go to the Amtrak website. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a large seat and views of Virginia you can only see on Amtrak. And if it snows while you’re on board, well, that’s the perfect start or finish to any holiday tour.

Now’s the time to plan for a year of exploration.

The year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. In recognition of this milestone year, the Commonwealth of Virginia and several key partners will launch American Evolution™, a statewide series of events, educational programs and summits that will build awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of our country. Learn more about American Evolution, and book your Amtrak tickets to the destinations for these enlightening events now. By booking at least 14 days in advance of each event, you can save 25% on your train ticket.

Westlake Legal Group amtraklogo Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia! Story Ideas

Amtrak Virginia makes it easy to travel within the Commonwealth and throughout the Northeast Corridor. With nine passenger rail routes and 23 stations, Amtrak takes you directly to many of Virginia’s most popular destinations. All trains offer travelers wide, comfortable reclining seats and generous legroom, along with complimentary Wi-Fi service and in-seat power outlets.

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Mark Meadows: Impeachment hearing produced this ‘real bombshell’

Westlake Legal Group Turner-Sondland-AP Mark Meadows: Impeachment hearing produced this 'real bombshell' Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 135bad7e-c3e7-577a-8a22-0699c02d3252

GOP Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, hammered America’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, during Wednesday’s testimony, seizing on Sondland’s admission that he never heard the president or anyone else in the White House explicitly link Ukrainian aid with the opening of an investigation into 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., applauded his colleague on producing “the real bombshell” of Sondland’s long-anticipated testimony and marked the moment as “game over,” for the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry. That inquiry is focusing on an alleged quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine linking military aid and White House access to Ukraine probes beneficial to Trump.

During a fiery exchange, Turner focused on the Republican Party’s main defense of Trump, asking Sondland: “Is that your testimony today, Mr. Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigation to the aid? Because I don’t think you’re saying that.”

Sondland admitted that he was “presuming” the stalled military aid was linked to Trump allegedly asking  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens’ financial interests in Ukraine.

SONDLAND IMPLICATES TOP OFFICIALS ON UKRAINE, BUT SAYS HE ‘NEVER HEARD’ QUID PRO QUO FROM TRUMP

“So no one told you,” Turner pressed on. “Not just the president. Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you. Nobody. Pompeo didn’t tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?”

The congressman cut Sondland off, restating his point: “No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigations, because if your answer is yes, then the chairman is wrong and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations. Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Sondland replied.

“So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?” Turner asked.

“Other than my own presumption,” Sondland said.

Throughout Wednesday’s testimony, Sondland insisted that although he never explicitly heard the president or anyone in the administration demand investigations in exchange for aid, he never got a clear answer on why the aid was held up. He said the absence of a clear explanation led him to believe that the aid and the investigations were being linked.

Turner dismissed Sondland’s “presumption” as “nothing” and called his testimony “made up.”

“You know what hearsay evidence is, ambassador?” Turner said. “Hearsay is when I testify what someone else told me. Do you know what made-up testimony is? Made-up testimony is when I just presume it. I mean you’re just assuming all of these things and then you’re giving them the evidence that they’re running out and doing press conferences and CNN’s headline is saying that you’re saying the president of the United States should be impeached because he tied aid to investigations — and you don’t know that. Correct?”

“I never said the president of the United States should be impeached,” Sondland responded.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Still, Sondland’s earlier testimony to the committee linked the potential Ukraine investigations and a White House meeting and call between Trump and Zelensky. He said Giuliani played an integral, if not unconventional, role in those arrangements — and he said he explicitly expressed his fears about an inappropriate quid pro quo.

“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?” Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

Westlake Legal Group Turner-Sondland-AP Mark Meadows: Impeachment hearing produced this 'real bombshell' Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 135bad7e-c3e7-577a-8a22-0699c02d3252   Westlake Legal Group Turner-Sondland-AP Mark Meadows: Impeachment hearing produced this 'real bombshell' Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 135bad7e-c3e7-577a-8a22-0699c02d3252

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Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warns about Warren tax plan: ‘Not remotely feasible’

Westlake Legal Group Summers-Warren-Reuters-AP Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warns about Warren tax plan: 'Not remotely feasible' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/us/economy fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc article 74ebe227-6a28-55a3-bd92-1faf50d65307

Economist Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, warned on Tuesday that Sen. Elizabeth Warren‘s tax plan could create “catastrophic economic consequences.”

“I don’t think that taxation approaching confiscatory is remotely feasible and, if it was tried, would have catastrophic economic consequences,” Summers, a former president of Harvard University, told CNBC.

Summers, who also was a former director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, was the latest Democrat to express skepticism over proposals pushed by more progressive elements in the party.

“Essentially, what Sen. Warren’s plans would do, as I read them, is they go through every option that has been selected as the possible strategy for raising progressivity and tries to do them all of them at once,” Summers said. “And when you try to do all of them at once, you’re collecting essentially about as much taxes as the total after-tax AGI, adjusted gross income, of all the millionaires.”

OBAMA TAKES VEILED SHOT AT WARREN AND SANDERS, WARNS 2020 DEMS AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO ‘TEAR DOWN THE SYSTEM’

Warren, D-Mass., previously proposed a two percent tax on wealth above $50 million as well as a three percent tax on wealth that surpassed $1 billion. That later changed to six percent after Warren faced questions over how she would pay for her “Medicare-for-all” plan — a massive proposal that conservatives have warned would cost too much and burden the economy.

More from Media

According to The Wall Street Journal, the rates could vary and make 100 percent tax rates “typical” for investment income.

IS ELIZABETH WARREN’S PROPOSED WEALTH TAX LEGAL OR EVEN PRACTICAL?: EXPERT PANEL DEBATES

Summers previously bashed the idea of a wealth tax, arguing in October that Congress and the Supreme Court would likely reject it.

“For progressives to invest their energy in a proposal that the Supreme Court has better than a 50 percent chance of declaring unconstitutional, that has very little chance of passing through the Congress, whose revenue potential is extraordinarily in doubt — for that to be the defining element in the progressive agenda in the United States, it seems to me to potentially sacrifice an immense opportunity,” he said.

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Warren, however, maintains that she can pay for her health plan without raising middle-class taxes. On her website, she claims that her all her tax changes would generate trillions of dollars in revenue over the next decade.

“We can raise another $3 trillion over ten years by asking the top 1 percent of households in America to pay a little more,” she said. Overall, she projects the cost will total just under $52 trillion.

Westlake Legal Group Summers-Warren-Reuters-AP Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warns about Warren tax plan: 'Not remotely feasible' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/us/economy fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc article 74ebe227-6a28-55a3-bd92-1faf50d65307   Westlake Legal Group Summers-Warren-Reuters-AP Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warns about Warren tax plan: 'Not remotely feasible' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/us/economy fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox news fnc/media fnc article 74ebe227-6a28-55a3-bd92-1faf50d65307

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign

Video

transcript

Trump Impeachment Hearings Highlights So Far

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

Secretary Perry Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We were playing the hand, we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election VNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States. And we knew these investigations were important to the president. Members of this committee. Frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question, was there a quid pro quo. As I testify previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting the answer is yes, we all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and the right White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements. One of the things that you. Now remember is the discussion that you had with President Trump on July 26 in that restaurant in Kiev right. Yeah What triggered my memory was someone’s reference to a A$AP Rocky which was I believe the primary purpose of the phone call. You called President Trump from your cell phone from the restaurant is that right. That’s right. You confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky quote loves your ass unquote. Do you recall saying that it sounds like something I would say you said, President Trump had directed you to talk you and the others to talk to Rudy Giuliani at the Oval Office on May 23rd if we wanted to get anything done with Ukraine. It was apparent to us. We needed to talk to Rudy right. You understood that Mr. Giuliani spoke for the president, correct. That’s correct. You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct. That’s our understanding. How did you know that. Who told you. Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorneys. And then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands we assume it’s coming from the president. You don’t have records you don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability isn’t that true. What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information I have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony by some texts and emails that I’ve now had access to I think I filled in a lot of blanks and it was Ambassador Bolton, who made the comment that he didn’t want to be part of any drug deal that Ambassador Sunland and Mulvaney were cooking up the investigations to get the meeting was not something he wanted to be a part of. It’s the reference to Mulvaney that I want to ask you about. You’ve testified that Mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo of this condition that the Ukrainians had to meet that is announcing this public investigations to get the White House meeting is that right. Yeah, a lot of people were aware of it and including about including Mr. Mulvaney correct. Have you seen the acting chief of staff’s press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld in part because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation. You’ve talked about. I don’t think I saw it live. I saw it later. Yeah So you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed to that Mr. Mulvaney understood that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Is that right. Well, again, I didn’t know that the aid was conclusively tied. I was presuming he was in a position to say, yes, it was or no it wasn’t because. And he said, yes, it was. And he said, yes, it was. Your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of Americans before the bilateral meeting. You referenced the fact that Ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid. I think I referenced I didn’t say that Ukraine had to do the investigations. I think I said that, we heard from Mr. Giuliani that that was the case. So it wasn’t really a presumption. You heard from Mr. Giuliani. No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-hilightsvid-promo2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

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President Trump speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’ ”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

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Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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The Best Places in Virginia to Take Your Holiday Photos

Rather than taking the standard Christmas card photo in front of the tree at home, mix it up this year and plan a trip to a Virginia destination to take your holiday pictures. You’ll get awe-inspiring snapshots while also having the unforgettable experiences that come with the magic of the holiday season in Virginia!

 

1. A Mountain Resort

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Pictured: The Omni Homestead

Plan to take your holiday photos at a Virginia Mountain Resort, then stay for an entire weekend for a getaway absolutely filled with fun. With on-site luxury spas, excellent restaurants within the grounds, and endless activities, including ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, you’ll find that two or three days aren’t close to long enough to explore a mountain resort in Virginia.

A Few Suggestions:

2. A Decorated Main Street

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Pictured: Old Town Alexandria

Virginia’s towns and cities all decorate their Main Streets for the holidays to some extent, with some going simple and sticking to lights and a few strands of garlands while others cover practically every square inch with tinsel, wreaths, and ornaments. Many Main Streets have a centerpiece tree, illuminated with thousands of lights and covered in ornaments with themes tied to the local area.

A Few Suggestions:

  • Lexington
  • Kilmarnock
  • Cape Charles
  • Alexandria
  • Charlottesville
  • Front Royal
  • Richmond
  • Fredericksburg

3. At a Scenic Mountain Vista

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Pictured: Mount Rogers

The storied rolling landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains make for an awe-inspiring backdrop. Pro-tip: Although you’ll have to plan carefully to get the timing right, the pictures will come out best if taken around sunrise or sunset.

A Few Suggestions:

4. A Hotel Lobby Decked Out for the Holidays

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Pictured: The Jefferson

Hotels anticipate lots of travel around the holidays, so it comes as no surprise that they take their lobby and grounds decorations seriously. Giant illuminated trees, countless wreathes, and unique holiday surprises are a few of the decorative touches you can expect with a visit to Virginia’s hotels.

A Few Suggestions:

 

5. An Elegant Virginia Winery

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Pictured: Pollak Vineyards

In addition to splendid holiday décor and world-class Virginia wine, you’ll find tons of seasonal events happening at wineries around the Commonwealth. Take your photo inside the tasting room in front of a roaring fireplace, or brave the cold for a few minutes to get a breathtaking background for your Christmas cards.

A Few Suggestions:

6. In Front of a Decorated LOVEwork

Westlake Legal Group lovework The Best Places in Virginia to Take Your Holiday Photos Story Ideas

Pictured: Manassas LOVEwork

There are now almost 100 LOVEworks located in every corner of Virginia and some of these are decorated for the holidays. If you’re road tripping through the Commonwealth in the upcoming month, take a look at the LOVEwork map and add a short detour to take your holiday photos!

A Few Suggestions:

7. At Your Local Christmas Tree Farm

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Pictured: Claybrook Farm

Get two items checked off your holiday checklist when you head to a Virginia Christmas tree farm this season. First, pick out the perfect tree for you and your family, and then take a picture in front of it to make a fun holiday memory last forever. Many tree farms even offer free hot chocolate, cider, visits with Santa, or other extra perks for the kids.

A Few Suggestions:

8. An Impressive Holiday Lights Display

Westlake Legal Group CN16112209V_007 The Best Places in Virginia to Take Your Holiday Photos Story Ideas

Pictured: Lewis Ginter Gardenfest of Lights

Something about the twinkle of lights makes a holiday photo absolutely beautiful, and there are plenty of places around Virginia that offer this luminous addition. You’ll discover endless lights at tacky lights tours around the state, streetside setups at local businesses, historic sites, and even botanical gardens. For a family-friendly light display, visit Busch Gardens Christmas Town, which is the biggest holiday light display in all of North America!

A Few Suggestions:

9. At a Historic Virginia Destination

Westlake Legal Group HR14121501V_008 The Best Places in Virginia to Take Your Holiday Photos Story Ideas

Pictured: Shirley Plantation

You can’t go a few miles in Virginia without coming across a notable historic site, and most go all out for the holidays, with classic (and often historically relevant) traditions and decorations. Stop by a historic site, plantation, or presidential home for a blend of history and holiday.

A Few Suggestions:

 

10. A Holiday Performance
Westlake Legal Group 03-Barter-Christmas-Photo The Best Places in Virginia to Take Your Holiday Photos Story Ideas

Pictured: Barter Theatre

If you plan on taking the family to a theater or music performance during the holidays, use the opportunity to take your holiday photos as well; the kids will already be dressed up in their holiday best, and that is not always an easy feat! Plus, the decorations add a festive backdrop that will make a gorgeous Christmas card.

A Few Suggestions:

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

Nikki and Brie Bella express interest in WWE return: ‘The world wants it’

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The Bella Twins are considering a return to the squared circle in WWE.

On Tuesday’s episode of “Total Divas,” Brie lamented to twin sister Nikki about her desire to return to the ring so the popular duo can win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.

NIKKI BELLA IS DATING AGAIN AFTER JOHN CENA SPLIT

“I feel like, our whole career, you and I always wanted the tag titles,” Brie said.

“I would love to be, at least once in my life, a tag team champion with you,” Nikki said in response.

Though the two expressed their desire to return to the ring, Brie noted that the two are publicly retired.

NIKKI BELLA SHOWS OFF TONED STOMACH WITH ARTEM CHIGVINTSEV

“The world wants it,” said Nikki, who is John Cena‘s ex.

“They just really want us to help make the tag team championships mean something,” Nikki further noted.

Brie, mother to daughter Birdie, expressed hesitation after she promised husband and fellow WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan (whose real name is Bryan Danielson) that they would try for another child.

VIN DIESEL PRAISES JOHN CENA AHEAD OF ‘FAST AND FURIOUS 9’ RELEASE

“Retirement in the WWE means you have a great story when you come out of it,” Nikki noted in an effort to persuade Brie into returning.

Brie retorted, saying “I also have to think about Bryan because I have been trying for a baby. My husband is super excited… So, if he says no because of trying for baby number two, I’m gonna respect that.”

“Nikki and I always talk about, ‘Oh! It’d be fun to make a comeback,'” Brie noted in a cutaway interview. “But, I kind of get anxiety when I think about if a comeback was really real for me. Like, how would I balance it all?”

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Daniel Bryan first retired in 2016 after mounting injuries over a 17-year career in professional wrestling. Bryan ultimately received clearance from WWE officials after two years and returned to the ring in April 2018.

The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship was introduced in December 2018, months before the Bella Twins retired in March of 2019.

Westlake Legal Group bellas2 Nikki and Brie Bella express interest in WWE return: 'The world wants it' fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 3aa619ff-8491-5c6c-bdc5-e88c9452d5a8   Westlake Legal Group bellas2 Nikki and Brie Bella express interest in WWE return: 'The world wants it' fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 3aa619ff-8491-5c6c-bdc5-e88c9452d5a8

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