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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 259)

Lamar Alexander Says He’ll Vote Against Witnesses In Trump Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 5e337a921f0000ac0b85a6a9 Lamar Alexander Says He’ll Vote Against Witnesses In Trump Impeachment Trial

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Thursday he’ll vote against the Senate calling witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, all but eliminating the prospect of individuals like former national security adviser John Bolton testifying and making acquittal almost certain.

Alexander, who is retiring from the Senate after this term, said in a Thursday evening statement that “it was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation.”

“But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate,” he continued, adding that voters should decide whether Trump remains in office.

Four Republicans would need to side with Senate Democrats to allow more witnesses. With Alexander out, it’s extremely likely Republicans will have the votes to reject witnesses and move to conclude the trial.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced late Thursday she will vote to hear from witnesses. Two other Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) — have strongly hinted they would vote in favor of allowing witnesses. Murkowski told reporters she would announce her decision on Friday morning. If those three do side with Democrats and the vote results in a tie, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, could be called in to break the tie, although most legal experts agree he’s unlikely to weigh in.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has opposed extending the trial to allow new evidence from additional witnesses, arguing that House investigators should have conducted the necessary subpoenas and that allowing further testimony would unnecessarily drag out the proceedings.

Most Republicans have followed his lead — including some viewed as potential swing voters, such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). Gardner, who is up for reelection in the fall, announced his decision Wednesday.

Despite McConnell’s opposition, Democrats have pressed for witness testimony. Their efforts have focused on Bolton, who declined to participate during the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings last year. However, revelations from a leaked draft of Bolton’s forthcoming book renewed scrutiny on the former Trump administration official, particularly his claim that Trump tied military aid for Ukraine to the country announcing it would investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. 

“We have a witness with firsthand evidence of the president’s actions for which he is on trial. He is ready and willing to testify. How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a Monday news conference. “We’re all staring a White House cover-up in the face.” 

Although Alexander said he did not need to hear from witnesses, he suggested he agrees with the impeachment managers that Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival ― he just doesn’t want to hear from more witnesses about it.  

Alexander said there was “no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.” 

“There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine,” Alexander said. “There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’”

He was more firmly behind Trump in terms of the allegation that he obstructed justice, calling it a “frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.”

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Sen. Susan Collins Says She’ll Vote For Witnesses In Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 5e33a5412400005c0a0b76b3 Sen. Susan Collins Says She’ll Vote For Witnesses In Impeachment Trial

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Thursday evening that she will vote to hear from witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. 

Collins was considered one of a small group of swing votes on the matter, which has largely broken along party lines as the Senate considers whether to remove Trump from office. The House impeached Trump in December on charges of pressuring the president of Ukraine to open an investigation that would benefit him in the 2020 election and of obstructing Congress’s efforts to investigate. 

Collins posted a statement Thursday on Twitter saying she will vote to hear from witnesses and subpoena documents.

But it’s unlikely there will be enough votes to proceed to witnesses. At least three Republican senators would need to join Democrats for a vote to allow witnesses. That possibility diminished dramatically just moments after Collins released her statement.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he would vote against calling new witnesses even though he acknowledged it was “inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent.”

“The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate,” Alexander continued.

With Alexander firmly on the GOP’s side of the political calculus, it’s unlikely Democrats would get enough votes even if the two other likely swing votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), are in favor of more witnesses. If the chamber deadlocks 50-50 on the matter, Chief Justice John Roberts could step in to break the tie, although many legal experts agree that’s an unlikely scenario.

The chamber is scheduled to hold the vote on witnesses Friday.

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Deaths Surpass 200, and State Department Urges Against Travel to China

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_168078303_f8d80d84-fa08-44ec-ab43-eadc5844e38a-articleLarge Coronavirus Live Updates: Deaths Surpass 200, and State Department Urges Against Travel to China World Health Organization Shortages SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

A patient was moved from his home to a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Thursday. Hundreds of people in the city have contracted the dangerous new coronavirus. Credit…Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The State Department on Thursday night issued a travel advisory telling Americans not to travel to China because of the public health threat posed by the coronavirus. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the travel advisory on Twitter.

The department set the new advisory at Level 4, or Red, its highest caution, which is reserved for the most dangerous situations.

The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the new coronavirus outbreak was a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease represents a risk outside of China, where it emerged last month.

The declaration — officially called a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body rates the situation as serious.

Countries can then decide whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures.

The decision came as cases have begun to appear in people who had not traveled to China during the outbreak.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced in a Thursday night news conference that Italy had blocked all flights to and from China as the country confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus.

The government announced the country’s first two confirmed cases during the news conference. Officials said they would investigate the movements of the two people, Chinese tourists, and try to identify those they may have been in contact with.

The news capped a tense day in Italy, after thousands of passengers had been blocked from leaving a cruise ship that docked at an Italian port for more than 12 hours over concerns that someone aboard might have had the virus. That episode was ultimately a false alarm.

A Chinese national with a fever later tested negative for the coronavirus and the Italian authorities said that passengers were allowed to disembark.

The American Airlines pilots’ union said on Thursday that it was suing the airline in an attempt to halt all service between the United States and China, citing “a threat to the safety of passengers and flight crew.”

In a statement, the union, the Allied Pilots Association, said it was instructing its members to turn down requests to fly to China.

The airline had previously announced that, because of declining demand, it would suspend flights from Los Angeles to Beijing and Shanghai starting on Feb. 9. Service from Dallas to those cities is expected to continue.

In another development, United Airlines on Thursday announced a new wave of cancellations affecting hundreds of flights through the end of March. The cutback, a response to declining demand, will reduce the number of daily flights from 12 to four from its United States hubs to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In all, the reduction includes 332 round trip cancellations between Feb. 9 and March 28.

Health officials on Thursday reported the first case of person-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus in the United States.

The patient is the husband of a woman who was the first reported case in Chicago, officials said at a news briefing. The woman, who is in her 60s, had returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus. She was hospitalized but appears to be doing well, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, an epidemiologist at the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Her husband, who had not traveled to China, recently began showing symptoms and was immediately isolated in the hospital. Lab tests have now confirmed that he was infected with the coronavirus, Dr. Layden said.

Health officials are tracking the places visited by both patients and identifying all close contacts to monitor them. The public is at low risk, officials said.

Person-to-person transmission may occur if someone who is sick breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes in the vicinity of others. Respiratory droplets carrying the virus may then travel from the sick person to other people or surfaces.

Based on the transmission patterns seen in China and other countries, experts have expected to see some person-to-person spread in the United States, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We understand that this may be concerning,” Dr. Redfield said. “But our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low.”

The disease is not spreading widely in the U.S. and people who have not had close contact with someone who recently traveled to China are unlikely to get infected.

◆ Forty-three more deaths in China were announced early Friday, bringing the toll to 213.

◆ Nearly 2,000 new cases were recorded in China in the past 24 hours, raising the worldwide total to nearly 9,800, according to Chinese and World Health Organization data. The vast majority of the cases are inside China; 98 cases have been confirmed in 18 other countries.

◆ Tibet has reported its first confirmed case. This means that all of China’s provinces and territories have now been touched by the outbreak.

◆ Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Japan has 11; Hong Kong and Singapore have 10; Taiwan has eight; Australia, Malaysia and Macau each have seven; France and the United States have six; South Korea, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have 4; Canada has three; Vietnam and Italy each have two; and India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland each have one.

◆ Confirming India’s first case, the government said the patient, in the southern state of Kerala, was a student at Wuhan University. It said arriving passengers with a history of travel to China were being screened at 20 airports, up from seven earlier in the week.

◆ Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan and France involved patients who had not been to China. There have been no reported deaths outside China.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has unleashed a wave of panic and, in some cases, outright anti-Chinese sentiment across the globe.

In Japan, the hashtag #ChineseDon’tComeToJapan has been trending on Twitter.

In Singapore, tens of thousands of residents have signed a petition calling for the government to ban Chinese nationals from entering the country.

In Hong Kong, South Korea and Vietnam, businesses have posted signs saying that mainland Chinese customers are not welcome.

And in France, a front-page headline in a regional newspaper warned of a “Yellow Alert.”

At a time when China’s rise as a global economic and military power has unsettled its neighbors in Asia as well as its rivals in the West, the coronavirus is feeding into latent bigotry against the people of mainland China.

“Some of the xenophobia is likely undergirded by broader political and economic tensions and anxieties related to China, which are interacting with more recent fears of contagion,” said Kristi Govella, an assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

With China’s emergence as a major cultural market in recent years, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak quickly rippled through the arts world.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday morning that it was canceling a tour of Asia that had been scheduled to begin next week. The Hong Kong Philharmonic called off a pair of Beethoven concerts this weekend under the baton of its music director, Jaap van Zweden, who holds the same post at the New York Philharmonic, after its venue was closed. Film shoots were shut down; movie premieres postponed; a dozen concerts by the Cantopop star Andy Lau were canceled; and some prominent galleries were calling for Art Basel Hong Kong, the prestigious international art fair scheduled for March, to be canceled.

The Boston Symphony called off its tour, which was to have featured the pianist Yefim Bronfman, after learning that one of the halls it planned to play at, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, had canceled its performances, and amid rising concerns about the spread of the virus.

Tours are hugely expensive undertakings for large symphony orchestras, and the Boston Symphony, which does not carry insurance for tour concert interruptions, will now begin discussions about costs with various vendors — including for its flights, cargo, and hotels — as well as with the concert presenters.

The National Symphony Orchestra, of Washington, is scheduled to perform in Beijing and Shanghai with its music director, Gianandrea Noseda, after several dates in Japan.

Gary Ginstling, the orchestra’s executive director, said that the orchestra had been conferring with government officials, presenters and medical experts as it monitors the situation.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that China’s loss might be America’s gain, because the coronavirus outbreak could prompt employers to move jobs to the United States.

“I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” Mr. Ross said in an interview on Fox Business. “I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well.”

Mr. Ross cited previous disease outbreaks in China, suggesting that a prevalence of diseases there would become a factor in businesses leaving the country and relocating to North America.

“You had SARS, you have the African swine virus there, now you have this,” Mr. Ross said.

His remarks may be seen as insensitive to a country in crisis, and he has faced such criticism in the past. During the government shutdown in early 2019, Mr. Ross suggested that furloughed workers should take out loans while they went without pay for more than a month.

Russia prepared for a partial closure of its 2,600-mile border with China as fears about the coronavirus outbreak mounted in Moscow.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday ordered 16 of the approximately 25 crossing points that Russia operates on the Chinese border to be closed as of midnight local time. He said the closures would be part of a new raft of measures to stop the infection from spreading to the country from Russia’s southeastern neighbor.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry urged Russians to postpone all travel to China and suspended the issuance of electronic visas for Chinese citizens.

Russian officials say that no cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Russia.

“We have to do everything to protect our people,” Mr. Mishustin said in televised remarks at a cabinet meeting. “We will inform everyone about the relevant actions being taken to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other measures being taken by the government.”

Anger and frustration have escalated in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, as the city’s overwhelmed hospitals pleaded for urgent help to replenish diminishing supplies.

A relative of a coronavirus patient assaulted a doctor at a hospital in Wuhan, pulling and damaging the doctor’s mask and protective clothing, the state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday, citing the local police. The Beijing Youth Daily, a state-owned newspaper, reported that two doctors had been attacked at the hospital, including one who was threatened and had his protective gown torn off.

In the face of rising public anger, the central government has sought to present itself as intervening to hold accountable local officials in areas that have been hit hard by the epidemic.

CCTV aired footage on Thursday showing a central government inspection team grilling officials in Huanggang, a city about 50 miles from Wuhan, about the number of beds they had set aside for coronavirus patients. As the two local health officials fumbled their responses to seemingly basic questions, the visiting inspectors’ questions took on a more impatient tone.

Unusual in its blunt portrayal of inadequate government response, the report was quickly shared on Chinese social media sites with the hashtag “one question, three don’t knows.”

Officials say medical supplies are running dangerously low in central China, despite gear being delivered in bulk from around the world. The Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan wrote on Weibo, a social media platform, that the city had received 240,000 masks, 25,000 protective gowns and 4,000 pairs of medical goggles from its alumni group in Germany. The Chinese community in Singapore sent 75,000 medical masks.

Photographs posted online showed hospital workers, many still in protective gear, slumped over their desks and on the floors in exhaustion.

From Chris Buckley, our chief China correspondent, on the ground in Wuhan:

Since the central Chinese city of Wuhan went under official lockdown last week, most shops have shut, few cars venture onto the roads and fear has kept most people in their homes.

When Wuhan residents do step outside, it’s mostly to the supermarkets, food stores and pharmacies that have stayed open as part of a government effort to sustain the city. Senior officials have promised that residents need not worry about supplies of vegetables, fruit or other staples, even as large swaths of the province, Hubei, are also locked down to curtail the outbreak.

Yet Wuhan residents complained about price hikes, and expressed fear that a prolonged shutdown might choke off food supplies. Poorer people, both in urban Wuhan and in the countryside, would suffer more acutely from tightening supplies.

“If we can’t bring in produce, it will become more expensive, or we might even have to close up,” said Zuo Qichao, who was selling piles of cucumbers, turnips and tomatoes. As he spoke, a woman accused him of unfairly raising the turnips’ price.

“Every county, every village around here is now putting up barriers, worried about that disease,” Mr. Zuo said. “Even if the government says it wants food guaranteed, it won’t be easy — all those road checks.”

In Taiwan, anger has been growing over China’s refusal this week to let Taiwan evacuate about 300 of its people from Wuhan, even as it has given the United States, Japan and other countries permission to do so.

China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan, a democratically governed island, to be part of China, and the two sides have no formal ties. Referring to the rebuffed evacuation request on Tuesday, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement that Taiwanese people in Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan, were receiving “appropriate care.”

Kolas Yotaka, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s government, said China was prioritizing politics over lives. Many of the Taiwanese seeking evacuation from Wuhan were tourists or on business trips, while others were residents of the city who suffered from chronic diseases, Ms. Kolas said.

“We call on the Chinese government to demonstrate basic humanity and agree to our request as soon as possible,” she said.

As part of its campaign to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, China has blocked it from participating in international bodies like the World Health Organization — a fact that has also angered Taiwanese people this week, as they try to prepare along with the rest of the world for the possibility of a worsening epidemic.

Fears that a fast-moving virus in China could impact the global economy drove investors in Asia to dump stocks on Thursday.

Money fled riskier assets like stocks and oil and flowed instead into investments that are considered safe havens, like gold, as growing numbers of policymakers, economists and corporate executives sounded alarms. Major benchmarks across the region fell by more than 1 percent. China’s markets remain closed for an extended holiday until Feb. 3.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, hit its lowest price this year before paring some of its losses. It was trading at about $59 a barrel.

European markets finished higher, and the S&P 500 closed up 0.3 percent.

A growing number of companies have warned they will have to close or shift operations and could take a financial hit from widespread business disruptions in China.

Reporting was contributed by Russell Goldman, Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, Elaine Yu, Alexandra Stevenson, Motoko Rich, Christopher Buckley, Anton Troianovski, Isabella Kwai, Chris Horton, Megan Specia, Christopher Cameron, Makiko Inoue, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Karen Weise, Iliana Magra, Elisabetta Povoledo, Mike Isaac, Knvul Sheikh, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Karen Zraick and Neil Vigdor. Elsie Chen, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Amber Wang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu contributed research.

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

Alan Dershowitz says Democratic senators were ‘impressed’ by his constitutional case for Trump

Westlake Legal Group Hannity-Dershowitz-FOX Alan Dershowitz says Democratic senators were 'impressed' by his constitutional case for Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc f5c52e7f-740f-5866-b93b-8ec63a4c5715 article

Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump‘s defense lawyers in his Senate impeachment trial, accused the media of misrepresenting his argument that a president can’t be impeached for exerting his executive powers to win an election if he believes his victory is in the public interest.

DERSHOWITZ: DEMS PICKED ‘DANGEROUS’ IMPEACHMENT CHARGES AGAINST TRUMP

“The point I was making was about the senators,” Dershowitz said on “Hannity.” “What I said [was] if you have mixed motives if you are in the public interest and you’re trying to help the public, but you’re also trying to get re-elected, according to [Rep. Adam] Schiff and [Rep. Jerry] Nadler, that’s a crime.

“If you have any inkling of motive to help yourself get reelected, they call that corrupt and they say even a tiny amount of motive to help yourself makes you into a criminal and makes you impeachable.”

Many were quick to attack Dershowitz’s unconventional defense Wednesday, in which he made the case that if Trump’s motive for asking Ukraine for help was “mixed” between the national interest and political gain, it was not impeachable because his intentions were not purely “corrupt.”

DERSHOWITZ MOUNTS UNCONVENTIONAL DEFENSE OF TRUMP IN SENATE

In a bid to clarify his comments Thursday,  Dershowitz told Sean Hannity that he was in no way implying that the president could engage in any activity as long as he considers his reelection to be in the interest of the public, as many critics had said.

“I turned to all the senators and I said, ‘Everybody in this room, every senator, every politician everywhere always has one eye toward reelection and another eye toward the public interest. They almost always think it’s the same. They also think their own election is in the public interest. You can’t make that an impeachable offense,'” Dershowitz explained.

DERSHOWITZ, TRIBE SQUARE OFF OVER TRUMP IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE

“I never, ever said or suggested or implied that a president can do anything he wants if he thinks his election will help the public interest,” he added. “That was just a lie, a distortion.”

The Harvard professor slammed “Schiff, Nadler, CNN, and MSNBC” for “distorting his answers,” and said it was their response to his “impressive constitutional argument.”

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“I think the reason they really came after me is they saw after I made my talk and answered those questions, many Senators gathered around me, including Democrats,” Dershowitz said. “They all said how they were impressed by my constitutional presentation.”

Westlake Legal Group Hannity-Dershowitz-FOX Alan Dershowitz says Democratic senators were 'impressed' by his constitutional case for Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc f5c52e7f-740f-5866-b93b-8ec63a4c5715 article   Westlake Legal Group Hannity-Dershowitz-FOX Alan Dershowitz says Democratic senators were 'impressed' by his constitutional case for Trump Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc f5c52e7f-740f-5866-b93b-8ec63a4c5715 article

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Deaths Surpass 200, and State Department Urges Against Travel to China

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_168078303_f8d80d84-fa08-44ec-ab43-eadc5844e38a-articleLarge Coronavirus Live Updates: Deaths Surpass 200, and State Department Urges Against Travel to China World Health Organization Shortages SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

A patient was moved from his home to a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Thursday. Hundreds of people in the city have contracted the dangerous new coronavirus. Credit…Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The State Department on Thursday night issued a travel advisory telling Americans not to travel to China because of the public health threat posed by the coronavirus. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the travel advisory on Twitter.

The department set the new advisory at Level 4, or Red, its highest caution, which is reserved for the most dangerous situations.

The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the new coronavirus outbreak was a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease represents a risk outside of China, where it emerged last month.

The declaration — officially called a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body rates the situation as serious.

Countries can then decide whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures.

The decision came as cases have begun to appear in people who had not traveled to China during the outbreak.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced in a Thursday night news conference that Italy had blocked all flights to and from China as the country confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus.

The government announced the country’s first two confirmed cases during the news conference. Officials said they would investigate the movements of the two people, Chinese tourists, and try to identify those they may have been in contact with.

The news capped a tense day in Italy, after thousands of passengers had been blocked from leaving a cruise ship that docked at an Italian port for more than 12 hours over concerns that someone aboard might have had the virus. That episode was ultimately a false alarm.

A Chinese national with a fever later tested negative for the coronavirus and the Italian authorities said that passengers were allowed to disembark.

The American Airlines pilots’ union said on Thursday that it was suing the airline in an attempt to halt all service between the United States and China, citing “a threat to the safety of passengers and flight crew.”

In a statement, the union, the Allied Pilots Association, said it was instructing its members to turn down requests to fly to China.

The airline had previously announced that, because of declining demand, it would suspend flights from Los Angeles to Beijing and Shanghai starting on Feb. 9. Service from Dallas to those cities is expected to continue.

In another development, United Airlines on Thursday announced a new wave of cancellations affecting hundreds of flights through the end of March. The cutback, a response to declining demand, will reduce the number of daily flights from 12 to four from its United States hubs to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In all, the reduction includes 332 round trip cancellations between Feb. 9 and March 28.

Health officials on Thursday reported the first case of person-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus in the United States.

The patient is the husband of a woman who was the first reported case in Chicago, officials said at a news briefing. The woman, who is in her 60s, had returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus. She was hospitalized but appears to be doing well, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, an epidemiologist at the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Her husband, who had not traveled to China, recently began showing symptoms and was immediately isolated in the hospital. Lab tests have now confirmed that he was infected with the coronavirus, Dr. Layden said.

Health officials are tracking the places visited by both patients and identifying all close contacts to monitor them. The public is at low risk, officials said.

Person-to-person transmission may occur if someone who is sick breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes in the vicinity of others. Respiratory droplets carrying the virus may then travel from the sick person to other people or surfaces.

Based on the transmission patterns seen in China and other countries, experts have expected to see some person-to-person spread in the United States, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We understand that this may be concerning,” Dr. Redfield said. “But our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low.”

The disease is not spreading widely in the U.S. and people who have not had close contact with someone who recently traveled to China are unlikely to get infected.

◆ Forty-three more deaths in China were announced early Friday, bringing the toll to 213.

◆ Nearly 2,000 new cases were recorded in China in the past 24 hours, raising the worldwide total to nearly 9,800, according to Chinese and World Health Organization data. The vast majority of the cases are inside China; 98 cases have been confirmed in 18 other countries.

◆ Tibet has reported its first confirmed case. This means that all of China’s provinces and territories have now been touched by the outbreak.

◆ Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Japan has 11; Hong Kong and Singapore have 10; Taiwan has eight; Australia, Malaysia and Macau each have seven; France and the United States have six; South Korea, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have 4; Canada has three; Vietnam and Italy each have two; and India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland each have one.

◆ Confirming India’s first case, the government said the patient, in the southern state of Kerala, was a student at Wuhan University. It said arriving passengers with a history of travel to China were being screened at 20 airports, up from seven earlier in the week.

◆ Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan and France involved patients who had not been to China. There have been no reported deaths outside China.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has unleashed a wave of panic and, in some cases, outright anti-Chinese sentiment across the globe.

In Japan, the hashtag #ChineseDon’tComeToJapan has been trending on Twitter.

In Singapore, tens of thousands of residents have signed a petition calling for the government to ban Chinese nationals from entering the country.

In Hong Kong, South Korea and Vietnam, businesses have posted signs saying that mainland Chinese customers are not welcome.

And in France, a front-page headline in a regional newspaper warned of a “Yellow Alert.”

At a time when China’s rise as a global economic and military power has unsettled its neighbors in Asia as well as its rivals in the West, the coronavirus is feeding into latent bigotry against the people of mainland China.

“Some of the xenophobia is likely undergirded by broader political and economic tensions and anxieties related to China, which are interacting with more recent fears of contagion,” said Kristi Govella, an assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

With China’s emergence as a major cultural market in recent years, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak quickly rippled through the arts world.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday morning that it was canceling a tour of Asia that had been scheduled to begin next week. The Hong Kong Philharmonic called off a pair of Beethoven concerts this weekend under the baton of its music director, Jaap van Zweden, who holds the same post at the New York Philharmonic, after its venue was closed. Film shoots were shut down; movie premieres postponed; a dozen concerts by the Cantopop star Andy Lau were canceled; and some prominent galleries were calling for Art Basel Hong Kong, the prestigious international art fair scheduled for March, to be canceled.

The Boston Symphony called off its tour, which was to have featured the pianist Yefim Bronfman, after learning that one of the halls it planned to play at, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, had canceled its performances, and amid rising concerns about the spread of the virus.

Tours are hugely expensive undertakings for large symphony orchestras, and the Boston Symphony, which does not carry insurance for tour concert interruptions, will now begin discussions about costs with various vendors — including for its flights, cargo, and hotels — as well as with the concert presenters.

The National Symphony Orchestra, of Washington, is scheduled to perform in Beijing and Shanghai with its music director, Gianandrea Noseda, after several dates in Japan.

Gary Ginstling, the orchestra’s executive director, said that the orchestra had been conferring with government officials, presenters and medical experts as it monitors the situation.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that China’s loss might be America’s gain, because the coronavirus outbreak could prompt employers to move jobs to the United States.

“I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” Mr. Ross said in an interview on Fox Business. “I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well.”

Mr. Ross cited previous disease outbreaks in China, suggesting that a prevalence of diseases there would become a factor in businesses leaving the country and relocating to North America.

“You had SARS, you have the African swine virus there, now you have this,” Mr. Ross said.

His remarks may be seen as insensitive to a country in crisis, and he has faced such criticism in the past. During the government shutdown in early 2019, Mr. Ross suggested that furloughed workers should take out loans while they went without pay for more than a month.

Russia prepared for a partial closure of its 2,600-mile border with China as fears about the coronavirus outbreak mounted in Moscow.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday ordered 16 of the approximately 25 crossing points that Russia operates on the Chinese border to be closed as of midnight local time. He said the closures would be part of a new raft of measures to stop the infection from spreading to the country from Russia’s southeastern neighbor.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry urged Russians to postpone all travel to China and suspended the issuance of electronic visas for Chinese citizens.

Russian officials say that no cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Russia.

“We have to do everything to protect our people,” Mr. Mishustin said in televised remarks at a cabinet meeting. “We will inform everyone about the relevant actions being taken to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other measures being taken by the government.”

Anger and frustration have escalated in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, as the city’s overwhelmed hospitals pleaded for urgent help to replenish diminishing supplies.

A relative of a coronavirus patient assaulted a doctor at a hospital in Wuhan, pulling and damaging the doctor’s mask and protective clothing, the state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday, citing the local police. The Beijing Youth Daily, a state-owned newspaper, reported that two doctors had been attacked at the hospital, including one who was threatened and had his protective gown torn off.

In the face of rising public anger, the central government has sought to present itself as intervening to hold accountable local officials in areas that have been hit hard by the epidemic.

CCTV aired footage on Thursday showing a central government inspection team grilling officials in Huanggang, a city about 50 miles from Wuhan, about the number of beds they had set aside for coronavirus patients. As the two local health officials fumbled their responses to seemingly basic questions, the visiting inspectors’ questions took on a more impatient tone.

Unusual in its blunt portrayal of inadequate government response, the report was quickly shared on Chinese social media sites with the hashtag “one question, three don’t knows.”

Officials say medical supplies are running dangerously low in central China, despite gear being delivered in bulk from around the world. The Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan wrote on Weibo, a social media platform, that the city had received 240,000 masks, 25,000 protective gowns and 4,000 pairs of medical goggles from its alumni group in Germany. The Chinese community in Singapore sent 75,000 medical masks.

Photographs posted online showed hospital workers, many still in protective gear, slumped over their desks and on the floors in exhaustion.

From Chris Buckley, our chief China correspondent, on the ground in Wuhan:

Since the central Chinese city of Wuhan went under official lockdown last week, most shops have shut, few cars venture onto the roads and fear has kept most people in their homes.

When Wuhan residents do step outside, it’s mostly to the supermarkets, food stores and pharmacies that have stayed open as part of a government effort to sustain the city. Senior officials have promised that residents need not worry about supplies of vegetables, fruit or other staples, even as large swaths of the province, Hubei, are also locked down to curtail the outbreak.

Yet Wuhan residents complained about price hikes, and expressed fear that a prolonged shutdown might choke off food supplies. Poorer people, both in urban Wuhan and in the countryside, would suffer more acutely from tightening supplies.

“If we can’t bring in produce, it will become more expensive, or we might even have to close up,” said Zuo Qichao, who was selling piles of cucumbers, turnips and tomatoes. As he spoke, a woman accused him of unfairly raising the turnips’ price.

“Every county, every village around here is now putting up barriers, worried about that disease,” Mr. Zuo said. “Even if the government says it wants food guaranteed, it won’t be easy — all those road checks.”

In Taiwan, anger has been growing over China’s refusal this week to let Taiwan evacuate about 300 of its people from Wuhan, even as it has given the United States, Japan and other countries permission to do so.

China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan, a democratically governed island, to be part of China, and the two sides have no formal ties. Referring to the rebuffed evacuation request on Tuesday, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement that Taiwanese people in Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan, were receiving “appropriate care.”

Kolas Yotaka, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s government, said China was prioritizing politics over lives. Many of the Taiwanese seeking evacuation from Wuhan were tourists or on business trips, while others were residents of the city who suffered from chronic diseases, Ms. Kolas said.

“We call on the Chinese government to demonstrate basic humanity and agree to our request as soon as possible,” she said.

As part of its campaign to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, China has blocked it from participating in international bodies like the World Health Organization — a fact that has also angered Taiwanese people this week, as they try to prepare along with the rest of the world for the possibility of a worsening epidemic.

Fears that a fast-moving virus in China could impact the global economy drove investors in Asia to dump stocks on Thursday.

Money fled riskier assets like stocks and oil and flowed instead into investments that are considered safe havens, like gold, as growing numbers of policymakers, economists and corporate executives sounded alarms. Major benchmarks across the region fell by more than 1 percent. China’s markets remain closed for an extended holiday until Feb. 3.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, hit its lowest price this year before paring some of its losses. It was trading at about $59 a barrel.

European markets finished higher, and the S&P 500 closed up 0.3 percent.

A growing number of companies have warned they will have to close or shift operations and could take a financial hit from widespread business disruptions in China.

Reporting was contributed by Russell Goldman, Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, Elaine Yu, Alexandra Stevenson, Motoko Rich, Christopher Buckley, Anton Troianovski, Isabella Kwai, Chris Horton, Megan Specia, Christopher Cameron, Makiko Inoue, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Karen Weise, Iliana Magra, Elisabetta Povoledo, Mike Isaac, Knvul Sheikh, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Karen Zraick and Neil Vigdor. Elsie Chen, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Amber Wang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu contributed research.

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Sean Hannity: Democrats’ impeachment argument is almost ‘too insane to be true’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096898958001_6096890350001-vs Sean Hannity: Democrats' impeachment argument is almost 'too insane to be true' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f9615d4-8e5e-55f3-8793-bef3eb9df29e

Sean Hannity criticized Democrats once again Thursday night for trying to prolong the president’s Senate impeachment trial, calling their case “insane.”

“Democrats’ argument is almost now… too insane to be true,” Hannity said on his television program. “Again, they claim that their rock-solid case [is] totally proven, but we want you to bring in about a half a dozen new people, more witnesses, people we didn’t even call or subpoena to prove our case.”

‘GAME OVER’: TRUMP DECLARES VICTORY AFTER BOLTON VIDEO EMERGES SHOWING HIM PRAISING UKRAINE CALL 

Hannity said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is having a “meltdown” as their case declines.

“Even Nancy Pelosi, she’s now beginning to see the handwriting on the wall and she is apoplectic and furious and even beginning a meltdown,” Hannity said.

“The president’s team is there to dismantle the Constitution of the United States. And some of them are even lawyers,” Pelosi said at a press conference earlier Thursday. “Well, he will not be acquitted. You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and that.”

“Pretty scary, rage-filled fantasy land,” Hannity said in response. “Well, this is why voters, they see through the charade. And all of this is a culmination of a three year long, nonstop, never-ending temper tantrum by Democrats who still cannot accept the will of the American people from 2016.”

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The host also criticized Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for continuing to protect the intelligence community whistleblower’s identity.

“Despite a mountain of evidence about the fake, hearsay whistleblower’s political bias and seedy connections and connections to [the] congenital liar’s [Schiff’s] office. Apparently, he’s a delicate flower,” Hannity said. “He who must not ever be named, Lord Voldemort, the whistleblower.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096898958001_6096890350001-vs Sean Hannity: Democrats' impeachment argument is almost 'too insane to be true' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f9615d4-8e5e-55f3-8793-bef3eb9df29e   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096898958001_6096890350001-vs Sean Hannity: Democrats' impeachment argument is almost 'too insane to be true' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f9615d4-8e5e-55f3-8793-bef3eb9df29e

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Senate Republicans face do-or-die moment as pivotal vote on impeachment witnesses imminent

Westlake Legal Group image Senate Republicans face do-or-die moment as pivotal vote on impeachment witnesses imminent Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 15a2b781-4334-5ae8-9aa7-7930c8ddb816

The Senate impeachment trial question-and-answer phase was wrapping up Thursday night, setting up a pivotal vote Friday on whether or not to subpoena additional witnesses and documents, or to hold a final vote on whether to impeach or acquit President Trump — and all indications are that the final roll call on the witness question will come down to the wire.

Fox News is told that retiring Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, a key swing vote on the matter, will announce his decision within minutes, in a dramatic capper to a day marked by tension, confrontation and the occasional head-scratcher.

“The senator said he will make a decision after the questions and answers have concluded,” a spokesperson for Alexander told Fox News earlier in the day. “The current plan is to release that decision shortly after.”

Any witness resolution would likely require four Republican defections in the Senate, because in the event of a 50-50 tie, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is likely to abstain rather than assert his debatable power to cast a tie-breaking vote. But, it remained possible Roberts would weigh that issue separately, as the precise contours of his power are not legally clear.

Another moderate swing-vote Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seemingly tipped her hand during the question-and-answer session late Thursday. Her interrogatory said that former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who authored a book that reportedly implicates President Trump in tying Ukrainian military aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden, has “direct knowledge” relevant to the trial.

“This dispute about material facts weighs in favor of calling additional witnesses with direct knowledge,” she asked. “Why should this body not call Ambassador [John] Bolton?”

However, later in the night, Murkowski and Alexander joined other GOP senators to ask Trump’s defense team whether, even if everything Democrats and Bolton said was true, then: “Isn’t it true that the allegations would still not rise to the level of an impeachable offense and would add nothing to this case?”

That signaled sympathy for the core of Trump’s defense team’s argument, which is that even if Trump did condition foreign aid on an investigation of a political opponent, such conduct would not justify the removal of a president by the Senate in an election year.

‘GAME OVER’: TRUMP DECLARES VICTORY AFTER BOLTON VIDEO EMERGES SHOWING HIM PRAISING UKRAINE CALL; OTHER VIDEOS SHOW SCHIFF DOUBTING BOLTON’S CREDIBILITY

Republicans, who have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, have suggested to Fox News that they would amend any witness resolution that subpoenas Bolton to also require the appearance of several additional witnesses favorable to the Trump administration — likely killing support in the Senate for the whole witness package altogether.

Trump defense counsel Patrick Philbin said late Thursday that if Democrats want to “go down the road” of adding more witnesses, they would push aggressively to learn more about the Ukraine whistleblower’s contact with Democrats in the House prior to filing his complaint.

Additionally, Trump’s defense team argued that Democrats contradicted themselves by saying their case was “overwhelming” and that Trump was guilty beyond “any doubt” — even as they insist that they need to call more witnesses and see more evidence.

Momentum has been shifting away from a vote in favor of witnesses, ever since Trump tweeted a link to an interview of Bolton in August 2019 where he discusses Ukraine policy. In the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty interview clip, Bolton made no mention of any illicit quid pro quo, and acknowledged, as Republicans have claimed, that combating “corruption” in Ukraine was a “high priority” for the Trump administration.

Trump captioned the video: “GAME OVER!”

Bolton also called Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “warm and cordial,” without mentioning any misconduct. It seemingly contradicted reported assertions in Bolton’s forthcoming book alleging that Trump explicitly told him he wanted to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. (Zelensky has said his communications with Trump involved no pressure for any investigation.)

What’s ahead

The impeachment trial reconvenes at 1 p.m. ET Friday. The Senate will immediately go to up to four hours of arguments by the Democratic impeachment managers and the defense counsel. There could also be deliberation by senators, which might involve a closed session or even debate among the senators themselves on the floor.

Regardless, once that’s done, the Senate will debate a proposal to subpoena documents or witnesses. That could consume up to two hours on the floor – and will not unfold until the evening.

After that’s complete, the Senate will take what is termed the “gateway” vote as to whether or not to open the door to subpoenaing witnesses or documents.

If senators vote to open up the gateway to witnesses or documents, a multitude of proposals could follow over several hours from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-Ny. These would likely be various slates of witness proposals. Democrats would like to get Republicans on the record opposing certain witnesses. Democrats would then try to boomerang that vote on vulnerable Republicans this fall and argue that McConnell tilted the playing field in the trial toward the president.

SOURCE TELL FOX NEWS: GOP DEVELOPS WITNESS ‘PLAN B’ POISON PILL PACAKGE, FLOATS CALLING HUNTER BIDEN, ADAM SCHIFF

If for some reason the Senate votes in favor of an individual witness, then the trial is far from done. The Senate trial rules require senators to depose the witness in private. That could come in days or weeks, but in the meantime, the trial on the floor would go dark. (However, the Senate could consider other business during this period. The Senate would eventually have to vote to summon a given witness to the floor.)

If the Senate rejects the gateway vote, the impeachment trial is likely on a glide path to conclusion. There could be additional debate after that; the Senate could consider a motion to dismiss the articles; or there could be final verdict votes on both articles of impeachment.

Last December, McConnell published the Senate schedule for 2020. He only put 11 months on the calendar, completely leaving out January, because no one quite knew what was in store for the Senate with a possible impeachment trial. If the Senate wraps this up late Friday night, McConnell correctly predicted the length of the trial.

It remains possible the Senate could take final votes on each article of impeachment — there will be separate, distinct votes on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — late Friday night, in the wee hours of Saturday morning or later in the day Saturday.

Several Democratic senators have privately signaled they want the trial to wrap up quicky — partially out of exhaustion, but also because Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren urgently want to get back to Iowa to campaign ahead of next week’s critical caucuses.

Dems’ Headscratchers

House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raised eyebrows during the proceedings Thursday — including from Roberts.

At one point Thursday afternoon, Jeffries argued that the Steele dossier — written by a foreign ex-spy and dependent in part on Russian sources — did not constitute improper foreign election interference because the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid for the dossier, rather than receiving it at no cost.

His claim came in response to a question from North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr that was aimed at arguing how the Democrats wouldn’t want to apply their standards to their own candidates.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign and [the] Democratic National Committee hired a retired foreign spy to work with Russian contacts to build a dossier of opposition research against their political opponent, Donald Trump. Under the House managers’ standard, would the Steele dossier be considered foreign interference in the U.S. election, a violation of the law, and/or an impeachable offense?” Burr asked.

Jeffries then rose and declared, “The analogy is, uh, not applicable to the present situation because, first, to the extent that opposition research was obtained, it was opposition research that was purchased.”

He then accused Republicans of avoiding facts and trying to distract from Trump’s conduct.

Jeffries’ response drew mockery online from a slew of commentators — “Cut a check to Ukraine. We’re done here,” wrote one — and an immediate rebuke in the chamber from Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.

“So, I guess you can buy — this is what it sounds like — you can buy foreign interference? You can purchase it? You can purchase their opposition research and I guess it’s OK?” he asked.

WATCH THE FULL JEFFRIES MELTDOWN MOMENT HERE

One of the dossier’s foreign sources was the former deputy foreign minister for Russia, Vyacheslav Trubnikov — a known Russian intelligence officer. Much of the Steele dossier has been proved unsubstantiated, including the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers based out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami or that ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians. Special Counsel Robert Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier’s claims that Page had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.

Nevertheless, the FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain a secret surveillance warrant to monitor a former member of the Trump campaign, Carter Page. News of that warrant leaked, and together with the dossier’s salacious accusations, fueled months of unfounded speculation that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia.

GRASSLEY: US INFORMANT MAY HAVE RECEIVED TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR COUNTER-INTEL OP ON TRUMP CAMPAIGN

Separately, at the Senate impeachment trial Thursday, Warren posed a question that, by rule, was read aloud by Roberts — and even Democrats in the chamber appeared visibly puzzled by the interrogatory.

“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?” Roberts read from the card handed to him by the clerk.

When he finished reading the question — explicitly posed to the House Impeachment managers — Roberts pursed his lips and shot a chagrined look.

After a moment, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead impeachment manager, appeared at the dais to answer the question — standing mere feet in front of Roberts.

‘COUP HAS STARTED,’ UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER’S ATTORNEY PROMISED IN 2017, VOWING TO IMPEACH AND ‘GET RID OF’ TRUMP

Schiff appeared to try to distance himself from Warren’s question, offering a short answer to the question before speaking at length about a tangential exchange.

“I would not say that it leads to a loss of confidence in the chief justice,” Schiff said, adding that Roberts has thus far “presided admirably.”

He then quickly pivoted to a criticism of President Trump and a conversation he had about the impeachment trial with Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J.

Whistleblower showdown

Justice Roberts shut down a question Thursday from Sen. Rand Paul that mentioned the name of the alleged Ukraine whistleblower, prompting Paul to storm out of the impeachment trial and hold an impromptu press conference to read the question anyway.

The clash came after the chief justice, who is presiding over the trial, similarly rebuffed Paul a day earlier. (Paul, according to reporter Niels Lesniewski, was apparently fuming afterward, shouting to a staffer: “I don’t want to have to stand up to try and fight for recognition. … If I have to fight for recognition, I will.”)

Federal law protects whistleblowers only from retaliation in the workplace and does not ensure their anonymity; Republicans have disputed whether this particular whistleblower would even qualify for those limited protections, saying his complaint concerns a policy dispute and does not allege criminal or civil wrongdoing by the president.

JUSTICE ROBERTS BLOCKS SEN. PAUL FROM NAMING WHISTLEBLOWER, SOURCE SAYS – AND PAUL MAY FORCE THE ISSUE

“As you may have noticed, we had something slightly atypical downstairs. I asked a question and the question was refused,” Paul, R-Ky., told reporters after exiting the Senate chamber and dashing upstairs to the Senate TV studio.

After seeing Paul’s question on a notecard, Roberts ruled against presenting it in the trial: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” he said.

Paul asserted that Roberts’ ruling was wrong because no one knows if the name of the person on his question card is the whistleblower.

“I think it was an incorrect finding,” Paul said.

Paul wanted to ask whether Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, and the White House counsel were aware that an intel committee staff member had a close relationship with the reported whistleblower when they were on the National Security Council together.

“How do you respond to reports that [they] may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings?” Paul said he wrote on the card.

Schiff has made public inconsistent statements concerning the House Intelligence Committee’s contacts with the whistleblower. He first denied that his panel had such contact, then reversed course and admitted that members of the committee had spoken to the whistleblower.

Paul’s question reportedly included the names of two individuals. Fox News has not confirmed the whistleblower’s name.

Paul argued that since Schiff contends he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower, how could anyone know if someone deserves whistleblower protections.

“It makes no reference to anybody who may or may not be a whistleblower,” Paul said.

It could be, Republicans have asserted, that the whistleblower coordinated his complaint with Schiff’s panel for partisan reasons — a disclosure that, if true, would likely undermine the credibility of the impeachment proceedings and possibly expose Schiff to his own “abuse of power” allegations. Thus far, the impeachment effort has arguably been elevated in importance from normal partisan bickering in part by the gravitas afforded to the supposedly well-meaning whistleblower at the center of the case.

SCHIFF, IN REVERSAL, ADMITS HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLEAR ABOUT HIS OWN CONTACT WITH THE WHISTLEBLOWER

Republicans have sought more information on the whistleblower ever since the intelligence community’s internal watchdog found several indicators that the person might have a political bias.

Fox News has previously reported that the whistleblower is a registered Democrat and had a prior work history with a senior Democrat running for president. Additionally, the whistleblower faces an Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) complaint for allegedly violating federal law by raising money ostensibly to pay for his legal fees, including money that could be coming from foreign sources.

The whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, openly admitted back in 2017 that a “coup” had started against the president from within the administration, and that CNN’s coverage would play a “key role” in the effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff again denied knowing the identity of the whistleblower, while Republicans accused him of deliberately lying. Schiff repeatedly shut down GOP questions during the House impeachment proceedings concerning White House leaks — even though doing so at one point seemingly demonstrated that Schiff likely knew the whistleblower’s identity.

“Lieutenant Colonel [Alexander] Vindman, did you discuss the July 25 phone call [between Trump and Ukraine’s president] with anyone outside the White House on July 25 or the 26 and if so, with whom?” Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes asked last year.

GOP SEN ACCUSES DEM WITNESS OF CONSPIRING TO BRING DOWN TRUMP

“Yes. I did,” responded Vindman, who has also claimed not to know the whistleblower’s identity. He said he had spoken to Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, but before he could mention the other person, Schiff intervened and urgently blocked the questioning.

“We need to protect the whistleblower,” Schiff interjected. “Please stop. I want to make sure that there is no effort to out the whistleblower through these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we’re here for. I want to advise the witness accordingly.”

Dershowitz faces off with Toobin

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s defense team, wasn’t in the Senate chamber Thursday due to family obligations. But he did post on Twitter and make a lengthy appearance on CNN, telling the network that it should stop mischaracterizing his arguments on impeachment.

The moment was somewhat personal for Dershowitz, as CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is one of his former students at Harvard. Multiple media outlets, including CNN, misrepresented Dershowitz throughout the week as saying that presidents can do “anything” as long as they can argue it’s in the “public interest.” Additionally, several politicians, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., falsely claimed that Dershowitz argued Trump’s conduct was “OK.”

In fact, Dershowitz maintained that criminal or criminal-like conduct is impeachable, regardless of its motivation. And he did not endorse Trump’s behavior. Instead, Dershowitz asserted the Senate should not be in the business of removing elected presidents based on nebulous and unconstitutional “abuse of power” or “obstruction of Congress” charges that the framers expressly rejected.

“I have never said that a president can do anything if he believes that his election is in the public interest to get reelected,” Dershowitz told Toobin and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. “That’s simply false. I started my speech in the Senate by saying I completely support the impeachment of [Richard] Nixon, who everything he did, he did because he wanted to get reelected. And clearly he thought his reelection was in the public interest.”

He added: “I never said, never suggested — and it was a total distortion, not a misunderstanding, distortion of my point — that I think a president can do anything … It’s nonsense. And your network should never have said that.”

“What’s wrong with looking at whether a president has a corrupt intent in his actions?” Toobin responded. “I mean, that seems to be the heart that is the issue here.”

“It’s not, it’s not,” Dershowitz said. “The question is how you define corrupt, and my argument was there’s a big difference between taking a bribe — I gave an example right on the floor of the Senate. If the president said, ‘I’m not giving you your money, I’m withholding the money unless you let me build a hotel and have my name on it or give me a million-dollar kickback.’ That’s corrupt. That’s clear.”

Dershowitz went on to say it would be a “dangerous” principle to say that a president can be impeached if he acts, in part, due to personal political motivation, because “it will allow impeachment of any president who look to his own reelectability as even a small factor.”

To demonstrate that point in the Senate on Wednesday, Dershowitz made thinly veiled references to former President Barack Obama’s refusal to send military aid to Ukraine, as well as his failed, unenforced “red line” warning for Syria not to use chemical weapons. Obama was also caught on a hot microphone promising Russia’s president he would have “more flexibility” on missile defense issues after the 2012 election.

“Let’s consider a hypothetical,” Dershowitz said. “Let’s assume that President Obama had been told by his advisors that it really is important to send lethal weapons to the Ukraine. But then he gets a call from his pollster and his political adviser, who says we know it’s in the national interest to send lethal weapons to the Ukraine, but we’re telling you that the left-wing of your party is really going to give you a hard time if you start selling lethal weapons and potentially get into a lethal war with Russia. Would anybody here suggest that is impeachable?”

WATCH: DERSHOWITZ TURNS TO HOUSE DEMS, UNLOADS CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT IN DRAMATIC MOMENT AT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

He continued: “Or let’s assume President Obama said, ‘I promise to bomb Syria if they had chemical weapons. But I’m now told by my pollster that bombing Syria would hurt my electoral chances.’ Simply not impeachable at all.”

Earlier in the day, also on CNN, Harvard Law School professor Nikolas Bowie disputed Dershowitz as to whether “maladministration” — a term the framers rejected as a viable grounds for impeachment — was essentially the same as “abuse of power,” one of the Democrats’ charges against Trump.

Bowie called Dershowitz’s interpretation a “joke,” in a slam that was especially notable because Dershowitz had cited Bowie’s scholarship on the Senate floor.

Dershowitz was simply wrong, Bowie argued, that maladministration is synonymous with abuse of power. The former is equivalent to doing your best but turning in poor work product, he argued; the latter is fundamentally criminal, even if it’s not defined anywhere in a statute.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel, Marisa Schultz and Charles Crietz contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group image Senate Republicans face do-or-die moment as pivotal vote on impeachment witnesses imminent Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 15a2b781-4334-5ae8-9aa7-7930c8ddb816   Westlake Legal Group image Senate Republicans face do-or-die moment as pivotal vote on impeachment witnesses imminent Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 15a2b781-4334-5ae8-9aa7-7930c8ddb816

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Trump: ‘I have great confidence’ some Democrats will vote to acquit in impeachment trial

Westlake Legal Group TRUMPDOOCY2 Trump: 'I have great confidence' some Democrats will vote to acquit in impeachment trial Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/shows/fox-news-night fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc d284a7bd-8c40-5d25-a526-97e68c985617 article

President Trump told Fox News on Thursday night he has “great confidence” that some Senate Democrats will vote to acquit him of high crimes and misdemeanors following the conclusion of the impeachment trial, in an interview set to air in full on “Fox News @ Night.”

“I got to watch a little bit,” Trump told Fox News’ Peter Doocy in Des Moines, Iowa, where he held a campaign rally Thursday. “It’s very boring. I call it the impeachment hoax, and that’s what it is, it’s a hoax.

“It should have never taken place, should have never been allowed to happen, but I have great confidence in Republican senators and probably some Democrats, from what I understand, Peter.”

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Politico reported earlier this week that Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., were weighing whether to vote to acquit the president on at least one of the two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump spoke to Fox News as the question-and-answer portion of the trial drew to a close Thursday evening, potentially teeing up a closely watched vote sometime Friday on whether to call additional witnesses and seek additional documents. If that bid by Democrats were to fail, the Senate could vote to dismiss or hold final votes on the verdicts for both articles later that night.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group TRUMPDOOCY2 Trump: 'I have great confidence' some Democrats will vote to acquit in impeachment trial Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/shows/fox-news-night fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc d284a7bd-8c40-5d25-a526-97e68c985617 article   Westlake Legal Group TRUMPDOOCY2 Trump: 'I have great confidence' some Democrats will vote to acquit in impeachment trial Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/shows/fox-news-night fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc d284a7bd-8c40-5d25-a526-97e68c985617 article

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Biden opposed additional witnesses during Clinton impeachment trial

Westlake Legal Group BidenFaith Biden opposed additional witnesses during Clinton impeachment trial Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 83904827-f9f4-5a64-81ea-a0d266d9015e

Former Vice President Joe Biden opposed additional witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, a fact that comes as Democrats try to get former National Security Adviser John Bolton to tesify in the ongoing impeachment trial of President Trump.

Politico obtained a memo on Thursday written by then-Delaware Sen. Biden in January 1999 that was sent to the Democratic caucus in the middle of the Clinton impeachment battle.

“The Senate may dismiss articles of impeachment without holding a full trial or taking new evidence. Put another way, the Constitution does not impose on the Senate the duty to hold a trial,” Biden said to his Democratic colleagues. “In a number of previous impeachment trials, the Senate has reached the judgment that its constitutional role as a sole trier of impeachments does not require it to take new evidence or hear live witness testimony.”

The leaked transcript of Bolton’s upcoming book had renewed efforts by Democrats to introduce new witnesses in the Senate trial in addition to the 17 witnesses that testified in the House before the articles of impeachment were adopted. However, Republicans also called on Biden as well as his son, Hunter Biden, to become witnesses in order to testify about his son’s ties to the Ukrainian company Burisma during his tenure as vice president.

President Trump declared “game over” on Wednesday after a clip from August 2019 had surfaced showing Bolton claiming that combating “corruption” in Ukraine was a “high priority” for the Trump administration.

Bolton also called Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “warm and cordial,” without mentioning any misconduct. It seemingly contradicted reported assertions in Bolton’s forthcoming book that Trump explicitly told him he wanted to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Another clip surfaced of leading House impeachment manager Adam Schiff, D-Calif, expressing that Bolton had a “lack of credibility” during a 2005 interview when Bolton was up for a nomination as ambassador to the United Nations under then-President George W. Bush.

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“And particularly given the history, where we’ve had the politicizing of intelligence over WMD [weapons of mass destruction], why we would pick someone who the very same issue has been raised repeatedly, and that is John Bolton’s politicization of the intelligence he got on Cuba and other issues, why we would want someone with that lack of credibility, I can’t understand,” Schiff had said.

All eyes have been on a handful of senators, who are being swayed by colleagues on both sides to either call for witnesses or wrap up the impeachment trial. It is expected that a final vote for additional witnesses will take place Friday evening.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group BidenFaith Biden opposed additional witnesses during Clinton impeachment trial Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 83904827-f9f4-5a64-81ea-a0d266d9015e   Westlake Legal Group BidenFaith Biden opposed additional witnesses during Clinton impeachment trial Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 83904827-f9f4-5a64-81ea-a0d266d9015e

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Trump Called Powell an ‘Enemy.’ ‘Ugh’ Was a Response Inside the Fed.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_161022033_6a3c13d1-ea62-44ae-8ff5-c6a3e35e098b-facebookJumbo Trump Called Powell an ‘Enemy.’ ‘Ugh’ Was a Response Inside the Fed. Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Powell, Jerome H International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Federal Reserve System Banking and Financial Institutions

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s nonstop attacks on the Federal Reserve have raised eyebrows and broken with recent presidential norms. But an Aug. 23 tweet in which Mr. Trump called the Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, an “enemy” of America appears to have prompted some hand-wringing inside the central bank.

“My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Mr. Trump wrote, just moments after Mr. Powell wrapped up a speech at the monetary policy world’s top annual conference in Jackson, Wyo.

Mr. Trump, who himself nominated Mr. Powell to lead the Fed, had long complained about the central bank’s 2018 rate increases and had griped that officials were too slow in reversing course. But suggesting America’s most important economic leader was an enemy sent shock-waves through the economics profession — and spurred an email chain at the Fed itself.

Minutes after the president posted his tweet, the Fed’s communications director, Michelle Smith, sent an email to Richard Clarida, the Fed vice chair, with a screenshot of the tweets, based on documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Ugh ugh,” Mr. Clarida replied.

An hour later, Ms. Smith sent Mr. Powell and Mr. Clarida an email containing positive comments about the Fed chair from Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. The email quoted a talk radio interview in which Mr. Cramer criticized Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mr. Powell.

“This is an area where I frankly disagree with the president. He’s forever attacking the Federal Reserve and particularly Jay Powell,” Mr. Cramer said in the interview. “They are independent of politics, and they ought to remain independent of politics.”

That message met with a positive reaction from Mr. Powell, who replied with one word: “Terrific.”

Mr. Powell has not responded to Mr. Trump’s attacks, even when they are personal. He has repeatedly said that the Fed, which is independent of the White House, does not take politics into consideration.

But Mr. Powell has spent much of his tenure shoring up support on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers from both parties, who routinely give the chair high marks. Their view of the chair matters, because while the president nominates members to the Fed’s Board of Governors, the White House has no other significant power over the central bank. Monetary policymakers answer to Congress.

That reality has not stopped Mr. Trump’s steady drumbeat of criticism. While the Fed cut rates two times after the August tweet, Mr. Trump has continued to blast the central bank. He said this week that “the Fed should get smart” and lower interest rates, and has tweeted about Mr. Powell personally 13 more times.

It is not all talk. Mr. Trump has recently nominated a Fed critic, Judy Shelton, to sit among the Fed’s leadership in Washington. Her confirmation hearing — along with that for Christopher Waller, a more conventional pick — could come as soon as Feb. 13, according to a person familiar with the scheduling.

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