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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 34)

Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Westlake Legal Group baghdad-medic-tent-1033cd88d8415ab7e3fc7348135e62230939e791-s1100-c15 Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Volunteer medics clear the ruins of a medical tent near Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Saturday after security forces stormed the area. They said security forces set the tent on fire burning everything in it, including medical supplies. Jane Arraf/NPR hide caption

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Jane Arraf/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Volunteer medics clear the ruins of a medical tent near Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Saturday after security forces stormed the area. They said security forces set the tent on fire burning everything in it, including medical supplies.

Jane Arraf/NPR

Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown on anti-government protesters on Saturday from Baghdad to cities across the south after an influential Shiite cleric instrumental in the demonstrations withdrew his support.

In Baghdad, security forces stormed bridges, streets near Tahrir Square and a highway interchange taken over by protesters, firing live bullets and tear gas and setting fire to tents where protesters have been living and where medics have treated the wounded. At least one protester was killed and dozens wounded, according to security and medical officials.

In the southern city of Nasriyah, at least three protesters were killed when security forces moved in to re-open a highway blocked by the demonstrations, Al Jazeera’s Arwa Ibrahim reports.

“They burned this medical tent using Molotov cocktails,” said Muslim, a medical student who left his studies in October to help treat the wounded. NPR is not using the last names of protesters because of the militia kidnapping of hundreds of them in retaliation for the protests.

Muslim said he and other medics saw uniformed security people raise the homemade gasoline bombs to show protesters as a taunt and then threw them inside. Stuffing from mattresses on the floor was still smoldering while the burned tent hung in shreds from the metal poles. Pills were ground into the pavement.

“They don’t want protesters here – they think we are sabotaging the country when in fact we are building it – we are cleaning it from every corrupt person here,” he said. Muslim said the fire had burned all their medical supplies and even the students’ laptops.

He and other volunteers began sorting through the wreckage of their tent as gunshots rang out down the street.

Westlake Legal Group baghdad-pic-1-5107581364540b9671128fd455d95c7dc0a5c99b-s1100-c15 Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Anti-government protesters outside Baghdad’s Tahrir Square attempt to re-block the streets after Iraqi security forces stormed through. Jane Arraf/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Jane Arraf/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Anti-government protesters outside Baghdad’s Tahrir Square attempt to re-block the streets after Iraqi security forces stormed through.

Jane Arraf/NPR

Security forces began their crackdown after Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr withdrew his support for the anti-government protests, which have demanded the fall of a government they consider corrupt and controlled by Iran. Sadr, long considered an Iraqi nationalist, had backed the protesters demands. He left Iraq for Iran last month – his aides said to continue his religious studies.

Sadr’s reversal left followers in Tahrir Square stunned.

“We had so much hope in him and he sold us for a very simple thing – because of power,” said one of the protesters, who did not give his name for fear of reprisals. The three-month-long protests broke the barrier of fear of criticizing powerful religious, party or militia leaders but publicly criticizing Sadr remains dangerous.

“Sayyid Muqtada – the most cowardly person in Iraq,” the protester continued, using an honorific that denotes a descendant of the prophet Mohammad. “Seven hundred people died because of you.”

Iraqi security forces include Iran-backed militias nominally under the control of the Iraqi government. Sadr’s reversal seemed likely to crush the broad-based, secular protest movement that began in earnest exactly three months ago on Oct. 25.

Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced in November he would resign as a result of the protests but is still in place as a caretaker leader. Candidates for prime minister have so far been mostly from traditional parties with ties to Iran and other countries and have been rejected by the protesters.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters have been turning out every day, and hundreds had established a kind of community in Tahrir Square, fearing violence from Iran-backed militias if they left.

They had pitched tents and organized meals, with doctors and dentists providing services. Outside the square, other protesters had set up makeshift barriers in an effort to keep security forces out.

Between 600 and 700 protesters are believed to have been killed by security forces or militia gunmen since October – deaths that the Iraqi government has mostly blamed on “unknown groups,” a euphemism for militias on the government payroll but not under government control.

As security forces stormed areas around Tahrir Square, protesters evacuated an unfinished concrete high-rise overlooking a bridge to the green zone. The strategic building allowed them a lookout over the square and the green zone, and a measure of protection from snipers believed to have used the building to shoot protesters.

Westlake Legal Group baghdad-pic-3-d62b942462ef1b22d0613459f4d08cd9de416c63-s1100-c15 Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Security forces burned medical tents and fired live bullets and tear gas to drive protesters from bridges and streets near Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Saturday. Jane Arraf/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Jane Arraf/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iraqi Security Forces Storm Tahrir Square, Clash With Protesters

Security forces burned medical tents and fired live bullets and tear gas to drive protesters from bridges and streets near Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Saturday.

Jane Arraf/NPR

Many others, though, vowed to stay and protest, even as they expected security forces to storm the square itself as night fell. As word went out about the crackdown, thousands of people, most of them young men, came from other parts of the city to join the protesters either facing security forces firing tear gas near intersections or chanting slogans and singing the national anthem in Tahrir Square.

“They burned the tents and told us they will come back in the night and clear the square,” said a protester named Ibrahim. “We accomplished a lot of things but we haven’t accomplished yet what we came for.”

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Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Saturday’s Trial

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-highlights-facebookJumbo Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Saturday’s Trial United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Cipollone, Pat A

Here’s what you need to know:

After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.

“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots all across the country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” Mr. Cipollone said of the House managers. “They’re here,” he added moments later, “to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Purpura, repeatedly pointed to clips of testimony from the House’s impeachment inquiry that he said undermined the argument that Mr. Trump had engaged in an illicit quid pro quo by holding military aid from Ukraine while pressuring the country to announce investigations into his political rivals.

“We know there was no quid pro quo on the call, we know that from the transcript,” Mr. Purpura said. “There couldn’t possibly have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t know the security assistance was on hold” until a Politico article reported that, he said.

“There can’t be a threat without the person knowing he’s being threatened,” Mr. Purpura said. He played testimony from the House hearings where administration officials testified they did not learn of the freeze until the article published in late August.

But a former Ukrainian deputy foreign minister later said she learned of the aid hold on July 30, and one Defense Department official said in congressional testimony that Ukrainian diplomats knew about it by July 25.

President Trump’s lawyers appear to have noticed how restless senators got during the more than 21 hours of arguments by the House Democratic managers over three days.

The president’s team repeatedly jabbed at the managers for extending their presentations for hours, reminding the senators of how long they had to sit through the Democratic arguments.

Michael Purpura, one of the White House lawyers, noted several times the “21 hours, or more than 21 hours,” that Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, and the other Democrats spoke.

The defense, like the House managers, was allotted 24 hours over as many as three days to present its side.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, opened the arguments with a promise: We’re going to be very respectful of your time, he told the senators, vowing to take “about two to three hours at most, and to be out of here by one o’clock at the latest.”

Just after noon, with nearly an hour left to spare, Mr. Cipollone made his closing remarks.

The strategy appears to have two goals: Remind senators of how much repetition there was in the House managers’ case. And perhaps to earn some good will from the senators as they put on a case that apparently will be much shorter.

Their argument finished, the House managers made one last stab on Saturday morning to underscore the power of their impeachment case against Mr.Trump by marching from the House to the Senate with boxes filled with 28,578 pages of transcripts and other evidence collected during their inquiry.

Shortly after 9:45 a.m., the impeachment managers, led by Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, emerged from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and walked to the Senate as their aides wheeled four carts of white bankers boxes stuffed with binders of documents behind them.

“The record delivered today presents a mountain of evidence showing the president has committed the impeachable offenses that the House has charged — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — and he should be removed from office,” the managers said in a statement. “The factual and legal record laid out by the House managers has yet to be substantively rebutted by President Trump or his lawyers, who have instead sought to hide behind novel and frivolous legal theories.”

This week, Republicans repeatedly rejected Democratic attempts to subpoena more documents and call new witnesses. That question will come up again after arguments from both sides and questions from senators.

Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Sharon LaFraniere and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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Lamar Alexander, Set to Leave Office, Is G.O.P. Wild Card on Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-alexander-facebookJumbo Lamar Alexander, Set to Leave Office, Is G.O.P. Wild Card on Witnesses Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Stolberg, Sheryl Gay Senate Republican Party Collins, Susan M Alexander, Lamar

WASHINGTON — The ghost of Howard H. Baker Jr., the Republican senator from Tennessee who turned against Richard M. Nixon during Watergate, is hovering over Senator Lamar Alexander.

Mr. Alexander, a third-term Republican from Tennessee who is retiring at the end of this year, has said that no one outside his family has had more influence on him than Mr. Baker, the former Senate majority leader who is remembered for the penetrating question he posed as Nixon stared down impeachment: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

Now Mr. Alexander may hold in his hands the fate of another Republican president who is facing removal from office. He is one of four Republican moderates who have expressed openness to bringing witnesses into President Trump’s impeachment trial — and the only one who is not running for re-election and arguably has nothing to lose.

Yet as the Senate heads toward a vote on the matter, Mr. Alexander — who has broken with Mr. Trump over trade, the border wall and health care — does not appear ready for a Howard Baker moment. He has said he will make a decision about witnesses after Mr. Trump’s team presents its defense and senators have an opportunity to ask questions, but he does not sound eager to defect.

“As the House managers have said many times, they’ve presented us with a mountain of overwhelming evidence,” he told reporters in the Capitol on Friday. “So we have a lot to consider already.”

Mr. Alexander’s caution suggests what Republicans in Tennessee and around the country already know: that the Howard Baker wing of their party, the one populated by moderate-leaning conservatives willing to reach across the political aisle, is virtually extinct. Bob Corker, another Tennessee Republican, learned as much when he spoke out against Mr. Trump and then felt compelled to retire in 2018 from the Senate. So did Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona, who watched some of Mr. Trump’s trial from the Senate gallery this week.

“As a Republican, it pains me when I see Republicans, House Republicans, try to maintain that the president did no wrong, that this is somehow normal. It’s not,” Mr. Flake told reporters, though he said he was not sure he would vote to convict Mr. Trump.

That kind of talk is absent among Republicans in the Senate these days, even from members like Mr. Alexander, who in 2016 made clear that “Trump was not his first choice for president,” as his hometown newspaper, The Nashville Tennessean reported. But if Mr. Alexander has issues with the president, he tends to raise them quietly, people who know him say.

There is little question that Mr. Alexander will vote to acquit Mr. Trump. He has called the House impeachment inquiry “a circus,” and said Democrats made a “mistake” in charging Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. But he was among four Senate Republicans — along with Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — who pressed Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to allow a vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and seek new documents.

The White House has regarded Mr. Alexander — who does not have a close relationship with Mr. Trump — as a wild card in the proceeding.

Democrats, who control 47 votes in the Senate, would need four Republicans to join them to expand the scope of the trial, but so far only two — Ms. Collins and Mr. Romney — seem to be leaning into the idea.

And Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who is close with Mr. Alexander, is determined to hold Republicans together to block it. The two men met in Washington in 1969, when Mr. Alexander was a young aide in Nixon’s White House and Mr. McConnell a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. It was Mr. Baker who introduced them.

“I seek his counsel on a weekly basis on a whole variety of issues,” Mr. McConnell said in a brief statement. “He’s my closest friend in the Senate.”

Mr. McConnell has sometimes used Mr. Alexander as a conduit to Democrats, particularly to Harry Reid, the former senator from Nevada, when he was minority leader. Mr. Reid and Mr. McConnell did not get along, so Mr. Alexander — who had been in Republican leadership but stepped away to focus more on legislation — served as an “honest broker” between the two, said Jim Manley, a former aide to Mr. Reid.

But Mr. Manley said Mr. Alexander “still toed the party line.”

When Mr. McConnell put forth a resolution setting up a speedy timetable for the impeachment trial, some Republicans balked and Democrats objected. But Mr. Alexander issued a statement praising the rules.

People close to Mr. Alexander say they have no idea whether he will vote to allow witnesses — and that he may not know yet himself. Should he do so, he would be a “pariah” in the state, said one conservative activist in Tennessee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about a sitting senator.

His seeming reluctance to speak out against Mr. Trump has disappointed some of Mr. Alexander’s admirers. Richard L. Clinton, a professor emeritus of political science at Oregon State University who was in the same fraternity as Mr. Alexander at Vanderbilt more than 60 years ago, posted an open letter this week to the senator on the web site of the progressive newsletter Common Dreams.

Under the headline “Where is Your Courage and Decency?” Mr. Clinton wrote that he remembered Mr. Alexander as “an exceptionally intelligent, hard-working, and trustworthy young man,” and was thus “perplexed” by his silence. He urged the senator to renounce Mr. Trump and “employ his considerable abilities and unique position to begin making our country whole again.”

But aggravating others is not Mr. Alexander’s style; he appears to see himself as more of a bridge builder than a rabble-rouser, which suggests he is unlikely to vote for witnesses in the impeachment trial.

“Lamar is not looking for a one-time event to have what I call the shocking headline,” said Tom Griscom, a close friend of Mr. Alexander and former press secretary to Mr. Baker. “You’ve got a template of who he is over a career — that doesn’t change. He’s not looking to write a post-note at the back end of it.”

On policy matters, though, Mr. Alexander has not been afraid to part ways with Mr. Trump. While he has voted with the president 90 percent of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight, his departures are significant. He voted to overturn Mr. Trump’s plan to use military funds to build a border wall, fought the president over tariffs and sought to block him from withdrawing troops from Syria.

At 79, Mr. Alexander is an icon in Tennessee politics — twice elected governor; president of the University of Tennessee; education secretary to President George Bush; an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000 and a senator for the past 17 years. Pale and bespectacled, he is regarded as a serious legislator (he oversees the Senate health committee) and an “institutionalist” — a guardian of the chamber and its traditions.

”I’ve always loved working with him; I’m a big fan of his,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who is running for her party’s nomination for president. “I just think that he’s someone who really tries to get things done.”

John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, said his surveys show a “strong majority” of Tennesseans believe Mr. Trump did “something wrong,” and while Mr. Alexander is under pressure from conservatives, “the Baker wing” of the Republican Party would stick with him if he voted for witnesses.

“He’s not voting for impeachment; he’s made that very clear,” Professor Geer said. “He’s voting to learn more, which is frankly something pretty easy to defend.”

Mr. Alexander got his start in politics working for Mr. Baker in the 1960s. In 1973, when Mr. Baker was the influential ranking minority member of the Senate Watergate Committee, he asked Mr. Alexander, a lawyer, to be his chief counsel. But Mr. Alexander turned down the job; he wanted to seek public office in Tennessee. He has modeled himself after Mr. Baker, adopting the late senator’s habit of giving careful thought to every decision.

Often forgotten about Mr. Baker is that his famous question was actually uttered in an effort to protect Nixon; only after months and months of hearings did he turn against the president. Victoria Bassetti, a former Senate aide and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, who has written about the episode, said Mr. Alexander’s situation is different.

“What happened with Howard Baker was the result of the slow, steady accumulation of wisdom and insight and just the scales dropping from his eyes over the course of months and months of close careful attention to what was going on,” she said. “And that’s not happening in the Senate today.”

What is happening instead is that many Republicans reflexively defend Mr. Trump, and those who are unwilling to increasingly feel crowded out of their party, vulnerable to primary challenges from the president’s loyal base. People close to Mr. Alexander deny that he is leaving the Senate for that reason. He simply wants to “go out at the top of his game,” as one friend put it.

But the politics of his state have shifted under Mr. Alexander’s feet. In 2014, he faced a tough primary challenge — his first serious competition in years — from a little-known state representative and conservative Tea Party candidate, Joe Carr. Although Mr. Alexander won the race handily, many in Tennessee say he would have almost certainly faced another primary fight this year.

For now, Mr. Alexander is eager to get back to accomplishing his highest legislative priority: a bipartisan package of bills aimed at lowering the cost of medical care, which has already passed his committee. But no matter what he does on impeachment, like Mr. Baker, he will almost certainly be remembered for it.

“The reality is that this is Lamar’s last year in the Senate,” said Bill Haslam, a former governor of Tennessee. “He would rather be working on legislation that he thinks can make a difference for the country. This is not how he would choose to spend the first month of his last year.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Jay Faison: Clean-energy supporters should support nuclear power

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6075922024001_6075919450001-vs Jay Faison: Clean-energy supporters should support nuclear power Jay Faison fox-news/us/environment/climate-change fox-news/us/environment fox-news/opinion fox-news/newsedge/business fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a094622b-5f2b-5833-9dc7-d25abc47fa85

No matter your view on climate change, corporations and markets are planning for a lower-carbon future. In fact, some of the largest utility companies in the U.S. are making big bets that they can reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

But without nuclear power in the mix to produce needed energy, these bets are much less likely and will certainly be more expensive.

The question is not whether the world’s economy will shift to a low-carbon one. The question is how and when.

TRUMP’S ENERGY POLICY FREES US FROM MIDEAST OIL DEPENDENCE AFTER SOLEIMANI STRIKE, CHAFFETZ SAY

Here’s where things get very tricky and incredibly complicated, and a dose of humility is called for. When you hear Democrats in Congress and the party’s 2020 presidential candidates talk about their solutions to climate change, they generally focus on electricity and a “renewable” grid comprised of wind and solar power.

Much of the case for 100 percent renewable energy comes from one professor at Stanford University – Mark Jacobsen. His theory includes the assumption that we can increase the amount of power from hydroelectric dams tenfold.

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But according to the U.S. Department of Energy and all major studies, the real potential increase is just a tiny fraction of that. Even if this were possible, it’s not smart or humble to put all of our eggs in one basket.

I’m for renewables as part of the energy mix, but I’m not sure why the word “renewables” even matters. Aren’t we going for “clean” – meaning reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

If so, why would Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and other Democrats want to take down 55 percent of our clean energy by decommissioning all nuclear power plants by 2030?

That means replacing $60 billion of always-on power with intermittent renewables that have to be backed up by a power source when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

And to replace a 2-gigawatt nuclear plant with solar you would need the equivalent solar panel coverage of a two-lane highway from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles and back.

Democrats say that wind and solar power are cheaper than other forms of energy, but they aren’t counting the cost of backup power. This is like saying that I saved a ton of money by selling my car and riding my new bike to work – but not counting the cost of Uber when I didn’t want to get wet on rainy days or sweaty on hot ones, or when I had to make a long trip.

It’s easy to say nuclear power is too expensive or unsafe. It’s simple, and the Democratic base likes this claim. However, this point generally confuses the distinction between keeping existing plants open and building new ones.

Virtually no one is advocating building more “Gen 3” nuclear reactors, which were first designed in the 1950s. But utility executives and pragmatic clean energy thinkers are advocating to keep existing nuclear power plants operating. As far as safety goes, there has never been a fatality or even a major injury at a nuclear plant in the U.S. due to radiation.

Importantly, there are exciting prospects ahead thanks to nuclear innovation. New companies have figured out how to make nuclear power plants “walk-away safe.” This means that no human intervention is needed to shut down the plant if something goes wrong.

The nuclear fission reaction stops when, under a rare occurrence, things get overheated. Many of these new reactor concepts work on used fuel. Not only do these engineering breakthroughs eliminate safety concerns – they drastically reduce costs.

These new technologies aren’t pipedreams. NuScale’s small modular reactor is almost through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process and has a power agreement with a Utah utility.

Additional cutting-edge designs are expected to undergo formal reviews beginning in the next 18 months. Even our Defense Department is working on prototyping a new micro nuclear reactor by 2022.

These reactors will not only provide always-on affordable power, but they can “load follow” renewables to provide 100 percent clean energy when needed. They should be viewed as an exciting complement rather than a competitor to renewables.

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For decades, Democrats in Congress and previous administrations have built roadblocks for nuclear power, making it the most heavily regulated industry in the country. We’ve seen modest improvements, but we need a bolder, more rapid modernization of federal nuclear policy.

The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act is one example of legislation that could make a big difference. It has dozens of bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and Senate and broad industry and environmental stakeholder support.

Among other things, the legislation would establish specific goals for public-private partnerships; require the development of a 10-year strategic plan that supports advanced nuclear research and development goals, and provide for initial domestic supplies of advanced nuclear fuel (currently available only in Russia) needed by new nuclear reactors.

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Nuclear power is critical to meeting environmental goals, but it is also a massive economic opportunity. The world’s middle-class is projected to grow by almost 50 percent by 2030, which means a lot of new air conditioners and appliances that need reliable and affordable power.

It’s time to acknowledge nuclear power’s important place in the clean energy family.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6075922024001_6075919450001-vs Jay Faison: Clean-energy supporters should support nuclear power Jay Faison fox-news/us/environment/climate-change fox-news/us/environment fox-news/opinion fox-news/newsedge/business fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a094622b-5f2b-5833-9dc7-d25abc47fa85   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6075922024001_6075919450001-vs Jay Faison: Clean-energy supporters should support nuclear power Jay Faison fox-news/us/environment/climate-change fox-news/us/environment fox-news/opinion fox-news/newsedge/business fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a094622b-5f2b-5833-9dc7-d25abc47fa85

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‘Demeaned and Humiliated’: What Happened to These Iranians at U.S. Airports

Westlake Legal Group 25IRAN-STUDENTS-02-facebookJumbo ‘Demeaned and Humiliated’: What Happened to These Iranians at U.S. Airports Logan International Airport (Boston, Mass) Immigration Detention Immigration and Emigration Foreign Students (in US) Customs and Border Protection (US) Boston (Mass)

A small room. A language barrier. An interrogation after hours of travel. Months spent preparing for a new life overseas, all gone in a blur.

A growing number of Iranian students share this collective memory. Many had secured admission to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. The State Department approved them for entry into the United States after a notoriously grueling, monthslong vetting process and issued them visas to come to the United States.

But when the students reached American airports, Customs and Border Protection officers disagreed and sent them home, some with a five-year ban on reapplying to return to the United States.

Most say they were not told why they were deemed “inadmissible” — a broad label that customs officers have wide discretion to apply. What the students do know is that, at a time of rising diplomatic tensions between the United States and Iran, their plans for the future seem to have evaporated.

Some of the students asked that their last names not be published. Their stories could not be verified with C.B.P. officials, who declined to comment on individual cases. In a statement, the agency said there were numerous potential grounds for inadmissibility, include health issues, criminality and security concerns. “In all cases, the applicant bears the burden of proof of admissibility,” the agency said.

Mohammad, 30, was studying at Northeastern University. He was turned away at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Oct. 6.

The officer was friendly, even cajoling at first. Mohammad felt confident. He had been studying at Northeastern University since April of 2019, and had crossed back and forth between Canada and the United States several times.

This particular trip was an academic one. A paper Mohammad had written during his coursework in numerical electromagnetics had been chosen for presentation at a conference in Paris. But when he arrived at Logan airport that day in October, the officer became aggressive, he said. He started yelling.

After Mohammad was told that his visa was going to be revoked, the officers took a picture of him, for their records. Then, he says, they laughed. “I looked as despondent in the photo as I felt and they found it very funny. I felt demeaned and humiliated,” he said.

Flight attendants on the trip back held onto his cellphone and travel documents and refused to give them to him until he reached Paris. When he arrived, he said, he sat in the airport crying for hours, unsure of what to do.

Amin, 34, entering a Ph.D. program at the University of Florida, was turned away Jan. 1 at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.

Eight years after graduating at the top of his master’s class from the University of Tehran, Amin hoped to study for a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering in Florida. But at the airport, officers wanted to know why a former school email address and an old research paper he had written were not disclosed on his visa application.

When they told him he had been deemed inadmissible and would be retuned to Iran, he collapsed onto a chair, crying.

A flight back to Iran was not available for a couple of days, so Amin said he was placed in a chilly holding cell for six hours, then transported in cuffs and chains to an immigration detention facility in Georgia. The officers there ordered him to strip naked in front of them.

“The moment I entered the cell, I lost my spirit,” he said. Now back in Iran, he has lost $6,000 — the equivalent of two years’ work — on his travel and applications. The company he worked for has filled his old position. Having moved out of his apartment in Tehran, he is bouncing from one relative’s home to another.

Hamid, 22, entering a combined master’s and Ph.D. program in engineering at University of Notre Dame, was sent back Jan. 11 from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Hamid at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Jan. 11 after getting his boarding pass for Chicago.

Hamid, who had been accepted for a fully-funded graduate program, waited eight months for his visa. Then when he arrived in Chicago, he was placed in a holding cell for 19 hours.

Officers asked him for his opinion on political events in Iran and whether he thought Iran was doing “the right thing.” He was asked what he thought about the Ukrainian jet that had been shot down three days earlier by two Iranian missiles. Hamid told the officer he had a friend who died on the plane.

Hamid said he and two other detained travelers were given foam mattresses and thin blankets, and he hardly slept.

“After 24 hours, I was transferred to the boarding gate in the company of two armed officers, as if I was some kind of terrorist. It was both humiliating and dehumanizing,” he said.

He phoned his parents when he reached Istanbul, en route back to Tehran. “There were so much pain in my parents’ voice,” he said.

Reihana Emami, 35, planned to attend Harvard Divinity School. She was turned away Sept. 18 at Logan airport.

The officers’ questions were simple at first, Reihana said: “Where did you work?” “Who are your relatives?” But then the conversation turned to unfamiliar territory.

“He then asked me what Iranian people think about the explosion in Saudi Arabia,” she said, an apparent reference to the wave of explosions that had rocked Saudi oil facilities a few days earlier, blamed on Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Reihana explained that she had spent the last few days packing and preparing to move her life across the world, and had not been watching the news.

“I said I am not a political person — I’m interested in philosophical questions,” she said.

During the nine hours she was questioned, she said, she asked if she could rest, because she had been traveling for 18 hours. But the officer told her that lots of travelers had done the same, and a Harvard student “should be clever enough to handle” it.

“Now I am jobless,” she said, adding that she and her family were still struggling to believe what happened. “It was like a shock and trauma for everybody.”

Pegah, 28, was preparing to study for a master’s degree in business administration at Southern New Hampshire University. She was returned home on Aug. 1 from Logan airport.

After waiting 15 months for her visa to be issued, Pegah flew from Shiraz, Iran, to Boston. “When I entered the airport the bad treatment started,” she said.

The C.B.P. officer shouted at her for scanning her fingerprints wrong, she said. Another officer took her laptop, hard drive and phone and left her waiting for hours.

At one point, Pegah asked an officer if she could have a snack.

“He threw a candy at me with terrible manners, like I was a dog,” Pegah said, “He shouted at me, ‘Take it! I told you to take it!’”

Pegah was then taken to a small room. An officer had a series of questions, she said, like which ships Iran hid weapons in, and why Iran had captured a British oil tanker in July.

“He said, ‘Did you know we can catch you and keep you here in the United States, and no one will understand where you are, the same way Iran does to Americans?’”

Pegah said she was frightened. “I said, ‘I don’t know anything. I really don’t. I’m just a student.’”

Mohammad Elmi, 31, was to begin a Ph.D. program at University of California, Santa Barbara. He was denied entry on Dec. 13 at Los Angeles International Airport.

Mohammad Elmi, 31, and Shima Mousavi, 32, were planning a new life together in the United States. They were married in August, and Mr. Elmi prepared to join his new wife in Santa Barbara, where she is also a student, to study electrical engineering.

Ms. Mousavi was waiting at a relative’s house near the airport when her husband called, eight hours after his plane had landed, to tell her that he had been denied entry.

She rushed to the airport and pleaded for help, but it was late at night and the C.B.P. office was closed. She waited until dawn, unwilling to leave while her husband was there in the same building. “I could feel him close to me,” she said. She was still at the airport when Mr. Elmi was put on a flight back to Iran at around 3 p.m. the next day.

He sent her a WhatsApp voice message from the plane, apologizing. “His voice was sad and tired,” she said.

Arash, 30, accepted into a Ph.D. program in electrical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, was sent back along with his wife, Saba, 30, on Jan. 13 at Logan airport.

When the couple arrived in Boston, C.B.P. officers pulled them aside into separate rooms. Mr. Arash said he was asked about his education and work history, family members and military service. The officers took the couple’s phones and laptops.

They informed Arash and Saba that they had been found inadmissible. Mr. Arash said he thought the officer confused the company he worked for with a company, subject to sanctions, that has a similar name. The embassy had spent months vetting him before granting his visa and had obviously discerned the difference, he said.

But when he tried to point out the mistake, he said, the officer accused him of lying.

Mahla Shahkhajeh, 26, was accepted into a Ph.D. program in industrial engineering at Iowa State University, but was turned away on Dec. 22 at Logan airport.

Ms. Shahkhajeh said she was questioned about her work, family and many other things. The officers said the company she worked for, which produces plastic packing materials, had relationships with companies in Iran’s oil sector. “The officer said his boss didn’t like that I had worked with that company,” Ms. Shahkhajeh said.

She could not understand why one officer’s opinion of her company would take precedence over a monthslong visa process. “If I was eligible to receive a visa after such a time-consuming process, after they had investigated all my information, why was I not allowed to enter the U.S.?”

She had already left her apartment and quit her job in Tehran. “All of my efforts and all the money I spent became nothing.”

Behzad, 32, who planned to study material sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, was turned back Aug. 19 at Logan Airport.

Behzad hoped to work one day in the automotive industry. But when he arrived in Boston to begin his studies, he was pulled aside.

“The room was an exact replica of what you see in Hollywood movies,” he said. “It was very bright and small. I had to sit in a chair, with no table. A guy behind a computer started to interrogate me.” Behzad said he went through multiple rounds of questioning for about eight hours, and had not slept in nearly two days. “I was in too much shock to even ask for water,” he said.

In Iran, Behzad had worked for a company that designs processing systems for factories, including oil facilities. A C.B.P. officer told him he had violated sanctions by working in the oil industry. Behzad protested that his company was never sanctioned, and that he had worked there only while the Iran nuclear deal, under which many sanctions were not in effect, was in place.

It was to no avail — he was ordered back to Iran.

“They just wanted to find something,” Behzad said.

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New England Patriots’ Benjamin Watson says pro-life issues shouldn’t be partisan after March for Life

Westlake Legal Group BEN-WATSON- New England Patriots' Benjamin Watson says pro-life issues shouldn't be partisan after March for Life Julia Musto fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/shows/fox-friends-weekend fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5b25aeb3-f4aa-5981-96c2-d3ab730425d7

The mission of those who marched at the March for Life on Friday shouldn’t be partisan, New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson said Saturday.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends: Weekend” with hosts Pete Hegseth, Griff Jenkins, and Lisa Boothe, Watson said pro-life issues are shaped in a “partisan way” right now, but “it shouldn’t be that way.”

“Standing for the vulnerable should be something that everybody can get behind,” he stated.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON WHY HE ATTENDED MARCH FOR LIFE RALLY: ‘RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IS UNDER SIEGE’

Watson said it was encouraging to see the up to 100,000 attendees who came out for the cause.

“People of all ages, all ethnicities, you have Democrats, Republicans all joining us for life,” he told the “Friends: Weekend” hosts.

“And so, every time I have an opportunity to go, it is kind of like being in a huddle and everybody getting together encouraging each other before we go out and continue to fight for life,” Watson said.

Watson is currently producing a documentary on the issue called “Divided Hearts of America,” which is set to release later this year.

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He said that his journey through the film is “getting to the issues — getting to the truth.”

“What is abortion? What are the implications if we don’t deal with this in the correct way?” he asked. “It’s important we are able to talk about these issues. I believe this issue is the issue of our day that is tearing our country apart.”

Westlake Legal Group BEN-WATSON- New England Patriots' Benjamin Watson says pro-life issues shouldn't be partisan after March for Life Julia Musto fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/shows/fox-friends-weekend fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5b25aeb3-f4aa-5981-96c2-d3ab730425d7   Westlake Legal Group BEN-WATSON- New England Patriots' Benjamin Watson says pro-life issues shouldn't be partisan after March for Life Julia Musto fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/shows/fox-friends-weekend fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 5b25aeb3-f4aa-5981-96c2-d3ab730425d7

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Meghan King Edmonds reveals plan to keep 4 embryos with ex Jim Edmonds ‘frozen until eternity’

Westlake Legal Group edmonds-getty Meghan King Edmonds reveals plan to keep 4 embryos with ex Jim Edmonds 'frozen until eternity' Melissa Roberto fox-news/topic/celebrity-breakups fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0326f0b1-fef7-5a82-b0a1-9143851491ea

Meghan King Edmonds is in the middle of a bitter divorce from estranged husband Jim Edmonds, and the last thing on the former reality star’s mind is having more children with him, she revealed in a new interview.

The mother of three appeared on the Juicy Scoop podcast this week, where she discussed her health and wellbeing, and whether or not she would ever consider adding more babies to her bunch.

MEGHAN KING EDMONDS REVEALS WHAT SHE WANTS IN HER NEXT PARTNER AFTER JIM EDMONDS DIVORCE DRAMA

Meghan revealed she and Jim still have four frozen embryos due to her past in vitro fertilization treatments. Asked if she would ever use the embryos, she responded that she’d rather “just keep them frozen until eternity,” according to People.

Also on the podcast, Meghan discussed if she’d ever want kids again even with Jim out of the picture.

“I don’t know if I’m done having kids,” she said (via People). “I’m 35; my kids are little. I could totally have another kid and I do love the idea of a nuclear family. However, my kids are a lot of work. They’re young. And I need to get out of the weeds right now.”

JIM EDMONDS RESPONDS TO EX MEGHAN KING EDMONDS’ THREESOME ALLEGATIONS: ‘TIRED OF THE LIES’

Tensions between Meghan and Jim are still running high, especially after she recently accused Jim of traveling to Cabo San Lucas with the same woman they had an alleged threesome with during their marriage. Meghan’s accusations left Jim furious, with him telling Us Weekly that he was “invited to a surprise birthday party this weekend for one of my best friends and decided to bring a date.”

“There is no affair going on here. It has been a plus one for the weekend. The woman I am in Cabo with is not her friend. They have not spoken in over three years,” he continued.

Meghan and Jim share two twin boys, Hart and Hayes, 19 months, and daughter, Aspen, 3.

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The mother of three has been vocal about her derailed marriage in recent months. Last June, Jim admitted that he had a “lapse in judgment” but denied he had a physical affair after a website published alleged explicit texts between Edmonds and the woman.

Months later, he and the family’s nanny, Carly Wilson, also denied Meghan’s allegations that they carried on an affair. Jim reportedly filed for divorce in October.

Westlake Legal Group edmonds-getty Meghan King Edmonds reveals plan to keep 4 embryos with ex Jim Edmonds 'frozen until eternity' Melissa Roberto fox-news/topic/celebrity-breakups fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0326f0b1-fef7-5a82-b0a1-9143851491ea   Westlake Legal Group edmonds-getty Meghan King Edmonds reveals plan to keep 4 embryos with ex Jim Edmonds 'frozen until eternity' Melissa Roberto fox-news/topic/celebrity-breakups fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0326f0b1-fef7-5a82-b0a1-9143851491ea

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3-year-old girl’s Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: ‘This is so cute!’

You can never start an addiction to caffeine and consumerism too young.

An adorable 3-year-old from Milwaukee has gone viral for her unique playroom, which includes very spot-on models of grown-up faves Starbucks and Target.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-3-Brigette-Doby-1 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

Though Ariah clearly enjoys her new set up – she even made Target Employee of the Month, according to a framed photo behind the tiny checkout counter – her mom Renee Doby-Becht admits she might like it more. (Brigette Doby)

BABY’S EPIC REACTION TO TRYING ICE CREAM DELIGHTS TWITTER, TIKTOK

Renèe Doby-Becht posted a series of photos of her daughter Ariah’s playroom on Facebook, explaining the tot has a deep love for the nationwide retailer and coffee chain.

“Ariah’s favorite store is Target and of course Starbucks are in most Target stores,” Doby-Becht wrote on Facebook.

So, to honor her daughter’s adoration for the store, Doby-Becht decided to transform the playroom into Ariah’s very own shopper’s paradise.

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The mom reached out to her friends and family to help create the small scale store.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-1-Brigette-Doby 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

Doby-Becht posted a series of her daughter Ariah’s playroom on Facebook, explaining the tot has a deep love for the nationwide retailer and coffee chain. (Brigette Doby)

“We created Target using the Melissa and Doug shopping center and Starbucks using Ariah’s cube storage unit in her playroom. Robby added wood and cheap flooring to the storage unit and I painted the rest. I will say it is very nice to have a graphic designer as a sister because Brigette really helped a lot with this project. She designed the Starbucks menus, made all the logos, price tags and sale signs and even taught me how to use the cricut machine! Mrs. C also made her Starbucks apron which I wasn’t expecting at all but I’m totally in love with!” she wrote of the process on Facebook.

Not one detail was spared, even down to the Target nametag Ariah has pinned on her shirt.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-6-Brigette-Doby 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

Not one detail was spared, even down to the Target nametag that Ariah has pinned on her shirt. (Brigette Doby)

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Though Ariah clearly enjoys her new set up – she even made Target Employee of the Month, according to a framed photo behind the tiny checkout counter – Doby-Becht admits she might like it more.

“I’m happy with how it turned out and even happier that Ariah loves it (even though I’m probably more excited about it than her),” she wrote.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-5-Brigette-Doby 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

The adorable 3-year-old from Milwaukee went viral for her unique playroom. (Brigette Doby)

The sweet pics have racked up nearly 10K shares and reactions on social media with people calling it “the dream playroom.”

“This is awesome,” one person wrote.

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“This is so cute!!” another commented.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-2-Brigette-Doby 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

The sweet pics have racked up nearly 10K shares and reactions on social media with people calling it “the dream playroom.” (Brigette Doby)

“Can’t believe I never thought to do something like this for the babies!! Hahaha,” another wrote.

“That’s one loved little girl,” another shared.

Westlake Legal Group play-area-3-Brigette-Doby-1 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c   Westlake Legal Group play-area-3-Brigette-Doby-1 3-year-old girl's Target, Starbucks-themed playroom goes viral: 'This is so cute!' fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 230a26fa-e8ad-5195-8c74-5b4f436cbe3c

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Elizabeth Hurley sizzles in hot pink bikini

Elizabeth Hurley doesn’t just design her own bikinis, she models them too.

The 54-year-old actress treated her 1.5 million Instagram followers on Friday to a steamy poolside snap in one of her Elizabeth Hurley Beach bikinis.

HOTTEST CELEBRITY BIKINI BODIES OF 2019: HOW THE STARS GOT THEIR SIZZLING LOOKS

The “Runaways” star showed off a hot pink bikini with gold embellishments while sitting on the ledge of a pool. Her fit figure is on full display in the sun as she gazes into the camera.

Hurley simply captioned the post with three kissing face emojis for her followers, who took to the comments section to compliment the actress on her flawless body.

ELIZABETH HURLEY POSTS TOPLESS PIC AHEAD OF CHRISTMAS: ‘GUESTS HAVE ARRIVED’

“Oh good evening,” one Instagram user wrote.

“My god stunning,” wrote another.

“You literally don’t age!!!! How why what,” a puzzled user added.

ELIZABETH HURLEY, 54, REVEALS HOW SHE STAYS IN BIKINI-READY SHAPE: ‘IT IS PART OF MY BUSINESS’

Westlake Legal Group hurleyson Elizabeth Hurley sizzles in hot pink bikini Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4b059940-0fd8-5d93-a6a2-54e0742538d0

 Elizabeth Hurley and son Damian Hurley attend the World Premiere of “Paddington 2” at Odeon Leicester Square. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)

The photo racked up over 122,000 likes in less than one day.

Last year, the model and swimsuit designer opened up to Closer Weekly about how she stays bikini-ready all year round.

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“It’s hard,” the 54-year-old continued. “I have to watch what I eat and do lots of exercises. I have to anoint myself with lots of very beautiful Estee Lauder creams, but it’s always a work in progress.”

“I think we have to watch what we eat,” explained Hurley. “We all know that. Everybody tells us that, but we have to watch what we eat. I eat meat and fish, but I also eat a lot of vegetables, and I’ve really been trying in the last year that 50 percent of the foods I eat are vegetables. It’s not easy but I’m trying — and I think it really makes a difference actually.”

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Hurley-grab Elizabeth Hurley sizzles in hot pink bikini Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4b059940-0fd8-5d93-a6a2-54e0742538d0   Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Hurley-grab Elizabeth Hurley sizzles in hot pink bikini Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4b059940-0fd8-5d93-a6a2-54e0742538d0

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Donald Trump Defense Team Argues That Impeachment Process, Set out in Constitution, is Unconstitutional

Westlake Legal Group k_EvXaTFMLj1qJrCjPABp-yGqKOKpWfU5YET4vJbMhM Donald Trump Defense Team Argues That Impeachment Process, Set out in Constitution, is Unconstitutional r/politics

Just like any defense lawyer who knows their client is guilty but will try to get them off anyway

We defense lawyers have a constitutional mandate to ensure our client’s rights to a fair trial and that a person is not convicted of a crime unless the state proves their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is protected. We do this regardless of guilt or innocence. We do so so that the innocent are not convicted upon anything less.

Frankly it’s far easier to defend the guilty than the innocent. If I do my job correctly and fight as hard as I can for a guilty person, I can go to sleep knowing I did what I was supposed to do. But try fighting as hard as you can for an innocent person but the jury finds them guilty.

That said, I have defended people accused of rape, assaults, drug possession, thefts, and all other manner of crimes. I’ve defended guilty, I’ve defended Innocents. People who were jerks, mothers, fathers, children sexually molested by relatives, drug addicts, etc.

I would never willfully defend Trump though. That guy is a piece of shit and I’m glad that he’s apparently so rich a judge would never be able to appoint him counsel.

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