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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 36)

GOP senators press DHS for answers on Pensacola shooter’s visa approval

Three GOP senators are looking into how the Saudi Arabian national who killed three Americans in a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., was allowed into the United States.

Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both of Florida, sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf asking how Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani was let into the U.S. before he killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans in the Dec. 6 attack.

Attorney General William Barr said al-Shamrani was “motivated by jihadist ideology” as the U.S. was expelling 21 Saudi nationals living in America who, like al-Shamrani, trained with the U.S. military at facilities, including NAS Pensacola.

Westlake Legal Group a04b545e-Mohammed-Alshamrani GOP senators press DHS for answers on Pensacola shooter’s visa approval Tyler Olson fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c3d94fa-67fa-50a2-82cc-946f3951a440

The NAS Pensacola shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command. (FBI)

NAS PENSACOLA SHOOTING WAS AN ‘ACT OF TERRORISM,’ BARR SAYS; US TO EXPEL 21 SAUDI NATIONALS IN TRAINING PROGRAM

“According to other reports, the Saudi government allegedly believes that al-Shamrani may have embraced a radical Islamist ideology as early as 2015, two years before he entered the United States. Just before his attack, al-Shamrani visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City,” the senators’ letter said.

The letter asks for a timeline of al-Shamrani’s vetting, whether or not there were any red flags in documents that Saudi Arabia provided about al-Shamrani before he was let into the country and how individuals like al-Shamrani are treated differently from other foreigners coming to the U.S. on a visa, among other things.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The senators are asking for the information by Feb. 7 and a briefing by Feb. 21.

The shooting at NAS Pensacola also prompted a group of U.S. Navy instructor pilots to ask top military brass for permission to arm themselves.

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114684552001_6114683866001-vs GOP senators press DHS for answers on Pensacola shooter’s visa approval Tyler Olson fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c3d94fa-67fa-50a2-82cc-946f3951a440   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6114684552001_6114683866001-vs GOP senators press DHS for answers on Pensacola shooter’s visa approval Tyler Olson fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c3d94fa-67fa-50a2-82cc-946f3951a440

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Trump Visits His Golf Resort Where RNC Is Spending Another Half-Million Dollars

DORAL, Fla. — President Donald Trump flew to his for-profit golf resort Thursday beside the Miami airport, where the Republican National Committee is putting another half-million dollars into his cash registers by holding its second meeting there in two years.

Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, shrugged off the occasional whiffs of mildew and the resort’s location beneath constant jet traffic. “I don’t think anybody thinks about putting money in Trump’s pocket,” he said in the chandeliered lobby. “It’s just part of the overall persona of who Donald Trump is.”

RNC officials did not respond to HuffPost’s queries about how much they are spending to host this three-day meeting. However, a similar meeting in May 2018 ended up costing the party $602,765. The RNC already paid the resort $169,763 on Nov. 6, 2019, in advance of the current meeting. It also paid Doral $84,822 to hold a lunch fundraiser there in June 2019.

RNC members and guests also pay Doral about $1,000 each out of pocket for rooms and food at the higher-than-average-priced restaurants on site.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Dean Berden, a Trump supporter and husband of Michigan RNC member Kathy Berden. “I’d rather it go to him than some other wealthy person. … He’s done more for this country than the last five presidents combined. And that includes Ronald Reagan.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e29ed9c220000d0053eb81a Trump Visits His Golf Resort Where RNC Is Spending Another Half-Million Dollars

AP Photo/Luis Alvarez Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump drives himself around the golf course to watch the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament on March 6, 2016, in Doral, Florida.

The resort more than doubled its room rates, from $254 to $539, when Trump decided to visit, potentially increasing costs to taxpayers for rooms for Secret Service and other members of the “advance” team that had to arrive a few days ago.

Neither Doral nor the Trump Organization, Trump’s family business that owns and operates his hotels and resorts, would disclose how much they charged government employees for rooms. The White House also would not disclose this information.

Trump spoke to the 168-member group, their guests and Republican Party staff for about 90 minutes before taking Air Force One back to Washington, D.C., where House members were on their second day of presenting their impeachment case against Trump in the Senate chambers.

Trump’s speech was closed to the press and public, with attendees having to give up their cellphones and any other recording devices before entering the room set up for the speech. In previous appearances at fundraisers and political events, some attendees have recorded all or portions of the remarks and given them to reporters — generating stories that Trump and his supporters did not like.

Trump tried to steer a multimillion-dollar government contract to himself to host the Group of Seven economic conference at Doral but backed down after a flood of criticism accusing him of open corruption. Within weeks, the RNC settled on holding its winter meeting there.

While Trump likes to boast that his resort is first-rate, it has suffered financially since he became president while also suffering in comparison to other hotels in the area.

Although the city of Doral is in Miami-Dade County, it is removed from the attractions most people imagine when they think of Miami. The golf resort boasts plenty of ornate chandeliers and baroque fountains — but lies directly beneath the flight path of Miami International Airport’s takeoffs and landings, and is miles from the closest beach.

During the RNC’s meeting there in 2018, the troubled property appeared to be skimping on maintenance costs. At least one of the guest buildings smelled of mildew, as did its guest rooms, while the restaurant on the lower floor in the main lodge had a mustiness tinged with the fraternity house odor of spilled alcohol.

Nearly two years later, at this current RNC meeting, the mustiness appears to remain, at least in some areas. The downstairs restaurant, however, seems to have eliminated the stale beer odor.

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

Lindsey Graham Bizarrely Defends Trump: ‘He Did Nothing Wrong In His Mind’

Westlake Legal Group 5e29f201240000f405c973fc Lindsey Graham Bizarrely Defends Trump: ‘He Did Nothing Wrong In His Mind’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday came up with a bizarre explanation for why President Donald Trump shouldn’t be removed from office: He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.

“If thought he was doing something wrong, he would probably shut up about it,” Graham told reporters.

A House investigation determined that Trump withheld authorized military aid to the country because leaders declined to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Graham claimed Trump believes Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but acknowledged it was Russia that had hacked the Democratic National Committee.  

“All I can tell you is from the president’s point of view, he did nothing wrong in his mind,” Graham said.

You can see Graham’s bizarre defense of Trump in this video:

Many Twitter users weren’t impressed with the senator’s logic.

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

Coronavirus patient in Seattle treated via robot, doc says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126007036001_6126006366001-vs Coronavirus patient in Seattle treated via robot, doc says fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc c1d36374-833b-5933-a9b8-5ea99eabb70e article Alexandria Hein

The Seattle man who tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from China recently was kept in isolation and evaluated using a robot after arriving at Providence Regional Medical Center – Everett.

Dr. George Diaz, section chief of infectious diseases at the hospital, said that staff was contacted by the health department and asked to admit and treat the man, who has not been identified, once the positive coronavirus test results came back. Diaz said the man was transported to the hospital via ambulance from his home and placed in an isolation pod.

WHO ARE THE CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS? WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE FATALITIES AS PNEUMONIA-LIKE ILLNESS SPREADS

Diaz said that the patient was taken in the isolation pod directly to a special pathogens unit, which is a closed unit where he is the only patient being treated.

“All interactions between myself and the patient initially were through the use of a robot, which is basically a telehealth module that we use outside the room in our command center,” Diaz told Fox News.

Diaz explained that the robot is in the room with the patient and can be manipulated to move closer to the patient and examine him using a stethoscope so that staff can evaluate him without risking contamination. It was reported earlier that 16 people who had come in contact with the patient were under observation but that none had developed symptoms.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CORONAVIRUS 

“The risk to the general public remains low,” said Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District.

Diaz said his patient, who first went to an urgent clinic with suspected symptoms and told staff he had been traveling through China, has been treated with supportive therapy since there is no specific treatment regimen for this virus.

“At this point, he is in stable condition and we’re waiting for the direction from the CDC in terms of further testing and hopefully discharge,” he said, adding that because the virus is so new, it’s not clear what kind of recovery is to be expected.

Diaz noted that the fatalities have involved older patients with underlying health issues, and while he said he could not elaborate on his patient’s health history, the patient is “expected to have a good recovery.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Those concerned about the virus, which has infected over 500 people and been linked to at least 17 deaths, should take normal precautions when trying to avoid illness, Diaz said. He also said the main risk factor in this outbreak is travel.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126007036001_6126006366001-vs Coronavirus patient in Seattle treated via robot, doc says fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc c1d36374-833b-5933-a9b8-5ea99eabb70e article Alexandria Hein   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126007036001_6126006366001-vs Coronavirus patient in Seattle treated via robot, doc says fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox news fnc/health fnc c1d36374-833b-5933-a9b8-5ea99eabb70e article Alexandria Hein

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

Trump Visits His Golf Resort Where RNC Is Spending Another $500,000

DORAL, Fla. — President Donald Trump flew to his for-profit golf resort Thursday beside the Miami airport, where the Republican National Committee is putting another half-million dollars into his cash registers by holding its second meeting there in two years.

Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, shrugged off the occasional whiffs of mildew and the resort’s location beneath constant jet traffic. “I don’t think anybody thinks about putting money in Trump’s pocket,” he said in the chandeliered lobby. “It’s just part of the overall persona of who Donald Trump is.”

RNC officials did not respond to HuffPost’s queries about how much they are spending to host this three-day meeting. However, a similar meeting in May 2018 ended up costing the party $602,765. The RNC already paid the resort $169,763 on Nov. 6, 2019, in advance of the current meeting. It also paid Doral $84,822 to hold a lunch fundraiser there in June 2019.

RNC members and guests also pay Doral about $1,000 each out of pocket for rooms and food at the higher-than-average-priced restaurants on site.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Dean Berden, a Trump supporter and husband of Michigan RNC member Kathy Berden. “I’d rather it go to him than some other wealthy person. … He’s done more for this country than the last five presidents combined. And that includes Ronald Reagan.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e29ed9c220000d0053eb81a Trump Visits His Golf Resort Where RNC Is Spending Another $500,000

AP Photo/Luis Alvarez Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump drives himself around the golf course to watch the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament on March 6, 2016, in Doral, Florida.

The resort more than doubled its room rates, from $254 to $539, when Trump decided to visit, potentially increasing costs to taxpayers for rooms for Secret Service and other members of the “advance” team that had to arrive a few days ago.

Neither Doral nor the Trump Organization, Trump’s family business that owns and operates his hotels and resorts, would disclose how much they charged government employees for rooms. The White House also would not disclose this information.

Trump spoke to the 168-member group, their guests and Republican Party staff for about 90 minutes before taking Air Force One back to Washington, D.C., where House members were on their second day of presenting their impeachment case against Trump in the Senate chambers.

Trump’s speech was closed to the press and public, with attendees having to give up their cellphones and any other recording devices before entering the room set up for the speech. In previous appearances at fundraisers and political events, some attendees have recorded all or portions of the remarks and given them to reporters — generating stories that Trump and his supporters did not like.

Trump tried to steer a multimillion-dollar government contract to himself to host the Group of Seven economic conference at Doral but backed down after a flood of criticism accusing him of open corruption. Within weeks, the RNC settled on holding its winter meeting there.

While Trump likes to boast that his resort is first-rate, it has suffered financially since he became president while also suffering in comparison to other hotels in the area.

Although the city of Doral is in Miami-Dade County, it is removed from the attractions most people imagine when they think of Miami. The golf resort boasts plenty of ornate chandeliers and baroque fountains — but lies directly beneath the flight path of Miami International Airport’s takeoffs and landings, and is miles from the closest beach.

During the RNC’s meeting there in 2018, the troubled property appeared to be skimping on maintenance costs. At least one of the guest buildings smelled of mildew, as did its guest rooms, while the restaurant on the lower floor in the main lodge had a mustiness tinged with the fraternity house odor of spilled alcohol.

Nearly two years later, at this current RNC meeting, the mustiness appears to remain, at least in some areas. The downstairs restaurant, however, seems to have eliminated the stale beer odor.

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

How Joe Biden Talks About a Touchy Subject: His Son

Westlake Legal Group 00hunter1-facebookJumbo How Joe Biden Talks About a Touchy Subject: His Son United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

SPARKS, Nev. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. called an octogenarian voter a “damn liar” and challenged him to a push-up contest. He dismissed a heckler as an “idiot.” He commanded the news media to focus on President Trump instead of the overseas business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, demanding of one reporter, “Ask the right question!”

For months now, Mr. Biden has been confronted on the campaign trail with questions, attacks and misinformation concerning his son — encounters that have taken on a dramatic feel, given the uncertainty of how Mr. Biden will respond. As he began to address the crowd in a high school gym in Sparks this month, a group of protesters held up letters spelling out a taunt that Mr. Trump uses regularly: “Where’s Hunter?” Mr. Biden responded by saying his son “sends his best regards.”

As the Senate impeachment trial of the president continues this week, there is renewed focus in Washington on Hunter Biden, who held a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at a time when his father was vice president and handling diplomacy with the country.

And Mr. Biden is no longer just dealing with questions about his son from hecklers: On Wednesday, he rejected the suggestion that he and his son testify in the trial in a swap for the testimony of current or former Trump administration officials, an idea raised by an attendee at an Iowa campaign event that has been dismissed by congressional Democrats. “This is a constitutional issue, and we’re not going to turn it into a farce, into some kind of political theater,” Mr. Biden said.

For Mr. Biden, the stream of questions about his son touches on a vulnerability for his candidacy and presents a fine line for him to navigate. As a former vice president, he wants to show that he exudes statesmanship but also wants to prove to Democrats desperate to oust Mr. Trump that he has the fortitude and temperament to take on the president.

He can be by turns calm or curt as he stresses that his son committed no wrongdoing in his overseas business dealings. For the most part, he has kept his cool, but he has also been prone to displays of anger.

“It’s a very personal issue,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, who said Mr. Trump was “an evil genius on the issue of trying to cut other people up, and cut them up this way.”

She said the “raw emotion” Mr. Biden displayed in response was perfectly understandable. “This is a dad defending his son,” she said.

At issue is an unsubstantiated theory pushed by Mr. Trump that Mr. Biden took action in Ukraine as vice president in order to help his son, who at the time held a lucrative position as a board member of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.

Mr. Trump has claimed without evidence that Mr. Biden pushed for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to derail an investigation into Burisma. The president’s phone call in July to the Ukrainian president asking him to investigate the activities of the Bidens in that country is at the center of the impeachment charges.

There is no evidence of any illegality by either Biden. But Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma — for which he was paid as much as $50,000 in some months — worried some members of President Barack Obama’s administration at the time, and Hunter Biden has since acknowledged that, in hindsight, he exercised “poor judgment” in taking the position.

The scrutiny of his son could pose a difficult political problem for Mr. Biden: He is presenting himself to voters as a regular guy with working-class Pennsylvania roots, and his son’s high-paying position with an overseas business could strike some as the type of insider arrangement long familiar in Washington.

And for Democratic primary voters weighing how to defeat Mr. Trump, the fact that they can now picture the general-election playbook the president would use against Mr. Biden carries risk for him, some strategists have warned.

In subtle and overt ways, the issue remains alive on the campaign trail — even among people who are sympathetic to Mr. Biden. In Centerville, Iowa, on Sunday, Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, was asked whether her family was prepared for an onslaught of attacks. She replied that the Bidens are resilient.

Mr. Biden’s national poll numbers have been remarkably steady, including in recent months after the news broke of Mr. Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Initially, many Democrats worried that Mr. Biden appeared slow and uneven in his response, as he vacillated between lashing the president and trying to change the subject. His advisers, too, were torn in internal deliberations over how to handle the developments.

Mr. Biden eventually settled on a rhythm of insisting that he and his son did nothing wrong, and seeking to bring the attention back to Mr. Trump. All along, Mr. Biden and his surrogates have argued that Mr. Trump’s attacks prove that the president is most concerned about facing Mr. Biden in a general election.

His campaign has also aggressively tried to shape the media narrative on Ukraine. This week, it circulated a memo urging the news media to make clear that Mr. Trump’s claims about Mr. Biden are unfounded. And it released a video in which a Biden spokesman, Andrew Bates, walked through Mr. Trump’s claims and explained, sometimes in profane terms, why they were bogus.

“Why is Donald Trump doing this?” Mr. Bates asked. “He knows he can’t beat Joe Biden.”

But questions about Hunter Biden have followed Mr. Biden around the country — from a news conference in Los Angeles to a town hall event in rural Iowa to interviews with reporters aboard his campaign bus. On multiple occasions, he has been interrupted by protesters invoking his son.

Mr. Biden has occasionally flashed his anger and frustration.

“Let’s focus on the problem,” he told reporters this fall, aiming his fire at Mr. Trump. “Focus on this man, what he’s doing that no president has ever done. No president!” By the end of that declaration, he was practically shouting.

At other times he has responded calmly, as he did in Sparks when the protesters held up letters spelling out “Where’s Hunter?”

“This new Republican Party, I’ve been the object of their attention and affection for a while here,” Mr. Biden said later at that event. “You saw, for example — I understand what it’s like to have my surviving son maligned as he has. I understand what it is to have lies told about me.”

In late December, a succession of hecklers interrupted him at the beginning of a town hall event in Milford, N.H., including one who asked, “How much money did you make in Ukraine with your son?”

Mr. Biden responded by saying that he had released 21 years of tax returns. “Your guy hasn’t released one,” he said. “What’s he hiding?” The crowd roared with approval. But as the disruption continued, Mr. Biden offered his own appraisal of the heckler: “He’s an idiot.”

A particularly combative moment came in December at a town hall event in New Hampton, Iowa, when an 83-year-old man took issue with Mr. Biden’s age (he is 77) and then proceeded to accuse him, falsely, of having sent his son to work in Ukraine and having sold access to the president.

“You’re a damn liar, man,” Mr. Biden responded in a tense exchange that also included Mr. Biden challenging the man to a push-up contest or an I.Q. contest. At another point, Mr. Biden ordered the man, “Get your words straight, Jack!” (Mr. Biden later said he probably should not have challenged the man to a push-up contest.)

The reaction to that episode varied. In a primary race in which Democratic voters are eager for a candidate who can stand up to Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden’s fiery responses may provide encouragement that he can handle himself in a heated back-and-forth.

“If anybody’s wondering if Joe Biden can take on Donald Trump and is ready for a fight, I’d point you to the video in Iowa,” Symone D. Sanders, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign, said at an event hosted by Politico.

The next day, Joe Stutler, 56, who came to see Mr. Biden in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spoke approvingly of his response. As a cautionary tale, Mr. Stutler cited the discredited attacks on John Kerry’s military record made during the 2004 campaign by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and said he wanted a candidate “that has the gumption to push back.”

“There are folks that are saying, ‘Oh, well, you know, maybe he should have been a little nicer, blah, blah, blah, blah,’” he said. “No. If somebody’s going to talk smack, call him on it.”

But there is also a delicate line between fiery and bellicose. In response to the tense exchange with the Iowa voter, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee said Mr. Biden “became unglued,” adding, “A hallmark of Biden’s 2020 campaign is him losing it on voters and reporters when pressed about Ukraine.”

For his part, Mr. Biden has plenty of critical things to say about Mr. Trump, but he has publicly set a boundary for how he talks about the president. Campaigning in New Hampshire late last month, Mr. Biden noted that he had not “said a thing, and I’m not going to, about his family.”

“The way I was raised,” Mr. Biden said, “you don’t go after somebody’s kids.”

Thomas Kaplan reported from Sparks, and Katie Glueck from Osage, Iowa.

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

Nadler gives a history lesson in arguing that no crime is needed for impeachment.

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-liveblog-managers-facebookJumbo Nadler gives a history lesson in arguing that no crime is needed for impeachment.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, began the House presentation on Thursday with an hourlong lecture on the constitutional history of impeachment.

He insisted that the history of the Constitution makes it clear that a criminal violation is not necessary to impeach the president. In making the argument, he cited words from some of President Trump’s key allies in his impeachment defense: Alan Dershowitz, a member of the president’s impeachment team; William P. Barr, the attorney general; and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

He concluded his presentation with a forceful assertion to the senators: “Impeachment is aimed at presidents who act as if they are above the law, at presidents who believe their own interests are more important than those of the nation, and thus at president who ignore right and wrong in pursuit of their own gain.”

“Abuse. Betrayal. Corruption,” he said. “Here are the core offenses, the framers feared most. The president’s abuse of power, his betrayal of the national interest, and his corruption of our elections plainly qualified as great and dangerous offenses.”

Drawing on legal scholars and liberally quoting historical figures, Mr. Nadler argued that the founders of the nation envisioned that impeachment would be required for presidential abuses of power like the misconduct the House alleged when it passed two articles of impeachment.

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Reporters waiting near the Senate chamber as the trial continues.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

As senators settled in for another long day of arguments from the House managers, there was already talk among lawmakers and their aides of a potentially abbreviated weekend trial schedule.

Under one proposal being discussed, the Senate could convene as a court of impeachment early on Saturday, around 10 a.m. and meet for a far shorter session than usual. That would theoretically allow senators who wanted to travel home — or for Democrats running for president, to campaign in early voting states — for 36 hours before the trial resumes on Monday.

The Senate’s impeachment rules normally require the trial to meet every Monday to Saturday at 1 p.m. until a verdict is reached. That late daily start time is meant to accommodate Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who maintains a morning case schedule at the Supreme Court before presiding over the trial. But Chief Justice Roberts does not have court business on Saturdays.

The decision may also depend on the president’s lawyers, who are scheduled to begin their defense against the House charges on Saturday. If they want to move the trial along as quickly as possible, they could ask for an early start on Saturday but also that the session be allowed to run into the evening. Or they could simply shorten their arguments.

“I suspect we’ll start on Saturday, and then we’ll go, probably another day or two, but who knows,” Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers said Wednesday night. “I mean we’ve got to make that determination, with our team.”

Any change would require consent from both Democrats and Republicans.

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Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the impeachment managers in 1999, left the Senate chamber just minutes before House Democrats played a video of him speaking during President Bill Clinton’s trial.

In the clip, Mr. Graham gave a broad definition of a “high crime”: “It’s just when you’re using your office in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime,” he said.

One of the Republicans’ talking points is that there was no crime underlying President Trump’s conduct, therefore it was not impeachable. That argument is widely disputed.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who sits next to Mr. Graham on the Senate floor, briefly patted the South Carolina Republican’s empty seat as the video began to play.

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Vice President Mike Pence, right, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem on Thursday.Credit…Ammar Awad/Reuters

As Democrats spoke in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence announced that President Trump had asked him to invite to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to Washington next week to discuss “regional issues, as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land.”

Mr. Pence, who is visiting Jerusalem, said at Mr. Netanyahu’s request he had also invited Benny Gantz, an opposition leader in Israel. Mr. Netanyahu said he would “gladly accept.”

It is another instance of the administration moving forward with legislative and diplomatic work while the impeachment trial is going on in the Senate.

On Wednesday, Republican senators held a ceremonial event to formally send Mr. Trump’s revised North American trade pact to his desk for his signature.

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Just as Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a House manager, started his presentation about “high crimes and misdemeanors,” President Trump started tweeting, accusing Democrats of not wanting to agree to a trade in which the Senate would subpoena several administration officials in exchange for people Mr. Trump’s allies have said they want. Two people Republicans have sought to interview are Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, and the anonymous whistle-blower who first expressed concerns about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

Democrats have urged the Senate to subpoena John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. But they have said they will not consider a deal that would include what they call irrelevant witnesses like Mr. Biden.

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, speaking with other House impeachment managers ahead of the trial on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, opened the day by observing how rare it was for House lawmakers to have the opportunity to speak on the Senate floor, before silent senators. (Senators have begun flouting the rules of decorum during an impeachment trial, with some going so far as to leave the floor for short bursts of time during the day.)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the House impeachment managers have 16 hours and 42 minutes remaining to make their case.

A Democratic official working on the inquiry said that the seven managers planned to spend the day going through the firrst article of impeachment, abuse of power, and applying the law and the Constitution to their case. On Friday, the lawmakers plan to do the same with the second article of impeachment.

Moments before the Senate convened, pages could be seen placing packets of paper on desks across the chamber. Senators, ahead of the trial, dropped off binders and bags before stealing a final moment off the chamber floor.

Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania and vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, could be seen on the Senate floor, observing the proceedings.

Senators must sit quietly to listen to the arguments; even during the 16 hours they will have devoted to their questions, those questions will be submitted in writing.

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Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, during an impeachment inquiry hearing in November.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The White House named eight House Republicans as part of the public face of the president’s defense on Capitol Hill, and on Thursday some of those lawmakers arrived again in the Senate basement to hold court with reporters and deliver a full-throated defense of the president.

“We’re just making sure that we are paying close attention to the testimony,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, “and making sure that our points are getting out there to the American people.”

The group, she said, was working closely with the White House lawyers. But since they are not part of the official legal team, they will not be able to speak in the Senate chamber.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said he still has “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial.Image by Calla Kessler/The New York Times

The top Democrat in the Senate said he still had “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial, but he stopped short of saying he was optimistic that it would happen.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said there are “lots of conversations going on,” but he denied reports that there had been discussions with Republicans about a deal allowing Republican witnesses in exchange for the witnesses whom House managers want to call.

Democrats have urged the Senate to call John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. Several moderate Republicans have said they might be open to witnesses after oral arguments and questions from senators.

“Not a single Republican has approached me and said ‘What about this? What about that?’ It’s not happening,” Mr. Schumer told reporters at the Capitol ahead of the second day of oral arguments from the managers.

Mr. Schumer said he hoped the “weight of history” would help persuade those Republicans. But when asked whether he thought the Democrats would win the argument, he started to say he had optimism, then stopped.

“I have hope, that’s a better way to put it,” he said, “that we might get the witnesses at the end of the day. And we’re going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting.”

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, again promised on Thursday to release more evidence of the widely debunked conspiracy theory implicating one of the president’s top political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, in wrongdoing.

Mr. Biden is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the narrative Mr. Giuliani has been promoting is at the center of the impeachment charges against Mr. Trump.

While he’s not on Mr. Trump’s defense team for the Senate trial, Mr. Giuliani is deeply entwined in the pressure campaign on Ukraine that led to the president’s impeachment. And he is among the witnesses who refused to testify during House impeachment inquiry. Mr. Giuliani has said that his work in Ukraine had Mr. Trump’s support.

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For the first time since the Senate began hearing arguments against him, President Trump is back in Washington and on Twitter. He tweeted a number of criticisms toward Democrats and their arguments, rehashing favorite insults against his opponents and quoting Fox News personalities.

After returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday evening, the president is scheduled to travel to Florida on Thursday afternoon just as House managers will begin their second day of arguments.

It is not clear how much of the trial the president has watched live.

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Representative Sylvia Garcia, one of the House impeachment managers, Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The managers will continue to present their case to the Senate on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The House impeachment managers are set to begin their second day of arguments on Thursday, building on about eight hours already spent arguing that President Trump’s conduct warranted his removal on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, told senators that they would spend Thursday “go through the law, the Constitution and the facts as they apply to article one” of impeachment.

“We’ve introduced the case, we’ve gone through the chronology and tomorrow we will apply the facts to the law as it pertains to the president’s abuse of power,” Mr. Schiff said as he concluded Wednesday’s arguments.

The impeachment managers have until Friday evening to use their remaining hours of argument time to present before a rancorous Senate. Lawmakers, despite rules threatening imprisonment for talking, have grown increasingly restless while cooped up in the chamber — and few minds appear to be changed.

On Wednesday, the seven lawmakers tasked with presenting the case for Mr. Trump’s conviction took turns outlining the charges that the president attempted to pressure Ukraine for assistance in his re-election campaign by withholding critical military assistance and a White House visit for the country’s leader.

Several Senate Republicans emerged late Wednesday to inform reporters that they had not learned anything new after hours of presentation from the House.

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Trump Administration Targets ‘Birth Tourism’ With New Visa Rule

Westlake Legal Group birth-tourism-us-babies_wide-cfade94b03853e21b8b904bbaacc61edae0efef7-s1100-c15 Trump Administration Targets 'Birth Tourism' With New Visa Rule

Visiting the U.S. to have a baby — and secure a U.S. passport for the child — is not “a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature,” the State Department says. Benny Snyder/AP hide caption

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Benny Snyder/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Trump Administration Targets 'Birth Tourism' With New Visa Rule

Visiting the U.S. to have a baby — and secure a U.S. passport for the child — is not “a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature,” the State Department says.

Benny Snyder/AP

The State Department plans to deny tourist visas to pregnant women if officials believe they are traveling here to secure American citizenship for their child by giving birth on U.S. soil.

The Trump administration says it is targeting the practice known as “birth tourism.” The State Department says that traveling to deliver a child in the U.S. is not “a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature.”

The State Department’s rule, which was unveiled Thursday, states, “birth tourism poses risks to national security.” The department contends that birth tourism has created an industry “rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Under the new rule, consular officials will have the authority to deny a visitor visa if they have reason to believe the applicant intends to travel to the U.S. with the “primary purpose” of giving birth.

Moreover, if a consular officer has reason to believe visa applicants will give birth during their stay in the U.S., the rule states that the officer should conclude that the main reason for the trip is to secure U.S. citizenship for their children.

The change to U.S. visa policy will take effect on Friday, Jan. 24, when it’s scheduled to be published in the Federal Register.

The State Department did not specifically say how many babies are born in the U.S. due to “birth tourism,” saying that it’s a challenge to derive a precise number. But the department estimates that “thousands of children” are born in the U.S. each year to people who are either visiting or conducting business on nonimmigrant visas.

In 2018, a total of about 3.8 million births were registered in the U.S., according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The 14th Amendment holds that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” Most legal scholars take that as an explicit protection of birthright citizenship or jus soli — “right of the soil” — which has long meant that children born in the U.S. have a claim to citizenship, even if their parents lack legal documentation to be in the country.

The new U.S. rule adds restrictions to people who want to enter the country under a category B nonimmigrant visa, which covers temporary visits for pleasure.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement after the rule was published, calling “birth tourism” a burden on hospital resources. Saying that the rule closes an “immigration loophole,” Grisham added: “It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism.”

The rule applies only to countries whose citizens must acquire a visa before visiting the U.S.; it does not affect the 39 countries whose citizens can visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. Those countries are in the Visa Waiver Program, which the Department of Homeland Security operates. The State Department policy is not expected to affect DHS admissions standards at ports of entry.

President Trump has been a frequent critic of birthright citizenship. It became a hot topic in 2015, when reports of elaborate “birth tourism” operations in California prompted then-candidate Donald Trump to call for eliminating birthright citizenship outright. Trump revived the discussion just before the 2018 midterm elections — and his administration is taking it up again now, ahead of the 2020 presidential vote.

“Birth tourism” has been linked to several countries, including Russia, China and Nigeria, as the Associated Press reported last year.

The State Department says some of the countries that have been publicly linked to the practice “have very sensitive relationships with the United States.” And without going into detail, it warns that foreign entities might seek to use the practice “for purposes that would threaten the security of the United States.”

The U.S. announced the first-ever federal charges related to “birth tourism” last January, based on cases that were rooted in the Obama administration. In early 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided groups in Southern California that charged Chinese women up to $60,000, promising to help with their visas, travel and lodging at at “maternity hotels” so their children could become U.S. citizens.

The State Department’s new rule also aims to ensure that foreign travelers pay for the medical care they receive in the U.S. The B-2 visa category for tourism allows foreign citizens to visit the U.S. for a number of reasons, including tourism, seeing friends or family, or receiving medical treatment. The new rule says visa applicants who are coming to the U.S. for medical care must prove that they have the ability to pay for all the costs of their treatment.

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Utah becomes 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18

Utah became the 19th and most conservative state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18 after a new rule went into effect Wednesday that now punishes medical experts for practicing the widely discredited method of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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“Every reputable science-based organization in the country recognizes that conversion therapy is a dangerous fraud. It exacerbates depression, anxiety and suicide ideation,” Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, told Fox 13 Salt Lake City. “We are grateful to Governor Herbert and the Board of Psychologists for acting swiftly on behalf of LGBTQ youth.”

Despite pushback from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which argued on Capitol Hill that the proposed ban violated religious freedom or parental rights, Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, ordered state regulators to move forward with an administrative rule against the practice.

Westlake Legal Group AP20022615967635 Utah becomes 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 16a0018e-3685-593e-97dc-23a23c541e5c

Nathan Dalley, left, shakes hands with Republican Utah Rep. Craig Hall following a news conference about the discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children, now banned in Utah Jan. 22 at the Utah State Capitol. Dalley underwent so-called conversion therapy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The rule bypasses the state Legislature. Herbert also apologized to LGBTQ activists after the language of an initial bill, sponsored by state GOP Rep. Craig Hall, to ban conversion therapy in Utah was derailed.

“I have learned much through this process. The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart-rending, and I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state,” the governor said in a November press conference.

Westlake Legal Group AP20022059528497 Utah becomes 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 16a0018e-3685-593e-97dc-23a23c541e5c

Sept. 12, 2018: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children is now banned in Utah, making it the 19th state and one of the most conservative to prohibit it. Herbert took the unusual step of calling on regulators after a proposed law was derailed by changes made by conservative lawmakers. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change sexual orientation or gender identity. Many people who have been through it said it deepened feelings of depression and increased thoughts of suicide. The new rule bans licensed Utah therapists from subjecting LGBTQ minors to the practice.

The American Psychological Association has said it is not based on science and is harmful to mental health. The Utah Psychological Association also spoke in favor of the ban.

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Doctors or therapists who continue the practice could face sanctions or lose their licenses. It contains an exemption for clergy or religious counselors, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“Ultimately, this bill means to me that youth will be accepted and protected within our communities,” Nathan Dalley, a University of Utah student and survivor of conversion therapy, said at a Wednesday news conference, according to the Tribune.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20022615967635 Utah becomes 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 16a0018e-3685-593e-97dc-23a23c541e5c   Westlake Legal Group AP20022615967635 Utah becomes 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy on children under 18 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 16a0018e-3685-593e-97dc-23a23c541e5c

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Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready.

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FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

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