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#DeclassifiedDog: Twitter shares their ‘declassified’ dog pics after Trump tweet

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Westlake Legal Group  #DeclassifiedDog: Twitter shares their 'declassified' dog pics after Trump tweet

#DeclassifiedDog: Twitter shares their ‘declassified’ dog pics after Trump tweet

Since Trump’s tweet, Twitter users have taken the opportunity to share photos and videos of dogs using #DeclassifiedDog and #Declassified.

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A photo of the alleged K-9 wounded after being credited in the ISIS compound raid was released by President Trump on Twitter. USA TODAY

The military dog credited in the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and whose photo Preisdent Donald Trump tweeted has inspired countless other #DeclasssifiedDogs.

Trump tweeted a photo of the dog Monday, praising the hound as “wonderful.” The dog’s name is still classified for security reasons.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, credited the dog’s “tremendous service” and said it was slightly wounded in the operation to take down the leader the terrorist organization.

Since Trump’s tweet, Twitter users have taken the opportunity to share photos and videos of dogs using #DeclassifiedDog and #Declassified, with some thanking their pets for their service in simple tasks, like using the bathroom outside, chasing squirrels and begging for food.

Trump praises ‘talented dog’: Hero military dog injured in al-Baghdadi raid returns to duty after treatment

Some cat lovers even got in on the “declassifying” fun, including the unofficial account for Larry the Cat, who lives at Britain’s government headquarters 10 Downing Street.

Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 29dc-impeachbriefing-sub-articleLarge The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, arrived Tuesday morning at the Capitol to testify to impeachment investigators about how he twice reported his concerns to a White House lawyer about how President Trump and his inner circle treated Ukraine.

He appeared in his midnight blue dress uniform, a bevy of medals pinned to his chest, for the closed-door session, where the colonel planned to deliver the latest in a series of damning accounts about the president’s dealings with Ukraine. His opening statement details his concerns about Mr. Trump’s request, during a July 25 telephone call, that Ukraine’s president launch investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family.

Even as Colonel Vindman arrived, Mr. Trump lashed out at the decorated Army combat veteran without naming him, accusing him on Twitter of being a longtime political opponent.

Mr. Trump has sought to undermine the credibility of impeachment witnesses by suggesting they are part of a deep state political conspiracy staging a coup, or have a political agenda against him. In his opening statement, Colonel Vindman described himself as just the opposite, saying he was a “patriot” who is determined to “advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

Colonel Vindman is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb. He is the first White House official, and the only witness so far who listened in on the July call to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

The colonel was subpoenaed on Tuesday morning, as expected, after the White House directed him not to appear and sought to limit the scope of his testimony, according to an official involved in the inquiry who spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to discuss it.

Westlake Legal Group vindman-statement-impeachment-1572300930303-articleLarge The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Read Alexander Vindman’s Opening Statement on Trump and Ukraine

He twice reported concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft statement.

A leading House Republican drew the line on Tuesday at personal attacks on Colonel Vindman, sharply distancing herself from a flood of criticism of the decorated Army officer from conservative commentators who have publicly questioned his patriotism.

“We’re talking about decorated veterans who’ve served this nation, who’ve put their lives on the line, and it’s shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this nation, and we shouldn’t be involved in that process,” Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican, told reporters, unprompted at a morning news conference.

Within hours after Colonel Vindman’s damaging account of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine became public on Tuesday night, the president’s allies in the conservative news media began disparaging him, with some suggesting that he was a spy loyal to his native Ukraine, not the United States.

The Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham said during her broadcast on Monday night that Colonel Vindman was working inside the White House, “apparently against the president’s interest,” noting that he spoke Ukrainian. John Yoo, who worked in the White House Counsel’s Office under George W. Bush, agreed with Ms. Ingraham that the situation was “astounding,” adding, “some people might call that espionage.”

Brian Kilmeade, who hosts Fox & Friends, a favorite show of Mr. Trump, said of Colonel Vindman: “We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family. Young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine.”

Sean P. Duffy, a former Republican representative from Wisconsin and pro-Trump commentator, also questioned Colonel Vindman’s loyalties, saying Tuesday during an appearance on CNN: “It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense — I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”

“We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from,” Mr. Duffy added.

Later Tuesday morning on Twitter, Mr. Duffy appeared to walk back his remarks, praising Colonel Vindman’s service.

“Lt. Col. Vindman is an American war hero,” he wrote, adding, “My point is that Mr. Vindman is an unelected advisor, he gives ADVICE. President Trump sets the policy.”

While Ms. Cheney rejected those suggestions, she continued to rail against the impeachment inquiry that has called Colonel Vindman to testify, saying it was illegitimate and unfair.

“The process is broken,” she said on Tuesday. “It’s tainted.”

Even as they prepare to move their case into public view, Democrats at the helm of the impeachment inquiry continued on Tuesday to add names to the queue of administration officials they are calling for private depositions.

The most high-profile among them was Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Mr. Blair listened in on the July phone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Mr. Mulvaney’s behalf, but did not raise concerns about what he heard at the time. Mr. Blair is also likely to have information about deliberations within the White House over the decision to suspend $391 million in security aid allocated for Ukraine.

Democrats have also requested testimony from Brian McCormack, the chief of staff to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Wells Griffith, an energy adviser at the White House, according to an official familiar with the matter. Mr. Perry played a significant role in the administration’s outreach to Ukraine. At least one impeachment witnesses has identified Mr. McCormack as having been intimately involved in many of the events under scrutiny.

It is not yet clear if any of the officials plan to comply with the requests, which were first reported by The Washington Post.
Nicholas Fandos

At their weekly caucus meeting on Tuesday, House Democrats heard a largely upbeat message regarding the shifting political field in the wake of the impeachment inquiry, along with a warning that voters will be watching to see that the inquiry is handled fairly.

Citing three different pollsters, officials with House Democrats’ campaign arm reported that recent polling shows a steady generic ballot for Democrats, with the party holding a 3-point lead in the most competitive House districts and an 8-point lead across all districts, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the discussion.

Democratic campaign officials also cited new focus-group research that showed that voters want to see the impeachment inquiry conducted as a fact-finding investigation — not a process designed to arrive at a foregone conclusion. 

But the pollsters stressed that health care, the kitchen-table issue that catapulted many of the current Democratic freshmen to victory in 2018, remains voters’ top priority, and encouraged lawmakers to capitalize on that through a proposed bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. That bill has been largely sidelined since the inquiry began.
Catie Edmondson

House Democrats announced plans on Monday to hold a floor vote on the impeachment inquiry on Thursday in an effort to publicly establish rules for the examination and due process for the president.

Mr. Trump and his supporters have dismissed the inquiry as a political witch hunt, and the White House has ordered key witnesses not to cooperate. Impeachment investigators said they would not wait for courts to rule on witness appearances. Moving forward with a vote will lead to the public phase of the inquiry, including televised congressional hearings.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman who is leading the inquiry, Representative Adam B. Schiff, said if the White House continues to prevent witnesses from testifying, it would strengthen the case against the president and be considered obstruction of Congress.

  • President Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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Dems ponder late entry: White knight or Don Quixote?

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098034154001_6098037431001-vs Dems ponder late entry: White knight or Don Quixote? fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt caabad8a-6425-534d-88a2-46929e54f0dc article

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On the roster: Dems ponder late entry: White knight or Don Quixote? – South Carolina priest refused Biden communion – Army colonel corroborates quid pro quo claims – Sessions said to be considering Senate return bid – Dirty birds

DEMS PONDER LATE ENTRY: WHITE KNIGHT OR DON QUIXOTE?
How late is too late?

That’s the question some anxious Democrats are asking as they look beyond the existing field of 2020 candidates for potential nominees to face President Trump.

In the week since a NYT report about Democratic donors looking for new candidates to enter the race was published, there’s been quite a bit of huffing and puffing over the possibility. It’s a fun Washington parlor game, no doubt. But is it anything more than that?

From a practical perspective, it’s probably already too late for all but the most famous, best-liked political figures in the nation to build a campaign that could compete. And that’s a very short list indeed – one that, by our thinking, currently comprises just one person: Michelle Obama.

But what if someone other than the former first lady wanted to launch a bid at this late date?

Names mentioned for a late launch include former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and former Vice President Al Gore. Candidates like those would certainly make a splash upon entry, but it’s hard to imagine that any of those microwaved leftovers would be more than yet another second-tier contender in a crowded field.

This is already a group in which well-known sitting senators are struggling to get to 3 percent of the vote after months of campaigning and millions of dollars spent. It just doesn’t stand to reason that the aforementioned – especially those only begrudgingly accepted by Democrats in the past – would be doing much better.

As Nate Silver points out, while some Democratic elites may be unsatisfied with their choices, the party as a whole is quite happy with what’s on offer. Polls show very high levels of satisfaction among Democratic voters. And the only place to start would be in attacking the frontrunner, Joe Biden, a move that would only further alienate voters.

Maybe the party insiders are right that the field is actually weak, but if voters don’t agree, a late entrant looks like Don Quixote, not a white knight. And if a candidate like that did want to run, it’s not just the constraints of politics that would be challenging, but the electoral calendar itself.

Democrats have frontloaded their primary schedule for this cycle in hopes of a swift decision. That means that the filing deadlines for key contests are now just weeks away, including New Hampshire on Nov. 15.

More ominously for potential late entrants, Democrats will allocate more than a third of all delegates on Super Tuesday in the first week of March, which means major filing deadlines are fast approaching. The biggest prize of them all, California, requires candidates to file by Nov. 26 for its Super Tuesday contests, with other delegate-rich states like Texas and Massachusetts following soon thereafter.

It may not technically be too late for a candidate with deep pockets and a well-known name to launch a candidacy, but it will be soon. And practically speaking, it’s probably already past time given the demands of fundraising and organizing.

If Democrats do end up with a split decision and a contested convention this summer, it’s possible that delegates could turn to a party elder not already on the ballot. But barring a meltdown in Milwaukee, Democrats will almost certainly have to choose from among those already running. 

The musings of donors at dinner parties will more likely slip from memory more quickly than their last bottle of Beaujolais. 

SOUTH CAROLINA PRIEST REFUSED BIDEN COMMUNION
Florence [S.C.] Morning News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race, was denied Holy Communion on Sunday morning at a Florence church. Father Robert E. Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church confirmed Monday afternoon that he had denied the presidential candidate Holy Communion because of his stance on abortion. Biden, a lifelong Catholic, had attended the church’s 9 a.m. Mass. … ‘Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,’ Morey told the Morning News via email. … Morey said that as a priest, it is his responsibility to minister to those souls entrusted to his care and that he must do so in even the most difficult situations. ‘I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,’ Morey added.”

The storm of Biden media coverage seems to have passed – FiveThirtyEight: “When news about President Trump’s call to Ukraine first broke in late September, it seemed like former Vice President Joe Biden would be inextricably linked to the story. Biden was mentioned in more cable news clips and online news stories that week than every other 2020 Democratic candidate combined, according to data from the TV News Archive, which chops up cable news across the three networks we monitor — CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — into 15-second clips and Media Cloud, a database of online news. That week, Biden was mentioned in 74 percent of cable news clips, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the next most-mentioned candidate, was only in 16 percent of clips. In the past two weeks, however, as the initial flood of impeachment coverage has ebbed, so has the extra attention for Biden.”

Bernie gains ground in New Hampshire – CNN: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (21%) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (18%) are in a close race among likely voters in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary, according to a new CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire. Former Vice President Joe Biden stands a shade behind at 15%, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounds out the field of four who reach double-digits with 10%. Behind that group, three candidates land at 5% in the poll — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Andrew Yang. California Sen. Kamala Harris, who stood at 9% in a July New Hampshire poll, now holds just 3% support.”

Harris blames her ethnicity, gender for poor performance – National Review: “Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris described electability as the ‘elephant in the room’ of her campaign and pondered whether America is ready for a woman of color to be commander in chief. ‘Essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States?’ Harris said in an interview with Axios on HBO. ‘There is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone whom we have never seen can do a job that has been done 45 times by someone who is not that person.’ The same conversation happened when Barack Obama ran for president, the California senator added. Harris has been especially vocal about both racial justice and women’s rights during her 2020 campaign.”

Harrop: Amy, what’cha wanna do? – Real Clear Politics: “A new piece in The Economist, ‘Amy Klobuchar for sanity,’ urges Democrats to give the senator ‘a look.’ It portrays her as an exemplar of Midwest pragmatism who could become a moderate alternative to Joe Biden. Mayor Pete’s ace is his fine intellect and military service in Afghanistan. … His support for extending health coverage to undocumented immigrants has political strategists slapping their heads. Democrats don’t like talking about this, but Buttigieg’s outwardly gay identity, as well as his tender age of 37, could work against him in a national election. That leaves Klobuchar as one of the more plausible Democrats to beat Trump. Her momentum follows a frontal assault on Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan during the debate. Klobuchar called it a ‘pipe dream’ that would require a significant tax increase on the middle class.”

THE RULEBOOK: TRICKLE DOWN
“Civil power, properly organized and exerted, is capable of diffusing its force to a very great extent; and can, in a manner, reproduce itself in every part of a great empire by a judicious arrangement of subordinate institutions.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 13

TIME OUT: UNDER PONTIUS PILATE 
NatGeo: “Pontius Pilate is a man many Jews and Christians love to hate. For Christians, the Roman governor of Judaea played a central role in the execution of Jesus around A.D. 30, while for Jews he was a callous ruler who set the stage for the rebellion that led to the destruction of Jerusalem four decades later. But a new discovery suggests that Pilate also spent a good deal of time and money embellishing the famous city that drew Jewish pilgrims as well as visitors from around the Roman Empire. Archaeologists tunneling beneath a Palestinian neighborhood just south of Jerusalem’s walls are uncovering a monumental stepped street that led to the foot of the Temple Mount, the sacred platform that once held the Jewish Temple and now is home to some of Islam’s holiest sites. The impressive walkway stretched more than a third of a mile, was 26 feet wide, and required some ten thousand tons of limestone slabs.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↓ 0.6 from last wk.)
Warren: 24.8 points (↓ 1.6 from last wk.)
Sanders: 14.6 points (↑ 1.2 from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6.4 points (↑ 0.2 from last wk.)
Harris: 4.8 points (↑ 0.4 from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, CNN, Fox News, IBD and Monmouth University.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 41 percent
Average disapproval: 55.6 percent
Net Score: -14.6 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.8 points
[Average includes: Grinnell/Selzer: 43% approve – 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 58% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 55% disapprove; Gallup: 39% approve – 57% disapprove.] 

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
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ARMY COLONEL CORROBORATES QUID PRO QUO CLAIMS
WaPo: “National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony in the House impeachment probe Tuesday is shedding new light on how Trump administration officials pressured Ukrainian leaders into investigations that could benefit the president, corroborating other witnesses with a firsthand account of the alleged attempt at a quid pro quo. Vindman’s prepared remarks directly challenge the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who defended the president’s actions and told House investigators that no one had raised concerns about them. Sondland told the top American diplomat in Ukraine, Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., in September text messages saying [Donald] Trump had not engaged in a quid pro quo; those text messages were provided to investigators by former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker earlier this month.”

House to vote Thursday on Impeachment procedures – Fox News: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday the House will vote this week on a resolution to formalize — and establish the parameters — of the Trump impeachment inquiry. In a letter sent to Democratic House lawmakers, Pelosi, D-Calif., said the resolution ‘affirms the ongoing, existing investigation’ and ‘establishes the procedure’ for future investigative steps. ‘We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,’ Pelosi said. Fox News has learned the vote will take place Thursday on the House floor. It is not an actual article of impeachment, but rather a resolution that sets process ground rules. … The White House argued Monday that the move proves Democrats have been conducting an ‘unauthorized’ inquiry.”

Pelosi looks to keep pressure on GOP with vote – The Atlantic: “The House will be on recess next week, and Democratic members will have to address the impeachment inquiry when they meet with their constituents. For lawmakers in swing districts, the fear of having to take a vote on impeachment—which drove Pelosi’s initial decision not to have one—may have given way to anxiety that the GOP’s accusation of railroading has been resonating with the public. And for most of the party, a vote shouldn’t be difficult: All but a handful of House Democrats have already come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry… Polls have shown a significant bump in support for impeachment since Pelosi announced the start of the inquiry, and it’s less of a vulnerability for Democrats. The pressure will now be on Republicans: Will those like Representatives Francis Rooney of Florida, Will Hurd of Texas, and Mark Amodei of Nevada, who have voiced concerns about Trump’s actions, back the formal opening of an inquiry?”

SESSIONS SAID TO BE CONSIDERING SENATE RETURN BID
Politico: “Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is strongly considering jumping into the race for his old Senate seat in Alabama, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the matter. Sessions would scramble the already crowded field of Republicans seeking to take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who won a 2017 special election to fill the remainder of Sessions’ term and is widely viewed as the most vulnerable senator on the ballot next year. … Sessions, 72, must decide within days whether to run: Candidates have until Nov. 8 to qualify for the ballot. Five Republicans are already in the race: Rep. Bradley Byrne, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Secretary of State John Merrill, state Rep. Arnold Mooney and Roy Moore, the former state Supreme Court judge who lost the special election in 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.”

North Carolina to toss GOP-drawn House map – The [Raleigh, N.C.] News & Observer: “North Carolina’s 2020 congressional elections must happen under new maps, a panel of judges ruled Monday evening, saying that the current Republican-drawn maps are unfair to many voters. The legislature must now redraw the state’s 13 U.S. House districts. The judges — two Democrats and one Republican from different parts of North Carolina — wrote that the maps show signs of ‘extreme partisan gerrymandering’ which ‘is contrary to the fundamental right of North Carolina citizens to have elections conducted freely and honestly to ascertain, fairly and truthfully, the will of the people.’ Monday’s ruling, a preliminary injunction, said the state may not hold any elections for Congress using the current maps passed in 2016. … The judges ruled that if there aren’t new maps in time for the primary elections on March 3 then they could delay all or some of the primaries until later in 2020.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
U.K. heading toward an early general election to break Brexit deadlock – NBC News

Ross Douthat: The overstated collapse of American Christianity – NYT

America’s largest private coal producer, Murray Energy, bankrupt after failed Trump rescue bid – Bloomberg

AUDIBLE: NAH 
“I’m not missing anything. I prefer happiness. Look how happy I am.” – Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema explaining to Politico why she has not watched any of her party’s presidential debates.

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

DIRTY BIRDS
Anchorage [Alaska] Daily News: “Alaska’s ravens and crows are shiny black pranksters… Rock-dropping black birds — maybe ravens, maybe crows — are accused of smashing out glass in a half-dozen vehicles parked at Soldotna’s Central Peninsula Hospital last week. Keith Randall, the hospital’s security manager, heard about the spate of broken windshields, rear windows and sunroofs and figured he was dealing with a vandalism problem. Randall quickly realized he was. But it wasn’t humans doing the damage. The evidence pointed to black birds… Off-duty nurse Cathy McDaniel was killing time in her pickup … when she heard a giant boom… McDaniel saw a rock. She saw her shattered sunroof. She tossed the rock on the ground — and saw a black bird fly down, pick it up, and fly off with it. … The hospital posted a Facebook story about the rock-wielding birds. Several commenters shared stories of their own encounters with ravens.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The lovable old guy [Bernie Sanders] with the big crowds and no chance at the nomination is hardly taken seriously (except by Hillary Clinton, whose inability to put him away reveals daily her profound political weakness).” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Chicago Tribune on June 2, 2016.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098034154001_6098037431001-vs Dems ponder late entry: White knight or Don Quixote? fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt caabad8a-6425-534d-88a2-46929e54f0dc article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098034154001_6098037431001-vs Dems ponder late entry: White knight or Don Quixote? fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt caabad8a-6425-534d-88a2-46929e54f0dc article

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Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Westlake Legal Group img_6241-ea22c84d639ed200cacc0b423dfc7598ab7dc526-s1100-c15 Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Bob Murray — seen at the headquarters of Murray Energy in St. Clairsville, Ohio — pushed the Trump administration to roll back numerous coal regulations. But he says the industry needs even more help from the government. Jeff Brady/NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Jeff Brady/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Bob Murray — seen at the headquarters of Murray Energy in St. Clairsville, Ohio — pushed the Trump administration to roll back numerous coal regulations. But he says the industry needs even more help from the government.

Jeff Brady/NPR

The Trump administration has spent three years trying to help the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and pushing for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. Still, the long list of coal company bankruptcies has continued, and dozens more plants have announced their retirement since President Trump took office.

Now the list of bankruptcies includes a company headed by one of Trump’s most vocal supporters. Murray Energy Corp. filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday morning.

The company says it reached an agreement to restructure and continue operating. As part of that, Bob Murray — the chairman, president and CEO — will relinquish two of his roles. His nephew, Robert Moore, will become president and CEO while Murray will stay on as chairman.

“When you’re a private company and you’re in financial failure, the first person that loses everything is the owner. And that’s what will happen,” Murray tells NPR.

Murray has had a close relationship with the Trump administration. He donated $300,000 to Trump’s inauguration and has met with administration officials to advance the coal industry’s interests.

At Murray’s headquarters in St. Clairsville, Ohio, there’s a photo in the lobby of Murray with President Trump, who’s giving two thumbs-up. And in Murray’s big corner office there’s a replica of Air Force Two, signed on the wing by Vice President Pence.

A few months after Trump was sworn in, Murray met with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and delivered an “action plan” for helping coal. It included 16 proposals that became a “to-do list” for the Trump administration, including replacing former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

But the Trump administration hasn’t been able to give Murray everything he wants. Earlier this year the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close a large coal-fired power plant that bought coal from Murray, despite pressure from Trump to keep it open. And last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants that Murray supported.

Murray says he began working in coal mines as a teenager. He started his company in the 1980s and built it into the largest underground coal-mining company in the country. He did that mostly by buying other coal companies.

“The main reasons why Murray is in the financial position that it’s in is that it purchased a lot of assets over the last few years, which gave it a big debt position,” says Natalie Biggs, thermal coal research analyst at Wood Mackenzie. When coal prices declined this year, she says, that made it difficult for the company to cover its debts.

In bankruptcy, Murray says he will lose his ownership but hopes to continue operating so his 7,000 employees will keep their jobs.

“My goal is to keep the company together — keep it together for my employees,” Murray says.

He continues to push for subsidies for coal power plants, and without that he predicts dire consequences.

“We’re going to have a crisis of resiliency and reliability in the power grid. People are going to freeze in the dark,” he says.

“Frankly, this is just a scare tactic for those who want to try to take our country backwards into a 20th century energy economy,” says Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Beyond Coal campaign at the Sierra Club.

She says power grids are managed by knowledgeable engineers focused on keeping electricity flowing.

“Their job is to make sure that as that coal plant retires, that our lights will stay on and there won’t be any threat to the reliability of our electricity,” she says.

Hitt says the world must now transition to renewable energy that doesn’t contribute to climate change.

According to the Sierra Club, 298 coal-fired power plants have either shut down or have announced they will since 2010.

U.S. coal consumption has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years, a downward trend likely to continue as more utilities and states commit to energy with lower or no greenhouse gas emissions.

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

McCarthy: Dems have used leaks to ‘friendly media’ to sway voters in favor of impeachment

Westlake Legal Group ANDY-CROP McCarthy: Dems have used leaks to 'friendly media' to sway voters in favor of impeachment Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc eff892c1-f028-522d-9db0-15b999688f9b article

House Democrats leading the inquiry against President Trump have been looking for something they could “hang their hat on” for impeachment, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy said Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday the House will vote this week on a resolution to formalize and establish the parameters of the impeachment inquiry. Fox News has learned the vote will take place Thursday on the House floor.

NEWT GINGRICH: HOW SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM BOXED PELOSI IN ON IMPEACHMENT AND WHAT COMES NEXT

Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” with anchor Jon Scott, the Fox News contributor said that he believes Republicans were right to push for the vote, but that the Democrats’ strategy thus far has worked in their favor.

McCarthy told Scott that Democrats’ secret proceedings have “really handcuffed the Republicans in what they’ve been allowed to review about it and to say about it publicly, and then the Democrats decide what gets leaked to their friendly media.”

“And that’s, I think, a really bad way to go about things,” he added.

However, McCarthy said the polls have “broken in a marked way … in the favor of the Democrats.”

“So now, the country overall favors the impeachment inquiry by about nine percent,” he said. “Even on the question of removing the president from office, the numbers have started to cut against the president. Not in a way that I think there’s a threat that he will be removed from office now, but the trend is not good here.”

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In a recent op-ed for National Review, McCarthy wrote that “the President’s best Ukraine defense has always been that any quid pro quo demand was not close to an impeachable offense.”

“And, if it wasn’t Trump,” said McCarthy, “we wouldn’t be talking about them in terms of impeachment and removal.”

Westlake Legal Group ANDY-CROP McCarthy: Dems have used leaks to 'friendly media' to sway voters in favor of impeachment Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc eff892c1-f028-522d-9db0-15b999688f9b article   Westlake Legal Group ANDY-CROP McCarthy: Dems have used leaks to 'friendly media' to sway voters in favor of impeachment Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc eff892c1-f028-522d-9db0-15b999688f9b article

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Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Westlake Legal Group img_6241-ea22c84d639ed200cacc0b423dfc7598ab7dc526-s1100-c15 Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Bob Murray — seen at the headquarters of Murray Energy in St. Clairsville, Ohio — pushed the Trump administration to roll back numerous coal regulations. But he says the industry needs even more help from the government. Jeff Brady/NPR hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Major Coal Producer And Trump Booster Files For Bankruptcy

Bob Murray — seen at the headquarters of Murray Energy in St. Clairsville, Ohio — pushed the Trump administration to roll back numerous coal regulations. But he says the industry needs even more help from the government.

Jeff Brady/NPR

The Trump administration has spent three years trying to help the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and pushing for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. Still, the long list of coal company bankruptcies has continued, and dozens more plants have announced their retirement since President Trump took office.

Now the list of bankruptcies includes a company headed by one of Trump’s most vocal supporters. Murray Energy Corp. filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday morning.

The company says it reached an agreement to restructure and continue operating. As part of that, Bob Murray — the chairman, president and CEO — will relinquish two of his roles. His nephew, Robert Moore, will become president and CEO while Murray will stay on as chairman.

“When you’re a private company and you’re in financial failure, the first person that loses everything is the owner. And that’s what will happen,” Murray tells NPR.

Murray has had a close relationship with the Trump administration. He donated $300,000 to Trump’s inauguration and has met with administration officials to advance the coal industry’s interests.

At Murray’s headquarters in St. Clairsville, Ohio, there’s a photo in the lobby of Murray with President Trump, who’s giving two thumbs-up. And in Murray’s big corner office there’s a replica of Air Force Two, signed on the wing by Vice President Pence.

A few months after Trump was sworn in, Murray met with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and delivered an “action plan” for helping coal. It included 16 proposals that became a “to-do list” for the Trump administration, including replacing former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

But the Trump administration hasn’t been able to give Murray everything he wants. Earlier this year the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close a large coal-fired power plant that bought coal from Murray, despite pressure from Trump to keep it open. And last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants that Murray supported.

Murray says he began working in coal mines as a teenager. He started his company in the 1980s and built it into the largest underground coal-mining company in the country. He did that mostly by buying other coal companies.

“The main reasons why Murray is in the financial position that it’s in is that it purchased a lot of assets over the last few years, which gave it a big debt position,” says Natalie Biggs, thermal coal research analyst at Wood Mackenzie. When coal prices declined this year, she says, that made it difficult for the company to cover its debts.

In bankruptcy, Murray says he will lose his ownership but hopes to continue operating so his 7,000 employees will keep their jobs.

“My goal is to keep the company together — keep it together for my employees,” Murray says.

He continues to push for subsidies for coal power plants, and without that he predicts dire consequences.

“We’re going to have a crisis of resiliency and reliability in the power grid. People are going to freeze in the dark,” he says.

“Frankly, this is just a scare tactic for those who want to try to take our country backwards into a 20th century energy economy,” says Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Beyond Coal campaign at the Sierra Club.

She says power grids are managed by knowledgeable engineers focused on keeping electricity flowing.

“Their job is to make sure that as that coal plant retires, that our lights will stay on and there won’t be any threat to the reliability of our electricity,” she says.

Hitt says the world must now transition to renewable energy that doesn’t contribute to climate change.

According to the Sierra Club, 298 coal-fired power plants have either shut down or have announced they will since 2010.

U.S. coal consumption has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years, a downward trend likely to continue as more utilities and states commit to energy with lower or no greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Small plane crashes into house in New Jersey, sets at least one home on fire

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Westlake Legal Group  Small plane crashes into house in New Jersey, sets at least one home on fire

Small plane crashes into house in New Jersey, sets at least one home on fire

A Cessna 414 crashed into a home in Colonia, New Jersey at 11 a.m., the FAA said. Authorities have not released information about any injuries.

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Video taken by Michael Yonone shows a Woodbridge Township home in flames and a neighboring home beginning to catch fire, too. Courtesy of Michael Yonone, Bridgewater Courier News

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. – A small plane crashed into houses Tuesday morning in a New Jersey neighborhood.

A Cessna 414 crashed into a home in Colonia, New Jersey, at 11 a.m., the FAA said. Local officials report that the house is on fire. 

Authorities have not released information about any injuries. 

The FAA is en route to the scene to begin the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate and determine a probable cause of the accident.

Several homes may have caught fire in the area. Initial reports indicate the blazes are under control.

Colonia High School, just a few blocks away, sent a message home to parents that students and staffers are safe, but will not be allowed to go outside for recess.

The local weather Tuesday morning was cloudy with light drizzle.

Alabama’s tough abortion ban blocked by federal judge: Law would’ve made abortions a felony

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/10/29/colonia-nj-plane-crash-cessna-414-crashes-into-home/2496884001/

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Iranian beauty queen stuck at Philippine airport for nearly 2 weeks fears death if deported

An Iranian beauty queen who has been stuck in a Manila airport for nearly two weeks says she can’t return home and is seeking asylum in the Philippines, according to Philippine authorities.

Bahareh Zare Bahari, 31, was detained the morning of Oct. 17 by the country’s Bureau of Immigration after arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila from Dubai, the department said in a press release last week.

The international police agency Interpol issued a red notice to arrest her, according to the statement from the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration. Although the statement didn’t specify which country issued the request, it says that Bahari is a fugitive wanted in an assault and battery case.

For the first time in decades:Women allowed to attend FIFA soccer matches freely in Iran

Bahari, a recent contestant at the Miss International beauty pageant in Manila, claims that Tehran issued the red notice on false charges in an attempt to silence her anti-government rhetoric, CNN reported.

“I am against our government. The Iran government is a terrorist. I always try to [give a] voice [to] my people on media,” she told the Philippine Star.

Earlier this year, the beauty queen appeared onstage in a recent competition with the flag of the former Iranian monarchy and a photo of exiled opposition leader Reza Pahlavi, according to CNN.

She has told media outlets that she believes this, along with her political activism and outspoken support of women’s rights, is why she was targeted by the Iranian government. 

Bahari told the Telegraph that the assault case against her was a “big lie” and that she believes she would be killed if she were to be deported to Iran.

According to the paper, she has been studying dental medicine in the Philippines since 2014.

In a video posted on her Facebook page, Bahari said she’s beginning to question her safety in the Philippines as she enters her 13th day at the airport.

“I need a safe place to live without constantly fearing for my life,” she wrote in the post. “I think Philippine is not safe place to me anymore.”

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT 

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Boeing C.E.O. Knew About Pilot’s Warnings Before Second Crash

Highlights from the testimony:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 29boeing7-articleLarge Boeing C.E.O. Knew About Pilot’s Warnings Before Second Crash Muilenburg, Dennis A Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, looks back at the family members of 737 Max crash victims during a Senate hearing.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

In November 2016, well before the 737 Max was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane’s chief technical pilot told a colleague that a new system on the plane was “running rampant” in simulator tests. The pilot, Mark Forkner, went on to say that he had unknowingly lied to regulators.

In a January 2017 email, two months after acknowledging that he “unknowingly” lied to regulators, Mr. Forkner again pushed the F.A.A. to remove mention of the system, known as MCAS, from pilot training materials.

“Delete MCAS,” Mr. Forkner wrote. In aerospace speak, he described the system as “way outside the normal operating envelope,” meaning that it would only activate in rare situations that pilots would almost never encounter in normal passenger flights.

Read the 2017 Email About MCAS

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Boeing C.E.O. Knew About Pilot’s Warnings Before Second Crash Muilenburg, Dennis A Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Airlines and Airplanes   10 pages, 1.38 MB

But the instant messages to his colleague show that Mr. Forkner appeared to realize in November that MCAS was causing issues in the simulator and making it difficult to gain control of the plane.

The messages, which were made public this month, raise serious new questions about what Boeing knew about the new system, known as MCAS, which played a role in both crashes.

During the hearing before Congress, Mr. Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, said that the company had not been able to speak to Mr. Forkner, who now works for Southwest Airlines, about the messages.

However, when asked when he learned of the messages from Mr. Forkner, Mr. Muilenburg said: “I believe it was prior to the second crash.”

Lawmakers also asked why Boeing, which has known about the messages for months, waited so long to hand the messages over to Congress and the F.A.A.

“Boeing should have notified the F.A.A. about that conversation upon its discovery immediately,” Senator Roger Wicker, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in his opening statement.

The Times was the first to report on Mr. Forkner’s involvement in the Max, revealing that during the plane’s development, he asked the F.A.A. to remove mention of MCAS from the training manual.

As Mr. Muilenburg left the room at the end of his testimony, Nadia Milleron, mother of Samya Stumo, a victim of the crash in Ethiopia, asked him to “turn and look at people when you say you’re sorry.”

He turned around, looked her in the eye, and said “I’m sorry.”

Ms. Milleron said she wanted Mr. Muilenburg to step down. She and other family members of victims held posters of their loved ones.

“He needs to resign, I will say that to his face,” said Ms. Milleron, before Mr. Muilenburg began his testimony. “I think he’s very bad for Boeing, he’s very bad for the U.S., he’s very bad for safety. He should resign, the whole board should resign.”

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Westlake Legal Group 29boeing6-videoSixteenByNine3000 Boeing C.E.O. Knew About Pilot’s Warnings Before Second Crash Muilenburg, Dennis A Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, testified before Congress to face questions about the crashes of two 737 Max jets that killed 346 people.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Mr. Muilenburg, who has been criticized for his response to the crashes, appeared emotional in his opening remarks at a hearing of the Senate commerce committee.

“We are sorry,” he said, addressing his remarks to the families of the crash victims. “Deeply and truly sorry.”

Mr. Muilenburg outlined changes being made to the Max and the company in response to the crashes. “We’ve been challenged and changed by these accidents,” he said. “We made some mistakes, and we got some things wrong.”

His opening remarks came after Senators Roger Wicker and Maria Cantwell made sharp opening statements about Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“One thing is crystal clear,” Ms. Cantwell said. “If you want to be the leader in aviation manufacturing, you have to be the leader in aviation safety.”

As the 737 Max was developed, it was Boeing employees working on behalf of the F.A.A., not government inspectors, who signed off on many aspects of the plane. This system of so-called delegation, which lets manufacturers sign off on their own work, is under scrutiny.

Investigations by The New York Times have revealed that Boeing employees sometimes felt pressure to play down safety concerns and meet deadlines, that key F.A.A. officials didn’t fully understand MCAS and that the F.A.A. office in Seattle that oversees Boeing was seen inside the regulator as excessively deferential to the company.

“We cannot have a race for commercial airplanes become a race to the bottom when it comes to safety. The company, the board cannot prioritize profits over safety,” Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, where Boeing has its major operations, said in her opening statement.

Boeing and its allies in industry also waged a yearslong lobbying campaign to get the F.A.A. to delegate even more to the company, an effort that paid off with the passage of last year’s F.A.A. reauthorization act. Now, lawmakers are questioning whether the entire system of certifying airplanes needs an overhaul.

“No matter what we did last year, we need to be pulling some of that back into the public sphere, and take some of it out of the hands of industry,” Representative Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington, told The Times.

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Who Is Alexander Vindman? A Ukrainian Refugee Turned White House Official Testifies in the Impeachment Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Alexander S. Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny, were 3 years old when they fled Ukraine with their father and grandmother, Jewish refugees with only their suitcases and $750, hoping for a better life in the United States.

In the 40 years since, he has become a scholar, diplomat, decorated lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and Harvard-educated Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council.

On Tuesday, his past and his present converged, when he became the first sitting White House official to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with the country of his birth.

The testimony of Colonel Vindman, 44, is one of the more riveting turns in an inquiry that has been full of them. He is told impeachment investigators in an opening statement that he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to push Ukraine’s leader to dig up dirt on his political rivals during a July phone call, and felt duty-bound to report the conversation to a White House lawyer, fearing that it jeopardized the country’s national security.

But more than that, Colonel Vindman’s testimony offered a compelling immigrants’ tale and a glimpse into the story of twin brothers who have lived a singular American experience. From their days as little boys in matching short pants and blue caps, toddling around the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn — known as Little Odessa for its population of refugees from the former Soviet Union — and into adulthood, they have followed strikingly similar paths.

Like Alexander Vindman, Yevgeny is a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He also serves on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, as a lawyer handling ethics issues.

When Alexander Vindman decided to alert a White House lawyer to his concerns about Mr. Trump’s July telephone call with the Ukrainian president, he turned to his twin, bringing him along as he reported the conversation to John A. Eisenberg, the top National Security Council lawyer.

The twins both married and they have offices across from one another in the West Wing of the White House, according to Carol Kitman, a photographer who met the family when they were boys, chronicled their growing up and remains a close family friend.

“They say nothing,” Ms. Kitman said, when asked if the two had revealed their views about Mr. Trump. “They’re very smart and they’re very discreet.”

Along with their older brother, Leonid, the twins left Kiev with their father, Semyon, shortly after their mother died there. Their maternal grandmother came along to help care for them. The family sold its possessions to survive in Europe while waiting for visas to the United States.

“I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,” said Ms. Kitman, who recalls spotting the grandmother and the two boys, then known as Sanya and Genya, under the elevated train in Brooklyn. She spoke to the grandmother in Yiddish, she said, and returned the following day, aiming to do a book about their lives.

“Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night,” Colonel Vindman told House lawmakers on Tuesday. “He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream.”

Ms. Kitman’s website tells the story in pictures.

“Genya is always the smiling twin. Sanya is serious,” she wrote in the caption accompanying the image of them in their blue ball caps and short pants in 1980, the year after they arrived. A 1985 photograph of them with their grandmother on a boardwalk appeared in a documentary by the filmmaker Ken Burns, she wrote.

When they were 13, Ms. Kitman captured the Vindman twins in matching red shirts. When Colonel Vindman married, she photographed him and his bride under a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, that served as a huppah, or wedding canopy.

The twins’ father, Semyon Vindman, went on to become an engineer, Ms. Kitman said, and the twins’ older brother entered the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college. She said the younger boys looked up to Leonid and decided to pursue their own military paths.

In 1998, Alexander Vindman graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his military commission from Cornell University, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1999, and deployed to South Korea, where he led infantry and anti-armor platoons, the following year.

In his testimony, the colonel mentioned his “multiple overseas tours,” including in South Korea and Germany, and a 2003 combat deployment to Iraq that left him wounded by a roadside bomb, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Since 2008, he has been an Army foreign area officer — an expert in political-military operations — specializing in Eurasia. Colonel Vindman has a master’s degree from Harvard in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies. He has served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Moscow, and was the officer specializing in Russia for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before joining the National Security Council in 2018.

By this spring, he said in his opening statement, he became troubled by what he described as efforts by “outside influencers” to create “a false narrative” about Ukraine. Documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest the reference is to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and implicate Ukraine, rather than Russia, in interfering with the 2016 elections.

Westlake Legal Group vindman-statement-impeachment-1572300930303-articleLarge Who Is Alexander Vindman? A Ukrainian Refugee Turned White House Official Testifies in the Impeachment Inquiry Vindman, Alexander S United States Defense and Military Forces Ukrainian-Americans Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Refugees and Displaced Persons impeachment Immigration and Emigration Brighton Beach (Brooklyn, NY)

Read Alexander Vindman’s Statement on Trump and Ukraine

He twice reported concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft statement.

In May, a month after Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide victory, Mr. Trump asked the colonel to join Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Ukraine to attend the new president’s inauguration.

By July, Colonel Vindman had grown deeply concerned that administration officials were pressuring Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden. That concern only intensified, he told investigators, when he listened in to the now-famous July 25 phone conversation between Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” his testimony said, “and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

His heritage gave Colonel Vindman, who is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, unique insight into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign; on numerous occasions, Ukrainian officials sought him out for advice about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani.

Colonel Vindman’s testimony was sprinkled with references to duty, honor and patriotism — but also his life as an immigrant and a refugee.

“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” he said, adding, “I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics.”

Ms. Kitman, the photographer, said that was what she would expect from both the Vindman twins.

“When you talk about what good immigrants do,” she said, “look at what these immigrants are doing for this country.”

Danny Hakim and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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