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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 40)

Trump’s Trade Policy Turns The Tables On Democrats

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1165218753_wide-49380b90b7d8f4dcb9cb3a1da282e54c59e993a8-s1100-c15 Trump's Trade Policy Turns The Tables On Democrats

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren say corporate America has put profits before workers by shifting jobs to other countries. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Trump's Trade Policy Turns The Tables On Democrats

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren say corporate America has put profits before workers by shifting jobs to other countries.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democrats running for president next year have worked hard to differentiate themselves from President Trump on issues such as immigration, tax cuts and health care. When it comes to trade, that hasn’t been so easy.

Trump, after all, came to office as a fierce critic of U.S. trade policy, arguing that previous administrations had been duped into signing free trade agreements that had cost Americans millions of manufacturing jobs.

“I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers or that diminishes our freedom and independence,” he said to enthusiastic applause in his nomination speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

At times, Trump’s rhetoric on trade has sounded pretty much indistinguishable from that of the most liberal Democrats. And since taking office Trump has veered sharply away from traditional Republican policy on trade, through a series of tariffs and trade wars that have upended relations with the most important U.S. trading partners.

“It’s like Donald Trump has co-opted Democratic trade policy,” says Dan Ikenson, director of the trade policy center at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Democrats have long been seen as the party of the working class and labor unions, and many shared a strong skepticism about trade agreements.

President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law, but he did so over the opposition of most of his fellow Democrats in Congress.

By the time President Barack Obama spearheaded the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade pact involving a dozen Pacific Rim nations, opposition to trade agreements had only hardened among both Democrats and many Republicans.

After years of watching U.S. manufacturing jobs flee overseas, American voters who were once open to free trade increasingly see it as it harmful to American interests, says Elaine Kamarck, a former aide to Clinton.

“Even before Trump there was the beginning of a sort of left-right consensus that we needed to do something about trade and particularly something about China,” says Kamarck, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

That has left Democratic politicians who once backed agreements like NAFTA in something of a bind. They have responded by trying to thread the needle, arguing that trade is still beneficial, as long as it’s done fairly.

In 2016, Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, went from supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership to arguing that it needed to be renegotiated — a position now shared by current front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The Democrats that are running for president are largely reflecting where Democrats in Congress have been for decades, and the Democratic base,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

“Candidates like Biden … who have been great defenders of the failed status quo and promoters of it — and may still on policy grounds believe in it — recognize that politically they just can’t be there anymore,” she adds.

Other Democratic candidates have sought to outflank Trump with even harsher opposition to trade policy.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that Trump’s revised NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada didn’t go far enough. She has proposed a much stricter set of regulations that would essentially bar the U.S. from trading with countries that fail to uphold labor and environmental standards.

Trade pacts like NAFTA are written by multinational corporations for their own benefit, Warren said at a CNN debate in July. “They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they’ll do it in a heartbeat,” she said.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has long been a fierce critic of U.S. trade policy, agreed. “If anybody here thinks that corporate America gives one damn about the average American worker, you’re mistaken,” he said.

Other Democrats have criticized Trump’s tactics, if not his goals. By imposing or just threatening tariffs against traditional U.S. allies such as Canada, Europe and Japan, Trump has undercut his own negotiating position and made it harder to take on the real bad actor, China, several candidates have said.

Tariffs “are a huge mistake,” former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said at the CNN debate. “They constitute the largest tax increase on the American consumer, hitting the middle class and the working poor especially hard, and farmers in Iowa and across the country are bearing the brunt of the consequences.”

The chaotic nature of Trump’s trade agenda gives Democrats an opening to argue that despite his harsh rhetoric, he hasn’t really delivered on trade, Kamarck says. There’s still no trade agreement with China, and the new NAFTA hasn’t made it through Congress yet.

“He’s been on and off and around and up and down and nobody knows where the negotiations stand and he says things that aren’t true, and so I think on trade this will come down to a matter of the president’s competence,” Kamarck says.

To Ikenson, of the pro-trade Cato Institute, the tenor of the current debate leaves a lot to be desired.

As Trump fights with China and Democrats ramp up their own rhetoric, no one is left to argue for the economic benefits of trade.

“What happened to the abandoned center?” Ikenson asks. “That seems to me to be a place where a lot of good things can happen.”

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2020 contender John Delaney slams fellow Democrats ‘You wonder…who comes up with these ideas’

Westlake Legal Group DebateStage073119 2020 contender John Delaney slams fellow Democrats 'You wonder...who comes up with these ideas' Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 415682a7-a2bd-5884-8d46-4354a65db09f

Ahead of tonight’s Democratic primary debate in Houston, 2020 candidate and former Rep. John Delaney D-Md. unleashed on his primary opponents declaring the race to be wide open.

“Our top three contenders…based on polling, I think are all vulnerable for different reasons.  And I think tonight they are going to have to address those vulnerabilities,” he said on Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive.”

DELANEY: SENATOR SANDERS DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY

Delaney drilled down on the two leading candidates, who are seen to lean farthest to the left. “I think with respect to Senator Sanders and Senator Warren, they’re fundamentally running on a bunch of ideas that a majority of the American people don’t support, and that’s a huge problem for the general election.”

“People are talking about giving people $1,000 a month…which would double overnight all federal spending.  So some of this stuff, you wonder actually who comes up with these ideas,” said Delaney, referencing Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, who has proposed giving every American citizen a guaranteed income.

Thomas Del Beccaro, former California Republican Party Chairman and Forbes Contributor believes the problem runs deep in the Democratic party.  “It’s not if, its when socialism.  You can’t go double spending and not see socialism in sight.  The government is already 37% of the economy, you push it above 50-55%, then you start heading to where France is, and by the way, Greece is a short flight away.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden also did not escape Delaney’s criticism. “For the Vice President, who I have deep respect for,  I don’t think he has put forth the kind of ideas that the Democratic party is looking for,” said Delaney, adding that he believes that he is the best candidate, “what I think we want is a pragmatic idealist.  Someone who actually has big ideas, but can show the American people how they can get them done.”

Unfortunately for Delaney, he failed to qualify to appear at this third Democratic Presidential debate in Houston tonight.

To see more of “Deep Dive”, visit Fox Nation and join today.

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Westlake Legal Group DebateStage073119 2020 contender John Delaney slams fellow Democrats 'You wonder...who comes up with these ideas' Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 415682a7-a2bd-5884-8d46-4354a65db09f   Westlake Legal Group DebateStage073119 2020 contender John Delaney slams fellow Democrats 'You wonder...who comes up with these ideas' Matt London fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc article 415682a7-a2bd-5884-8d46-4354a65db09f

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E.C.B. Acts to Head Off Recession Threat in Europe, With a Caveat

FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank took unexpectedly aggressive steps on Thursday to head off a downturn before it gained momentum, but the bank signaled that it was reaching the limits of what it could do to stimulate the eurozone economy.

The central bank cut a key interest rate and revived a money-printing program, but later issued an unusually strong call for eurozone governments to do more of the economic heavy lifting.

Those countries that can afford it should stimulate growth by increasing public spending, Mario Draghi, the central bank president, said during a news conference.

Asked whether the message to political leaders was that they can’t expect the central bank to come to their rescue forever, Mr. Draghi answered: “Definitely yes.”

Mr. Draghi’s call for government action, which he said had the unanimous support of the bank’s 25-member Governing Council, was also an expression of unity with his soon-to-be-successor, Christine Lagarde. Ms. Lagarde, who will become the European Central Bank’s president in November, issued a similar plea when she spoke to members of the European Parliament last week.

For much of the last decade, the European Central Bank has prevented the eurozone economy from collapsing with an array of sometimes unprecedented crisis measures. But economic growth has almost stalled, and there is a growing consensus among analysts that wealthier countries like Germany or the Netherlands need to pump money into their economies, and by extension the rest of the eurozone, with tax cuts or public works projects.

Central banks are “not the only game in town,” Ms. Lagarde said at the European Parliament last week.

Read more: Central banks around the world are cutting rates to fend off recession.

The measures that the European Central Bank announced Thursday go beyond what many analysts were expecting. Recent comments by members of the Governing Council had cast doubt on whether the bank would restart purchases of government and corporate bonds. It has been only nine months since the bank ended a previous bond-buying program, an initiative that started in the midst of the financial crisis.

The bank will buy 20 billion euros’ worth of bonds, or $22 billion, every month starting in November, a form of money printing intended to inject money into the system and hold down interest rates.

In a bid to increase lending, the bank also pushed even lower the so-called negative interest rate it imposes on commercial banks that hoard cash.

In normal times, banks earn interest when they deposit money in central banks. But since 2014, the European Central Bank has imposed a negative rate — essentially, a charge — on such deposits to pressure commercial banks to lend more. On Thursday, the central bank changed this deposit rate to minus 0.5 percent from minus 0.4 percent. It was the first cut in interest rates since 2016.

The deposit rate is one of the few remaining levers the bank can use to push down market interest rates. Its benchmark interest rate, the rate at which it lends to banks, is already at zero and cannot go any lower.

The move was symptomatic of the upside-down world of modern finance, in which interest rates are so low that insurance companies and other investors must pay governments and even some corporations to keep their money safe.

The central bank acknowledged Thursday that negative interest rates have some unwanted side effects and took steps to ease the pain. Some bank holdings will be exempt from the penalty, a practice known as tiering.

Despite Mr. Draghi’s plea for governments to do more, the idea of debt-financed spending, even on such favorable terms, is politically touchy in Germany. Germans are proud of their balanced budgets, and a constitutional amendment effectively forbids deficit spending.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160661526_6442e930-0759-41b6-83cb-6ca02a20d88d-articleLarge E.C.B. Acts to Head Off Recession Threat in Europe, With a Caveat Recession and Depression Quantitative Easing Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Government Bonds Eurozone European Central Bank Europe Draghi, Mario Banking and Financial Institutions

Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, at a news conference after the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt on Thursday.CreditRalph Orlowski/Reuters

With Germany on the brink of recession, weighed down by slumping exports caused by the United States-China trade war, some domestic leaders have begun to question that orthodoxy. “We should think about whether a break-even budget is the right path,” Wolfgang Tiefensee, economics minister of the state of Thuringia, said in an interview last month.

“We should use increased tax receipts to invest in infrastructure — bridges, streets, railways, broadband,” he said, “everywhere there is an urgent need to catch up.”

“Many people share this view,” Mr. Tiefensee added, “but not yet a majority.”

The European Central Bank also exceeded expectations by making an open-ended commitment to keep interest rates low, and sweetening a program that encourages banks to lend money to consumers and businesses.

The bank said it would not begin raising interest rates “until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level” below but close to 2 percent, the official target. The annual rate of inflation in August was only half that much. The open-ended commitment was in contrast to previous statements when the bank outlined a specific time frame.

Further, the bank said it would ease the terms of a program that allows banks to borrow money on favorable terms, provided they lend it to customers. The loans will be extended to three years from two, and for banks that meet certain benchmarks the interest rate will be negative. In other words, banks won’t pay any interest and won’t have to repay all of the money they borrowed.

President Trump, who has been pressing the Federal Reserve to cut its benchmark rate, responded to Thursday’s move by needling his own central bank. The European bank, he said, is “trying, and succeeding, in depreciating the Euro against the VERY strong dollar, hurting U.S. exports … And the Fed sits, and sits, and sits.”

President Trump wants negative interest rates. Here’s how that would work.

The euro slipped against the dollar on Thursday, but Mr. Draghi rejected the idea that currency manipulation was behind the bank’s action.

“We have a mandate, we pursue price stability, and we don’t target exchange rates, period,” he said.

Some prominent economists say that it’s time for the European Central Bank to get more creative. The bank’s balance sheet already includes €2.6 trillion, or about $2.9 trillion, in government and corporate bonds. They were bought with newly created euros to inject money into the financial system and push down interest rates.

Analysts say that the bank has limited scope to buy more government bonds because it already owns such a big chunk of the market.

“As I see it, he has only about €60 billion of sovereigns he can buy,” Carl Weinberg, chief international economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, N.Y., said in an email. “That does not support sovereign bond purchases lasting for very long.”

Some economists have begun urging the bank to consider printing money and distributing it directly to citizens.

Among them is Stanley Fischer, former vice chairman of the Fed and Mr. Draghi’s thesis adviser when he was a doctoral student at M.I.T. Mr. Fischer was among the authors of a report published last month by the fund manager BlackRock.

“An unprecedented response is needed when monetary policy is exhausted and fiscal policy alone is not enough,” the report said.

“That response will likely involve ‘going direct,’” the report said. “Going direct means the central bank finding ways to get central bank money directly in the hands of public and private sector spenders.”

The eurozone economy probably needs to get a lot worse before the central bank would consider such an idea, which would be highly contentious. “Giving money to people in whatever form, it’s a fiscal policy task,” Mr. Draghi said Thursday. “It’s not a monetary policy task.”

He added, though, that Ms. Lagarde might reconsider the issue.

Mr. Draghi will preside over one more monetary policy meeting, on Oct. 24, before handing power to Ms. Lagarde.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz: Trump crackdown on illegal immigration succeeding – America benefits

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084883980001_6084877190001-vs Rep. Matt Gaetz: Trump crackdown on illegal immigration succeeding – America benefits Matt Gaetz fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c4010b54-7097-5387-a53e-64a96d7c0514 article

The Border Patrol arrest numbers for August show that while the illegal immigration crisis persists, there can be no dispute that the strategy of President Trump and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is working.

August at America’s southern border is usually hot and dry, with two notable exceptions: hurricanes and a flood of people entering America illegally. Now the flood has finally begun to recede.

Under McAleenan’s watch, Border Patrol officers carried out 64,000 apprehensions in August – a whopping 56 percent decline from May’s 133,000 apprehensions, and down from July’s 72,000. Equally notable is the fact that this is the first time in five years that border apprehensions have decreased during summer months.

BRANDON JUDD: TRUMP KEEPS WINNING ON IMMIGRATION – AGAINST ALL ODDS. SUPREME COURT DECISION IS VICTORY FOR ALL

It is comforting to see the Trump administration animated with a bold plan to secure our border and protect our nation.

More from Opinion

First, more than 60 miles of wall have been built on the most vulnerable parts of our border, with 500 more miles projected for construction by the end of 2020. The number of apprehensions has dropped because every mile of wall makes it harder and harder to get into America illegally.

Second, thanks to President Trump’s threat of tariffs, Mexico has converted from a turnstile for human traffickers into a security partner. Mexico has agreed to expand migrant protection laws, which allow asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases progress.

Thanks to President Trump’s leadership – and despite Democrats’ absolute unwillingness to help – the crisis at our border is slowly lessening.

Over 40,000 asylum seekers are now waiting in Mexico, which means they haven’t been released into our country. Mexico has made nearly 134,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants in its own country since agreeing to work with the United States, and this has helped reduce stress on our own border facilities. Mexico has listened to the author of “The Art of the Deal” and is even building a wall.

Third, the Trump administration has led unprecedented engagement with the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. McAleenan personally secured commitments from these nations to do more and do better. They are finally making clear to their citizens that entering America is not the guaranteed “golden ticket” that it was only a few short years ago.

Fourth, McAleenan announced last month a new rule on the Flores Settlement Agreement. His rule will help to keep families together, and increase the standards of care for unaccompanied minors. Most importantly, the new rule will end the decades-old policy of “catch and release,” which has allowed countless illegal entrants to stay in the United States permanently, and which makes a mockery of our immigration laws.

We’ve all seen heartbreaking pictures of children in squalid, overcrowded conditions – especially during the Obama administration. Thanks to the Trump-McAleenan strategy, conditions at border facilities are rapidly improving.

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Finally, more than 1,000 Border Patrol officers have been hired and they are stationed at America’s legal ports of entry. The brave men and women of Customs and Border Protection have answered the call to protect our great nation and uphold our country’s laws.

When I went to the border in April the scene was sobering. Our detention facilities were overcrowded and our Border Patrol agents were overworked to the point of exhaustion.

Since then, the Trump administration has taken significant steps to keep families together, to reduce the wait time in holding centers to an average of 19 hours, and to deploy cutting-edge technology to monitor the most vulnerable sections of our border.

Thanks to President Trump’s leadership – and despite Democrats’ absolute unwillingness to help – the crisis at our border is slowly lessening.

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Congress isn’t off the hook. We must reform asylum laws, pass E-verify, ban sanctuary cities and build more border wall. America deserves bipartisan cooperation to get it done.

Past administrations neglected their constitutional duty, refusing to uphold and enforce our nation’s laws. President Trump is different. He is taking bold, decisive actions to keep America safe and secure – and the numbers prove that his strategy is working!

 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REP. MATT GAETZ

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084883980001_6084877190001-vs Rep. Matt Gaetz: Trump crackdown on illegal immigration succeeding – America benefits Matt Gaetz fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c4010b54-7097-5387-a53e-64a96d7c0514 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084883980001_6084877190001-vs Rep. Matt Gaetz: Trump crackdown on illegal immigration succeeding – America benefits Matt Gaetz fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c4010b54-7097-5387-a53e-64a96d7c0514 article

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Federal prosecutors recommend that Andrew McCabe, former FBI second-in-command, face criminal charge

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Federal prosecutors recommend that Andrew McCabe, former FBI second-in-command, face criminal charge

Andrew McCabe was the former deputy director of the FBI and a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors recommended seeking criminal charges against Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI and a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the decision Thursday.

McCabe was fired from the FBI just before his retirement in March 2018 after the Justice Department’s internal watchdog concluded that he improperly authorized a leak about a federal investigation into the Clinton Foundation in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. Investigators concluded that he displayed a lack of candor when asked about the leak. 

The U.S. attorney in Washington, Jessie Liu, recommended moving forward with unspecified charges against McCabe, according to people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly. McCabe’s lawyers appealed that decision to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who rejected their request, one of the people said. McCabe’s lawyers were informed of that decision Thursday.

The decision clears the way for prosecutors to ask a grand jury to indict McCabe, though it was unclear Thursday whether that would happen. Whether McCabe is indicted will be up to a federal grand jury in Washington. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington declined to comment.

The recommendation that McCabe be charged is the latest fallout from the FBI’s handling of investigations around the 2016 presidential election, when agents investigated both of the major-party candidates. Those investigations – into Russian meddling to help Trump win the presidency and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server – inserted the FBI into the center of fraught political controversies.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe after a Justice Department Inspector General’s report found he misstated his involvement in a leak to The Wall Street Journal days before the election about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. He was ousted days before he could begin collecting retirement benefits. 

McCabe, who became acting FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017, has been the target of the president’s attacks. Trump accused law enforcement officials of partisan investigations of him, his campaign and his administration. Inquiries led to charges against a half-dozen of Trump’s aides and advisers. 

Trump applauded the decision to fire McCabe in March 2018, calling it “a great day for democracy.” Trump called McCabe a “major sleazebag” and argued that his conduct was akin to treason for favoring Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival in 2016.

The election-year investigations roiled the top ranks of the FBI. Internal investigators faulted McCabe and Comey for violating Justice Department rules in the final months of the campaign. Lower-level staffers were fired or reassigned.

The Justice Department announced Aug. 29 that Comey violated bureau policies for keeping private memos about his conversations with Trump, then having a friend describe the contents of one memo to The New York Times for a story. The department didn’t charge Comey criminally.

McCabe’s firing came after the inspector general investigated the information behind a Wall Street Journal story about the Clinton Foundation to determine whether it was an unauthorized leak and if so, who was the source. The story appeared online Oct. 30, 2016, and in print Oct. 31, which was a week after another story reported that McCabe terminated the foundation probe under pressure from the Justice Department.

Investigators determined that McCabe, to promote his impartiality, authorized associates to disclose a call Aug. 12 between McCabe and the principal associate deputy attorney general to The Wall Street Journal. The call effectively confirmed the existence of the Clinton Foundation investigation, which Comey refused to do.

The inspector general found McCabe “lacked candor” when he said he hadn’t authorized the disclosure and didn’t know who did while talking to Comey, when questioned under oath by FBI agents, then when questioned under oath by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller.

McCabe filed a lawsuit in August challenging his dismissal, alleging that Justice Department officials demoted him in January 2018 and fired him two months later to cater to Trump’s “unlawful whims.” McCabe’s termination came after he had announced his intention to resign and days before his full retirement benefits would have set in.

Trump’s political accusations against McCabe stemmed from his wife running unsuccessfully for state Senate as a Democrat in Virginia. Trump seized on contributions Jill McCabe received from a political action committee tied with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally.

Trump said McCabe took “massive amounts of money” for his wife’s campaign.

Internal FBI documents stated that McCabe didn’t oversee the Clinton investigation while his wife was running for office and that he didn’t have a conflict of interest. McCabe argued in television interviews that top congressional leaders were notified about the counterintelligence inquiry into Russian influence on Trump’s campaign and nobody objected.

The decision about McCabe comes amid several investigations of how the Justice Department and the FBI began inquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Attorney General William Barr assigned one internal probe in May.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review launched in March 2018 focuses on an FBI wiretap of Carter Page, a former policy adviser to Trump’s campaign. The inspector general looked into whether the FBI violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, when it sought court-ordered surveillance of Page in late 2016. Horowitz examined the FBI’s relationship and communication with Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who was hired by a research firm working for Clinton’s campaign and compiled a “dossier” alleging links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Republicans complained that the FBI concealed its reliance on Steele’s findings in the surveillance applications for Page. Copies of those applications released after USA TODAY and others sued showed investigators disclosed to judges that Steele sought information to “discredit” Trump and that investigators had broader suspicions about Page’s ties to the Russian government.

Mueller took over the Russia investigation in May 2017 after Trump fired Comey.  Mueller’s report, released in April, detailed a “sweeping and systematic” effort by the Russian government to intercede in the election to help Trump win but “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Contributing: Kristine Phillips

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For Military Personnel, Trump’s Turnberry Hotel Is ‘Better Than a Tent’

TURNBERRY, Scotland — The middle-aged golfers had finished their last single-malt whiskeys late one night this July, and the bartenders were closing up.

Then a bus pulled up to the Trump Turnberry hotel on Scotland’s west coast with a load of new guests, several staff members said. The doormen, dressed in kilts with long feathers protruding from their berets, ushered in more than 50 uniformed American military service members.

After gawking at a fountain encircled by stone horses and classical statues, the troops piled their duffel bags around the table of orchids under the crystal chandeliers of the wood-paneled lobby, checked into their rooms and headed to the bar to begin ordering some whiskey of their own.

Throughout President Trump’s term, officials said this week, the American military has been paying his money-losing Scottish golf resort to provide five-star accommodations to United States military flight crews and other personnel during refueling stops on trips to and from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other locations.

The chairman of the House Oversight committee has questioned if the spending at Turnberry is a violation of a constitutional prohibition on government payments to the president outside of his salary — a provision known as the emoluments clause. Other House Democrats have said they expect the matter will now figure in their investigation of a possible impeachment.

But an examination of military layovers at Turnberry, including a two-day stay by a reporter at the resort, reveals a more complicated picture.

There is little evidence of a systematic scheme to enrich Mr. Trump. But the military bookings at Turnberry are the latest in a series of episodes in which the president’s private businesses have intersected with his public position in ways that he can profit from.

The pattern also raises questions about how military officials failed to anticipate the questions that would accompany a large number of American military personnel marching into the opulent halls of one of the president’s golf resorts at public expense.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160617279_e471b65c-e2cd-491e-8b75-60a9243897d9-articleLarge For Military Personnel, Trump’s Turnberry Hotel Is ‘Better Than a Tent’ United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Turnberry (Scotland Golf Resort) Trump, Eric F (1984- ) Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Scotland Presidential Election of 2016 Conflicts of Interest

A United States Air Force plane at Glasgow Prestwick Airport on Wednesday. The bookings for American military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the airport.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s defenders note that American military jets have been stopping in the region since long before Mr. Trump’s election. A decision by the Pentagon to have its flights stop more frequently at the local airport was made under the Obama administration.

The military says the vast majority of American military personnel who have passed through since 2016 have stayed at other area hotels, not Mr. Trump’s. Those who did stay there paid a discounted rate of as little as $130 a night, compared to a typical price of about $380 a night.

“To me, it was honestly just a hotel, a place to sleep,” said Nathan Wendzel, 33, a helicopter pilot, who spent a night at the Trump Turnberry last September, along with about 35 other members of his Iowa National Guard unit, on their way back to the United States from a trip to Kosovo. “It is better than a tent with no air conditioning.”

Neither Mr. Trump’s company nor the United States military has disclosed how much government money has been spent at the Trump resort. But a dozen Trump Turnberry staff members, all speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the military stays have been a regular occurrence and, often, encompass surprisingly large groups.

Buses like the one that arrived in July periodically turn up at midnight or 2 a.m. carrying dozens of soldiers or Marines, several hotel staff members said. Less expensive hotels, like a TraveLodge and a Premier Inn, are next to the airport — the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.

The bookings for United States military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which has an incentive to curry favor with Mr. Trump. The airport has become economically reliant on the military refueling flights, creating at least the appearance of a motive to steer business to the American commander in chief.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish transport minister, told the Scottish Parliament this week that the Turnberry is one of 13 hotels the airport uses and that “Turnberry is generally booked only if other hotels are unavailable or if customers specifically request it.”

But critics say that the military stays at Trump Turnberry still underscore recurring questions that have grown out of Mr. Trump’s singular decision to remain the owner of the business that bears his name while holding high office.

Long stays by lobbyists and foreign officials at the Trump International hotel in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence’s recent stay at a Trump resort in Ireland, and the president’s highly publicized outings to his own golf clubs have all raised similar issues. At times Mr. Trump has appeared to promote his hotels at the same moment that he denies steering them government money.

Mr. Trump and his family gave a press conference during the reopening of the Turnberry resort in June 2016, while he was running for president.CreditJeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” Mr. Trump tweeted this week in all capital letters about the military stays his Turnberry resort, before adding in parenthesis, “They have good taste!”

Even some guests at Turnberry questioned the arrangement. “It is completely inappropriate,” said Bennett Rodick, a Chicago lawyer watching the sunset from the hotel lobby with his wife. “You don’t want him commingling his business interests with his government interests.”

The United States military has been using Prestwick as a stopover since at least the World War II, in part because of the extremely long runway the airport offers, and its reputation for being largely free of fog.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower sometimes landed there, and after the war Scotland gave him permanent use of an apartment in a medieval castle not far from Turnberry that he frequently visited. In March 1960, Elvis Presley, then wrapping up his military service, stopped at the airport for a few hours and was mobbed by his fans.

But the last decade brought trying times to the airport. The United States military’s stopovers declined with the end of the war in Iraq and the pullback of troops from Afghanistan. And commercial air traffic shifted to the larger Glasgow International Airport. The situation got so desperate that in 2013 the Prestwick airport, deep in debt, was sold to the Scottish government for a little more than $1.

Mr. Trump entered the picture the next year, when he bought the Turnberry hotel and its storied golf course — it was one of the courses that had hosted the British Open — from a company owned by the emirate of Dubai, reportedly for about $55 million. Soon after he flew with great fanfare into Prestwick airport on his Boeing 757.

He announced that his resort was forming a cross-promotion deal with the airport. To make Turnberry “the finest resort anywhere,” he told reporters in 2014, “we need an airport.”

There would be “people coming in from New York, high level people from all over the place — a lot of private aircraft will be landing with groups and individuals and we expect to be using Prestwick quite a bit,” Mr. Trump promised.

Trump executives also began negotiating with Prestwick airport officials to try to ensure that they would refer visiting aircrews to the hotel, emails first obtained by The Guardian in 2017 show. Details of the House Oversight Committee investigation into the military stays at the resort were reported last week by Politico.

The town of Ayr, near Glasgow Prestwick Airport. There are less expensive hotels near the airport, while the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

But at least for Prestwick, almost none of Mr. Trump’s predictions came true. The majority of the resort’s customers are affluent North Americans, along with a smaller number of Asians and others who come on package golf tours. Few arrive via Prestwick.

These days its cavernous main passenger terminal is often almost deserted. The only airline that still flies into Prestwick is the discount carrier Ryanair. Only a handful of its flights come in each day, mainly from relatively small European markets. No flights arrive from London, Dublin or North America.

“Years ago we had more flights and other airlines, but it is very quiet now,” said Margaret Vincent, 57, pulling down the gates Thursday afternoon to close the empty airport bookstore next to the empty cafe, empty bar and empty foreign currency exchange desk.

But on the opposite side of the airport, the United States military has brought back at least some of the business.

The Defense Logistics Agency signed a formal refueling and aviation services contract with Prestwick in August 2016, under President Barack Obama. The contract began being used in a major way the following year, after Mr. Trump took office. Through June, federal contracting records show, it has made at least 925 fuel purchases at the airport, worth $17.3 million.

An American military aircraft — often a C-130 Hercules transport plane — lands or takes off almost every day, according to local airplane enthusiasts who wait by the airfield to watch them.

In part because of the refueling agreement, the level of American military air traffic has surged during the Trump presidency. After 145 stopovers in 2016, there were 257 last year and 259 in the first eight months of this year, the Pentagon said.

The number of stopovers with overnight stays, entailing booking rooms at hotels, has climbed from 75 in 2016 to 208 last year and 220 this year through August, according to the Defense Department figures.

Trump Turnberry can seen like incongruous housing for military personnel. The white walls and red roof of the main hotel stretch along a high ridge overlooking the rocky coast of the Irish Sea.

Mr. Trump arrived in a private helicopter for his 2016 visit to Turnberry. During the visit, his staff handed out “Make Turnberry Great Again” hats.CreditOli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The windows look out over stone steps descending through rolling hills to the golf course, with the historic Turnberry castle and lighthouse in one direction and the surreal dome of the granite Ailsa Craig protruding from the sea in the other. Each night at sunset, a bagpiper — also in a kilt — parades past the lobby windows, right in front of the helicopter pad.

Several of the military visitors complained that the resort was not a particularly convenient place. It is far from any restaurants or even a pub. A burger costs almost $26 at current exchange rates, 21 pounds, and blended whiskey starts at nearly $10 a glass. A day ticket for hotel guests to play on the signature golf course costs $495.

Mr. Trump visited during the 2016 presidential campaign and his staff passed out baseball hats with the slogan “Make Turnberry Great Again.” Since his election, Mr. Trump and his family have also brought additional federal spending to the resort. He stayed at the hotel and played a round of golf there in July 2018, accompanied by diplomats, advisers and his Secret Service detail.

“I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf — my primary form of exercise!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter during that visit. “The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!”

Eric Trump, who helps oversee its operations, visits frequently, along with his own Secret Service detail. Asked Thursday about the stays by military personnel, Eric Trump declined to comment but praised his family’s property.

Records show payments of at least $64,000 to Trump Turnberry by the State Department in the last two years, although part of that money might have been refunded, the records suggest, after the trips ended. The Trump Organization said it refunds to the government any payments made to Turnberry for those visits by federal government employees after accounting for the resort’s costs, but declined to provide details.

President Trump, after he was elected, transferred ownership of his resorts, golf courses and other properties to a trust that is controlled by his sons and company executives. But Mr. Trump still benefits financially.

The resort lost $4.2 million in 2017, according to an annual filing in Britain, continuing a string of losses reported since Mr. Trump bought it.

The club had revenue of $23.4 million in 2018, according to a financial report filed in the United States, its best year since the Trumps’ ownership. The company has not filed the resort’s profit or loss statement for 2018.

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Andrew McCabe, Trump Critic And Former FBI No. 2, Likely To Face Criminal Charges

Westlake Legal Group 5d7a8b022400002e2a78adc2 Andrew McCabe, Trump Critic And Former FBI No. 2, Likely To Face Criminal Charges

Former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe will likely soon face federal criminal charges for allegedly misleading Justice Department investigators who were probing the leak of an investigation into the Clinton Foundation during the 2016 campaign.

McCabe’s legal team received notice from a top Justice Department official indicating that the office had rejected their appeal of the decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia to move forward with the case, according to a person familiar with the matter. McCabe’s team had asked DOJ’s principal deputy attorney general to veto the D.C. office’s decision to indict. USA Today first reported on the news Thursday.

McCabe filed suit last month over his 2018 dismissal, which came hours ahead of his planned retirement. President Donald Trump had targeted McCabe, a Republican, in part due to his wife’s run for office as a Democratic candidate. McCabe went on to write a book about his experiences in the FBI, and recently joined CNN as a commentator.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Tracee Ellis Ross Shares Exciting News About A ‘Girlfriends’ Cast Reunion

Westlake Legal Group 5d7a8da63b0000039fd1a8e2 Tracee Ellis Ross Shares Exciting News About A ‘Girlfriends’ Cast Reunion

Fans of the 2000s series “Girlfriends” are celebrating after one of its former stars, Tracee Ellis Ross, shared a nostalgia-inducing reunion post on Thursday. 

Ross, who starred as Joan in the series, shared a video on Instagram showing her next to her former co-stars: Golden Brooks, who played Maya; Jill Marie Jones, who played Toni; and Pershia White, who played Lynn. 

The former cast members of the iconic show, celebrated for its portrayal of Black women and sisterhood, will appear together in an upcoming episode of “Black-ish,” in which Ross stars as Rainbow. “Girlfriends” aired from 2000 to 2008.

“So we have an extra special episode of ‘Black-ish,’ and it’s a feminist episode, and I brought in some backup from some of my girlfriends,” Ross said in the video with her “Girlfriends” cast on Instagram Thursday. 

The “Girlfriends” cast members will appear in an episode slated to air on Oct. 8, Ross wrote in a caption for the post. The actor also noted that the group hasn’t been on camera together since 2006.

“These are women I grew up with and love deeply and it was easy tap back into the magic of our chemistry and how much we love each other,” she continued. “It was giggles on top of giggles on top of giggles. ‘Girlfriends’ ran for 8 years and was important to so many people.”

Ross added that having her “Girlfriends” cast on “Black-ish” was “surreal.” 

Jones reposted Ross’ video on her Instagram account on Thursday, writing “Reunited … and it feels SO GOOD.”

Fans also joined in on the celebration. “This is my actual heaven,” one Instagram user wrote.

“Omg iconic!!!!!” wrote another. 

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El Paso Shooting Suspect Indicted On Capital Murder Charge

Westlake Legal Group ap_19226627874072-3138c1dcb7c79680757b7ffdd7346152ca1619fc-s1100-c15 El Paso Shooting Suspect Indicted On Capital Murder Charge

An El Paso County Grand Jury has indicted Patrick Crusius, who is now charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting deaths of 22 people at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3. John Locher/AP hide caption

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John Locher/AP

Westlake Legal Group  El Paso Shooting Suspect Indicted On Capital Murder Charge

An El Paso County Grand Jury has indicted Patrick Crusius, who is now charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting deaths of 22 people at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3.

John Locher/AP

The 21-year-old white man accused of gunning down 22 people and wounded dozens of others at a Texas Walmart was formally indicted on a capital murder charge Thursday.

A grand jury in El Paso County indicted Patrick Crusius in connection with the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, according to a statement from the El Paso District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Jamie Esparza said on Aug. 4 that he planned to seek the death penalty.

The suspect surrendered to law enforcement as he was driving away from the bloodbath, saying, “I’m the shooter.”

He has since been held without bond and placed on suicide watch at the El Paso County Detention Facility, where authorities say he has been cooperating with the investigation.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Crusius confessed that he planned the rampage and drove nearly 10 hours from his home in the Dallas suburb of Allen to the border city with the intention of targeting Mexicans.

The 22 victims ranged in age from 15 to 90. Thirteen are listed as U.S. citizens; eight are Mexican nationals. One is German.

Authorities believe Crusius is the author of a 2,300-word, anti-Hispanic screed that was published to an online message board about 20 minutes before the mass shooting. The four-page posting talked about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

If officials conclude that he indeed wrote the manifesto, it could also prompt federal hate crime charges.

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Liz Cheney accuses Rand Paul of putting terrorists ‘first’ after he says she’s ‘warmongering’

Westlake Legal Group Paul-Cheney Liz Cheney accuses Rand Paul of putting terrorists 'first' after he says she's 'warmongering' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/rand-paul fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1bb8bb98-e773-567b-bd1f-364f9963d83e

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s resignation has resurfaced tensions between perceived isolationists and war hawks in the Republican Party.

That became apparent Thursday as House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., known for her hawkish foreign policy, traded deeply personal barbs with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a noninterventionist who has fiercely criticized her father’s role in going to war in Iraq.

Paul on Wednesday tweeted an op-ed accusing Cheney of pressuring Trump into “endless war.” On Thursday, he followed up with a tweet accusing Cheney of “pro-Bolton blather” and praising Trump for rebuffing her interest in endless wars.

“Hi @Liz_Cheney, President @realDonaldTrump hears all your NeverTrump warmongering. We all see your pro-Bolton blather. I’m just grateful for a president who, unlike you, supports stopping these endless wars,” Paul tweeted.

RAND PAUL CELEBRATES BOLTON’S DEPARTURE: ‘CHANCES OF A WAR GO GREATLY DOWN’

Cheney fired back by blasting Paul as a “big loser” and retweeting a 2015 post in which Trump likened Paul to a “spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.”

She added that Paul’s motto seemed to be: “Terrorists First, America Second.”

During the 2016 Republican primaries, Paul was a fierce critic of  Trump, who attempted to humiliate the senator on the debate stage.

“Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage. He’s No. 11, he’s got 1 percent in the polls. I don’t know how he got up here. There are far too many people up here anyways,” Trump said during a primary debate in California.

LIZ CHENEY BLASTS ‘COMMIE’ SANDERS: ‘HE SEEMS TO HAVE DADDY ISSUES … WITH MY DADDY’

Since Trump’s election, Paul and Trump have grown closer, with the Kentucky senator praising his views on foreign policy. When Trump announced Bolton’s departure on Tuesday, Paul celebrated the decision. “The chances of a war worldwide go greatly down,” he said.

Paul later responded to Cheney by tweeting an article about Trump criticizing the Bush administration’s foreign policy as a 2016 candidate.

“Hey ⁦@Liz_Cheney⁩ I feel like you might just be mad still about when Candidate Trump shredded your Dad’s failed foreign policy and endless wars,” he said.

Cheney’s father is Dick Cheney, George W. Bush’s vice president.

“Weird. I don’t see you on stage here, @RandPaul,” Cheney jabbed in response. “Oh, right. My bad – you had already lost. #weirdRand.”

As Liz Cheney and Paul exchanged blows on Twitter, Trump claimed that he was more aggressive on foreign policy than Bolton, a perceived hawk.

TUCKER HAILS FIRING OF JOHN BOLTON: HE WAS ‘FUNDAMENTALLY A MAN OF THE LEFT’

“My views on Venezuela, and especially Cuba, were far stronger than those of John Bolton. He was holding me back!” he said.

His tweet followed suspicions that Bolton’s foreign policy was too aggressive for Trump, who, during his campaign, promised to return troops from the Middle East.

In explaining Bolton’s departure, Trump claimed multiple people in the administration disagreed with the former national security adviser’s suggestions. It’s unclear which foreign policy issues Trump was referencing, but his Thursday tweet made clear that he saw himself as stronger than Bolton on issues involving both Cuba and Venezuela.

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He included a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said that Trump told him that many people got his relationship with Bolton wrong.

“As he reminded me it’s actually the DIRECT OPPOSITE of what many claim or assume If in fact the direction of policy changes it won’t be to make it weaker,” Rubio said.

Westlake Legal Group Paul-Cheney Liz Cheney accuses Rand Paul of putting terrorists 'first' after he says she's 'warmongering' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/rand-paul fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1bb8bb98-e773-567b-bd1f-364f9963d83e   Westlake Legal Group Paul-Cheney Liz Cheney accuses Rand Paul of putting terrorists 'first' after he says she's 'warmongering' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/rand-paul fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1bb8bb98-e773-567b-bd1f-364f9963d83e

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