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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 5)

Republicans accuse Schiff of ‘coaching’ Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won’t support impeachment

Good morning and welcome to Fox News First. Here’s what you need to know as you start your day …

Top House Republicans accuse Schiff of preventing impeachment witness from answering certain GOP questions
House Republican leaders, in a fiery news conference Tuesday, said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was almost acting like a “lawyer” for a witness in the latest impeachment hearing and kept him from answering certain questions from Republican members.

Reps. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told reporters that Schiff shut down a Republican line of questioning during a hearing with Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who serves as a director on the National Security Council (NSC).  “When we asked [Vindman] who he spoke to after important events in July — Adam Schiff says, ‘No, no, no, we’re not going to let him answer that question,”‘ Jordan said.

In an interview on “Hannity” on Tuesday, Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, accused Schiff of “coaching” Vindman and called the impeachment process under Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “unprecedented.”

In his prepared opening statement, Vindman expressed concern over President Trump’s request to have Ukraine investigate political opponents and said he did not know the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry. Click here for more on our top story.

Westlake Legal Group trump-Pelosi-VanDrew Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

Democrat says he won’t back House impeachment resolution
House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution to formalize their impeachment inquiry and adopt rules to govern the proceedings, but one Democratic lawmaker doubts he will support it. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., said he hasn’t seen anything “impeachable” yet with President Trump and doesn’t think he will vote to formalize an impeachment inquiry. “I would imagine that I’m not voting for it,” Van Drew told a reporter from NBC News.

Van Drew, who narrowly defeated his GOP rival in 2018 in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, has openly criticized impeachment, saying it would further divide the country and put members of his party at risk in the 2020 elections. He is among a handful of Democrats who continue to lean away from a formal push for impeachment despite ongoing depositions of witnesses by three House committees spearheading the probe.

‘An act of God’: Getty Fire in LA sparked by falling tree branch on power lines, officials reveal
The Getty Fire in Los Angeles, which has destroyed a dozen homes and forced many people — including some celebrities — to escape the area, was sparked by a tree branch that fell on top of power lines and ignited nearby brush, officials said Tuesday. “This was, simply put in plain parlance, an act of God,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference.

Westlake Legal Group 6b2b84d4-GettyFire103019 Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

A firefighters gets in position to hose down flames as a home burns in the Getty fire area along Tigertail Road, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Garcetti stressed that the blaze was not the result of faulty equipment. Utilities in the state have come under scrutiny from customers and public officials in recent years for their roles in several massive wildfires.

Still, firefighters battling the Getty blaze received a small bit of good news Tuesday. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, one of many Southern California residents forced to leave their homes this week, sent a taco truck to feed first responders. Click here for more.

Westlake Legal Group Omar103019 Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

Ilhan Omar votes ‘present’ on bill condemning Armenian genocide
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Tuesday refused to support a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, saying it was important first to condemn the preceding “mass slaughter” of “hundreds of millions of indigenous people,” as well as the “transatlantic slave trade.”

Omar, in a statement explaining her vote of “present” on the resolution, also seemingly suggested that the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks may not have occurred at all. Click here for more.

Westlake Legal Group c26d541f-SOTO-HR-CROPPED-1024-x-576 Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto hits a home run off Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander during the fifth inning of Game 6 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Nationals top Astros 7-2, force Game 7 in World Series
Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg took a gem into the ninth inning and Juan Soto ran all the way to first base with his bat following a go-ahead home run, the same way Houston Astros slugger Alex Bregman did earlier. Yep, these Nationals have matched the Astros pitch for pitch, hit for hit, win for win — even home run celebration for home run celebration.

Westlake Legal Group verlander-cropped Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of Game 6 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Mike Ehrmann, Pool)

Adam Eaton and Soto hit solo homers off Justin Verlander in the fifth, Anthony Rendon also went deep and drove in five runs, and the Nationals beat the Astros 7-2 Tuesday night to tie the World Series at 3-3. Verlander dropped to 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven Series starts, a blemish on his otherwise sterling career. Now, it’s onto a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday night in Houston. – The Associated Press

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TODAY’S MUST-READS
Jared Kushner slams Joe Biden, claims he’s been cleaning up ‘messes’ ex-VP left behind.
California middle school students receive student ID cards with sex hotline number.
Man tries opening bank account with fake $1M bill.

THE LATEST FROM FOX BUSINESS
Facebook/Instagram to ban sexually suggestive veggie emojis.
Meet the Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey and the powerhouse CEO behind the company.
Why Wi-Fi is illegal in this US town.
 
#TheFlashback: CLICK HERE to find out what happened on “This Day in History.”
 
SOME PARTING WORDS

Tucker Carlson argues it is still not clear what “high crime” President Trump allegedly committed to justify House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry.

Not signed up yet for Fox News First? Click here to find out what you’re missing.
 
Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing on Thursday morning.

Westlake Legal Group Schiff103019 Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article   Westlake Legal Group Schiff103019 Republicans accuse Schiff of 'coaching' Trump impeachment witness; Democrat won't support impeachment fox-news/columns/fox-news-first fox news fnc/us fnc edbc5082-6b91-5f0a-8a16-e49dfdca9c09 article

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World Series Game 7, California wildfires: 5 things you need to know Wednesday

Finally, the World Series theater everyone craved: Game 7

The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros behind Stephen Strasburg’s memorable performance, setting up a dramatic World Series Game 7 on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, Fox) at Minute Maid Park. The Nationals made it possible by winning 7-2, over the Houston Astros in a game that was upstaged by controversy, Nats manager Dave Martinez being ejected, and resurrected memories of first-base umpire Don Denkinger’s blown call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Max Scherzer, who was scratched from his Game 5 start, is set to pitch the decisive game for the Nationals, while Zack Greinke takes the mound for the Astros

Westlake Legal Group  World Series Game 7, California wildfires: 5 things you need to know Wednesday

Millions brace for blackouts as California’s Kincade, Getty fires rage

Firefighter’s efforts to battle the raging Kincade Fire in Northern California could be hampered by gusts reaching 60 to 70 mph through Wednesday evening, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker warned. The blaze, which had consumed more than 115 square miles, had damaged or destroyed more than 220 buildings and was only 15% contained Tuesday. About 200,000 people had been forced to evacuate the area, but the National Weather Service said almost 18 million Californians were living in areas where the fire risk was critical. Another 3.2 million face an extreme risk, the service said. In Los Angeles, the Getty Fire had burned through more than 650 acres, damaging or destroying more than a dozen homes, threatening 7,000 more and forcing thousands of residents to flee. 

U.S. reading, math scores aren’t getting any better

Fourth and eighth grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress haven’t budged in a decade, a new report released Wednesday finds. Specifically, 35% of fourth-graders were proficient in reading in 2019, down from 37% in 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP to a representative sample of students across the country every two years. Math scores didn’t fare much better: About 41% of fourth-graders and 34% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math in 2019, not significantly different from 2017. So why are the scores so low? Some experts theorize that children don’t spend enough time practicing reading fluency or developing their vocabulary, while others believe students are subjected to far too many tests, which leaves less time for instruction. 

Boeing CEO to testify before House committee 

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg is scheduled to testify before a House committee Wednesday, a day after being grilled by the Senate. During Tuesday’s testimony, Muilenburg defended the aerospace company’s safety inspection system, despite two crashes that have grounded its 737 Max jetliner. He also disclosed he was notified before the second crash of a test pilot’s signal of “egregious” problems with the Max’s flight control system, now believed to be at fault in the plane’s two crashes. Not only will the 737 Max not fly again until all agree it is safe, Muilenburg said, but Boeing also is reviewing all its safety policies. Tuesday’s hearing was attended by family members of the 346 people who lost their lives in the crashes. 

Last hurrah for Fed rate cuts?

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to lower interest rates for the third time this year after its two-day meeting that ends Wednesday. But will that be the end of cuts? Economists are divided on whether Fed officials will leave the door wide open to another cut at their next meeting in December or hint that they’re inclined to pause. Since the Fed last cut rates in mid-September, a sluggish global economy and the U.S.-China trade war have dinged the economy somewhat, but job growth and consumer spending have remained solid. Whatever Fed policymakers signal is likely to move stock markets, and their rate decision will determine whether consumer borrowing costs and bank savings rates will continue to edge down.

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HBO Unveils Sweeping New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Prequel, ‘House Of The Dragon’

Westlake Legal Group 5d42e6c53b00004d00dae0ba HBO Unveils Sweeping New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Prequel, ‘House Of The Dragon’

R.I.P. Daenerys Targaryen

The “Game of Thrones” series finale turned into the family reunion from hell when Queen Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Breaker of Chains, <a href=”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/game-of-thrones-latte_n_5cd1a4f9e4b0e4d75738e5f7″ target=”_blank”>Fan of Frappuccinos</a>, was killed by her nephew and lover, Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen (Kit Harington).<br><br>As Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) once said, “If you think&nbsp;this&nbsp;has&nbsp;a&nbsp;happy ending,&nbsp;you haven’t been paying attention.”<br><br>Through almost eight seasons of the show, fans had cheered for the dragon queen as she rose from an abused, scared child to a Khaleesi set on reclaiming the Iron Throne, the birth right that was taken from her.&nbsp;<br><br>That was prior to Season 8, Episode 5, however.<br><br>There was no coming back after Daenerys torched King’s Landing in the penultimate episode, seemingly unnecessarily killing thousands upon thousands of innocent people after the city had sounded its surrender bells. After that, it was only a matter of time before the bell tolled for her.<br><br>Following the destruction of King’s Landing, Daenerys talked about liberating the rest of the world, and Jon just couldn’t be cool with it. He told her she would always be his queen before stabbing her in the throne room with a dagger.<br><br>In the game of thrones, all men must die. But Daenerys was not a man. She was the Mother of Dragons. R.I.P.

HBO

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Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, fat-shames MLB umpires in ill-timed tweet following funeral

Westlake Legal Group 060114_AfterBuzz_640 Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, fat-shames MLB umpires in ill-timed tweet following funeral fox-news/sports/mlb/washington-nationals fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc Edmund DeMarche b3368c7d-7240-5bdc-bf03-eacac5e1448d article

Jay Carney, the former Obama administration press secretary who is now a senior vice president at Amazon, raised eyebrows on Twitter on Tuesday with his reaction to what he saw as a blown call by umpires during Game 6 of the World Series.

“What a disgrace for the @Mlb,” Carney tweeted. “The entire ump crew is a bunch of overweight, diabetic, half-blind geriatrics. Bring in the machines.”

Carney was likely referring to the recent buzz about robot strike-callers that would, in theory, eliminate human error during games.

But his tweet about the umps was roundly criticized online.

“Diabetic” isn’t an insult and it has zero relevance to umpring so it’s just hate speech,” one Twitter user wrote.

A day earlier, the World Series umpires he criticized reportedly took a charter flight for the funeral of their colleague Eric Cooper, a 24-year veteran for the league. Cooper died Oct. 20 at age 52 from a blood clot.

“This is a very bad tweet,” one user commented.

“This tweet is worse than the call. Terrible,” wrote another.

Another, who identified herself as a pediatric cardiologist, wrote, “Omg Jay chill.”

Carney did not specify what call set him off. But Nationals manager Dave Martinez was ejected in the seventh inning for arguining a call of runner interference. Joe Torre, MLB’s chief of baseball, later defended the umpire’s call.

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Amazon’s stock’s recent performance may also be taking a toll on Carney. The stock was down another 14 points Tuesday, which followed last week’s 9 percent slide in after-hours trading.

The Nationals went on to win 7-2, forcing a Game 7.

Westlake Legal Group 060114_AfterBuzz_640 Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, fat-shames MLB umpires in ill-timed tweet following funeral fox-news/sports/mlb/washington-nationals fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc Edmund DeMarche b3368c7d-7240-5bdc-bf03-eacac5e1448d article   Westlake Legal Group 060114_AfterBuzz_640 Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, fat-shames MLB umpires in ill-timed tweet following funeral fox-news/sports/mlb/washington-nationals fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc Edmund DeMarche b3368c7d-7240-5bdc-bf03-eacac5e1448d article

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Fiat Chrysler in Merger Talks With Peugeot

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Fiat Chrysler in Merger Talks With Peugeot PSA Group Peugeot SA Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler said Wednesday it is in talks with the French maker of Peugeot and Citroën cars about a possible merger, the latest example of how automakers are joining forces to survive major technological shifts in the industry.

Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that it is in talks with PSA Group “on a possible business combination.”

If successful, the merger would give PSA access to the United States market for the first time in decades, and give Fiat Chrysler a partner to share the costs of developing new cars.

This is a developing story, and will be updated.

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Gregg Jarrett: Adam Schiff’s drive to impeach Trump based on opinions, deception and illusions – Not facts

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098865922001_6098860875001-vs Gregg Jarrett: Adam Schiff’s drive to impeach Trump based on opinions, deception and illusions – Not facts Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc cd1c10eb-ab4d-5a39-b7f7-0541b7160916 article

Rep. Adam Schiff is a poor man’s Harry Houdini. He is a cheap illusionist performing amateurish parlor tricks of deception in his quest to convince his audience that he possesses damning evidence of an impeachable offense committed by President Trump.

Schiff, D-Calif., has no such evidence, of course. But like most illusionists, Schiff employs misdirection and confusion. He attempts to convince you that opinions are evidence, while facts are not. This is the stuff of rank political magic where perceptions are distorted through clever manipulation of the process.

Schiff has become the master manipulator aided, in large part, by the secrecy of his faux magic act. He won’t allow you to peek behind the curtain to see for yourself the witnesses he has called in his “super top secret” impeachment inquisition. You are never permitted to view transcripts of depositions or examine testimony that purports to incriminate the president. That, of course, would ruin all the hocus-pocus.

DAVID BOSSIE: BASELESS TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY BY DESPERATE DEMOCRATS MAKES DRAMATIC FLIP-FLOP

Republicans have spent weeks trying to pierce the veil of secrecy. They have now partially succeeded by pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., into a resolution for a full House vote on the heretofore partisan and unjust proceedings that are bereft of due process. At the very least, this new action will establish some fundamental rules of fairness and transparency that are the bane of pretend-illusionists like Schiff.

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Americans will finally get to see how the House Intelligence Committee chairman rigged his inquisition with hearsay witnesses and others who had nothing meaningful to offer except their own personal interpretations of a July 25 conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The best evidence of what transpired is, in fact, the only pertinent evidence. Everything else is secondary and immaterial. The transcript of the telephone call and the statements of the two participants, Trump and Zelensky, are the only relevant evidence. All other witnesses are simply offering their gratuitous interpretation and opinion of the conversation to which they were not a party.

Take, for example, William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine. Schiff and his confederates leaked to their friendly media outlets that Taylor testified that Trump wanted to withhold U.S. military aid unless Zelensky vowed to investigate alleged Ukrainian meddling in the U.S. election and possible corrupt acts by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

But wait. It appears that Taylor’s testimony was not based on any first-hand knowledge. Instead, it seems to have been his interpretation derived from conversations by others who had no first-hand knowledge. In other words, it was conjecture built on speculation. How’s that for reliability?

Schiff, the illusionist, can offer nothing but impressions, perceptions, judgments and opinions. It is all irrelevant and a sham. Facts are what matter. 

Another example was the much-anticipated testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who oversees Ukraine policy at the National Security Council. Vindman listened in on the telephone conversation and then expressed his “concern” to his superiors about its propriety inasmuch as Joe Biden’s name was mentioned. But hold on. Isn’t that his judgment or opinion?  It most certainly is.

Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen.” He can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing that the U.S. quite often enlists the assistance of foreign governments in investigations, many of them involving U.S. citizens.

Still, Vindman is offering nothing more than his opinion, and a mistaken one at that. His interpretation of what he thinks is “proper” in a phone call has no greater value simply because he heard it instead of reading it.

Anyone with computer access can download and read the transcript while forming their own opinion. What is indisputable are the facts contained in the transcribed conversation.

Nowhere is there a reference to a “quid pro quo” of U.S. military aid in exchange for an investigation of the Bidens or anyone else. There is no demand, no condition and no pressure.

Zelensky is on record stating there was no blackmail involved during the call and no pressure applied. “Nobody pushed me,” Zelensky said. “We had a great phone call,” he added. “It was normal.”

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Separately, the Ukrainian government has confirmed that it did not even know that the U.S. had suspended security funds until almost five weeks after the call with Trump. This seriously undermines the argument by Democrats that there was a “quid pro quo” for the aid.

It is impossible for there to be a “quid pro quo” when the recipient of the “quid” is oblivious to the existence of the “quo.” This is common sense, which is in short supply these days in the bowels of the House basement where Schiff pursues his “super top secret” inquisition.

It is folly for Democrats to argue that a diplomatic conversation of this nature somehow constitutes an impeachable offense. Schiff, the illusionist, can offer nothing but impressions, perceptions, judgments and opinions. It is all irrelevant and a sham. Facts are what matter.

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A hundred so-called “whistleblowers” relying on hearsay about a conversation to which they were never privy cannot change the factual equation laid bare by the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky telephone call.

Not even the great Houdini could pull off that trick.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY GREGG JARRETT

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098865922001_6098860875001-vs Gregg Jarrett: Adam Schiff’s drive to impeach Trump based on opinions, deception and illusions – Not facts Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc cd1c10eb-ab4d-5a39-b7f7-0541b7160916 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098865922001_6098860875001-vs Gregg Jarrett: Adam Schiff’s drive to impeach Trump based on opinions, deception and illusions – Not facts Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc cd1c10eb-ab4d-5a39-b7f7-0541b7160916 article

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Virginia jail nurse sentenced to 1 year for altering report

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Virginia jail nurse sentenced to 1 year for altering report

The Roanoke Times reports Higgins is accused of failing to protect the beaten inmate and denying him care. Hassler maintains he asked the inmate if he needed care and he twice refused. Hassler said he realized he hadn’t documented it, and days later filed a report after that inmate had been admitted to a hospital for his injuries.

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Halloween surprise: Impeachment vote, now opposed by GOP

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098868349001_6098870257001-vs Halloween surprise: Impeachment vote, now opposed by GOP Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article a057eb40-a064-5e7a-a668-cb6d72f9bee6

For weeks now, President Trump and Republicans on the Hill have been denouncing the Democratic impeachment process as unfair and even illegal.

The problem, they insisted, was that Nancy Pelosi had greenlighted the closed-door hearings without asking the House to actually authorize an impeachment inquiry. While there was nothing in the Constitution or in House rules that required this, it was an effective argument, because the leaking of private depositions was starting to smell unfair.

But now that Pelosi has unveiled a Halloween surprise, saying the House will vote on the inquiry on Thursday, Republicans are treating it as a bad trick. They say they will oppose the vote that many of them had been demanding.

TRUMP DRAWS MUTED PRAISE, SHARP CRITICISM IN AL-BAGHDADI DEATH

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “We will not legitimize the Schiff/Pelosi sham impeachment.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Pelosi was “finally admitting what the rest of America already knew — that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the president due process, and their secret, shady, closed-door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”

Key word: Irreversibly.

Since the old process was a travesty, they say, it has tainted the new process, which is what they said they wanted.

Does it sound like demanding a vote was a useful talking point until the moment Pelosi agreed to such a vote? It’s hard to escape that conclusion. The latest round gives a boost to those who say that when it comes to the Ukraine probe, many Republicans are largely arguing process rather than substance.

The speaker, who is ready to move toward public hearings, wrote to colleagues that she wants 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.”

One reason Pelosi held off is that some moderate Democrats in swing districts didn’t want to cast what would be seen as an early pro-impeachment vote. But perhaps the party is feeling more confident after the recent hearings.

The latest witness, testifying yesterday, is Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. He is also a lieutenant colonel who was wounded by an IED in the Iraq war and awarded a Purple Heart.

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And he was on the famous July 25 call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky.

In his opening statement, first leaked to the New York Times, Vindman says: “It is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.”

Two weeks earlier, upon learning that to get a Trump meeting Ukraine would have to “deliver investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma,” Vindman says he told Trump ambassador Gordon Sondland that his statements “were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the National Security Council was going to get involved with or push.”

After the Zelensky call, Vindman says, he expressed his concerns to the NSC’s top lawyer because “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

The lieutenant colonel, who was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 3, quickly drew flak from the president, who tweeted that he is “today’s Never Trumper witness.”

Former GOP congressman Sean Duffy, now a CNN contributor, said on that network: “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy, but his main mission was to make sure that the Ukraine got those weapons. He has an affinity I think for the Ukraine.” That is an accusation of dual loyalty against Vindman, who tried to get the military aid to Ukraine unfrozen.

John Yoo, a former Bush Justice Department official, said on Fox last night: “Some people might call that espionage.” He was referring to a passage in the Times piece saying Ukrainian officials sought advice from Vindman on how to deal with Rudy Giuliani, who was leading the effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens. Vindman was reflecting what he thought was the official White House position. And that makes him a spy? (Yoo later said he had been misconstrued and that he meant the Ukrainians might be engaging in espionage.”)

Liz Cheney, the congresswoman who backs an aggressive foreign policy, said it was “shameful” that some are “questioning the patriotism” of people like Vindman.

Once Pelosi pulls off her Halloween surprise, with its inevitable party-line vote, perhaps Americans will get to see witnesses such as Vindman and decide for themselves. The Democrats think they have a compelling case, but it hasn’t been exposed to sunlight, let along cross-examination.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098868349001_6098870257001-vs Halloween surprise: Impeachment vote, now opposed by GOP Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article a057eb40-a064-5e7a-a668-cb6d72f9bee6   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098868349001_6098870257001-vs Halloween surprise: Impeachment vote, now opposed by GOP Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article a057eb40-a064-5e7a-a668-cb6d72f9bee6

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Comedic Actor John Witherspoon Of ‘Friday’ Fame Dies

Westlake Legal Group 5db92f18210000bf3634b6ca Comedic Actor John Witherspoon Of ‘Friday’ Fame Dies

Comedic actor John Witherspoon, whose five decades in Hollywood included starring roles in the cult “Friday” film franchise and the popular TV series “The Wayans Bros.” and “The Boondocks,” has died

The date and cause of death has not yet been released. He was 77.

Although the Detroit native broke into the entertainment business as a stand-up comic in the 1960s, he would eventually rack up more than 80 acting credits during his career. 

On the big screen, Witherspoon was best known for portraying Ice Cube’s father in the cult film “Friday” (1995) and its two sequels “Next Friday” (2000) and “Friday After Next (2002). He was slated to reprise the role in a fourth film titled “Last Friday,” which was still in pre-production.

Witherspoon also appeared in the movies “House Party,” “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “Bulworth.”

On television, he most memorably voiced the role of Gramps on “The Boondocks,” and played John “Pops” Williams on “The Wayans Bros.” Soon after word of his death reached social media, “RIP Pops” began trending.

In between acting gigs, Witherspoon continued to hone his comedic talents with live appearances and was a frequent guest on “Late Show with David Letterman.” He was scheduled to perform a series of dates at the Stand Up Live comedy club in Huntsville, Alabama next month, CBS News reported.

Witherspoon and his wife Angela also created a charity to serve as a resource for artists who need short-term grants.

Actress Marsha Warfield, who co-starred in the hit TV comedy “Night Court,” praised his kindness and generosity.

“Spoon was a friend, a brother, a funny, talented comedian and a good man,” she wrote on Facebook. “He was the first comedian I met when I got to Los Angeles, and he never hesitated to share leads, advice, contacts, introductions or anything else.”

Early Wednesday, Witherspoon’s son, stand-up comic J.D. Witherspoon, shared several photos on Twitter in remembrance of his dad: 

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

They Sought a Brighter Future in Britain. Instead, Their Families Are Mourning Them.

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YEN THANH, Vietnam — Across the village, the altar tables have already been set up.

In Buddhist and Catholic households alike, families have not waited for the final word on whether their daughters, sons, brothers and sisters are among the 39 people found dead last week in a refrigerated truck container in an industrial park in Britain, roughly 6,000 miles away.

Though the authorities in Britain have not yet identified the bodies, the families in Vietnam are treating the silence from their loved ones as confirmation enough.

The tables bore framed photographs of the missing, flanked by incense and their favorite foods. For the 19-year-old who left to support her family after her father died of cancer, it was Choco-Pies. For the 26-year-old farmer whose family was mired in debt, it was cans of Red Bull.

Behind each photograph was a tale of desperation from a place of grinding poverty, where naked light bulbs hang from corrugated metal roofs and the roads are unpaved. They are the faces of what locals and experts say has become an exodus from parts of Vietnam, a country that on paper represents one of Asia’s economic success stories.

Some in Vietnam now talk about “box people,” in an echo of the “boat people” who fled the country after the Vietnam War. The name refers to the cargo containers in which many hitch dangerous rides along some of the globe’s busiest trade routes seeking jobs and a future.

“We have a saying,” said Anthony Dang Huu Nam, a local priest. “‘If an electrical pole had legs, it would go too.’”

Investigators are still piecing together who the 39 people are, how they died and why they ended up in Grays, Britain, about 25 miles east of London. But many of the leads point back to a region of north-central Vietnam stricken by poverty and environmental disaster, and the two governments are working together to try to identify the victims.

The authorities in Vietnam have received requests for help from 14 families who say their relatives went missing in Britain, according to a Vietnamese state-run news outlet. The country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has also instructed officials to look into cases of Vietnamese citizens sent abroad illegally.

Nguyen Dinh Luong, a 20-year-old farmer, left the Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh two years ago to help support his seven siblings. His father said he borrowed $18,000 from his relatives to send Mr. Nguyen to France.

First he had to go to Russia, where he was confined in a house for about six months because he had overstayed his tourist visa. From Russia, Mr. Nguyen moved on to Ukraine before he reached France in July of last year and found a job as a waiter. Then he decided to go to England to work in a nail salon.

“Maybe he was too ambitious,” said the man’s father, Nguyen Dinh Gia, who gave his DNA samples to the police over the weekend to help with the identification process. “I don’t know much. The debt wasn’t fully paid, and in England, you could probably make more money.”

Vietnam’s narrative was supposed to be different. Boosted by growing trade, it enjoys one of the world’s fastest growth rates, reaching 7.1 percent last year. Poverty, defined as a person making less than $3.34 per day, has dropped sharply.

Still, people there make only a fraction of what the average person takes home in the United States or even China. Many in the poorest areas lack access to a decent education. While Vietnam is increasing spending on health and social benefits, many still do not share in the prosperity.

Vietnam is a major source of human trafficking victims into Britain, the second-highest after Albania, according to Britain’s ambassador to Vietnam and anti-human trafficking organizations.

Nghe An and Ha Tinh, two of Vietnam’s poorest provinces, supply much of the trade. Officials in Ha Tinh estimate more than 41,000 people left the province in the first eight months of this year alone.

Many there are farmers. Rice is the region’s predominant crop, and farmers like Mr. Nguyen earn virtually nothing.

North of Ha Tinh, the province of Yen Thanh has also become a major source of migrants. In 2016, a steel mill owned by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics contaminated coastal waters, devastating the fishing and tourism industries.

Many put themselves in debt to pay “the line” — their term for the shadowy network of human smugglers who take people from country to country before they reach Britain or another destination. Some mortgage their homes or borrow from their families. Even to people there, the human smuggling operation remains shadowy beyond the knowledge that a person would come and collect the money for every successful leg of the journey.

Bui Thi Nhung, 19, wanted to help support her family after her father died of throat cancer in 2017, so she set off on her journey with the help of a loan from her relatives. Of those widely believed to have died in the truck in Britain, she was the youngest.

Nguyen Dinh Tu, a 26-year-old farmer, had borrowed $17,000 to build a house for his wife and two children, ages 5 and 18 months. To repay that debt, he sought help from a labor recruiter to leave for Romania legally in March, according to his elder brother, Nguyen Van Tinh.

Turned off by the low wages at a food company in Romania, he went to Berlin for a job in a restaurant. But he still felt he was not earning enough, so he decided to go to England.

“If you want your life in the village to change,” Mr. Nguyen’s brother said, “the only way is to go overseas.” He said that the family last heard from his brother a day or two before the truck was found.

While many places across Europe seem to promise higher wages and brighter prospects than home, Britain stands out. A sizable population of Vietnamese immigrants there send word home of jobs in nail salons and cannabis farms.

Pham Thi Tra My was convinced she could find a job as a manicurist. The 26-year-old woman from a village in Ha Tinh wanted to help her family, who had accumulated $19,000 in debt. Four years ago, she had borrowed money to pay a labor recruiter to find her a job in Japan as a cook, where she earned enough to pay off that loan. She then borrowed more to buy a car in Vietnam so her younger brother could drive a taxi.

Just a month ago, the car crashed and caught fire. They had no insurance. Rather than return to Japan, Ms. Pham decided she could earn more in Britain.

“I’m thinking about the family and I love you both, so I have to go,” she said, according to her father, Pham Van Thin, who works as a security guard. “Please, Dad and Mom, borrow the money for me so I can travel. Give me the opportunity to pay the debt for my family.”

The family took a mortgage on their home to send her to England. First Ms. Pham flew to Beijing, where she waited for a fake passport. She called home frequently until she went to France, where she stopped reaching out for fear that the authorities could detect her location.

Early on Oct. 23, hours before the bodies in Britain were discovered, she texted her mother. “I’m sorry, Mom, my path abroad didn’t succeed,” she wrote.

“Mom, I love you and Dad so much! I’m dying because I can’t breathe.”

The text arrived in the morning but her mother, Nguyen Thi Phong, did not check her phone until noon, eight hours later. When she called back, there was no answer.

Ms. Nguyen sent her a text: “Child, where are you now? I’m very worried and tired. I love you and feel sorry for you.”

A day later, Ms. Pham’s elder brother, Pham Ngoc Guan, texted her. “Come back and don’t go anymore,” he wrote. “The whole family is worried for you.”

On Sunday, Ms. Pham’s mother wept as she lay on her only daughter’s bed in the family’s home.

Her brother, Pham Ngoc Guan, said: “I’m still hoping she’s in another vehicle, or she’s just lost.”

He picked up his mother’s phone and called his sister again. Nobody answered.

Dan Doan and Chau Doan contributed research.

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