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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 23)

John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump?

Westlake Legal Group 27usbriefing_bolton-facebookJumbo John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump? Watergate Affair Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Nixon, Richard Milhous impeachment Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — In another time, in another Washington, this might be the moment that changed the trajectory of the presidency. A former national security adviser confirms that the president, despite his denials, conditioned security aid to a war-torn ally on its cooperation against his domestic rivals, the issue at the heart of his ongoing impeachment trial.

At first glance, at least, John R. Bolton’s account of President Trump’s private remarks sounds like an echo of the so-called smoking gun tape that proved that President Richard M. Nixon really had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up and ultimately forced him from office. But this is Mr. Trump’s era and Mr. Trump’s Washington, and the old rules do not always apply.

The reality show star who was elected president even after he was captured on an “Access Hollywood” tape boasting about sexual assault has gone on to survive one revelation after another in the three years since, proving more durable than any national politician in modern American history. So will this be the turning point or just one more disclosure that validates his critics without changing other minds? Will it be another smoking gun or another “Access Hollywood”?

The news of Mr. Bolton’s account in an unpublished book, first reported by The New York Times, could hardly come at a worse time for Mr. Trump, just as his lawyers have opened his defense on the Senate floor and days before the senators will vote on whether to call witnesses like Mr. Bolton. Until now, Mr. Trump seemed assured not only of acquittal but appeared likely to fend off the testimony of any more witnesses.

But the pressure on the handful of Republican senators who had been wavering on calling witnesses will now increase exponentially and the president’s defense has suddenly been thrown into disarray. When Mr. Trump’s lawyers address the Senate Monday afternoon, they will face the challenge of explaining how his own former top aide says the president did exactly what they say he did not do — or trying to ignore it altogether.

What’s perhaps even more shocking is that the White House knew what Mr. Bolton had to say at least as far back as Dec. 30, when he sent his manuscript to the National Security Council for standard pre-publication review to ensure that no classified information would be released, yet continued to promote a completely opposite narrative.

In his book, Mr. Bolton writes that Mr. Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine until its government helped with investigations into Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden — exactly what Mr. Trump is on trial for.

Mr. Trump and his defenders quickly sought to undercut Mr. Bolton by dismissing him as a disgruntled former employee seeking to take revenge and sell books. Mr. Bolton abruptly left the White House in September after months of tension with the president over his policies toward North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Ukraine; the president insisted he fired him while Mr. Bolton insisted he resigned.

Starting early Monday morning, hours after the Times’s report on Mr. Bolton’s book, Mr. Trump firing off more than a half-dozen messages on Twitter rebutting his former adviser’s account and attacking him as untrustworthy.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”

He also reposted messages from supporters assailing Mr. Bolton and comparing him to others the president viewed as disloyal like James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in 2017. “Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results,” read one of the messages the president retweeted.

But Mr. Bolton is a hard witness for Mr. Trump to simply brush off. He is no liberal Democrat or deep-state bureaucrat, nor is he even a Never Trump Republican, but a conservative hawk with years of credibility among Republicans and a strong following from his days as ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News commentator. He spent 17 months as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser and knows a lot about what happened on the inside during that time.

Mr. Bolton’s account on its face seems to eviscerate a central part of the defense that the White House began presenting on the Senate floor on Saturday. The president’s lawyers hammered House Democrats for relying on secondhand testimony and argued that no witness had come forward to say that Mr. Trump had explicitly linked the aid to the investigations.

“Most of the Democrats’ witnesses have never spoken to the president at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance,” Michael R. Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, told the Senate on Saturday. “The two people in the House record who asked President Trump about whether there was any linkage between security assistance and investigations were told in no uncertain terms that there is no connection between the two.”

In their trial brief submitted earlier last week, the president’s lawyers made that one of their key points. “Not a single witness with actual knowledge ever testified that the president suggested any connection between announcing investigations and security assistance,” the lawyers wrote. “Assumptions, presumptions and speculation based on hearsay are all that House Democrats can rely on to spin their tale of a quid pro quo.”

The House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump said that distorted the strength of their evidence, but either way, Mr. Bolton’s recollection is clearly a firsthand account — which at least some in the White House had reason to know at the time the brief was filed and the presentation was made on the Senate floor.

Mr. Bolton has been one of the most intriguing figures in the Ukraine matter for weeks, ever since other former officials testified that he opposed the pressure campaign, calling it a “drug deal” he wanted no part of and warning that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney organizing the pressure, was a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” He told aides to report what they learned about the pressure campaign to a White House lawyer.

Until now, Mr. Bolton has remained publicly silent and, in fact, despite the Times report about his book, has remained so. His lawyer blamed the report on a leak by the White House.

House Democrats requested his testimony during their hearings last month, but they ultimately did not subpoena him, reasoning that a court fight would only prolong the investigative process for months.

Once the House impeached Mr. Trump and the case reached the Senate, Mr. Bolton announced that he would testify if subpoenaed. But Senate Republicans voted against subpoenaing him at the start of the trial, putting off a final decision until after arguments are complete, which could come later this week.

Another witness sought by the House managers, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, has already publicly confirmed to reporters that Mr. Trump suspended the security aid in part to get Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory involving Democrats during the 2016 election campaign, although he later issued a statement trying to take that back.

As damaging as Mr. Bolton’s account would seem to be, it was too early to judge its effect. Unlike the Nixon smoking gun tape, there is no recording — and events of the last three years have suggested even that may not matter.

Mr. Trump has endured so many scandals that would have brought down an ordinary politician not even counting “Access Hollywood.”

Just weeks before moving into the White House, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle fraud claims against Trump University. Since becoming president, he repaid hush money given to Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Another woman has sued him for rape and more than a dozen others have accused him of sexual misconduct.

His son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Russians offering “dirt” on his opponent that they said came from the Russian government. A special counsel investigation identified 10 instances when the president may have obstructed justice. His family foundation was forced to shut down after authorities found “a shocking pattern of illegality.” His businesses have benefited from foreign patrons with cause to curry favor with the president despite the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

Investigative reporting found that he engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. A wide swath of people around him have been convicted of various crimes, including his campaign chairman, his deputy, first national security adviser, longtime political adviser, longtime personal lawyer and others. And now Mr. Giuliani and a couple of his longtime associates are under federal investigation.

To Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters, all of that is proof not that he is corrupt but that he has struck a nerve in Washington’s “swamp” and the establishment is coming after him, manufacturing “hoaxes” to tear him down. That unwavering support within the Republican Party, which he telegraphs on Twitter regularly, has hardly gone unnoticed by Republican senators as they sit in judgment of him.

But polls also show that two-thirds of the public wanted to hear from new witnesses in the trial now underway on Capitol Hill. Given the latest revelations, Mr. Bolton stands ready to testify with the fate of the president on the line.

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Pro-life Dem clashes with Buttigieg at town hall: ‘We don’t belong’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126707030001_6126707256001-vs Pro-life Dem clashes with Buttigieg at town hall: 'We don't belong' Tyler Olson fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5e695572-7726-50f4-84b3-67b0c0f5153d

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg refused to say whether he would be open to language in the Democratic platform that would be more inclusive to pro-life members of the party, during a tense moment at Fox News’ town hall Sunday night.

A pro-life Democrat named Kristen Day asked Buttigieg whether he wanted the support of “people like me” during the forum moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace — and pressed the mayor over whether he would support a change in the Democrats’ platform to emphasize that it is a “big tent” party and welcomes pro-life members. He would not commit to such a move.

BUTTIGIEG RESPONDS TO BOLTON REVELATION AT FOX NEWS TOWN HALL, WITH DAYS LEFT UNTIL PIVOTAL IOWA VOTING

“I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you. I am pro-choice, and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision,” Buttigieg said to applause from the rest of the audience. “The best I can offer is that if we can’t agree on where to draw the line, the next best thing we can do is agree on who should draw the line, and in my view, it’s the woman who’s faced with that decision in her own life.”

Wallace then asked Day if she was satisfied with the answer Buttigieg gave. She said she was not.

“He didn’t answer the second part of my question, and the second part was: The Democratic platform contains language that basically says, ‘we don’t belong, we have no part in the party because it says abortion should be legal up to nine months, the government should pay for it,'” Day said. “In 1996 and several years after that there was language in the Democratic platform that said ‘we understand that people have very differing views on this issue but we are a big tent party that includes everybody and therefore we welcome you — people like me — into the party so we can work on issues that we agree on.'”

Buttigieg countered: “I support the position of my party — that this kind of medical care needs to be available to everyone, and I support the Roe v. Wade framework that holds that early in pregnancy there are very few restrictions and late in pregnancy there are very few exceptions.”

‘I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you.’

— Pete Buttigieg

FOX NEWS TOWN HALL WITH PETE BUTTIGIEG: SEE THE PHOTOS

“And so I may have my views, but I cannot imagine that a decision that a woman confronts is going to ever be better, medically or morally, because it’s being dictated by any government official,” he said.

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s comments touched off a debate over Democrats’ abortion stance and whether or not the party should moderate it.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, drew a distinction between people who personally would not get an abortion and people who support pro-life policies like Day, whom she called “anti-choice.”

WHERE DOES PETE BUTTIGIEG STAND ON THE ISSUES?

“The question is a good reminder to differentiate between people who feel personally pro-life and those who are anti-choice like Kristen Day,” she tweeted. “The latter category believes it’s fine to force their beliefs on others through law. The former does not.”

Katie Pavlich, an editor for the conservative Townhall.com, took the Buttigieg comments as a signal that he believes pro-choice views should be a litmus test for Democrats.

“Pete Buttigieg just told a pro-life, Democrat *woman* she has no place in today’s Democrat Party. All she asked for was a recognition there is diversity of thought on the issue and that it be put in the platform language. He said no and told her to deal with it,” she wrote on Twitter.

The 2016 Democratic platform leaves little wiggle room on the issue, promising that Democrats will support judges who will “protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion” and advocate funding and support of abortion in developing countries.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

It continues: “We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.”

The Hyde Amendment is a bar that prevents federal funds from subsidizing abortion in almost all cases. It has received generally bipartisan support in Congress since the 1970s. Buttigieg’s fellow moderate in the 2020 race, former Vice President Joe Biden, was pressured into changing his longtime stance on the rule last year.

“I make no apologies for my last position and I make no apologies for what I’m about to say,” Biden said on Thursday at an event in Atlanta, defending his change of heart. “I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.”

Buttigieg’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126707030001_6126707256001-vs Pro-life Dem clashes with Buttigieg at town hall: 'We don't belong' Tyler Olson fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5e695572-7726-50f4-84b3-67b0c0f5153d   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6126707030001_6126707256001-vs Pro-life Dem clashes with Buttigieg at town hall: 'We don't belong' Tyler Olson fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc article 5e695572-7726-50f4-84b3-67b0c0f5153d

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Republicans fear “floodgates” if Bolton testifies

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Helen Raleigh: Legal immigration reform needed, too – THIS system would ensure a better future for all

Westlake Legal Group AP20015720733354 Helen Raleigh: Legal immigration reform needed, too – THIS system would ensure a better future for all Helen Raleigh fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ded55ad8-3f00-582a-b8b7-eb0b85735192 article

While most attention on the immigration issue in the U.S. focuses on illegal immigration, major problems in our system of legal immigration continue to plague our country – and give immigrants incentives to come to America illegally.

Our nation, businesses and immigrants themselves would benefit greatly if we adopted a skills-based immigration system like that used by some other countries, including Canada and Australia. President Trump would be wise to seek approval for such a system from Congress and to campaign in favor of it as he seeks reelection.

The majority of immigrants to the U.S. came here legally and followed our immigration laws. I am one of them. Yet we rarely hear discussions in the media about reforming legal immigration.

NEWT GINGRICH: AUSCHWITZ IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER  – IT IS A GRIM REMINDER THAT EVIL IS REAL

Our legal immigration system is notorious for its long delays, huge backlogs, strict quotas, complexity, high costs and inconsistent messages. Following the law means that legal immigrants have to wait in line patiently – sometimes for decades.

America’s broken legal immigration system hasn’t changed much since the 1965 Immigration Act. As a result, it is so outdated that it doesn’t serve our nation’s interests any longer. Some migrants are turned off by the long wait and high costs of legal immigration and would rather seek a faster – though far riskier – illegal route to the U.S.

More from Opinion

In order to address illegal immigration, America must fix our legal immigration system. To make our legal immigration system great again requires bold ideas and fresh thinking.

Simply adding another visa category or increasing funding to the Department of Homeland Security won’t do. We need to have a skills-based immigration system. Only such a system will ensure a win-win for both our nation and future immigrants.

With skills-based immigration we will get the immigrants who can contribute to our economy. Immigrants who come here with skills will know that they will have job opportunities, and will be able to live a happy and productive life in this beautiful land.

Immigration reform was a major issue in the British election last month that kept Prime Minister Boris Johnson in office. Johnson used his support for skills-based immigration to win the election, proving that advocating for this change could help President Trump as well.

When the United Kingdom held its referendum for Brexit in 2016, the two main reasons people voted to leave the European Union were immigration and sovereignty.

The president should lay out his vision for a better future and articulate how to make our legal immigration great again both for America and for the millions of America-loving and hardworking migrants who want to make America their home. 

The majority of those favoring leaving the EU didn’t reject all immigration. Many recognized immigrants’ contribution to the British society and economy. But they voted to leave the EU because they believed such a vote offered the best chance for the United Kingdom to regain control over immigration and its own borders.

Johnson wants his country to adopt a skills-based immigration system, similar to what Australia and Canada have.

How does a skills-based immigration system work?

Australia’s skills-based immigration system uses a point system to evaluate an immigration applicant’s age, English language ability, education, work experience and skills. A person who seeks to immigrate to Australia must do a self-assessment online and score at a certain level.

In addition to the point system, applicants must select an occupation from the Australian government’s Skilled Occupation List and have their skills assessed by a recognized authority.

Only applicants who receive at least a passing score and demonstrate experience in occupations on the list are invited to apply for skills-based immigration.

The labor force participation rate of independent skilled immigrants is 96 percent in Australia – much higher than the 67 percent among native-born Australians.

Canadian government data shows that the labor participation rate for immigrants through the federal skilled worker program was 89 percent.

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How does all this impact the U.S.?

Other than advocating for an open border, the Democratic presidential candidates haven’t offered anything new. Their proposals will only worsen the immigration problems in this country.

Rather than focusing on who we should keep out of our country, President Trump should talk more about who we want to welcome in.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Rather than focusing on problems, the president should lay out his vision for a better future and articulate how to make our legal immigration great again both for America and for the millions of America-loving and hardworking migrants who want to make America their home.

Legal immigrants made America great in the first place and can keep America great. A skills-based immigration system will ensure that we are admitting immigrants who can make the greatest contribution to building a better future for our nation.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY HELEN RALEIGH

Westlake Legal Group AP20015720733354 Helen Raleigh: Legal immigration reform needed, too – THIS system would ensure a better future for all Helen Raleigh fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ded55ad8-3f00-582a-b8b7-eb0b85735192 article   Westlake Legal Group AP20015720733354 Helen Raleigh: Legal immigration reform needed, too – THIS system would ensure a better future for all Helen Raleigh fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ded55ad8-3f00-582a-b8b7-eb0b85735192 article

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Suicide rate increased 40 percent in US from 2000-2017, mining, construction workers at highest risk: CDC report

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6116557642001_6116560724001-vs Suicide rate increased 40 percent in US from 2000-2017, mining, construction workers at highest risk: CDC report fox-news/us fox-news/health/mental-health fox-news/health fox news fnc/health fnc David Aaro cb3003a8-b2a2-54af-8fb2-9b55cf1aeee2 article

The suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 40 percent over less than two decades, with adults working in the mining and construction business at a “significantly higher risk” than the general public, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report analyzed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) after the public health institute found that nearly 38,000 people between the ages of 16 to 64 committed suicide in 2017 — a rate of 18 people out of 100,000, compared to 12.9 in the year 2000.

VETERAN SUICIDE RATES REMAIN ALARMINGLY HIGH DESPITE YEARS OF REFORM

The study found that blue-collar jobs within specific industry groups were at a significantly higher risk for suicide — including mining and oil, gas extraction, construction and automotive repair. Mining and gas workers had a suicide rate of 54.2 out of 100,000.

“Previous research indicates suicide risk is associated with low-skilled work, lower education, lower absolute and relative socioeconomic status, work-related access to lethal means, and job stress, including poor supervisory and colleague support, low job control, and job insecurity,” the CDC said

VETERAN NJ COP FATALLY SHOOTS HIMSELF WHILE FIRST RESPONDERS ATTEMPT TO FREE HIM FROM CAR WRECK: REPORTS

The report cited strategies to improve the overall well-being of workers, including, time off, benefits, reducing access to lethal means, creating a response plan to the needs of others at risk, and training personnel to detect and respond.

Recommended community-based strategies include strengthening economic supports, teaching problem-solving and coping skills, as well as improving access to delivery of care, the CDC said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“These findings highlight opportunities for targeted prevention strategies and further investigation of work-related factors that might increase risk of suicide,” according to the CDC.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6116557642001_6116560724001-vs Suicide rate increased 40 percent in US from 2000-2017, mining, construction workers at highest risk: CDC report fox-news/us fox-news/health/mental-health fox-news/health fox news fnc/health fnc David Aaro cb3003a8-b2a2-54af-8fb2-9b55cf1aeee2 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6116557642001_6116560724001-vs Suicide rate increased 40 percent in US from 2000-2017, mining, construction workers at highest risk: CDC report fox-news/us fox-news/health/mental-health fox-news/health fox news fnc/health fnc David Aaro cb3003a8-b2a2-54af-8fb2-9b55cf1aeee2 article

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Kobe Bryant’s Brilliant and Complicated Legacy

Kobe Bryant, who made the leap directly from high school to a glittering 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers that established him as one of basketball’s all-time greats, was among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday north of Los Angeles. Bryant was 41.

The crash also killed Gianna Bryant, 13, the second oldest of Kobe Bryant’s four daughters with his wife, Vanessa. They were traveling from the family’s base in Orange County, Calif., to Thousand Oaks, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. A budding star herself, Gianna was scheduled to play an afternoon game with her travel team, coached by her father, at Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.

News of Bryant’s death predictably rocked the N.B.A., which is filled with players who grew up watching Bryant as he won five championships with the Lakers and scored 81 points in a single game. Fueled by a seemingly endless reservoir of self-confidence, Bryant was an mammoth figure almost from the moment he arrived, at age 17, as the 13th overall pick in the 1996 N.B.A. draft.

The son of the former N.B.A. player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets on behalf of the Lakers and did not try — at all — to hide his ambition to surpass the accomplishments of the legendary Michael Jordan. Charlotte had agreed going into the draft to trade Bryant’s rights to Los Angeles in exchange for the veteran center Vlade Divac.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 26kobe-obit-2-articleLarge Kobe Bryant’s Brilliant and Complicated Legacy Los Angeles Lakers Deaths (Fatalities) Bryant, Kobe basketball

Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna at the Lakers’ championship celebration in 2009.Credit…Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Over the next 20 seasons, Bryant earned 18 All-Star selections, a regular-season Most Valuable Player Award in 2008 and two N.B.A. finals M.V.P. awards to go with his five championship rings. Amid all of that, a sexual assault allegation against him in 2003 would change how many people saw Bryant, though he remained hugely popular among N.B.A. fans and especially Angelenos, for whom he increasingly became synonymous with the Lakers — the only team, despite a trade demand in 2007, that Bryant ever played for.

The trade that made Bryant a Laker was engineered by the team’s general manager at the time, Jerry West, who was instantly smitten by Bryant’s fearlessness and prodigious talent. A standout at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., outside Philadelphia, Bryant had auditioned for the Lakers in a predraft workout featuring a series of one-on-one drills against the former Lakers defensive ace Michael Cooper, then a 40-year-old assistant coach.

Only a few high schoolers had gone straight to the N.B.A. at that point — and Bryant would be the first guard to do so. But West left the workout early, declaring that he had seen enough. “He’s better than anybody on our team right now,” West famously told fellow Lakers staffers of Bryant’s performance.

As West envisioned, Bryant indeed helped restore the Lakers to glory — albeit with no shortage of turmoil along the way. He did so first alongside the Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal for three consecutive drama-filled N.B.A. championships in the 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons, then as the team’s unquestioned fulcrum for two more titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10. With a drive to rival Jordan’s and an ability to tune out critics who at times assailed his ball dominance and shot selection, Bryant was the central and enduring figure in one of the most gripping soap operas in modern professional team sports.

By the time he walked away from the N.B.A. in April 2016, after an unforgettable 60-point farewell game against the Utah Jazz, Bryant had built an unmatched legacy that persuaded the Lakers to retire both jersey numbers he wore over two 10-season stretches: No. 8 and No. 24. In perhaps the ultimate Bryant flourish, that 60-point game on the final day of the 2015-16 regular season — in which he hoisted 50 shots — upstaged the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who had defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on the same night to secure the best single-season record in league history, 73-9.

Bryant is widely expected to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in late August, the first time he is eligible. He led the league in scoring twice and finished his career with 33,643 points in the regular season, which put him at No. 3 among N.B.A.’s scoring leaders, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) until the Lakers’ LeBron James passed Bryant on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Bryant tweeted his congratulations to James on Saturday night, some 15 hours before the crash, writing: “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother.”

As Bryant began his climb up the scoring charts, O’Neal nicknamed the brash teenager “Showboat,” but the term was not meant to flatter. Veterans on that Lakers team tried in vain to keep Bryant’s rookie ambitions modest — with O’Neal particularly determined to make it clear that he was the team’s true alpha.

But Bryant could not be harnessed. After some notable playoff failures, Bryant broke through as a champion in his fourth season, forming a devastating partnership with O’Neal under the coaching tutelage of Phil Jackson.

“Kobe didn’t care about night life or anything else,” Del Harris, who coached Bryant for his first two N.B.A. seasons and the start of his third, told The New York Times in December 2017. “He only had one interest. His only focus was to be the best that he could be. And in his mind that meant challenging Michael Jordan.”

“People can argue,” Harris continued, “how close he actually came, but there’s no question that he fulfilled pretty much all of his dreams.”

Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006 to register the second-highest scoring output in league history, behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. But Bryant’s reputation was more complicated than all his accolades would suggest.

He was charged with felony sexual assault in 2003 stemming from an incident at a Colorado hotel in which Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman who worked at the property as a front-desk clerk. Prosecutors eventually dropped the case when the woman told them she was unwilling to testify. Bryant later issued an apology, saying he understood that the woman, unlike himself, did not view their encounter as consensual. A lawsuit the woman brought against Bryant was later settled out of court.

In the closing stages of Bryant’s career, well beyond the days of “Showboat,” Bryant began giving himself nicknames, such as “Black Mamba” and, later, “Vino.” The frequent helicopter rides he took to games at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles — to avoid traffic and maximize time at home — only added to his mystique.

In addition to making his name as one of the sport’s most relentless competitors, Bryant was known for a special ability to play through injuries.

The one that managed to stop him was a torn left Achilles’ tendon late in the 2012-13 season. Of course, stubborn as he was, Bryant did not want to accept the on-court diagnosis he received from Gary Vitti, the longtime Lakers athletic trainer.

“I told him it’s ruptured and he’s done,” Vitti told The Times in December 2017. “He said, ‘Can’t you just tape it up?’”

Given the intense focus that governed Bryant’s playing career, many league observers questioned how he would cope outside the game, without an outlet for his uber-competitiveness. But Bryant was flourishing in retirement, entering the world of storytelling and winning an Academy Award by transforming a poem to announce his retirement into an animated short film (“Dear Basketball”) that he wrote and narrated.

He had also been drawn back to the N.B.A. by his daughter Gianna’s love for it. On Dec. 29, Bryant sat with her courtside at Staples Center to watch the Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks and take pictures afterward with Luka Doncic, the Mavericks’ young Slovenian star.

“My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone,” Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame Lakers guard and Bryant’s boyhood hero, wrote on Twitter. “It’s hard to accept.”

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Christopher Caldwell: America’s two constitutions — since the ’60s, competing visions of a more perfect union

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5835780562001_5835782878001-vs Christopher Caldwell: America's two constitutions — since the '60s, competing visions of a more perfect union fox-news/us/constitution fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christopher Caldwell article 85b5c6b6-1bb4-5b99-b87b-4fceb662d44d

Not long after he left the White House, Bill Clinton gave what is still the best description of the fault lines that run through American politics. “If you look back on the ’60s and on balance you think there was more good than harm, you’re probably a Democrat,” he said. “If you think there was more harm than good, you’re probably a Republican.”

What could he have meant by that?

Though Americans are reluctant to admit it, the legacy of the 1960s that most divides the country has its roots in the civil rights legislation passed in the immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It was enacted in a rush of grief, anger and overconfidence — the same overconfidence that had driven Kennedy to propose landing a man on the moon and would drive Lyndon Johnson to wage war on Vietnam. Shored up and extended by various court rulings and executive orders, the legislation became the core of the most effective campaign of social transformation in American history.

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This campaign was effective both for its typically American idealism and for its typically American ruthlessness. It authorized Washington to shape state elections, withhold school funds, scrutinize the hiring practices of private businesses and sue them. It placed Offices of Civil Rights in the major cabinet agencies, and these offices were soon issuing legally binding guidelines, quotas and targets. Above all, it exposed every corner of American social, business and political life to direction from judges.

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Americans assumed that solving the unique and extraordinary problem of segregation would require handing Washington powers never before granted in peacetime. In this they were correct.

But they were also confident that the use of these powers would be limited in time (to a few years at most), in place (to the South), and in purpose (to eliminating segregation). In this they misjudged, with fateful consequence for the country’s political system.

Civil rights law may have started off as a purpose-built tool to thwart the insidious legalism of Southern segregation and the violence of Southern sheriffs. It would end up a wide-ranging reinvention of government.

After the work of the civil rights movement in ending segregation was done, the civil rights model of executive orders, regulation-writing and court-ordered redress remained.

This was the so-called “rights revolution”: an entire new system of constantly churning political reform, bringing tremendous gains to certain Americans and — something that is mentioned less often — losses to many who had not necessarily been the beneficiaries of the injustices that civil rights was meant to correct.

The United States had not only acquired two codes of rules (two constitutions), as people rallied to one code or the other, they also sorted themselves into two sets of citizens (two countries). To each side, the other’s constitution might as well have been written in invisible ink. 

Civil rights became an all-purpose constitutional shortcut for progressive judges and administrators. Over time it brought social changes in its wake that the leaders of the civil-rights movement had not envisioned and voters had not sanctioned: affirmative action, speech codes on college campuses, a set of bureaucratic procedures that made immigrants almost impossible to deport, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms.

In retrospect, the changes begun in the 1960s, with civil rights at their core, were not just a major new element in the Constitution. They were a rival constitution, with which the pre-1964 one would frequently prove incompatible — and the incompatibility would worsen as the civil-rights regime was built out.

Our present political impasse is the legacy of that clash of systems. Much of what we today call polarization” or “incivility” is something more grave. It is the disagreement over which of the two constitutions shall prevail: the pre-1964 constitution, with all the traditional forms of jurisprudential legitimacy and centuries of American culture behind it; or the de facto constitution of 1964, which lacks this traditional kind of legitimacy but commands the near-unanimous endorsement of judicial elites and civic educators, and the passionate allegiance of those who received it as a liberation.

As long as the baby boom generation was in its working years, permitting the country to run large debts, Washington could afford to pay for two social orders at the same time. Conservatives could console themselves that they, too, were on the winning side of the revolution. They just stood against its “excesses.” A good civil rights movement led by the martyred Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been hijacked, starting in the 1970s, by a radical version that brought affirmative action and eventually political correctness.

But affirmative action and political correctness were not temporary. Over time they hardened into pillars of the second constitution, shoring it up where it was impotent or illogical, the way the invention of judicial review in Marbury v Madison (1803) shored up the first constitution.

Both affirmative action and political correctness were derived from the basic enforcement powers of civil rights law. And this was the only civil rights on offer. If you didn’t like affirmative action and political correctness, you didn’t like civil rights. By 2013, when Americans began arguing over whether a cake maker could be forced to confect a pro–gay marriage cake, this was clear.

The United States had not only acquired two codes of rules (two constitutions) —as people rallied to one code or the other — they also sorted themselves into two sets of citizens (two countries). To each side, the other’s constitution might as well have been written in invisible ink. Democrats were the party of rights, Republicans of bills. Democrats say, by 84 to 12 percent, that racism is a bigger problem than political correctness. Republicans, by 80 to 17 percent, think political correctness is a bigger problem than racism. The Tea Party uprising of 2009 and 2010, and its political mirror image, the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2015 and 2016, were symbols of that division.

Much happened this century to bring matters to the present boil. Barack Obama, both for his fans and his detractors, was the first president to understand civil rights law in the way described here: as a de facto constitution by which the de jure constitution could be overridden or bypassed. His second inaugural address, an explicitly Constitution-focused argument, invoked “Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall” — i.e., women’s rights, civil rights and gay rights — as constitutional milestones.

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In this view, the old republic built on battlefield victories had been overthrown by a new one built on rights marches and Supreme Court jurisprudence. When Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote his decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 gay marriage case that was in many ways the culmination of this new rights-based constitution, he said as much.

The election of 2016 brought the change into focus. Today two nations look at each other in mutual incomprehension across an impeachment hearing room. It appears we are facing a constitutional problem of the profoundest kind.

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Homeowners given $20G bill to clean up former California homeless camp

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Homeowners in a California subdivision have been charged $20,000 to clean up a former homeless camp near their neighborhood, with residents arguing the decision was delayed and shouldn’t just be their responsibility, according to multiple reports.

Walsh Property Management, which oversees the homeowners association (HOA) — charged each resident $300 to clean up the trash and waste at the camp, located in the San Lorenzo Creek ravine below their homes in Lakewood, a subdivision of 75 houses in Castro Valley, which is near San Francisco.

The encampment was reported back in Oct 2017, but there was confusion about who was responsible for the land. Alameda County reportedly told the HOA the camp was on the HOA’s property in August 2019.

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“There are no fences and such that would mark where the property line ended, so we were kind of hoping that it was someone else’s responsibility,” Ed Walsh, the owner of Walsh Property Management told San Francisco’s KPIX. “Unfortunately, this one happened to be on the association’s property.”

Residents told the outlet the delay in who was responsible caused more trash to pile up, making the cleanup costs more expensive.

“No one knew it was their responsibility. I think everyone assumed it was county’s responsibility,” resident Cece Adams told the outlet…“They should have known that this was our property, and they should have taken care of it a long time ago.”

One homeowner in the subdivision said they were left in the dark on the encampment and shouldn’t be held responsible for something they couldn’t see from their home, according to Oakland’s FOX 2.

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“The homeowners association was informed and they just didn’t take any action. I don’t know if they didn’t want to or they were just kind of being careless,” homeowner An Loung told the outlet …”And it’s not like it’s on our property and we could see somebody camping out here and we could do something, but it’s kind of out somewhere.”

Loung says the responsibility shouldn’t be solely placed on the homeowners’ shoulders.

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“At least part of the responsibility for the negligence and stupidity, instead of putting everything on us,” Luong told the station.

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Crowd lifts SUV to save woman trapped after New York City crash

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Nearly a dozen people on Sunday lifted an SUV to rescue a woman who became trapped under a car after she was apparently run over on the Lower East Side, video shows.

Footage posted on Twitter shows onlookers rushing to a black SUV at the intersection of Delancey and Norfolk Streets and tilting it on its right side to pull the pedestrian out.

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A photo shows her lying on her back on the ground and using her phone as first responders crowd around her.

Colby Droscher, who posted the video and photo, told The Post he was about a block away when he heard the crash and people screaming.

“As I approached there were big crowds forming all around the intersection,” he said in a message.

“All of a sudden everyone ran to lift the car. It all happened so fast.”

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An FDNY spokesman said the agency received a trauma call at 5:10 p.m. and that one person was transported to Bellevue Hospital.

The person’s condition was unclear.

A police spokesperson didn’t have any details about the incident.

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Today on Fox News: Jan. 27, 2020

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Sportscaster Jim Gray on the death and legacy of Kobe Bryant.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Matt Schlapp, chairman of American Conservative Union

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: With the Iowa Caucuses Looming, Is Impeachment Drama Moving the Needle with Voters?- As the President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial enters its second week and Iowans get ready for next Monday’s caucuses, a new Fox News poll suggests voters aren’t being swayed by the drama on the Senate floor. Arnon Mishkin, Fox News Decision Desk director, breaks down the latest Fox News poll and what impact, if any, the impeachment trial could have on the 2020 race.

Also on the Rundown: For many people around the world, this is a date that changed history. On January 27, 1945, the notorious Nazi World War II death camp, Auschwitz in occupied Poland, was liberated by the Soviet Union. Fox News Radio’s Simon Owen talks to two survivors about what they went through and why they fear a rise in anti-Semitism today.

Plus, commentary by Paul J. Batura, vice president of communications at Focus on the Family.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Michael Goodwin, New York Post columnist; U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and one of eight House Republicans who are part of President Trump’s impeachment defense team; and more.

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