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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 52)

Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Sondland to Testify After Initial Refusal

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162499107_8952a520-3a86-4115-b2a5-39940b23a35d-articleLarge Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Sondland to Testify After Initial Refusal Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

President Trump spoke during a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump will travel to Lake Charles, La., on Friday evening for his second rally in two days. But while the president will continue to excoriate the impeachment process, House Democrats continue to move steadily forward with fact-finding. After issuing a raft of new subpoenas on Thursday, Democratic leaders are waiting for word on whether several witnesses will testify in coming days. Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, is scheduled to appear today.

Here’s what you need to know:

Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, has agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction to him not to appear before lawmakers, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer said Friday. He was prepared to testify on Tuesday, but the Trump administration directed him not in the 11th hour.

“Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States,” his lawyers said in a statement Friday. “He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Lawmakers have requested documents related to Ukraine, but Mr. Sondland’s attorneys said he would not be able to provide them because doing so would violate federal law and State Department regulations.

Impeachment investigators want to know more about Mr. Sondland’s role in the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals and other inquiries that could personally benefit the president.

Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, is nobody’s idea of a stalwart supporter of President Trump, but his embrace of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on Thursday night was not helpful to the Republican effort to delegitimize the investigation.

“I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican, said on P.B.S.’ Firing Line. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

Along with the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont, Mr. Hogan is part of the “Never Trump” Republican gubernatorial brigade. Mr. Hogan did implore Democrats to use “a fair, objective” process, but he did not say moving forward should depend on new rules.

“I don’t see any other way to get the facts,” he said.

The indictment of two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, added new details to the narrative at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Mr. Giuliani navigate connections in Ukraine in pursuit of evidence that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and lift Mr. Trump against his political rivals heading into 2020.

The two men also appear to have made illegal campaign donations to Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, from whom Mr. Parnas sought support in pressing the Trump administration to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Some Trump allies believed Ms. Yovanovitch was trying impede their effort to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, according to a former Ukrainian official.

Read more: Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money

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

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

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Sondland to Testify After Initial Refusal Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

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

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Gov. Northam Issues Statewide Drought Watch Advisory

Westlake Legal Group 18779383_G Gov. Northam Issues Statewide Drought Watch Advisory

“Fortunately, Virginia’s vigilant task force, ongoing monitoring program and cohesive regional water resource plans are in place for this very situation, to help raise awareness across the commonwealth and mitigate potential impacts to citizens, water suppliers, and their customers,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.

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

Top diplomats to testify before Congress despite opposition from State Dept., White House

Two diplomats at the center of the Ukraine controversy are now set to testify before House lawmakers as part of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, despite significant pushback from both the State Department and the White House.

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. envoy to Kiev and someone President Trump has privately called “bad news,” is scheduled to sit for a potentially explosive transcribed interview with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill on Friday — although it was not a certainty that she would appear.

TRUMP ALLED FORMER UKRAINE DIPLOMAT ‘BAD NEWS’…AND NOW SHE’S SET TO TESTIFY

Trump and his allies have sought to paint Yovanovitch as a rogue employee with an anti-Trump bias. She was ousted in May amid alleged attempts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to press Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.  Those efforts ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry after the revelation of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which Trump asked the premier to “look into” the allegations about Biden’s conduct in the country.

While Yovanovitch, a long-time diplomat, has been praised by her colleagues as a “top-notch diplomat,” Trump depicted her in the call with Zelensky as “bad news” and someone who is “going to go through some things.” Giuliani and other critics have accused her of working to undermine Trump’s interests.

Westlake Legal Group UkraineDiplomat101119 Top diplomats to testify before Congress despite opposition from State Dept., White House fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 43c46746-dfc8-5069-8413-cc9ff2934634

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, is set to testify on Friday on Capitol Hill. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

Also Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland announced that he will testify before Congress. The announcement comes a week after the State Department directed him not to appear before lawmakers at a scheduled deposition. The shift comes after House Democrats on Wednesday subpoenaed him to appear before the joint committees to testify. He said in a statement that he is scheduled to appear on Thursday.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS AMBASSADOR FROM TESTIFYING IN HOUSE IMPEACHMENT DEPOSITION

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday,” the statement said. “Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States. He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Trump had dismissed the deposition as a “kangaroo court,” while Democrats warned that a failure of Sondland and other witnesses to appear was evidence of obstruction of Congress.

“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” Trump tweeted, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see.”

Democrats claim that Trump used $400 million in military aid as leverage in a quid pro quo for the Ukrainians to investigate a political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and opened an impeachment inquiry, firing off a raft of subpoenas within a few days to top administration and White House officials. While a call transcript shows the president urging a Biden-related investigation, Trump denies any ‘quid pro quo’ claims.

Sondland is a wealthy hotelier, philanthropist and contributor to political campaigns. He is a key figure as he had texted with Bill Taylor, a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, arguing over allegations of a quid pro quo.

In early September, Taylor wrote: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?”

Days later, he followed up: “As I said over the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland responded, defending the president: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”

It is not clear how much of the change in Sondland’s position is his own, and how much the Trump administration has shifted on the question of whether he should appear. Axios reported Friday that Republicans close to Trump encouraged the president to let the ambassador come before the committees and that his allies believe Sondland’s testimony will be helpful to them.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM 

But the White House has been aggressive in its pushback against the impeachment inquiry, which it sees as illegitimate and politically motivated. On Wednesday the White House issued a defiant letter saying it would not cooperate with the inquiry.

“President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” the letter stated. “Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Lillian LeCroy, Nick Kalman, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Gordon-Sondlandsplit Top diplomats to testify before Congress despite opposition from State Dept., White House fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 43c46746-dfc8-5069-8413-cc9ff2934634   Westlake Legal Group Gordon-Sondlandsplit Top diplomats to testify before Congress despite opposition from State Dept., White House fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 43c46746-dfc8-5069-8413-cc9ff2934634

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Gov. Northam Issues Statewide Drought Watch Advisory

Westlake Legal Group 18779383_G Gov. Northam Issues Statewide Drought Watch Advisory

“Fortunately, Virginia’s vigilant task force, ongoing monitoring program and cohesive regional water resource plans are in place for this very situation, to help raise awareness across the commonwealth and mitigate potential impacts to citizens, water suppliers, and their customers,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.

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

Prince’s Estate Condemns Trump’s Use Of ‘Purple Rain’ At Campaign Rally

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-2948991_wide-b217d7caa7b8fd9f4bd7d43743a05ce18048767f-s1100-c15 Prince's Estate Condemns Trump's Use Of 'Purple Rain' At Campaign Rally

Prince’s estate was not happy with President Trump on Thursday night. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images hide caption

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Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Prince's Estate Condemns Trump's Use Of 'Purple Rain' At Campaign Rally

Prince’s estate was not happy with President Trump on Thursday night.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Among all the other things that transpired at and around President Trump’s reelection campaign in Minneapolis Thursday night, his team played the music of a hometown hero: Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Soon after, the estate of Minnesota’s late musical hero made it clear just how unhappy it was — and shared a letter from Trump’s legal team from a year ago, in which the campaign explicitly promised not to use Prince’s music.

Politicians soundtracking – or co-opting, depending on your point of view — famous songs is a familiar conundrum for artists. Candidates want well-known, usually mood-boosting hits to get the crowd going. (One notable exception: the rather doleful “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones, which was a favorite for then-candidate Donald J. Trump in 2016.)

As long as they pay for the rights to the songs, candidates in the U.S. are generally legally free to use any music they like, no matter how at odds the artists’ own politics may be from those on the campaign trail. (During his remarks at Minneapolis’ Target Center Thursday night, Trump said: “I didn’t need Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and I didn’t need little Bruce Springsteen” to secure his 2016 electoral victory.)

As Melinda Newman observed in Forbes in July 2016, “The sad truth is for many artists, they cannot keep their songs from being used in this context even if they vehemently disagree with the politician who is using the song.” The only restrictions relate to political commercials.

But the Prince estate might stand in a different position, due to a letter from the Trump campaign it posted to Twitter on Thursday night, and as of publication has been retweeted 28,000 times. Dated October 15, 2018, and written by the law firm Jones Day on behalf of the president’s reelection campaign, the Trump team specifically says that “going forward,” the campaign will not use any of Prince’s music at Trump rallies and other campaign events, after the estate requested it. (However, it does not stipulate how long such an agreement might last.) Given that, it looks like this situation will be one for the lawyers.

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Highlights From the CNN Equality Town Hall, Where Protesters Took the Spotlight

Westlake Legal Group 10HRCforum6SUB-facebookJumbo-v2 Highlights From the CNN Equality Town Hall, Where Protesters Took the Spotlight Transgender and Transsexuals Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships Presidential Election of 2020 Homosexuality and Bisexuality Defense of Marriage Act (1996)

LOS ANGELES — During a nationally televised forum on Thursday focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, several Democratic presidential candidates were interrupted by transgender activists who repeatedly called for more focus on the murders of African-American transgender women and said that the forum had not done enough to include their voices.

Ultimately, one woman took the microphone from an audience member while former Representative Beto O’Rourke was onstage.

“Black trans women are dying,” said the woman, Blossom C. Brown. “Our lives matter. I am an extraordinary black trans woman, and I deserve to be here.”

There have already been at least 19 deaths of transgender people this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. And last year, there were at least 26 such deaths, most of which were of black trans women.

The protesters first surfaced when Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., took the stage during the forum, which was sponsored by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign. Protesters greeted him waving large signs as they shouted for greater awareness of violence against transgender women of color.

After they had quieted down, Mr. Buttigieg turned to them, saying, “I do want to acknowledge what these demonstrators were speaking about, which is the epidemic of violence against black trans women in this country right now.” He continued, “And I believe or would like to believe that everybody here is committed to ending that epidemic, and that does include lifting up its visibility and speaking to it.”

Another member of the audience interrupted Senator Kamala Harris of California, and while shouting, asked, “How do we get those men to stop killing trans women of color? We are hunted.”

“I know,” Ms. Harris said, addressing the questioner, “I know.”

Each of the candidates seemed to welcome the protesters, as did the CNN moderators, who praised them. Don Lemon returned a microphone to Ms. Brown saying, “The reason we are here is to validate women like you.”

The forum featured nine Democratic presidential candidates. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was the only top-tier candidate who missed the event, having declined the invitation after suffering a heart attack last week, though he addressed the group by video before the forum began.

Their attendance was a clear sign of how gay rights have become an essential part of the party’s platform. Several candidates said they would withhold aid from countries that condone discrimination against the L.G.B.T.Q. community and several said they would consider withholding money from nonprofit groups and schools that do not recognize same-sex couples.

The event featured questions from the audience, many of whom were activists and health and social work professionals, on topics such as family leave for gay couples, violence against transgender people and the conflicts between religious freedom and L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

Mr. Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, released an 18-page plan hours before the forum, saying he would rescind the policy that blocks military veterans from receiving insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery, and add non-binary gender options on federal documents, including passports.

Onstage, Mr. Buttigieg spoke in personal terms in several of his answers.

“There is no right or wrong way to be gay, to be queer, to be trans,” he said. “I hope that our own community, even as we struggle to define what our identity means, defines it in way that lets everybody know that they belong among us.”

Mr. Buttigieg also talked about his own coming out process.

“What it was like was a civil war, because I knew I was different long before I knew I was gay,” he said, and pointed to the stigmas he still faces, such as the prohibition against blood donations from men who have sex with men. “I can’t lead by example on this one, because my blood is not welcome in this country.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also released plans on Thursday, saying that she would restore many Obama-era policies that the Trump administration has eliminated and crack down on “overly broad religious exemptions to nondiscrimination.” Ms. Warren said she would ban so-called conversion therapy.

Asked during the town hall about a previous statement she had made during her 2012 campaign for Senate, in which she said that transition-related surgery for a transgender inmate was not a good use of taxpayer dollars, Ms. Warren said she regretted the answer and now believes it should be supported.

“It was a bad answer,” she said. “I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care that they need and that includes people who are transgender” who seek “gender-affirming surgery.”

There were several moments of levity during the forum. One audience member asked Ms. Warren how she might respond to someone on the campaign trail say to her, “My faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

She responded without missing a beat. “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that,” Ms. Warren said flatly, “And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that.’”

She paused for a moment and then added: “If you can find one.”

The candidates’ proposals and comments make clear that they largely agree with one another on L.G.B.T.Q. issues and are making considerable efforts to court voters from the community. And the plans also show just how far the party has moved in the last decade.

When Mr. Obama ran for president in 2008, he said he was opposed to same-sex marriage. That same year, California voters approved Proposition 8, a ballot measure that made same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the state. In 2012, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage, a stance Mr. Obama did not adopt until later that year.

“When I came out,” Mr. Biden began to say on Thursday at the town hall, referencing that decision. “Er, when I publicly stated,” he said, to roars of laughter from the audience. Mr. Biden then went on to talk about how drastically attitudes toward the L.G.B.T.Q. community had changed. “The idea is normal,” he said. “It’s normalized, it’s not anything strange.”

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Damning Report Faults Boeing and F.A.A. on 737 Max Certification

Westlake Legal Group 11boeing-1-facebookJumbo Damning Report Faults Boeing and F.A.A. on 737 Max Certification Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Pilots National Aeronautics and Space Administration Federal Aviation Administration Dickson, Stephen Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

Boeing failed to adequately explain to regulators a new automated system that contributed to two crashes of the 737 Max, and the Federal Aviation Administration lacked the capability to effectively analyze much of what Boeing did share about the new plane.

Those are among the findings in a damning report from a multiagency task force that the F.A.A. convened to scrutinize the Max’s certification process after the second plane crashed in March.

The New York Times obtained a draft copy of the report, which is expected to be made public on Friday. The veracity of the document was confirmed by two people familiar with the review.

The review’s scope was narrow: It only scrutinized the F.A.A.’s certification of the Max’s flight control system. But that allowed the task force to review the certification of the new automated system, MCAS, that played a role in both crashes, in Indonesia last October and in Ethiopia in March.

In each crash, pilots struggled as a single damaged sensor sent the plane into an irrecoverable nose-dive within minutes of takeoff. A total of 346 people were killed in the crashes, which prompted regulators around the world to ground the Max.

The report found that while the F.A.A. had been made aware of MCAS, “the information and discussions about MCAS were so fragmented and were delivered to disconnected groups” that it “was difficult to recognize the impacts and implications of this system.”

The task force said it believed that if F.A.A. technical staff had been fully aware of the details of MCAS, the agency would probably have required additional scrutiny of the system that might have identified its flaws.

Boeing is now updating the system to make it less powerful, and it says it will install a modified version when the Max, which is still grounded, returns to service.

The F.A.A.’s administrator, Steve Dickson, said in a statement that he would “review every recommendation and take appropriate action.”

“We welcome this scrutiny and are confident that our openness to these efforts will further bolster aviation safety worldwide,” he added.

In a statement, the Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said “safety is a core value for everyone at Boeing,” and that the company “is committed to working with the F.A.A. in reviewing the recommendations and helping to continuously improve the process and approach used to validate and certify airplanes going forward.”

A broad theme of the report is that the F.A.A. was too focused on the specifics of the new system and did not put sufficient effort into understanding its overall impact on the plane. In certification documents that Boeing submitted to the F.A.A., MCAS was not evaluated as “a complete and integrated function” on the new plane.

The report also said Boeing had failed to inform the F.A.A. as the design of MCAS changed during the plane’s development. A New York Times investigation revealed that the system changed dramatically during that process, making MCAS riskier and more powerful, and that key F.A.A. officials were unaware of major changes to the system.

The task force said the certification documents that Boeing provided to the F.A.A. “were not updated during the certification program to reflect the changes” made to MCAS. It added that two critical documents that describe the potential dangers of a system like MCAS, the system safety assessment and the functional hazard assessment, “were not consistently updated.”

Boeing also failed to thoroughly stress-test the design of MCAS, according to the report, which found that “the design assumptions were not adequately reviewed, updated or validated.”

In addition, the report criticized Boeing for not adequately assessing the extra effort pilots might have to make to deal with MCAS, and it noted that Boeing had removed mention of MCAS from a draft of the pilot’s manual. As a result of that decision, some key F.A.A. officials were not fully aware of MCAS and were “not in a position to adequately assess training needs,” the report found.

To address some of these shortcomings, the report recommends that the F.A.A. update the certification process to allow the agency to be more involved in the design process early on.

The Max was certified in 2017 as the latest version of the 737 family. Because it was based on a well-known design, the F.A.A. allowed it to undergo a less thorough certification process than if it were an entirely new plane.

“Some elements of the design and certification remain rooted in the original 1967 certification of the B737-100,” the review found. But while some modern safety tools have been incorporated into new versions of the 737, others were not included in the Max because they were deemed “impractical,” the review found.

Overall, the report found fault with the process for certifying a new plane based on an old design, saying that it “lacks an adequate assessment of how proposed design changes integrate with existing systems.”

It recommended that the F.A.A. confirm that the Max is in fact compliant with regulations having to do with the plane’s flight guidance system, flight manual and stall demonstration.

Those recommendations, which could affect whether the plane is allowed back into service, have already been addressed by the F.A.A., according to a person familiar with the process. The effort to address those issues has contributed to the prolonged grounding of the Max.

The Joint Authorities Technical Review, which produced the report, was led by Chris Hart, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and included representatives from the F.A.A., NASA and aviation regulators from Europe, China, Brazil and other countries.

To conduct the review, Mr. Hart and his team were briefed by F.A.A. officials and Boeing executives, and they scrutinized extensive documentation on the certification of the Max.

In both of the flights that crashed, the pilots had a hard time identifying the cause of the problems and were unable to bring the planes under control.

The review found that the F.A.A. certification process had failed to adequately consider “pilot recognition time and pilot reaction time to failures.” In particular, the review suggested that the F.A.A. question Boeing’s assumption that pilots could react to a malfunction similar to the one caused by MCAS in just four seconds.

One source of the problems with the certification of the Max was the F.A.A. office in Seattle that oversees Boeing, according to the report. It found that the Boeing office had “limited experience and knowledge of key technical aspects” of the Max.

In the end, the F.A.A. was simply unable to effectively assess MCAS, the review found.

“The F.A.A. had inadequate awareness of the MCAS function,” which meant that the agency could not adequately assess Boeing’s certification of the system, the report found.

The review also said there were signs that Boeing employees who worked on behalf of the F.A.A. to certify the Max had at times faced conflicts of interest. It recommended that the F.A.A. review staffing levels at its Boeing office in Seattle, as well as reviewing the Boeing office that allows company employees to perform certification work.

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WeWork Is Closing Its Private School In New York City After This Year

Westlake Legal Group 5d9f8fd9210000e706343d7f WeWork Is Closing Its Private School In New York City After This Year

WeWork informed parents on Friday that it would no longer operate its private school in Manhattan after the 2019-20 school year, HuffPost has learned.

WeWork will continue to operate WeGrow through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, providing a quality education and classroom experience for all students,” a WeWork spokesperson said in a statement. “As part of the company’s efforts to focus on its core business, WeWork has informed the families of WeGrow students that we will not operate WeGrow after this school year.”

“WeWork and the families of WeGrow students are engaging in discussions with interested parties regarding plans for WeGrow for the following school year,” the spokesperson added.

The small New York City private school has been open since 2018 and costs between $22,000 and $42,000 a year in tuition, depending on the age of the student. Its website calls it a “conscious entrepreneurial school,” offering students mentorship from WeWork employees, weekly trips to a farm, daily meditation and yoga, while preaching lofty goals about nurturing students’ souls.

HuffPost spoke with several people close to the school in the past few weeks to get a better sense of the institution. They described a school that is run like the company of WeWork, subject to constant changes or “disruption,” sometimes without full consideration for the children these changes impact. However, they also described an idealistic learning space, where children for the most part seem to be happy and thriving. According to one former employee, the company recently redesigned part of the school, which they speculated cost up to several million dollars (a spokesperson for WeWork did not respond to questions about this).

The school is a casualty of the company’s new efforts to downsize after the implosion of its planned public offering and a staggering reduction in its valuation. The past few weeks have been chaotic for the company, which rents out shared workspaces to businesses and entrepreneurs. Its CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down and there are rumors of mass layoffs that could impact thousands of employees.

Amid the chaos, WeGrow parents wondered whether the school would even make it through the year, lining up backup options in case of an abrupt shuttering.

The school was the brainchild of WeWork co-founder and chief brand and impact officer Rebekah Neumann, who served as the school’s CEO before stepping down from her roles at the company with her husband, Adam. Indeed, WeGrow mimicked WeWork, as the school’s day to day was sometimes rejiggered on short notice, which could be incompatible with the needs of children, sources said.

The WeWork spokesperson did not comment on this characterization of school life at WeGrow. A representative for the Neumanns did not immediately have comment.

But by its second year, the school’s enrollment had grown to about 100 students, including a number of children whose parents worked for the company. In 2018, Rebekah Neumann called the school ― and the ability to bring company employees closer to their children ― part of WeWork’s core goals, according to CNN.

“We want to make a world where people can work to make a life and not just a living, but that’s part of a larger, more holistic mission to elevate the world’s consciousness, to create a world where people are happy and fulfilled and living in a sharing state,” she said.

Indeed, the school employs staffers with titles like “creative expressions manager” and “manager of wisdom cultures.”

In recent weeks, teachers have worked to shield kids from the disarray enveloping the larger company, according to a WeGrow parent. This parent praised the school for nurturing children’s social-emotional development, as opposed to perpetuating a rat race focused on test scores and achievement, and worries that the school’s true successes ― its focus on mindfulness and community building ― will be overshadowed by schadenfreude over WeWork’s shortcomings.

The school ― like WeWork spaces ― emphasizes design, and is complete with “modular classrooms, tree houses and a vertical farm,” per the school’s website.

WeGrow is one of WeWork’s auxiliary offerings. The company also rents out furnished apartments and has a gym.

Rebekah Neumann appears to have had high ambitions for the institution, previously telling CNN that she hoped a WeGrow would operate in every city where there’s a WeWork office.

“It will eventually be able to sustain independently for sure,” she said at the time.

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Priyanka Chopra Turns Into Squirming Mess Eating Spicy Wings On ‘Tonight Show’

Westlake Legal Group 5da07010210000c307344389 Priyanka Chopra Turns Into Squirming Mess Eating Spicy Wings On ‘Tonight Show’

The “Sky Is Pink” star and host Jimmy Fallon attempted to climb the spice scale of hot sauces on spicy chicken wings with “Hot Ones” personality Sean Evans.

Chopra noted that husband Nick Jonas had taken the “Hot Ones” challenge before, with his brothers, and “did me very proud.”

“I love spice, but the escalation of it is making me nervous,” she said.

She had reason to feel that way. Once their mouths caught fire, Chopra and Fallon could not stop moving, and hilariously lost focus in the interview. There were tears, too.

Watch the two descend into spice hell above.

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Booker quotes this Old Testament Bible verse to defend LGBTQ rights

Westlake Legal Group booker-thumb-1 Booker quotes this Old Testament Bible verse to defend LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/politics fnc Caleb Parke article 4fce067c-8bea-5033-9632-274ca08cf217

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, D-N.J., said he’s been dealing with the “juxtaposing issues of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights” all of his life as a Christian with people “using religion as a justification for discrimination.”

The New Jersey senator then used a Bible verse from the Old Testament to answer a question during CNN‘s LGBTQ town hall Thursday night.

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Citing Micah 6:8, Booker made his defense after a UCLA student, who attended an all-girls Catholic high school in N.J., said her school routinely rejected requests for an LGBTQ+ club.

“It said in Micah, ‘What do you want from your Lord, but what is it you want from your people?'” he said. “Which is to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly — walk humbly — and, so for me, I cannot allow, as a leader, that people are going to use religion as a justification for discrimination.”

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He added, “I can respect your religious views but also protect people from discrimination.”

Booker used the opportunity to push for the Equality Act as one of the laws “that do not allow people to discriminate…in our schools in education…healthcare….globally.”

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He concluded, “My faith, as well as my American values, will make me fight on every front to make sure that people are not discriminating against someone because of who they are.”

At another point in the night, Booker said he once held negative views about “two men kissing” and “hating gays,” but said his activism started as a teenager on a crisis hotline.

Westlake Legal Group booker-thumb-1 Booker quotes this Old Testament Bible verse to defend LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/politics fnc Caleb Parke article 4fce067c-8bea-5033-9632-274ca08cf217   Westlake Legal Group booker-thumb-1 Booker quotes this Old Testament Bible verse to defend LGBTQ rights fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/politics fnc Caleb Parke article 4fce067c-8bea-5033-9632-274ca08cf217

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