Tag Archives: Means

The Bolton book bombshell: What it means for impeachment

The Bolton book bombshell: What it means for impeachmentNews reports indicate John Bolton's book ties President Trump personally to the pressure campaign against Ukraine. Will the Senate seek his testimony?



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Joe Biden won't testify in Trump's impeachment trial even it means John Bolton will

Joe Biden won't testify in Trump's impeachment trial even it means John Bolton willWhile President Trump's desire to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden launched his impeachment investigation and eventual trial in the first place, Biden is officially distancing himself from the whole thing.When asked Wednesday if he'd consider testifying in exchange for testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Biden said he wants "no part of that," per The Washington Post. It's "not an irrational question to ask," Biden conceded, but said "the reason I would not make the deal, the bottom line is, this is a constitutional issue. We're not going to turn it into a farce or political theater."Democrats, namely the House's impeachment managers, have continually pushed for the Senate to allow Bolton to testify in Trump's trial. Bolton has said he would be willing to do so, and even some Republicans have indicated their interest in hearing from him. Other Republicans have insisted they'd like to hear from Hunter Biden as well, with some saying Biden and Bolton's testimonies should be conducted in pairs.Biden's comments follow Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) assurance earlier in the day that a witness swap was "off the table," even regarding Hunter Biden.More stories from theweek.com Giants quarterback Eli Manning retires after 16 seasons The White House is arguing the impeachment articles don't include allegations of a quid pro quo because the exact words don't appear Several senators left the chamber in the middle of Adam Schiff's impeachment remarks



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Sealed Epstein Docs Name ‘Persons of Means’ in Sex Abuse Case

Sealed Epstein Docs Name ‘Persons of Means’ in Sex Abuse CaseA federal court in New York is preparing to release more sealed documents in a 2015 defamation suit filed by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of dead sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, against his alleged madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.But first, the court will conduct an individualized review of the pleadings that would give attorneys for Maxwell, Giuffre, and mysterious parties identified as John Does 1 and 2, the opportunity to weigh countervailing factors, such as privacy, that would limit public access.As part of the review process, other secret “non-parties” to the case who are named in the documents—including other alleged victims, and people accused of having sex with Giuffre—will need to be notified ahead of the unsealing and have the option to object. After those objections are filed, legal teams for Maxwell and Giuffre will have a chance to file their own oppositions.Epstein Used Database to Track ‘Numerous’ Underage Girls ‘Held Captive’ at His Virgins Islands Hideaway: SuitOn Thursday, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska suggested reviewing the sealed motions in the now-settled case on a rolling basis, in groups of five.Maxwell’s lawyer, Laura Menninger, told the court that some of the non-parties are “persons of means or otherwise have counsel,” while “others live outside of the country or don’t have means” to enlist counsel to file their objections under seal. Menninger asked for “alternatives” to submit their objections via letter.Meanwhile, Sigrid McCawley, Giuffre’s attorney, expressed concerns over a document dump that would portray Giuffre in a bad light. She said the only pleadings Maxwell has agreed to unseal are those that “would be negative to my client.”McCawley said it would be unfair to release those documents—which wouldn’t need review because there’s no countervailing interests—without other sealed court papers that would perhaps paint a fuller picture of the case. But Judge Preska disagreed, saying there would be “no justification to withholding the documents” from the public.After the proceeding, Menninger ducked into an elevator, avoiding questions from a Daily Beast reporter who asked whether she’d seen or heard from Maxwell. Since Epstein’s arrest in July 2019, Maxwell has disappeared from the public eye.“Virginia is very pleased that this process is starting and that the court is taking seriously the release of these documents,” McCawley told reporters outside the federal courthouse. “It’s always been her position that there should be public access to these documents as we’ve seen as recently as yesterday in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They filed a complaint outlining this over-20-year history of [Epstein’s] sexual abuse of young females.”As The Daily Beast reported, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that accuses Epstein and his inner circle of trafficking girls as young as 11 years old, as recently as 2018.“It’s been Virginia’s mission to expose that abuse, and we’re hopeful that through the court’s review process that will occur and these documents will get released,” McCawley said, adding that the Virgin Islands case highlights that Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls “was going on all over the world, for many, many years.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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3 Legal Experts on What the Obamacare Ruling Really Means

3 Legal Experts on What the Obamacare Ruling Really MeansEver since Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas ruled a year ago that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, the country has been waiting for the next arbiter — a federal appeals court — to weigh in on the fate of the landmark health law.That ruling finally came Wednesday. But it offered little clarity.The judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that one key element of the law — the mandate requiring people to have insurance — was unconstitutional. But they sent the rest of the case back to O'Connor for what the dissenting judge called a "do-over," asking him to give it another think on the question of whether other parts of the law should be struck down too.The move means the legal showdown could continue for a long time, almost certainly beyond the 2020 election.We spoke with three law professors who have closely followed the battles over Obamacare to preview what next steps in this already prolonged litigation might look like.Can anything be done to speed up this process?The group of Democratic states that are defending the act could ask for all judges on the 5th Circuit to take the case, known as an en banc hearing. Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, said in a news conference Thursday that he wants to appeal directly to the Supreme Court but is consulting other attorneys general in the group about that strategy."Both are long shots," said Jonathan H. Adler, who teaches at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Since there are no immediate consequences to Wednesday's ruling — the law continues to be enforced while the court process plays out — the Supreme Court, in particular, would be unlikely to consider the case until it has made its way fully through the lower courts, Adler said.Not everyone shares that view, given the national importance of the law to the nation's health care system. "This is an unusual case, and the writing for the ACA is on the wall," said Nicholas Bagley, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law. "So the court might opt to hear it now."When is O'Connor likely to rule again?The 5th Circuit put the burden on both sides to do their homework, to submit new briefs and reargue the case, a time-consuming process. And the federal government will be taking a new stance, since it now supports striking down the full ACA, a different position from its original one.Adding the time it will take for O'Connor to draft a fresh decision, his ruling might not emerge for nearly a year, several legal observers say. Then the appeal process would begin anew.Is this decision a legal punt?Adler considers the ruling a punt, saying, "it has no practical effect."Bagley, not so much: "The Supreme Court might well take the case, and this will remain a political headache for the Republicans."Abbe R. Gluck, a professor at Yale Law School, characterizes the 5th Circuit's ruling as more intentional. "As the dissent says, severability is a question of law — the court doesn't need more briefing or facts to determine," Gluck said, referring to the doctrine that says when Congress strikes down an element of a law but doesn't explicitly erase it all, the rest stands. "Instead, it sent the case back to a judge who has made his distaste for the entire ACA unclear," ducking responsibility for knocking it down or reinforcing it.Any clue what the appeals panel really thinks?"I think the panel is skeptical of the all-or-nothing approach to severability and isn't quite sure what to do," Adler said. "But that is somewhat speculative on my part."Bagley took a harder line, saying he thought the majority opinion almost completely endorsed O'Connor's ruling. The judge had said that when Congress in 2017 eliminated the tax penalty for those who didn't buy insurance, the full act became null."The court thinks, though, that there might be a few portions of the ACA that can be salvaged," Bagley said. "But it's signaling that it's OK if O'Connor thinks those are precious few indeed."Any bets on how the 5th Circuit will ultimately rule?Gluck said the panel noted that O'Connor gave short shrift to the views of the 2017 Congress, which struck down the penalty for not buying insurance but said nothing about eliminating the full health care law."Once the inquiry properly shifts to the 2017 Congress," she said, "it will be hard for any court to invalidate the whole law without looking like it is engaging in egregious judicial overreach."How long could this case continue?"The case is all but certain to drag out well past the 2020 election," Bagley said.Among the three law professors, on that point there was no dissent.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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This Means Drama: Indian Missile Defense Is Raising Tensions With Pakistan

This Means Drama: Indian Missile Defense Is Raising Tensions With PakistanA defensive effort that is making war more likely.



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This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American Weapons

This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American WeaponsThey won't go down without a fight.



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What Baghdadi’s Death Means for Al Qaeda. And Why It Matters.

What Baghdadi’s Death Means for Al Qaeda. And Why It Matters.SITE Intelligence GroupWith ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed one day and the group’s official spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir the next, there’s a giant hole in the pseudo-Caliphate structure of the so-called Islamic State. The group must now, by its strict religious tenets, find a new (supposed) descendant of the Prophet Muhammed to fill the role of Caliph. But the deaths of those two are equally consequential for al-Qaeda, the bitter rival of ISIS for leadership of global jihad. Al-Qaeda has spent the last six years branding the Caliphate as illegitimate, too extreme, and ultimately harmful. When ISIS declared the establishment of its so-called Caliphate spanning territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014, al-Qaeda and its affiliates unanimously rejected it. To this day, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s speeches rarely come without some critique of the “epidemic” put forth by ISIS.Trump Officials Had No Clue Where He Got ‘Whimpering’ Detail in His Baghdadi Raid AccountOddly, Baghdadi was killed in Idlib, a haven of al-Qaeda-linked fighters and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a Syrian Islamist faction led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, a former al-Qaeda comrade who had become one of Baghdadi's most bitter foes. There has been some speculation Baghdadi was not just hiding out, but trying to recruit from the ranks for his enemies.Neither al-Qaeda Central nor its affiliates have commented on Baghdadi’s death as yet, but within hours after the news broke, al-Qaeda ideologues and supporters already were celebrating the event and discussing what it will mean for the future of jihad. In chat groups online, al-Qaeda supporters voiced resentment after years of bitter strife with the group, and the scale of these responses illustrates just how much of a big deal and opportunity they see with Baghdadi’s death.“Based on his orders, thousands of the mujahideen were killed,” one post read.“How thrilled were they every time leaders from al-Qaeda were martyred?” read another.Some wished Baghdadi the ultimate condemnation:  “May Allah send him to Hell.”Messages by others, however, particularly al-Qaeda-linked ideologues, balanced expressions of justice for the jihadi movement with restraint, making sure not to celebrate excessively the result of an operation by the United States.The tactful enthusiasm is calculated. Many ISIS fighters, much of its military infrastructure, many media officials, and supporters were pulled from al-Qaeda. Now, with ISIS’ “Caliph” dead and that Caliphate itself destroyed, al-Qaeda has been given its biggest opportunity yet to bring many of them back under its tent. SITE Intelligence GroupPerhaps the most profound instance of this outreach was a lengthy essay by “Adel Amin,” the pen name of a prominent ideologue linked to the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement, al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and most powerful affiliate. The message, disseminated widely across al-Qaeda-supporting channels and chat groups (many of which are also frequented by pro-ISIS users), demanded that ISIS supporters “return to the road of righteousness” after the Islamic State, in all of its excessive aggression and delusions of destiny, has proven itself a failure. Amin wrote:The situation here is not one in which to gloat. It is a situation for reminding and calling on those who remained in the ranks of al-Baghdadi, to reconsider…Indeed, we witnessed its back being broken, its leaders getting killed, and its banner falling, and we hope that we can witness whoever remains from its soldiers returning to righteousness.Statements by other ideologues and supporters voiced the same points. A statement by Sirajuddin Zurayqat, a former religious official in the now-defunct al-Qaeda-linked Brigades of Abdullah Azzam in Lebanon, urged: “Now [Baghdadi] is dead and there is not one from the Ummah grieving over him or giving condolences. … Therefore, those who were deceived by him should reconsider before it is too late!”These messages echo the same calls heard from Zawahiri and al-Qaeda affiliates over the years calling on ISIS fighters to “repent” and leave the group. Yet despite these new circumstances, ISIS supporters will not easily be moved. Since the summer of 2016, the group’s followers have seen the loss of the major cities Mosul in Iraq and Raqqah in Syria as well as the death of revered ISIS figures like Omar Shishani, Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani, and others. With the latest setbacks to its leadership, ISIS-linked accounts online already have poured out calls to stay steadfast and have even used Baghdadi’s death as a rallying point to carry out new attacks. Reinforcing this undeterred support is an ISIS military and media machine that has shown no sign of stopping in the last two days. While ISIS has not yet officially acknowledged the death of Baghdadi, it has continued reporting on day-to-day military activity across Iraq, Syria, and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.ISIS' Yemen Province – AQAP Prisoners as Featured in the video “He Who Starts is More Unjust”SITE Intelligence GroupFurthermore, while al-Qaeda affiliates like the Shabaab serve as powerful representatives of the organization, al-Qaeda Central is weaker than it has ever been. These days, al-Qaeda Central’s role is largely symbolic, limited to leadership messages and other content while steering the big-picture ethos of the organization. Its attempts to bolster its image, already heavily weighed down by a less-than-charismatic leader in Zawahiri, were upended upon the death of Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama, whom al-Qaeda likely was grooming for an eventual leadership position. These variables considered, al-Qaeda may not be the appealing alternative for jihadists that its supporters want it to seem. So, while some fighters might very well join the ranks of al-Qaeda affiliates in their region, we shouldn't expect to see any drastic migration from ISIS’ ranks into its rival’s.Despite any notions of good-riddance that al-Qaeda and its supporters attach to Baghdadi’s death, and for whatever number of defectors it may win over as a result of Baghdadi’s demise, ISIS is not going anywhere. The barriers between these terrorist organizations have only hardened over the years, fueling deadly clashes and jihadi PR wars. Baghdadi was not the sole barrier keeping ISIS members from joining al-Qaeda, and his death is unlikely to diminish existing disputes.How U.S. Commandos IDed a ‘Mutilated’ Baghdadi So QuicklyRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Chicago strike means day off for some, emergency for others

Chicago strike means day off for some, emergency for othersChicago parents leaned on family, friends and community groups as 25,000 teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district went on strike this past week, canceling classes for more than 300,000 kids. For some families, the Chicago Teachers Union walkout meant a day off and a bit of inconvenience for parents juggling work schedules. Both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and union leaders said negotiators have several major disputes to resolve, including pay and benefits, class size, and school staffing.



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Syria Truce Shaky as Erdogan, Kurds Disagree on What It Means

Syria Truce Shaky as Erdogan, Kurds Disagree on What It Means(Bloomberg) — Kurdish fighters say they have no intention of withdrawing from Syria’s entire northeastern border — but that’s exactly what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects to happen under the cease-fire accord brokered by the U.S. on Thursday.The conflicting interpretations point to the fragility of the five-day truce deal, which is already being tested with reports of continuing skirmishes between Turkish forces and Syria’s Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of an autonomous administration in the northeast.Ankara says the YPG is linked to Kurdish separatists that it has battled for decades, and launched an offensive into northeastern Syria more than a week ago to push the group back from its border.After days of fighting, Turkey’s army now controls less than 120 kilometers (75 miles) of the frontier between the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. But it wants to create a buffer zone on hundreds more, stretching from the Euphrates River in the west to the Iraqi border in the east.The deal struck by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Erdogan — under which American troops would guide a YPG exit — was vague on detail. But Turkey has made its interpretation clear.Turkish officials including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were quick to boast that they had been given pretty much all they desired.With the ink on the agreement barely dry, Erdogan made it clear that the Kurds must leave a zone 444 km long and as deep as 32 km.“If their promise is not kept the minute when the 120th hour ends, then our operation will continue with even more determination from where it was left off,” Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday.Turkey, U.S. Agree to Brief Cease-Fire to Allow Kurdish RetreatBut the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, General Mazloum Abdi, sees it differently. He said Thursday night the cease-fire deal was limited to the 120-km stretch between Tal Abyad and Ras Al-Ayn.Jim Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for the Syria conflict who was with Pence in Ankara, highlighted the potential obstacle to a lasting deal.“The Turks talk about an aspirational safe zone,” he said, while the U.S. has only defined a central section of the northeast corridor, where Turkish forces have penetrated as deep as 30 kilometers. With Kurdish-led forces vowing not to accept a “Turkish occupation of Syrian territory,” the fighting might not be over yet.Amid differing views on the zone, there were reports of sporadic clashes, airstrikes and Turkish shelling in the area, resulting in the death of 14 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group.Most of the fighting in northeast Syria has stopped, a U.S. official said, asking not to be identified. It will take time for things to completely quiet down, which is usually the case in situations like this, the official said.(Updates on casualties, U.S. official view on truce.)\–With assistance from Justin Sink.To contact the reporter on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at shacaoglu@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net;Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net;Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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'This means war': anger and division at school of student shot by HK police

'This means war': anger and division at school of student shot by HK policeBefore he was battling police on the front lines of Hong Kong's democracy movement, Tony Tsang, 18, was best known to his peers as a school vice-captain, organising events for fellow students, friends said on Wednesday. Tsang is stable in hospital where he is under arrest. What started as protests over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial have evolved into calls for greater democracy, among other demands.



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