From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"KING OF THE WEST 2020 JANUARY"

    This file is attached to http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterEight/BeastThatCameOutOfTheSea.htm from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D..
    This link will take you to King Of The West 2020 February
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KING OF THE WEST 2020 JANUARY


2020 JANUARY

    So as 2019 has passed do we know who the "King of the West in 2019" is?
    Bible prophecy students are aware that the Bible does not mention an end-time "king of the west" by name.    United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom, but many believe the USA is the 'King of the West," but Germany and the European Union believes it is time for Europe to arise.
    The USA is the Western naval power of Daniel 11:30--yet no King of the West seems to exist after the King of the North eliminates those with the strongest fortresses (Daniel 11:39), and the end-time kings of the North (Daniel 11:40), South (Daniel 11:40), and East (Revelation 16:12), are still around but no mention of the West.
    Anybody with any common sense has to believe we have gone through a period of the "LAWLESS ONES," and they have embedded their poison into our society and we are at Revelation 6:17.
    Well Trade Wars and the WTO is not up to par in economics trade policies, and the Liberal Progressive Socialist AKA Democrats still have their claws into the world events but President Donald J. Trump, is making changes to the better in the U.S.A and has been continually attacked, but God must of blessed him as all attempts have backfired on them as they have become desparate as well Russia, Turkey, China, Iran and the EU nations, who are concerned that if Brexit leaves the EU, is it possible that the 27 other nations may try to leave it also to form new blocs.    That would be amusing since so many former prophecy predictors assumed that the European Union would be the 10 horns or powers on the beast but that could still happen.
    The Democrats want to blame everything on Trump and this time it is Trump instead of Kavanaugh.
    BUT IT IS KNOWN NOW THAT THE FISA CORRUPTION FROM DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO HELP HILLARY CLINTON BY DIGGING UP FALSE ACCUSATIONS OF TRUMP CORRUPTION THAT WAS NEVER VERIFIED BY THE FBI OR ANYTHING FOUND AND WAS CREATED BY THE PROGRESSIVE SOCIALIST TO AID IN KEEPING IN POWER BUT IT BACKFIRED AS THE DEPLORABLES VOTED TRUMP AS PRESIDENT.
    The FAKE NEWS IS EVIDENT as the leftist Progressive Socialist Democratic use it as a weapon.
    So will we have a "King of the West," I do not know, and I hope that those who believe will get raptured when Jesus Christ, returns to take us away from what is happening.

    So the following is a reminder of the events in 2019 which I am doing this so we can look back to see who did what.
    In Jan 2019: Trump gives no timetable for Syria, wants to protect Kurds.    Nikki Haley denounces UNESCO, calls it most corrupt UN agency.    Rep. Pelosi poised to be elected as next House speaker in new Congress.    Trump approve dozens of nominees for judges, may have to bypass Congress and declare a national emergency to fund the border wall, which he did the shutdown for 17 days on border negotiations and gave a Border Security Speech, calls it a “national security crisis.”    The Caravan's formed in Honduras, and with a deal to reopoen the government for three-weeks, signed a short-term funding bill to reopen the government until February 15, 2019 without border wall funding and may declare a National Emergency to build the wall if a funding deal cannot be reached.    The wall is getting done one way or the other.
    In Feb.: U.S. Border Chief unveils plans for border wall funding.    Trump vows to stop ‘endless wars’.    Negotiators reach agreement on border security to avoid shutdown and allocates $1.375 billion for a physical barrier, which would be enough to build 55-miles of a new steel barrier along the Rio Grande in Texas.    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said we’ll all be dead in 12 years if we don’t pass her Green New Deal a socialist plan but when bill came up no Democrats voted for it.    William Barr confirmed as attorney general.    Pentagon Plans to Send 1,000 More Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border.
    In Mar.: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and his hordes do not believe Mueller has any collusion, so apparently they are going to create some and begun the probe into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power and that the panel is sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates.    Trump says the wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now and expected to seek $8.6B for wall.    Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States are members of the Council, which coordinates Arctic policy and is gaining clout as sea ice thaws to open up new trade routes and intensify competition for its oil, gas and mineral resources.    SCOTUS gives Pres. Trump victory on immigration, upholds push to detain illegals. CBP: Border crisis getting worse.
    In Apr.: President Trump points out flaws in Democrats over Russian collusion.    Rep. Maxine Waters continues to push for impeachment of Trump. Trump continues agreeing to disagree becomes norm at G7 meetings.    I think Donald Trump knows that God is blessing him and helping him because his making all known of God and Jerusalem and the Jewish people in Israel to the world.    555 measles cases spread to 20 states which I think was caused by illegal aliens imigration.    Redacted Mueller report released to public and Congress, and Attorney General William Barr reiterated there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.    Barr stated evidence developed by the special counsel was not sufficient to establish obstruction of justice.
    In May: IG Horowitz to reveal real collusion later.    Along with Maxine Waters and Al Green who are concerned that President Trump of winning reelection, the original idiots pushing his impeachment and Trump is denying the Artcle 1 from getting anyone in his Article 2 not to go to Congress until they take it to the Article 3.    House panel votes to hold Barr in contempt - Clash between branches of government escalates.    McConnell stated the Mueller probe ‘case closed.’    BE AWARE AS THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WILL GET RID OF OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS WHICH prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.    These rights of ourws were adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.    THESE RIGHTS COULD DISAPPEAR IF THIS LEGISLATION TAKES OVERS SO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO STOP THIS TAKEOVER seen as the Equality Act of 2019, which would modify existing civil rights law to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people.
    In June: President Trump will continue ‘Ultimate Deal’ to establish peace in the Middle East.    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being pressured by activist groups to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump.    House Democrats approve bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.    The Democrats and Nervous Nancy, as you can see above are trying to find some kind of collusion or obstruction from the Mueller report, which has none and are about to start their dog and pony show to appease their rabid congress base who want impeachment and it will only show nothing, which is what the "Do Nothing Congress" is already doing.    Trump's tariff threat made Mexico do what the Congress has not done stop the illegation immigration at the southern border.    Mexico says it has deployed 15,000 forces in the north to halt U.S.-bound migration.    President touts recent poll numbers show he has more than a 50% approval rating and his rallies are soldout with thousands outside watching screens "KEEP AMERICA GREAT!.”    Mexico first to ratify USMCA trade deal, Trump presses U.S. Congress to do same.    Trump ditches Obama rule on coal-fired plants, and Environmental groups plan court challenges.    George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, best known for funding civil rights activists across Eastern Europe and the developing world, are increasingly turning their attention to affluent western Europe in response to the rise of the far right there.    NATO aims to make space new frontier in defense.    National Border Patrol Council shows 30% drop in migrant arrests since Mexico deal.
    In July: Trumps economics improves so jobs report 224k jobs added, unemployment at 3.7%, wage growth 3.1%, oil down below $55, and the DOW was at 18,000 in 2015 and now is up to 27,359, and still breaking records.    Pelosi and the Dems are getting desperate since it will not be long before Barr and staff will show the entire nation what crimes have been committed by the former administration.    Unemployment lowest in 50 years 3.1%, hourly earnings growth has risen to 5%, income growth is at 4.3%, the average 401K Employer Contribution hit a record hight $1,780, due to Tax Cuts increase in Capital Investment is at plus 8.7% among S&P companies and when signed into law jumped to 21.0% due to de-regulation and investments caused a net change of 300 new manufacturing jobs in America, and tarrifs are bring jobs back from China, whose economy dropped to 6.8%, and wiil help us with Trade issues now.    ISIS Caliphate Crumbles as Last village in Syria falls.    Trump boosted our military, and targeted China.    Trump influence NATO countries to pay their share or the U.S. would withdraw from the alliance.    Supreme Court chips away at federal agency power.    U.S. to become a net energy exporter in 2020 for first time in nearly 70 years.    Prescription drug prices are falling for the first time in 47 years.    Trump signs bipartisan criminal justice overhaul First Step Act into law.    Trump signs executive order protecting free speech on college campuses, which has become a haven for leftist bullies from denying first amendment rights to conservatives.    Be thankful as Trump ignored the usual political system and is getting things done for the American people and had to fight in his own administration to achieve this, as well as the left and judicical system, and attacked from a fake witch hunt and the "fake news" did not report any of the information above and he is not done, and will hopefully get four more years to achieve more.    SO THIS IS WHY THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO IMPEACH HIM.    The White House is attempting to promote a $50 billion support plan to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table.    However, Palestinian leaders rejected that deal after claiming it ignored their political demands.    The plan was first introduced at a Bahrain, and asked Middle East allies to invest heavily in the West Bank and Gaza.    Boris Johnson becomes U.K. prime minister.    Robert Mueller testifies before Congress and the Democrats got a slap in the face as Mueller was not up to par to promote their assumption and you can now see that he did not write the contents of the Mueller report and it was obvious that Weissman and the 18 angry Democratic lawyers did.    A win for the Republicans and now we are waiting for Barr and Horowitz to bring the Dossier corruption to light and truth to the public.
    In Aug: IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THEY ARE DESPERATE WITH A DISEASE OF ELECTILE DSYFUNCTION IN THAT NO MATTER WHAT THEY TRY TO DO TO TRUMP THAT IT BACK FIRES AND MAKES THEM LOOK LIKE THE LIARS THEY ARE AND STILL THEY TRY TO FIND ANYTHING THAT ANYONE THEY ASSUME MAY HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG AND ARE CONTINUING WITH THEIR HARRASSMENT OF ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH TRUMP AND ANGRY SINCE THE SUPREME COURT NOW HAVE JUDGES THAT CAN SHUTDOWN THEIR PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL SOCIALIST AGENDAS THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO PUSH ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO HAVE CAUGHT ON TO THEIR LIES NOW.    First they tried to prove Russia collusion against Trump's administration, Second they violated a fake FISA warrant investigation with surveilance on all of Trump's personnel, Third they had an investigation through the Mueller Report for obstruction of justice, and 3 times is a charm, but after all that is falling apart they are dumb enough to do a Fourth attempt to try to prove they have enough to Impeach Trump, which will have no affect.    Give up Democrats since Trump has been blessed by God for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and promoting the Golan Heights for Israel, that is why all your attempts have failed.    God is watching you and if you continue you will go down in flames in this fourth attempt.
    In Sept.: Nadler's House Judiciary Committee passes impeachment rules to expand scope of inquiry.    I watched the entire process and it was the best entertainment I have seen in months as Lewandowski made mockery of the Democrats unconstitutional impeachment inquiry, which properly the house votes for impeachment first, then sends it to the Judicial committee, instead of assbackwards.    Lewandowski said Democrats were pursuing their investigation of Trump because “they hate this president more than they love their country.”    This is what is in our Constitution: Article I, Section 2, Clause 4) The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.    As finally agreed, a majority vote of the House of Representatives is required to bring impeachment charges (Article I, Section 2, Clause 5), which are then tried before the Senate (Article I, Section 3, Clause 6).    Two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict before an official can be removed.    So did Trump do any of those crimes.    President Trump takes aim at Calif. over widespread homeless crisis.    We learned that the whistleblower is bipartisan but is an unknown member of the Intellligence system who is probabally biased toward Trump who is another Political Hack Job, and all should remember it was Adam Schiff who was the Democrat who for two and half years was leaking to the press and claiming that Trump was colluding with the Russians and none of that came true when the Mueller Report was brought to light and also refuting any claims by Republicans of a corrupt FBI, DOJ, NSA, CIA activities that were discovered.    He cannot be trusted for anything and now members of the "DEEP STATE" are coming into play.    Did you notice that on July 25th, 2019 the day the Mueller Report flopped before Congress on the Democrats, is the same day that Trump had the above call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.    Trump calls on nations to reject globalism, embrace nationalism.    House Democrats plunge into Trump impeachment inquiry.    After reading the 5 pages of the transcript I found no crime that Trump has committed it is as he says the DEMs are trying to create a narrative to rile up their base and to promote on the FAKE news service that have not aired the Biden bragging file for all Americans can see.    I am not going to cover this whole subject since most of us are tired of it, but the only abuse of power occurred before 2016 and it is being investigated by Horowitz, Durham and Barr and when they are done that’s when you will see their concept of impeachment will turn into criminal charges against Obama, Hillary, FBI crooks, CIA Brennan, and any of the so-called whistle blower crooks also in the NSA.
    In Oct.: This is what the Left fears the most the investigation by Barr, Durham and Horowitz as they are uncovering their crimes against the U.S. and is the biggest reason they have created and pushed this phony impeachment and fake whistleblower because they know their time is short when the truth comes out.    Former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be trying to deflect attention from his alleged corruption in Ukraine by joining calls for impeachment.    ASSUMING THEY HAVE ANY IMPEACHMENT CRIMES TO PROVIDE, SO SCOTUS CAN IGNORE ANY SUPOENAS UNLESS THEY PROVIDE A CRIME THAT HAS BEEN COMMITTED USING ARTICLE 3, WHICH THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DO BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT WOULD BE LOCKED UP IN THE COURTS WELL PASS THE 2020 ELECTIONS SO AS YOU READ THE FOLLOWING LOOK AT THE TRUTH AND VOTE FOR WHAT IS RIGHT NEXT YEAR.    Even when Biden is caught on video doing his own "Quid Pro Quo" Joe stating he got the prosecutor fired or he would hold the 1 billion dollars from Ukraine he will deny it and many of the Fake News stations have not shown the public the video, which should tell all where the corruption in the U.S. is.    Ukraine must investigate Joe Biden’s son, says ex-Ukrainian PM.    Adam Shiff’s ties to Ukraine, and Thomas Eager, Atlantic Council, Burisma, Porshenko, David Kramer and John McCain, Buzzfeed, CrowdStrike founder Alperovitch, DNC connections to FBI, CIA, NSA, Google Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt connection to Burisma, Hillary Clinton, and the OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) of George Soros who added information into the Whistleblowers report.    Democrats willing to risk 2020 chances to impeach Trump.    The Democrats are trying to make up impeachment information from closed doors and leaks to the press for CNN to twist it to their dumb down viewers, which is totally against what our constitution states.    They should be ashamed of themselves in their violation.    GOP complains about lack of access, Lawmakers seek public meetings, transcripts.    As you can see above the Democrats and Shumer immediately try to diss anything that Trump does.    But I am telling you that God has blessed Trump and have you not yet seen the work of God when all the things that the Democrats and DEEP STATE have tried to do to him backfires on them and Trump comes off to have done the right thing in the first place.    Although now he has also teed off all the War Pigs, who will not be able to activate their IRON MAN and the Dems, etc. are getting desperate as the Barr-Durham investigation is looming to a finality soon and may finally clean the SWAMP another campaign promise and hopefully a promise made.    Also prophesy in the Bible will be taking place in the Middle East in the coming years by my calculations and we do not want to be in that area anyway and understand that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is in charge of what just happened and what will be.    British PM Johnson calls for December 12 election to break Brexit deadlock.    JUSTICE IS COMING AND THE SUSPECTS ARE ALREADY LAWYERING UP AND ON TELEVISION DENYING THEIR CRIMES.    Dept. of Justice’s probe into the Russia hoax turns into criminal investigation as Attorney General William Barr’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation is turning into a criminal case, which allows U.S. attorney John Durham, who was chosen by Barr to lead the probe, to subpoena documents as well as witness testimonies and to file criminal charges if necessary.    Trump announces grisly death of Islamic State leader Baghdadi during U.S. raid.
    In Nov.: Adam Schiff's witness testimonies from House’s impeachment inquiry is all hearsay, no one as a direct witness, and told to read the Transcript.    Over time it was discovered that most of the witnesses were anti-Trump and had connections to the DEEP STATE, go figure as Schiff picked them.    House Democrats consider 2 articles of impeachment. Shifty Schiff would not allow testimony that would refute the Democratic narrative that he has created behind closed doors and would keep this from the American people from seeing the other side of the narrative.    The DOW was up 223 to 28,004 all-time record.    WELL IT IS FINALLY THE LAST DAY OF THE DEMOCRATS FAKE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY AND SO FAR NO CRIME HAS BEEN PROVED and THE DEMS WILL BRING IN SOME RINGERS FROM THE DEEP STATE GLOBALIST IN ORDER TO TRY TO FIND A CRIME AS SO FAR THEY HAVE NOT PROVEN A:
    SO WHAT CRIME WILL THEY SWITCH TO TODAY?
    It is sad to see that the Democrats continue to try to do an Impeachment with nothing but allegations, hearsay and not one witness with first hand evidence of a crime to be impeached by and I can already imagine that Jerry Nadler will try to find a way to make everyone believe that what Trump has done is crimes as the sham continues.
    In Dec.: THE HOUSE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS - Inquiry shifts to Judiciary panel - Experts will testify about constitutional issues.    Impeachment articles unveiled - Alleged: Abuse of power (not defined), Obstruction of Congress, neither are articles of Impeachment.    Budget due: BESIDES THE USMCA BEING PASSED THEY ALSO HAD TO GIVE TRUMP HIS BORDER WALL MONEY FOR IT TO PASS EVEN AS A LAWSUIT IS FILED AGAINST HIM SO I WOULD GUESS THAT WAS A REQUIREMENT TO GET THE BILL PASSED SO THE DO NOTHING CONGRESS COULD SHOW EVERYONE THAT THEY DID SOMETHING BESIDE SUPONEAS AND IMPEACHING.    “Brexit closure”: Johnson wins commanding victory in UK election.    After Jan. 31, Britain will enter a transition period when it will negotiate a new relationship with the remaining 27 EU states.    President Trump praises GOP unity, while blasting Pelosi for withholding articles from Senate after a rush to impeach.    DOW up 96 to 28,551 another record.

FISA Surveillance in 2019
    In Jan 2019: Top Republicans demanding update on probe into FBI, Dept. of Justice surveillance abuse had U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the FBI's surveillance of Carter Page and connections between the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One, starting in November 2017.    Trump on Comey: ‘Total sleaze’, in response to reports that the FBI began an investigation of him last year to find out whether he had a clandestine agenda to help Russia said that former FBI Director James Comey and other “losers” at the bureau “tried to do a number on your President.”    Robert Mueller took over the investigation when he was appointed special counsel soon after Comey’s firing.    The overall investigation is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russians, as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump.    Mueller is pursuing the counterintelligence angle suggesting the start of this investigation in the first place, but President Trump slams Buzzfeed, which released unverified Steele Dossier, which was funded by the Clinton Foundation and the democrats, is the foundation for the special counsel’s probe into alleged Russian collusion.    Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said that hackers in Russia last October stole evidence it had turned over confidentially to Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is being prosecuted over allegations of funding a propaganda campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
    In Feb.: Hillary Clinton’s lawyer putting pressure on the FBI after it reopened an investigation into her emails days before the 2016 election.    Emails released were obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which showed fired FBI agent Peter Stzrok organized a meeting between senior officials, including then-director James Comey, and Clinton’s team at their request.    Just days after the conference call reportedly took place, the agency closed its investigation and said it would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton, sounds like a cover-up.    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler hired two veteran lawyers to investigate the president and his administration but there is no Russian collusion and the news releases from Adam Schiff for two years thinks he has done something wrong, but no proof.    Democrats won’t accept the Mueller report if it finds no collusion.
    In Mar.: Obama-era Justice Department was working with the FBI and CIA to spy on the Trump campaign team as early as 2015.    Evidence Emerges Obama’s FBI, DOJ and CIA Spied on Trump in 2015 and has more as evidence mounts that the FBI, DOJ, and CIA were all cooperating to take down President Trump.    The letter goes on to say that despite the findings in the Mueller report, Schiff continued to proclaim to the media there is “significant evidence of collusion.”
    In Apr.: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former President Obama ordered an operation that led to the years-long Russia     ruce & Nellie Ohr shared email access with Fusion GPS contractor.    George Soros donated millions to anti-Trump research firm Fusion GPS.    Barr thinks FBI ‘spying did occur’ on campaign and AG tells Congress he will review legality of probe.    President Trump is supporting the attorney general’s belief of spying on the Trump campaign from the highest levels of the Obama administration.    Former CIA agent and FBI failed to follow law when it spied on Trump campaign.
    In May: Rep. Meadows files criminal referral with DOJ against Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS.    FBI’s actions against 2016 Trump campaign constitute spying.    Sen. Lindsey Graham seeking to declassify document about Steele Dossier.    FISA abuse probe amid appointment of U.S. attorney John Durham.    IT HAS TAKEN OVER TWO YEARS BUT IT IS FINALLY HAPPENING AS THE INVESTIGATION WILL LOOK AT DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS.    THE DEMOCRATS ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING AS THEY NOW KNOW THEIR TIME IS SHORT AS WE UNCOVER THE REAL COLLUSION.    Rep. Nadler urging speaker Pelosi to speed up impeachment inquiry.    Huber probe is a farce as a former U.S. attorney is casting doubt on the special prosecutor investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
    In June: Huber's investigation was a joke, either sold out, or was threatened or he was a former DOJ lover and did not investigate their action.    Of course Sessions was part of the problem and Huber was supposed to investigate the Clinton Uranium One issue and the Clinton Foundation funding.    DOJ to question senior CIA officials regarding origins of Russia probe.    Obama State Dept. worked with top Democrats to release Steele dossier.    Manafort pleads not guilty in New York mortgage fraud case.
    In Aug: FISA investigation will lead to criminal indictments.
    In Sept.: DOJ recommends charges for McCabe after striking down request for appeal.    Sen. Graham: Somebody needs to go to prison for lying to FISA court.
    In Oct.: FISA: FBI misused surveillance data, violated constitutional rights.    Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled that the FBI previously violated Americans’ privacy rights by conducting unreasonable searches.    The FISA Court opinion disclosed revealed that the FBI violated constitutional rights and federal law through their warrant-less internet surveillance program.    The Obama-era and Democrat abuse has now been busted for their 8 years and plus abuse of this system and thank God it is in the hands of the Republicans to get this straightened out.    Can you image if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency of all the corruption that would have continued through 2020.    Michael Flynn’s legal team drops evidence of alleged FBI entrapment and a damning timeline of events, which could prove the FBI entrapped him into a guilty plea.
    In Nov.: Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, argued the adviser was entrapped by Obama holdovers, such as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI agent Peter Strzok.    Powell said Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page manipulated interview notes to claim Flynn lied when he hadn’t.    DOJ denies claims in Flynn case, defends firing of FBI’s McCabe.    Federal judge delays Michael Flynn’s sentencing until after IG report release and that this is connected to the recent FBI lawyer issue who revised the FISA information.
    In Dec.: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his findings on FBI FISA abuse do not vindicate anyone.    Serious doubts FISA courts can continue working if no legal action is taken against FBI.    Senators push for FISA Court reform in wake of IG report.

DOES THE DEEP STATE EXIST
    In Jan 2019: The DEEP STATE is still after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange who apparently embarassed the U.S. and Obama administration and their is way more to this story than anyone wants to tell.    Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, the group released over 90,000 secret documents detailing the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by almost 400,000 internal U.S. military reports detailing operations in Iraq.    More than 250,000 classified cables from U.S. embassies followed, then almost 3 million dating back to 1973.    Roger Stone was arrested on one-count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five-counts of making false statements, and one-count of witness tampering.    Indictment on Roger Stone.
    In Apr.: Manafort requests new ruling, denies WikiLeaks allegations.    WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange arrested.
    In Nov.: Stone’s criminal trial underway accused of role in Wikileaks release.    Roger Stone found guilty on all five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstructing proceedings.    Process crimes are the offenses that "interfere with the procedures and administration of justice."    They are prosecuted because they are considered to harm the public interest in the functioning and integrity of the judicial system.    So, this tells me that they did not determine he did anything wrong except not tell them what they wanted him to tell them.    Just as Jerome Corsi refused to do also but they could not connect him to WikiLeaks.    So Stone has not been connected to Assange who founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning.    The U.S. government or the part we call the "DEEP DTATE" was embarrassed over the information they uncovered, which is what this is all about.    Obama is not here to help Biden.    He is here to push the issue for the Globalists which he pushed on the U.S. as president and used their agenda to go for 8 years, and was involved in helping to groom Hillary Clinton using all the services of the CIA, NSA, FBI and DOJ to become the next president, who at that time did the dirty trick on Bernie Sanders to insure that.    So he did not just come out of the woodwork the globalist do not want Socialist taking over the U.S. and the DEEP STATE is gearing up because President Trump is set to win another term since the Impeachment Witchhunt is failing.

FRANCE, MACRON AND EUROPEAN UNION
    In Jan 2019: Thousands of ‘yellow vest’ protesters take to the streets of France, as the demonstrations enter the 8th consecutive week.    French companies bruised by ‘yellow vests’ protests.
    In Feb.: Yellow vests shift focus toward police violence during protests.    France’s “yellow vest” movement staged its 15th consecutive weekend of demonstrations against the government.    Some 46,600 people joined the protests nationwide, including 5,800 in the capital, the Interior Ministry said.    That was up from 41,500 last week, with 5,000 in Paris.
    In Mar.: Ahead of EU elections, Macron unveils plan for ‘European renaissance.’
    In May: Yellow vest protesters clashed with riot police in Paris and the northern city of Amiens as the French anti-government movement waned on its 28th straight weekend.
    In Nov.: Paris police use tear gas, water cannon on ‘yellow vest’ protests anniversary.
    In Dec.: French police fire tear gas at strikers challenging Macron reform.

TURKEY, SYRIA INFLUENCE AND MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN
    In Jan 2019: Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurd militia.
    In Mar.: Pompeo, Kushner, Greenblatt discuss Middle East with Jordan king.    President Trump signs proclamation recognizing Israel sovereignty in Golan Heights.
    In July: Turkey’s purchase of Russia air defense system ‘disappointing’ forcing Trump to prohibit selling F-35s to Turkey.
    In Oct.: Turkey agrees to halt Syria offensive in exchange for Kurdish withdrawal.    Trump says Turkey’s ceasefire in northern Syria now permanent, sanctions lifted.    Kurdish military leader thanks President Trump, credits him for negotiating ceasefire.

NORTH KOREA GETTING ANTZY
    Jan 2019: Trump missile defense review calls North Korea ‘extraordinary threat.’
    In Feb.: No sanctions relief for North Korea until nuclear risk reduced.
    In June: WH moving forward with NK talks, after failed Hanoi summit.

INFANTICIDE ABORTIONS
    In Jan 2019: President Trump says Democrats are becoming the party of late term abortions.
    In Feb.: Lawmakers reintroduce heartbeat bill.    Trump sets up new abortion obstacles, for women seeking abortions, barring taxpayer funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals and Health and Human Services Department would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same locations as abortion providers, and require stricter financial separation.    44 Senate Democrats are on record promoting Infanticide and about 7 of them are running for President in 2020.
    In Apr.: Republicans are hoping to force the House to vote on a bill to end infanticide after failed abortions.

VENEZUELAN ISSUES
    In Jan 2019: Venezuelan Interim President Guaido calls for unity, cites the constitution for assuming presidency.
    In Mar.: Maduro takes 8 tons of gold from Central Bank without permission.    Warding off hunger, Venezuelans find meals in garbage bins.    U.S. new sanctions against Venezuelan officials.    Guaido to risk arrest as he returns home to challenge Maduro.    Venezuela’s Guaido calls for massive protest as blackout drags on.    U.S. to withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela.    Desperate Venezuelans swarm sewage drains in search of water.    U.S.-Russia tensions rise over Maduro.    Maduro paying for Russian military presence with gold.
    In Apr.: U.S. ratchets up pressure on Venezuela, Cuban backers.    Venezuelans march to demand power, water and end to Maduro.
    In June: Lima Group and EU urge more international involvement in Venezuela.    Venezuelan opposition urges UN human rights chief to expose Maduro’s crimes.
    In July: Trump administration plans to divert $40 million in aid to Venezuela’s opposition.
    In Aug: Trump freezes all Venezuelan government assets in bid to pressure Maduro.

CHINA, TRADE, TARRIFFS
    In Mar.: Trade Rep. Lighthizer may push for additional tariffs on China.    President Trump Asks China to Remove Tariffs on U.S. Imports Amid Trade Talks.    China Trade Deal Likely.
    In May: Trump ratchets up pressure on China, threatens tariff hikes.    The fake news said Trump’s threatened 25% tariff would hurt economy, some say - Consumers would face higher prices, job losses.    President Trump warns China against tariff retaliation, says it will ‘only get worse.’
    In June: U.S. begins collecting higher tariffs on Chinese goods arriving by sea.    President Trump threatens more tariffs on $300B worth of Chinese goods.
    In Aug: China threatens countermeasures if Washington implements new tariffs.
    In Oct.: Chinese exports to U.S. tumble 22% in Sept. as tariffs hit Beijing’s economy.    China will buy at least $20B U.S. farm goods if partial trade deal is signed in Nov. U.S. close to finalizing parts of Phase One deal with China.
    In Nov.: U.S. disappointed by WTO decision allowing China to slap trade sanctions on U.S. goods.    U.S. farmers back President Trump admit trade woes.    Trump hails ‘cash’ to farmers, U.S. aid in China trade war.    Without a China trade deal, the U.S. will hike tariffs.
    In Dec.: U.S. China trade talks stall as deadline for $156B worth of tariffs approaches.    China, U.S. reach agreement on phase one trade deal.

IRAN AGRESSION
    In May: President Trump says it’s a ‘big mistake’ for Iran to threaten U.S., allies.    Trump threatens Iran as tension between two countries escalate.
    In June: Iran is failing as a nation after Washington imposed powerful sanctions last year, U.S. President Donald Trump said he could turn that around very quickly in talks with the leadership in Tehran so it is on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.    Trump admin. blames Iran for oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman.    U.S. preparing to send more troops to Middle East.    Trump calls off Iran strikes at the last minute for the drone destruction and Pres. Trump Moves Forward with Additional Sanctions Against Iran.
    In July: France warns Iran against further breaches of nuclear deal.
    In Sept.: France pushes $15 billion credit line plan for Iran.
    In Nov.: German Foreign Minister: Iran must reverse nuclear enrichment, engage in talks.
    In Dec.: Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Announces New Sanctions On Iran.


2020 JANUARY

1/1/2020 Oil down $0.09 to $61.63, DOW up 76 to 28,538.

1/1/2020 Report: CIA uses technology to disable weapons given to allies to prevent attacks on ‘civilians’ by OAN Newsroom
File – Dutch security analyst Jos Wetzels speaks during a cybersecurity conference in Germany. (REUTERS Photo)
    A recent report detailed the CIA’s efforts to disable missiles given to U.S. allies as military aid.    According to Dutch security analyst Jos Wetzels, the CIA is capable of restricting the use of American weapons in order to prevent them from falling into the “wrong hands.”
    Wetzels found shoulder-fired missiles made in the U.S. have an embedded code that allows the CIA to disarm the device at any moment.    The revelation, which is based off WikiLeaks documents, comes amid the debate of America sending anti-tank Javelin missiles to Ukraine.
    The Dutch security analyst said the CIA is also using so-called “geo-fencing,” which restricts the use of U.S. weapons to certain areas.    He said using “simple GPS jamming” would be sufficient to ensure that these missiles cannot fire.
FILE P- A MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defiance Systems) missile is detonated along the shore
facing the Firing Range, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli. (REUTERS Photo/Ismail Zitouny)
    Analysts say the CIA’s actions may undermine operational capabilities of U.S. allies in the line of combat and expose allied troops to unnecessary risks.
    The CIA has yet to comment on the matter.

1/1/2020 750 troops to deploy to Iraq amid attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, listens as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper delivers a statement on Iraq and Syria
at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The Defense Department is sending 750 additional troops to the Middle East in response to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.    Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the move on Tuesday.
    “This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today,” stated Esper.    “The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”

Iraqi security forces stand guard in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Qassim Abdul-Zahra)
    President Trump said he held Tehran “fully responsible” for the unrest and has called on the Iraqi military to help defend the embassy.
    Some troops have already deployed to the region. Others will deploy in stages over the next several days.
    14,000 U.S. troops remain deployed in the gulf region amid attacks on commercial shipping routes on the waterway.
An Iraqi soldier stands guard in front of smoke rising from a fire set by pro-Iranian militiamen and their
supporters in the U.S. embassy compound, Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

1/1/2020 French hardline union calls for more pension protests by OAN Newsroom
Demonstrators march with banners and union flags during a protest against pension
reform plans in Paris, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Protesters in France are advocating for more strikes amid plans to reform the country’s pension system.    The leader of prominent labor union ‘La CGT’ is urging all workers to join the demonstrations this week.
    The new year also brought the second month of strikes as protesters pushed back against the French president’s single system pension plan.    The protests have yet to change his goals.
    He reiterated his position on pension reform in a New Year’s Eve address earlier this week.
    “Calm should always win against conflict.    To calm down does not mean to give up, but to respect each other regardless of disagreements.    My only guide is and will be the interest of our country, our capacity to guarantee the best pensions for our elders and the defense of those who don’t always have it easy, to have their voices heard, meaning our children.” – Emmanuel Macron, President of France
    Macron said he believes a compromise can be made with union workers while still implementing his plans.
Metro workers march with during a protest against pension reform plans in Paris, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

1/1/2020 Secy. of State Pompeo says U.S. will hold Iran accountable for bad behavior by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a statement on Iraq and Syria, at President Donald Trump’s
Mar-a-Lago property, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration has no plans to evacuate the Baghdad embassy or pull troops out of Iraq. During an interview, Pompeo responded to Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
    He said the administration is committed to pushing back against the Islamic Republic of Iran and creating stability in the Middle East.
    Pompeo went on to say U.S. officials have been in touch with the Iraqi president and prime minister to ensure both nations work collectively to protect American facilities.    He added the U.S. will continue to put real pressure on Iran and hold them accountable for any “malign” activity.
    The secretary has also chosen to hold off on an upcoming trip to Europe and the Middle East following the attack.    State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus confirmed the move on Wednesday.    She said he needed to stay in D.C. to “continue monitoring the situation in Iraq.”
    Pompeo was scheduled to embark on a tour through several European and Middle Eastern countries, including Ukraine, Cyprus, Belarus and Uzbekistan.
Ortagus said the trip will be rescheduled in the near future, but did not say when that would be.

1/1/2020 Giuliani: I would testify in Senate impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks to reporters as he arrives for a New Year’s Eve
party hosted by President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago property, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is saying he would be willing to testify in the Senate’s upcoming impeachment trial.    Giuliani confirmed the news while speaking to reporters at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on New Year’s Eve.
    He went on to say he would love to try the case because it would allow him to conduct demonstrations, give lectures and provide summations.    At this time, Giuliani is not expected to be a part of the president’s impeachment defense team.
    This came after Sen. Lindsey Graham invited Giuliani to come before the Senate to testify on what he found during his fact-finding mission to Ukraine with One America’s Chanel Rion.    During a recent interview, Graham said he would be glad to talk with Giuliani so he can tell Congress what the attorney uncovered during his trip.     In recent weeks, Giuliani traveled to Europe, alongside the One America News investigative team, to gather documents and testimonies from top Ukrainian officials.
    He has been putting together a report on Biden family corruption in Ukraine.    He said Joe Biden used his title as Vice President to protect his son Hunter’s scheme to launder millions of dollars in dirty money from Ukraine into the U.S.

    The Senate impeachment trial is expected to begin sometime in January.
[On OAN Newsroom 1:51 PM PT — Sunday, December 15, 2019 see this article Related: "Sen. Graham Invites Rudy Giuliani To Testify About Ukraine Trip With OAN," which if they brought all the Ukranians involved to the Senate impeachemnt and let them tell their truths then Trump would be aquitted and Joe Biden would be in prison, and the Obama administration would be disgraced forever.]

1/2/2020 Oil and DOW closed for New Year’s day.

[BELOW IS THE FAKE NEWS VERSION OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE AS THE DEEP STATE IS GETTING DESPERATE IN 2020 AND AS YOU CAN SEE BELOW IS THEY CONSISTENTELY PRINT THAT EVEN THOUGH HALF OF THE COUNTRY HAS SEEN THE VIDEO OF JOE BIDEN GETTING THE PROSECUTOR FIRED OR THEY WOULD NOT GET THE ONE BILLION DOLLARS WHICH QUID PRO JOE KEEPS DENYING.]
1/2/2020 Giuliani willing to testify at trial - Says he would ‘love to try’ impeachment case by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said he would be willing to testify in a Senate impeachment trial if asked and would “love to try the case” if given the opportunity.
    “I would testify.    I would do demonstrations.    I’d give lectures.    I’d give summations,” Giuliani said Tuesday night when asked about the possibility during a New Year’s Eve celebration at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
    “Or, I’d do what I do best: I’d try the case. I’d love to try the case,” he said.    “I don’t know if anybody would have the courage to give me the case, but if you give me the case, I will prosecute it as a racketeering case, which I kind of invented anyway.”    The former prosecutor said it had been 30 years since he tried such a case, “but let’s see if I can still do it.”
    Giuliani has been at the center of allegations that Trump used military aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into investigating an energy company, Burisma Holdings, that placed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, on its board.    Democrats say Trump wanted Ukraine to announce it was investigating Burisma in an effort to taint Biden, a leading candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. Trump and his supporters say the effort was solely about rooting out corruption.
    Giuliani has traveled to Ukraine and met with officials and other figures in search of evidence that the Bidens acted corruptly.    Democrats accuse the former New York mayor of conducting “shadow diplomacy” in Ukraine aimed at benefiting the president politically.
    Last month, the Democratic-controlled House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump stemming from his Ukraine dealings.    The impeachment process did not stop Giuliani from returning to Ukraine.    In media appearances since that trip, Giuliani has claimed he obtained damning evidence but has provided scant details.
    Despite Giuliani’s allegations, investigators in Ukraine and the U.S. have not found evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Bidens, though many commentators have questioned the wisdom and propriety of Hunter Biden, who has no energy experience, taking the lucrative position on the Burisma board
.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCalif., has yet to send the articles of impeachment to the Republican-led Senate, which will handle the trial, because she says she is concerned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will not allow what she considers a fair process.
    Perhaps the largest question hanging over the Senate trial is whether witnesses will be called to testify.    Democrats have said they would like to call several current and former Trump administration officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify.    Trump and Giuliani have said the Bidens should be among the witnesses.
    It was unclear if Giuliani meant he would like to lead the prosecution or defense when he said Tuesday that he would “love to try the case.”    Presumably, he was not offering to lead a racketeering case against the president, who is his client.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, speaks as he arrives for a New Year's
celebration at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday. JIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

1/2/2020 U.S. shale producers to tap brakes in 2020 after years of rapid growth by Jennifer Hiller and Liz Hampton
FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019.
Picture taken February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
    HOUSTON (Reuters) – Vastly slower U.S. oil growth this year and the prospect of a plateau for the world’s top oil producer have signaled a new and unfamiliar era of self-restraint for the go-go shale industry.
    Spending cuts and production declines common to shale wells mean U.S. output growth is expected to brake from 2019’s pace that pushed domestic production past 13 million barrels per day (bpd).    Some analyst forecasts for next year call for growth to slow, potentially to a rate of just 100,000 new bpd.
    Over the latest decade, the shale revolution turned the United States into the world’s largest crude producer and a force in energy exports.    Yet the revolution did not translate to higher stock prices.    The S&P 500 Energy sector only gained 6% for the decade, far less than the 180% return for the broader stock market.
    The decade-long oil expansion failed to boost profits, which has discouraged investors.    The shale industry was squeezed by an OPEC price war that began in 2014, sending U.S. crude prices below $30 per barrel at one point.
    Production temporarily slowed, but accelerated into the end of the decade as companies cut costs and grew more efficient.    Now, with investor returns flagging, the industry no longer believes in drilling its way to success even at higher prices.
    “The drumbeat has been loud and uniform from investors,” said Parsley Energy Chief Executive Officer Matt Gallagher.    The shale producer’s spending next year will drop about 15% and will not rise even if oil prices do, instead using higher returns to pay down debt, he said.
    Graphic: U.S. drilling rigs at work https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7870/7852/shale1.png
    “We had to be a competitive and profitable business, not just recover resource at all cost,” said Gallagher of the industry’s shift in thinking.    Parsley started paying a quarterly dividend for the first time in September.
    Analysts currently expect U.S. crude oil to average around $58 per barrel in 2020, which would represent a modest pullback from current levels.
    Yet even if oil prices were to remain above $60 a barrel next year, analysts say it will not spur another production spurt because of the pressure for returns.    Despite U.S. and international crude prices gaining 26% and 26%, respectively, the S&P 500 Energy Index [.SPNY] rose less than 8% in 2019.
    “Our view is that (rapid growth) is kind of over,” said Raoul LeBlanc, an energy analyst with consultancy IHS Markit.    Because oil output from shale drops off quickly, wells require constant, costly drilling to keep production levels steady.
    In Texas, home of the Permian Basin shale field, the finishing touches to coax a well to produce, called completions, fell 16% though November, according to the state’s energy regulator.    Hiring in the Permian also dropped sharply in late 2019, according to career website LinkedIn.
    As shale’s outlook cools, the only oil producers maintaining annual Permian growth rates near 40% are giants Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp and some private operators, said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at consultancy Rystad Energy.
    Morgan Stanley noted in early December that publicly traded shale companies’ output growth was just 460,000 bpd for the 12 months ending in September, compared with 1.3 million bpd for the 12 months before that.
    Graphic: Fewer new jobs in top U.S. shale patch signal end of hiring boom https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7873/7855/shale4.png
    Financing for new production has been sharply limited.    Private equity firms that funded explorers and profited by selling to rivals now must nurture these operations for the long haul, said Adam Waterous, chief executive of private equity firm Waterous Energy Fund.
    “In 50 years of investment in oil and gas investment that has never been seen before,” Waterous said at a December investment conference in Houston.    The change has investors in a state that resembles the five stages of grief, he joked.
    U.S. producers are “still going to need another year or two to get free cash flow yields up to levels that are competitive,” said Rob Thummel, portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital, which owns shares in shale producers’ Concho Resources Inc , Diamondback Energy Inc and Pioneer Natural Resources Co.
.     Graphic: U.S. producers’ greater efficiency keeps oil output rising amid cutbacks https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/7872/7854/shale3.png
(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston and Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by David Gregorio)

1/2/2020 President Trump signs bill to end the backlog in testing rape kits
File – President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
    The nation’s Justice Department can now help states process untested rape kits, and also offer quicker solutions to sexual assault cases.    This is now possible thanks to the newly authorized Debbie Smith Act, which pledged more than $150 million to the cause.
    It comes as many state governments grapple with the backlog of more than 100,000 rape kits.    This means none of those kits have undergone DNA testing, and the cases remain unsolved.    That’s why White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is calling this bill a win for survivors, who may soon see sexual predators get hauled off in handcuffs.
    “It makes a difference with the amount of kits that can be tested quicker and more readily, so victims can have the response that they need and also for those cases to move even smoother through the criminal justice system,” said Carol Messam-Gordon, program coordinator for Palm Beach County Victim Services and Certified Rape Crisis Center.
    Authorities have suggested that state governments act fast because the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases could prevent survivors from pressing charges even if the rape kit identifies the correct culprit.
    According to reports, the Debbie Smith Act and the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Grant Program produced more than 40-percent of DNA matches since 2005.    It’s why some sexual assault survivors suggest people may be discouraged from reporting sexual abuse if evidence shows the criminal justice system is ineffective on the issue.
    “I am also a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” stated Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.).    “Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time.”
    At the same time, reports say states such as Maryland just put laws on books requiring authorities to submit every single rape kit for testing.
FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks at a
Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

1/2/2020 Baltimore records second deadliest year with 348 homicides in 2019 by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In a Sunday, April 28, 2019 file photo, Baltimore police forensics officers place evidence markers next to bullet
casings while investigating the scene of a shooting in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP, File)
    “It’s been a difficult year for everyone who loves Baltimore.    There’s been far too much violence, far too much pain, far too much mourning.” — Commissioner Michael Harrison, Baltimore Police Department
    The city of Baltimore ended the year with record breaking homicide rates. According to data compiled by the Baltimore Sun, the major city broke its annual per capita homicide record after reaching 348 killings in 2019.    35 of those killings happened in December alone.
    With roughly 600,000 residents, Baltimore had set a grim record of 57 killings per 100,000 people.    By contrast, Chicago’s homicide rate fell for the third consecutive year.    Baltimore’s new homicide rate is second only to 1993 when the city suffered 353 killings, but also had more than 100,000 additional people during that time.
    In response to the escalating violence, the Baltimore Police Department said it’s focused on arresting more killers and clearing more homicide cases.    Police officials say clearing additional cases would help get those responsible off the streets and deter others from violent crimes.
    “When we only treat symptoms and never deal with root cause issues, violence, like a disease, builds resistance — it gets stronger and becomes difficult to eradicate,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.    “We must continue to focus on the city’s most violent criminals who are responsible for the mass majority of the violent crimes that are being committed.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announces support for a pilot program that uses surveillance planes over
the city to combat crime on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
    Police also called on other officials in the city to act toward diminishing violent crimes around the major city of Maryland.    At the same time, the city’s law enforcement is grateful for a slew of recent grants from state and federal partners.    Officials say there will be significant additional resources in 2020, including increased police presence as well as improved technology.

1/2/2020 Trump, Erdogan agree on need for de-escalation in Idlib, Syria -White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan pose for a family photo during the annual
NATO heads of government summit at the Grove Hotel in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Pool
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the need to de-escalate tensions in Idlib, Syria, the White House said on Thursday, a day after eight people were killed in a Syrian missile strike in the province.
    “The leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation in Idlib, Syria, in order to protect civilians,” the White House said in a statement.
    At least eight people were killed on Wednesday when the Syrian army launched missiles that struck a shelter for displaced families in the country’s northwest, witnesses and residents said.
    Five children were among those killed in the strike on a disused school in the town of Sarmin in Idlib province, two medics said, adding over 16 people were injured.
    The school building was being used by families fleeing a Russian-backed bombing campaign in Idlib, the last opposition bastion in the northwest.
    The Russian-led campaign that started in April 2019 had already forced at least 500,000 people to leave for areas closer to the border with Turkey, which Russian jets rarely hit.
    Rescue services and witnesses say the bombing campaign has killed several thousand civilians.
    Trump spoke out last week against the “carnage” in Idlib.    Moscow and Damascus deny claims of indiscriminate bombing of civilians, saying they are fighting jihadist militants.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Diane Craft and Andrea Ricci)

1/2/2019 U.S. defense secretary urges North Korea to negotiate on denuclearization
FILE PHOTO: A view of the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test that was successfully launched
is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang
November 30, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday said the United States still sees a political agreement on denuclearization as the best path forward on North Korea, but that American forces remained prepared to fight if necessary.
    “We would urge restraint by Kim Jong Un,” Esper said in an interview on Fox News.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

1/2/2019 U.S. sees signs Iran or allies may be planning more attacks: Pentagon chief by Idrees Ali
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria,
at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday there were indications Iran or forces it backs may be planning additional attacks, warning that the “game has changed” and it was possible the United States might have to take preemptive action to protect American lives.
    “There are some indications out there that they may be planning additional attacks, that is nothing new … we’ve seen this for two or three months now,” Esper told reporters.
    “If that happens then we will act and by the way, if we get word of attacks or some type indication, we will take preemptive action as well to protect American forces to protect American lives.”
    Iranian-backed demonstrators who hurled rocks at the U.S. embassy in two days of protests withdrew on Wednesday after Washington dispatched extra troops.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, who faces a re-election campaign in 2020, accused Iran of orchestrating the violence.    He threatened on Tuesday to retaliate against Iran but said later he did not want war.
    The unrest outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad followed U.S. air raids on Sunday against bases of the Tehran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group.    Washington said the air strikes, which killed 25 people, were in retaliation for missile attacks that killed a U.S. contractor in northern Iraq last week.
    The protests marked a new turn in the shadow war between Washington and Tehran playing out across the Middle East.
    “The game has changed and we are prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel and our interests and our partners in the region,” Esper said.
    During the same press briefing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said there had been a sustained campaign by Kataib Hezbollah against U.S. personnel since at least October and the missile attack in northern Iraq was designed to kill.
    “Thirty-one rockets aren’t designed as a warning shot, that is designed to inflict damage and kill,” Milley said.
    He said that it was highly unlikely anyone could overrun the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and if they did, they would run into a “buzzsaw.”
    The United States sent 750 troops to Kuwait earlier this week and U.S. officials have told Reuters that about 3,000 additional troops could be sent to the region in the coming days.
    Milley said additional troops had been alerted but a decision had not yet been on deploying them.    Since May, the United States has dispatched about 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.
    In his 2016 campaign, Trump promised to extract the United States from “endless wars.”
IRAN-BACKED FORCES
    In a statement, Esper said the demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad were carried out by Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia, saying leaders were seen in the crowd and some members showed up wearing their uniforms.
    He said the series of rocket attacks on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were being directed by the “Iranian regime” and specifically Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leadership.
    The Iraqi government has attempted to integrate paramilitary organizations into it’s armed forces.
    Esper said he had not seen the Iraqi government take sufficient action on stopping Iran-backed groups from carrying out attacks on U.S. forces and Baghdad needs to double down on efforts to bring the groups under their control.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

1/2/2020 Pentagon: U.S. air strike kills commander of Iran backed Quds Force by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary
Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
    The Pentagon has confirmed the commander of the Iranian-backed terror group Quds Force is dead.    In a statement, the Defense Department said Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. air strike near the airport in Baghdad on Thursday.
    The Pentagon said Soleimani was one of the leaders who was behind recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other U.S. military bases across Iraq.
    Defense officials said his death will prevent future attacks on U.S. interests.
This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport
following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
    The head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces was also killed in the strike.    Separate reports claimed U.S. marines arrested two other pro-Iranian leaders, including Badr Organization Commander Hadi al-Amiri.     Shortly after the news broke, President Trump tweeted out a picture of the American flag.
    Sen. Lindsey Graham thanked the president for “standing up for America.”
    Sen. Tom Cotton also weighed in, stating that Soleimani “got what he richly deserved.”
    In 2019, the State Department designated Quds Force, which is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization.
    “The IRGC FTO designation highlights that Iran is an outlaw regime that uses terrorism as a key tool of statecraft and that the IRGC, part of Iran’s official military, has engaged in terrorist activity or terrorism since its inception 40 years ago,” read the Department of State’s April fact sheet.    “The Iranian regime has made a clear choice not only to fund and equip, but also to fuel terrorism, violence and unrest across the Middle East and around the world at the expense of its own people.”
    Map shows airstrikes on U.S. embassy and airport in Baghdad.

1/2/2020 Ex-FBI Deputy McCabe admits to media leaks, obstructing probe by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this June 7, 2017, file photo, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee
hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is apologizing to a bureau investigator after coming clean about a media leak.    Newly released documents showed McCabe admitted to misleading investigators during an August 2017 interview.     He was questioned about two media leaks on the same day James Comey was fired.    McCabe was reportedly asked if he knew how FBI information ended up in a 2016 article by The Wall Street Journal about the Clinton Foundation.    He initially denied knowing about the leak, but he walked back his claim in a follow-up interview.
    The DOJ watchdog later found that McCabe had directed FBI lawyer Lisa Page to share the information he had publicly denied.
    “I’ve said from the very beginning I absolutely reject that report, because I never intentionally mislead anyone about anything,” said McCabe.    “I will not stand up and claim that I’ve done something I didn’t do.”
    According to FBI documents, McCabe was blamed for sidetracking the bureau’s work by one of the agents conducting the interview.
    McCabe has since sued the FBI and DOJ over his firing.
[The characters who were knee deep in the FISA court abuse are all starting to come forward to try to adjust there claims against what is coming when the Durham report and charges comes out and Barr will annonce it.]

1/2/2020 Sen. Hawley to file motion to dismiss articles of impeachment by OAN Newsroom
FILE – IN this Jan 15, 2019 file photo, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questions Attorney General nominee William Barr
during a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
    Sen. Josh Hawley is planning to introduce a new measure aimed at dismissing articles of impeachment against the president.    In a string of Thursday tweets, Hawley said Democrats “don’t want to have a trial because they have no evidence.”
    He added when the prosecution stalls on a case, it usually gets dismissed.    The senator went on to say he will introduce the measure on Monday in an effort to “expose Dems’ circus for what it is: a fake impeachment (and) abuse of the Constitution.”
    After receiving some backlash for his comments, Hawley argued the Senate “has sole power to try impeachment cases.”    He suggested the Senate update its rules to deal with House Democrats’ “bogus articles” of impeachment.
    The Senate impeachment trial is expected to begin sometime this month, but the articles of impeachment have yet to be released from the House of Representatives

1/2/2020 Economist: Phase One trade deal is step in the right direction by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this June 29, 2019, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump poses for a photo with Chinese President
Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
    JPMorgan’s former Chief Economist is saying the Phase One U.S.-China trade deal is a “step in the right direction.”    On Wednesday, Anthony Chan said the agreement shows the world’s two largest economies are willing to work with each other.
    “It gives credence to the view that both sides are certainly trying to engage each other and reduce those trade tensions, which is the right way to go,” said Chan.
    His remarks came shortly after President Trump posted a tweet, which announced his plan to sign the “large and comprehensive” deal later this month.
    The deal is expected to cover issues such as intellectual property rights, technology, food and financial services.
    Chan went on to say the president’s talk of future phases may indicate the U.S. will be scaling back on tariffs sooner rather than later.

1/2/2020 President Trump holds phone call with Turkish President by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    According to a statement released by the White House, President Trump spoke with his Turkish counterpart over the phone on Thursday.    The pair reportedly discussed the situation in Libya after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan cleared the way to send troops to defend the country’s capital against an insurgency.
    “The leaders discussed bilateral and regional issues.    President Trump pointed out that foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya.    The leaders agreed on the need for deescalation in Idlib, Syria, in order to protect civilians.” – Hogan Gidley, U.S. Deputy Press Secretary
    Erdogan also reportedly offered his condolences for the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and said he was happy the situation ended without bloodshed.    The two leaders last met on the sidelines of December’s NATO summit in London, where they discussed security along the Syrian border.
    Thursday morning’s correspondence came just after the Turkish parliament voted to send troops to Libya to help defend the region’s Government of National Accord.    The Libyan government has been under attack by General Khalifa Haftar’s opposition forces, which have invaded various communities in the region.
People gather in the the market in the city of Saraqeb in the Idlib countryside after an
air strike by Syrian aircraft on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/ Ghaith al-Sayed)
    The Turkish president is struggling to prevent a new wave of Syrian migrants from closing in on the country’s borders.    On Thursday, Erdogan said several thousand migrants had fled northwestern Syria in an effort to seek refuge from Russian-Syrian coalition forces.
    Turkey is currently hosting more than 3 million Syrians, which is the largest refugee population in the world.     “Right now, 200,000 to 250,000 people are moving towards our borders,” said President Erdogan.    “Right now, we are trying to prevent them with some reciprocal measures, but it’s not easy…they are humans too.”
    Despite his concern, Erdogan said he has refused to put up barriers or barbed wire to protect his nation’s borders.

1/2/2020 U.S. legislation on spread of cyber tools passes after Reuters investigation by Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman
FILE PHOTO: A man types on a computer keyboard in this illustration picture taken February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Newly passed legislation will push the U.S. State Department to disclose how it polices the sale of cyber tools and services abroad.
    The move followed a Reuters investigation which revealed that American intelligence contractors clandestinely assisted a foreign spying operation in the United Arab Emirates, helping the monarchy to crack down on internal dissent.
    The legislation directs the State Department to report to Congress within 90 days on how it controls the spread of cyber tools and to disclose any action it has taken to punish companies for violating its policies.
    Under U.S. law, companies selling hacking products or services to foreign governments must first obtain permission from the State Department.
    U.S. lawmakers and human rights advocates have grown increasingly concerned that hacking skills developed for U.S. spy services are being sold abroad with scant oversight.
    “Just as we regulate the export of missiles and guns to foreign countries, we need to properly supervise the sale of cyber capabilities,” said congressman Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, who drafted the legislation.
    The provision was a result of a Reuters investigation, congressional staffers said, which showed U.S. defense contractors ran a hacking unit in the UAE called Project Raven and that the State Department granted permission to three companies to assist the Emirati government in surveillance.
    A State Department spokesman declined to comment.    The agency previously said human rights concerns are carefully weighed before such licenses are issued but declined to comment on the authorizations granted for Project Raven.
    The UAE Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.    In response to Reuters reporting, a senior Emirati official last year said the country possessed a “cyber capability” that it needed to protect itself.
    The new reporting guideline was part of the State Department’s 2020 budget bill signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20.
    For Reuters special reports on Project Raven, see https://tinyurl.com/y9qnsbs4 and https://tinyurl.com/rc9ytrd
    The UAE program used former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) operatives to target foreign rivals, human rights activists, and journalists, the Reuters reporting found.
    While the secret Emirati hacking unit was initially created to help the country fight terrorism, the Reuters investigation revealed that it quickly became a tool for the monarchy to crack down on internal dissent.    Reuters found the clandestine program helped local security forces track activists, who were sometimes later tortured.
    Reuters reporting also showed how the State Department granted permission to three companies – U.S. consulting firm Good Harbor, cybersecurity company CyberPoint International, and defense contractor SRA International – to assist the Emirati government in surveillance operations.
    CyberPoint and Good Harbor did not immediately respond to requests for comment.    General Dynamics, which now owns SRA, declined to comment.
    Good Harbor and CyberPoint have previously told Reuters that their companies obtained proper permissions from the State Department and followed all U.S. laws.
    “This report will help Congress ensure these sales are advancing our foreign policy goals, especially in light of recent reports alleging human rights abuses,” said Ruppersberger, whose district is home to the NSA.
(Reporting by Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman; Editing by Kieran Murray and Rosalba O’Brien)

1/3/2020 Oil down $0.12 to $61.18, DOW up 330 to 28,869 for another big record.

[AMERICA FIRST - AMERICA FIRST - AMERICA FIRST - AMERICA FIRST - AMERICA FIRST]
1/3/2020 Analyst: Assassination of Soleimani is ‘very bold move’ by President Trump by OAN Newsroom
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims shout anti American and anti Israel slogans during a protest against U.S. airstrike in Iraq
that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, seen in the photographs, at Magam
37 kilometers (23 miles) north of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
    A U.K. analyst is calling the U.S. airstrike, which killed Iran’s top general, a “very bold move” by President Trump.    While speaking in London Friday, Director General of the Royal U.S. Institute Karen von Hippel weighed in on the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    She said he has been a target for sometime now.
    Von Hippel went on to say Soleimani has been responsible for the killings of many U.S. troops, and was the mastermind behind Iranian policy in the region.    However, she added that it’s not clear if the president has “thought through all the consequences of this action.”    The analyst said she believes President Trump “thinks tactically” and uses bold military maneuvers that former President Obama would never have used.
    “Trump has felt that the U.S. troops in Iraq…are helping the U.S. strategically go after Iran to prevent Iran from taking over this region, and so that could be one unintended consequence of Trump’s move…their removal could jeopardize this,” Von Hippel explained.    “He has had a target, a bull’s eye, on his head for some time now…it is a big deal because he is, you know, the senior most official that the U.S. have been after in Iran.”
President Donald Trump speaks during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military
at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Since the move, Iran has vowed vengeance on the U.S. This is sparking fears of all-out war, which other countries like the U.K. fear they could be dragged into.    This comes as spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps condemned the attack Friday, saying the temporary joy of the Americans will soon turn into grief.
    “We, at the IRGC, were saddened after we heard this news, but our will to take revenge from the criminal U.S. and occupying Zionists will become stronger,” stated Iranian spokesperson and General Ramezan Sharif.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also condemned the airstrike, and promised to retaliate for what he called a “heinous crime.”

1/3/2020 Democrat lawmakers challenge President Trump’s military authority, following Soleimani’s assassination by OAN Newsroom
File – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.,
right, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman
Richard Neal, D-Mass., second from left, in a private room on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ ANDREW HARNIK)
    Democrat lawmakers are criticizing the Trump administration for not consulting with Congress before the recent assassination of an Iranian general.    In a statement released Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded that the White House brief the full Congress on the airstrike as well as detail their plan moving forward.
    Pelosi went on to say the assassination was not authorized by Congress and that it has now provoked a “further dangerous escalation of violence” in the region.    She claimed the move further endangered American lives.    Other Democrat lawmakers have called on their colleagues to quickly act against the president’s military powers to stop the possibility of another war in the Middle East.
    Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are showing support for the president’s recent military decisions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Iranian General Qasem Soleimani is dead because he miscalculated the president’s commitment to prevent future attacks.    During an interview Friday, he stated the U.S. had reason to believe Soleimani was “orchestrating chaos” in Iraq and throughout the region.    The South Carolina lawmaker went on to say that his assassination stopped these plans from playing out.
    Graham also mentioned he was not surprised of the military leader’s death since he was informed about the potential operation earlier this week, while visiting President Trump at his Florida golf resort.    He advised that the president continue his maximum pressure campaign on Iran by placing economic targets on its oil industry.
Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction of their headquarters in the aftermath of a
U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. The Iranian-backed militia said Monday that the death toll from
U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria against its fighters has risen to 25, vowing to exact revenge for the “aggression of evil American ravens.” (AP Photo)
[PELOSI SINCE OBAMA DID OVER 2,000 DRONE STRIKES WITHOUT CONGRESS APPROVAL INCUDING WAR ON LIBYA AND GHADAFFI.    I WOULD SAY TRUMP DOES NOT NEED YOUR APPROVAL EITHER.    SO STUFF YOUR COMMENTS WHERE THE SUN DOES NOT SHINE AND GET THE DEMOCRATS WITH THE PROGRAM IF THEY WANT TO BE RE-ELECTED.].

1/3/2020 President Trump: Iran has never won a war, but never lost a negotiation! by OAN Newsroom
FILE – President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump says
Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the target of a Friday U.S. airstrike in Iraq was “plotting to kill” many Americans. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    President Trump issued his first statement in response to the U.S. airstrike, which killed a top Iranian general.    He took to Twitter Friday to say, “Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!
    This comes as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Ahamenei vowed “harsh retaliation” against the U.S. after General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike near the airport in Baghdad.    The killing is drawing a mixed response from Iraqis as both the U.S. and Iraq evaluate the fallout of the incident.
    The Pentagon said Soleimani was one of the leaders who was behind recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as well as other U.S. military bases across Iraq.    Defense officials said his death will prevent future attacks on U.S. interests.
    The State Department designated the Quds Force, which is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization in 2019.
    “The IRGC FTO designation highlights that Iran is an outlaw regime that uses terrorism as a key tool of statecraft and that the IRGC, part of Iran’s official military, has engaged in terrorist activity or terrorism since its inception 40 years ago,” read the Department of State’s April fact sheet.    “The Iranian regime has made a clear choice not only to fund and equip, but also to fuel terrorism, violence and unrest across the Middle East and around the world at the expense of its own people.”
    Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader has named a new chief to lead the Quds Forces after the death of its top general. Esmail Qaani is now taking over the second most powerful position in Iran.    This comes less than 24-hours after the death of Soleimani.
    According to reports, Qaani previously served as deputy commander of the Quds Force.    He has been a long-time Iranian state militant, and reportedly took part in weapons smuggling as well as terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Lebanon.
This undated photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, shows Maj. Gen. Esmail Ghaani. Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later on Friday appointed Qassem Soleimani’s deputy, Maj. Gen. Esmail Ghaani as the new commander of the
Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force. Soleimani was killed in the U.S. airstrike in Iraq. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

1/3/2020 More than 200 Congress members sign amicus brief asking to overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade by OAN Newsroom
FILE – The U.S. Supreme Court is seen at near sunset in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
    A petition gaining support in Congress is calling for Roe v. Wade to be reconsidered.    Over 200 lawmakers, including two Democrats, have reportedly signed an amicus brief led by Rep. Steve Scalise in a Louisiana abortion case set to be heard by the Supreme Court this spring.
    In their petition lawmakers are advising the court to take up Roe v. Wade again and, if appropriate, should overrule the entire case.    The document claims the right to abortion is “unworkable” and that the ruling has set a precedent, which has proven “radically unsettled.”    The Supreme Court made Roe v. Wade law in a landmark 1973 ruling, deeming restrictive state regulation of abortion unconstitutional.br>
    The new petition seeks to grant legal control over abortion to the states.    The measure reflects a law brought-forth by Louisiana lawmakers in 2014, requiring doctors be given “admitting privileges” before performing an abortion.
    “The pro-choice side is saying that’s too restrictive…the pro-life side is saying, actually it’s good to know a doctor has these admitting privileges because that means he’s been checked out by the hospital, that means he’s not grossly incompetent or has something horrible in his record.” explained Paul Strand, Washington, D.C. journalist.
    Critics also suggest the bill is designed to close abortion clinics altogether.    This comes after the nation’s highest court turned down an identical bill in Texas in 2016 after claiming the law imposed an “undue burden” on women’s rights.
    Louisiana’s proposal will be the first abortion case presented to justices since President Trump added two Republican justices to the bench.    Hearings are expected to be held in March.

1/3/2020 Democratic White House contenders condemn Trump’s strike against Iranian commander, warn of war by John Whitesides and Simon Lewis
A man holds a banner depicting late Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed
in a U.S. airstrike Near Baghdad, at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon January 3, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contenders on Friday condemned the air strike that killed prominent Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, saying President Donald Trump’s decision was reckless and could lead the United States to another war in the Middle East.
    The candidates, vying for the right to challenge Trump in the November 2020 election, questioned whether the president had a broader strategy in dealing with Iran, and used the action to highlight their approach to dealing with foreign adversaries.
    “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.
    At a campaign event in Dubuque, Iowa, he added that no American would mourn Soleimani’s death but “the prospect of direct conflict with Iran is greater than it has ever been.”
    Liberal U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has consistently opposed U.S. military intervention overseas, said the move “brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”
    The overnight attack against the general, regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran, was a dramatic escalation of hostilities in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike aimed to disrupt an “imminent attack” that would have endangered Americans in the Middle East.    But it was a risky gamble for Trump, who has criticized longstanding U.S. entanglements in the region and promised to end “endless wars.”
    Republicans said the move was a sign Trump – who was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last month and faces a Senate trial on charges he abused his office and obstructed Congress – was restoring American strength and leadership.
    “At a time when the president is under impeachment by the Democrats, there’s nothing wrong with him showing strength and resolve in the face of a foreign threat,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, who is close to the White House.
    Democrats said it was another troubling indication of Trump’s erratic approach to foreign policy.
    “We’re on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East,” said liberal U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.    “We’re not here by accident.    We’re here because a reckless president, his allies and his administration have spent years pushing us here.”
    Many of the Democratic White House candidates, who will face voters for the first time in a month when Iowa kicks off the state-by-state nominating battle on Feb. 3, pounced on the strike to emphasize their own foreign policy philosophies and credentials.
    Biden, a former chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee who emphasizes his foreign policy experience, released a 30-second online ad on Friday calling Trump “an erratic, unstable president” and portraying himself as “someone tested and trusted around the world.”
    Sanders mentioned in his statement his 2002 vote against authorizing war in Iraq, which he frequently uses as a contrast to Biden, who backed the war.
    Biden, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and other Democrats made clear in their statements that they viewed Soleimani as a threat, but Warren, Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang did not mention the Iranian commander.
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

1/3/2020 Soleimani was Iran’s celebrity soldier, spearhead in Middle East by Babak Dehghanpisheh
FILE PHOTO: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani walks near an armoured vehicle at the frontline during offensive
operations against Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba in Salahuddin province March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
    (Reuters) – Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the top commander of the elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, helped Iran fight proxy wars across the Middle East by inspiring militias on the battlefield and negotiating with political leaders.
    His death on Friday in a U.S. air strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport marked the end of a man who was a celebrity at home and closely watched by the United States, Israel and Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia.
    The Pentagon said the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
    Soleimani was responsible for clandestine overseas operations and was often seen on battlefields guiding Iraqi Shi’ite groups in the war against Islamic State.
    He was killed along with top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.    Both men were seen as heroes in Iran’s fight against its enemies and state television heaped them with praise shortly after their deaths were announced.
    The television showed footage of him with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and in war zones in military garb, including as a young high-school graduate commanding a unit in Iran’s war with Iraq in the 1980s.
    After that, he rose rapidly through the ranks of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to become chief of the Quds Force, a post in which he helped Iran form alliances in the Middle East as it came under pressure from U.S. sanctions that have devastated the Islamic Republic’s economy.
    The United States designated the Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization in 2019, part of a campaign of maximum pressure to force Iran to negotiate on its ballistic missile program and nuclear policy.
    Soleimani had a pointed reply: any negotiation with the U.S. would be surrender.”
    Soleimani’s Quds Force shored up support for Syrian President Bashir al-Assad when he looked close to defeat in the civil war raging since 2011 and also helped militiamen defeat Islamic State in Iraq.
    Its successes have made Soleimani instrumental to the steady spreading of Iran’s clout in the Middle East, which the United States and Tehran’s regional foes Saudi Arabia and Israel have struggled to keep in check.
    Khamenei made Soleimani head of the Quds Force in 1998, a position in which he kept a low profile for years while he strengthened Iran’s ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad’s government, and Shi’ite militia groups in Iraq.
    In the past few years, he has acquired a more public standing, with fighters and commanders in Iraq and Syria posting images on social media of him on the battlefield, his beard and hair always impeccably trimmed.
WE ARE CLOSE TO YOU
    Soleimani’s growing authority within Iran’s military establishment was apparent in 2019 when Khamenei awarded him the Order of Zolfiqar medal, Iran’s highest military honor.    It was the first time any commander had received the medal since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979.
    In a statement after Soleimani’s death, Khamenei said harsh revenge awaited the “criminals” who killed him.    His death, though bitter, would double the motivation of the resistance against the United States and Israel, the Iranian leader said.
    “Soleimani is … not a man working in an office.    He goes to the front to inspect the troops and see the fighting,” a former senior Iraqi official, who asked not to be identified, said in an interview in 2014.
    “His chain of command is only the Supreme Leader.    He needs money, gets money.    Needs munitions, gets munitions.    Needs material, gets material,” the former Iraqi official said.
    Soleimani was also in charge of intelligence gathering and covert military operations carried out by the Quds Force and in 2018 he publicly challenged U.S. President Donald Trump.
    “I’m telling you Mr. Trump the gambler, I’m telling you, know that we are close to you in that place you don’t think we are,” said Soleimani, seen wagging an admonishing finger in a video clip distributed online.
    “You will start the war but we will end it,” he said, with a checkered keffiya draped across the shoulders of his olive uniform.
GETS WHAT HE WANTS
    Softly-spoken, Soleimani came from humble beginnings, born into an agricultural family in the town of Rabor in southeast Iran on March 11, 1957.
    At 13, he traveled to the town of Kerman and got a construction job to help his father pay back loans, according to a first person account from Soleimani posted by Defa Press, a site focused on the history of Iran’s eight year war with Iraq.
    When the revolution to oust the Shah began in 1978, Soleimani was working for the municipal water department in Kerman and organized demonstrations against the monarch.
    He volunteered for the Revolutionary Guards and, after war with Iraq broke out in 1980, quickly rose through the ranks and went on to battle drug smugglers on the border with Afghanistan.
    “Soleimani is a great listener.    He does not impose himself.    But he always gets what he wants,” said another Iraqi official, adding that he can be intimidating.
    At the height of the civil war between Sunni and Shi’ite militants in Iraq in 2007, the U.S. military accused the Quds Force of supplying improvised explosive devices to Shi’ite militants which led to the death of many American soldiers.
    Soleimani played such a pivotal role in Iraq’s security through various militia groups that General David Petraeus, the overall head of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time, sent messages to him through Iraqi officials, according to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks.
    After a referendum on independence in the Kurdish north in 2017, Soleimani issued a warning to Kurdish leaders which led to a withdrawal of fighters from contested areas and allowed central government forces to reassert their control.
    He was arguably even more influential in Syria.    His visit to Moscow in the summer of 2015 was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian-Russian alliance in support of Assad.
    His activities had made him a repeated target of the U.S. Treasury: Soleimani was sanctioned by the United States for the Quds Force’s support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other armed groups, for his role in Syria’s crackdown against protesters and his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
    Soleimani’s success in advancing Iran’s agenda had also put him in the crosshairs of regional foes Saudi Arabia and Israel.
    Top Saudi intelligence officials looked into the possibility of assassinating Soleimani in 2017, according to a report in the New York Times in 2018.    A Saudi government spokesman declined to comment, the Times reported, but Israeli military officials publicly discussed the possibility of targeting him.
(Editing by Michael Georgy, Philippa Fletcher and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

1/3/2019 Trump does not have authority to go to war with Iran: Schumer
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds his weekly news conference
at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate said on Friday that President Donald Trump does not have the authority to go to war with Iran without congressional authorization, and said he should have consulted with top congressional leaders before the U.S. killed a top Iranian commander.
    “It is my view that the president does not have the authority for a war with Iran,” Senator Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.    “If he plans a large increase in troops and potential hostility over a longer time, the administration will require congressional approval and the approval of the American people.”
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
[If that is true Shumer why didn’t you stop Obama from killing Ghaddafi in Libya as he declared war on him without Congress’ approval so stuff your comments where the sun does not shine.    Obama killing of Ghaddafi resulted in the Ben Ghazi massacre that Obama and Hillary did not do anything and that event was the beginning of creation of ISIS.    At least Trump is doing something, such as stop the ISIS caliphate in Syria and take out three terrorists.]

1/3/2020 President Trump: Soleimani strike to stop a war, not start one by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on Iran, at his Mar-a-Lago property,
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is calling the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani a “flawless strike” on the “number one terrorist anywhere in the world.”    During a Friday news conference, the president said Soleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on American diplomats and personnel.
    However, the general was “caught in the act” and terminated.
    The president said for years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard forces and the Quds Force have targeted and injured American troops.    He said Soleimani’s death should have come long ago.
    “Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities, and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over,” stated President Trump.
    He noted the action taken against Soleimani was to stop a war, not start one.    He also called on the ruling Iranian regime to end the use of proxy fighters in order to destabilize their neighboring nations.
    “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.    I have deep respect for the Iranian people.    We do not seek a regime change.    However, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end now.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

1/3/2020 Report: At least 5 dead after airstrike targeted Iranian militia in Baghdad by OAN Newsroom
Iraqi security forces stand guard in front of the headquarters of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the
Popular Mobilization Forces, PMF, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
    At least five people were killed on Friday after an airstrike hit a medical convoy just north of Baghdad.    Iraqi officials said two vehicles were targeted near Camp Taji, which were carrying a convoy of medics with the Popular Mobilization Forces.
    Three others were also critically wounded.    As of now, none of the victims have been identified.
    The Pentagon has not confirmed whether it conducted this latest airstrike. However, some reports cited anonymous officials, who claimed the U.S. did not carry out the attack.
    This new attack came a day after the group’s leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the airstrike that eliminated General Qasem Soleimani.
FILE – In this May 29, 2016, file photo, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis listens to a question
during an interview in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
    This is developing news.    Please check back later for updates.

1/3/2020 Sen. Sanders, Rep. Khanna introduce bill to block President Trump from taking action against Iran by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign event,
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Two Democrat lawmakers have drawn up legislation to block the Trump administration from taking further action against Iran without approval from Congress.    Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna introduced the measure on Friday, which would restrict funding for any military action against Iran.
    This same kind of legislation was left out of the National Defense Authorization Act last month after it initially passed the House.
FILE – In this April 2, 2018 file photo, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., gestures during a
campaign kickoff rally in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
    Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine also introduced a separate bill on the same day, which would require any hostilities against Iran to be authorized by a congressional declaration of war.
    Kaine went on to say the administration has brought America “to the brink of another war.”
    “Soleimani was a despicable killer, but this drastic escalation of hostilities, waging a military attack on Iraqi soil over the objections of that country and without congressional authorization, will increase the threat to American troops, diplomats, and families in the region,” he said.    “(President) Trump’s decision to tear up a diplomatic deal that was working and resume escalating aggression with Iran has brought us to the brink of another war in the Middle East.”
[Kaine you should of woke Hillary up from her beauty sleep and made her send troops to Ben Ghazi to save them and by the way did Obama get permission to attack Osama?].

1/3/2020 Rep. Gallagher: Iran’s most dangerous warrior off the battlefield by OAN Newsroom
Photo of Rep. Mike Gallagher, via Congressional Pictorial Directory.
    Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher said President Trump took a “measured” approach by ordering the strike on Gen. Soleimani.    During a Friday interview, the Republican lawmaker said the president has taken Iran’s most dangerous warrior off the battlefield.
    Gallagher went on to say the strike was a “defensive action” meant to cripple a larger attack before it happened.    When asked if he thought the decision endangered U.S. service members in the Middle East, the congressman said not acting to eliminate Soleimani would have been more dangerous.
    “I would argue it’s the Iranians that have been escalating,” he said.    “I would argue further that it is inaction that is the most provocative.”
    Gallagher said the strike sent a clear message to the Iranian regime.
    “We established a clear red line of: don’t kill Americans, and if you do, we will respond.    We have enforced that red line.    President     Trump has absolutely made the right call here.    He has sent a simple and strong signal that if you kill Americans, we will kill you.” – Mike Gallagher, U.S. Representative (R-WI 8th District)
    On Thursday, Gallagher said he believed Iran has been lashing out at the U.S. more frequently due to pressure from crippling economic sanctions.

1/3/2020 Reports: U.S. to deploy over 3K additional troops to the Middle East by OAN Newsroom
American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
    The U.S. is planning to deploy over 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    Reports detailed the move on Friday, citing several defense officials and one military official.
    The U.S. is reportedly sending 3,500 additional troops to “serve as a response to threats throughout the region.”    The reinforcements will come from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division.    They will be deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and other parts of the region.
    “As previously announced, the Immediate Response Force brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was alerted to prepare for deployment and are now being deployed,” read a statement from the Pentagon.    “The brigade will deploy to Kuwait as an appropriate and precautionary action, in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities.”
Iraqi army soldiers are deployed in front of the U.S. embassy, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
    This came after a terrorist attack on Baghdad’s U.S. Embassy earlier this week.    The Defense Department released a video on Friday, which showed U.S. Marines holding rifles and wearing ammunition vests outside the compound.
    Army General Mark Milley said any attempts to storm the embassy would be similar to running into a “buzz saw.”    He added the U.S. will strike again to prevent further attacks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, listens as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper delivers a statement on Iraq and
Syria at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    This came after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced the deployment of 750 additional troops on Tuesday.
    “This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad,” stated Esper.    “The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”
    14,000 U.S. troops remain deployed in the gulf region amid attacks on commercial shipping routes on the waterway.

1/4/2020 Oil up $1.82 to $63.00, DOW down 234 to 28,635.

1/4/2020 States appeal to high court on Obamacare by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – In a move that could put the Obama-era health law squarely in the middle of the 2020 election, Democratic-led states Friday asked the Supreme Court for a fasttrack review of a recent court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest.
    A coalition of 20 states led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a petition seeking expedited review.    They hope to get a Supreme Court hearing and decision by this summer, before the November elections.    For the court to agree to such a timetable would be unusual, but not unprecedented.
    Defenders of the Affordable Care Act are arguing that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or years in lower courts, and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law’s now toothless requirement that Americans have health insurance.
    There was no immediate reaction from the Trump administration.

1/4/2020 Court wrestles with subpoena for former White House aide by Mark Sherman, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Federal appellate judges are wrestling with whether courts should be refereeing a dispute between the House of Representatives and the Trump administration over the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, even in the face of what one judge called the White House’s “broad-scale defiance of congressional investigation.”
    A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments Friday over the House Judiciary Committee’s effort to compel McGahn’s testimony.    The administration appealed after a trial judge rejected its broad claim that close advisers to President Donald Trump have immunity from congressional subpoenas for their testimony.
    Judge Thomas Griffith, an appointee of President George W. Bush, pressed tough questions on both sides Friday, describing Trump’s directive not to cooperate with congressional investigations as “broad-scale defiance” that is possibly unprecedented in U.S. history.    Even so, Griffith wondered whether courts should get in the middle of a political dispute between the other two branches of government, especially when Congress has other powers available, including cutting off appropriations, stopping the confirmation of judges, even impeachment.    “That’s what the separation of powers means,” he said.
    The committee wants McGahn’s testimony as it examines potential obstruction of justice by the Republican president during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.    But it has held open the possibility that McGahn’s testimony could be important in impeachment, even though the two articles of impeachment adopted last month by the House focus on Ukraine and events that occurred after McGahn left his White House post.
    Even if McGahn shows up at the committee, it’s unclear whether he would have much to say.    Trump could assert executive privilege over some matters, though he allowed McGahn to talk extensively to Mueller’s investigators.
    “What happens then?    You’re back here?” Griffith said.
    The other two judges on the panel are Judith Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, and Karen Henderson, appointed by President George H.W. Bush.
    Rogers seemed likely to side with the House. Henderson had only a few questions, although she indicated McGahn might have a strong interest in saying little to the committee to protect his conversations with Trump, his former client.
    Democrats on the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn well before the start this fall of an impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s request to Ukraine’s president that he investigate Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son, as well as an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory alleging Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
    The Justice Department has asked the appeals court to dismiss the case, saying there’s no reason for judges to become involved in a political dispute.
    The department also said the need for resolving the case is less urgent now that the House has moved ahead with impeachment articles even without McGahn’s testimony.
Former White House counsel Don McGahn had been subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee,
but did not because the Trump administration claimed immunity. JACQUELYN MARTIN/AP

1/4/2019 Washington D.C. ramps up security following Iran’s threat of ‘harsh retaliation’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2017, file photo, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
    Washington D.C. is reportedly ramping up security in light of increased tension with Iran.    Friday reports said the nation’s capital has upgraded security while local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security are monitoring events closely.
    D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging the public to contact law enforcement about any suspicious activity.    She has also assured the community there are no immediate threats.

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei meets family of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
    This came after Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of “harsh retaliation” against the U.S. following the killing of one of Iran’s top security generals, Qasem Soleimani.
    A spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps condemned the attack on Friday, saying the temporary joy of the Americans will soon turn into grief.
    “We at the IRGC were saddened after we heard this news,” stated Gen. Ramezan Sharif.    “But our will to take revenge from the criminal U.S. and occupying Zionists will become stronger.”
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also condemned the airstrike and promised to retaliate for what he called a “heinous crime.”    On Saturday, he visited Soleimani’s family and promised “everyone will take revenge” for America’s “grave mistake.”
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, second
right, meets family of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
    Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Europe for not being “as helpful as it could be” in the midst of international tensions.    On Friday, Pompeo said he spent the last two days seeking assistance from British, French and German allies.
    He claimed the countries “need to understand” that recent efforts in the Middle East “saved their lives” as well as American lives.    The majority of officials, including French President Emmanuel Macron are urging the U.S. to act with “restraint.”

1/4/2020 NATO’s training mission against ISIS suspended in Iraq by OAN Newsroom
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks with reporters on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    NATO has suspended its training mission in Iraq following a U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. On Saturday, officials said the training mission, which was aimed at teaching Iraqi forces how to prevent the Islamic State from regaining strength, has been temporarily halted.
    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly been keeping in touch with Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the latest developments in the region.
    This came after Iran pledged revenge against the U.S. following the assassination of Soleimani.    Thousands attended his funeral in Karbala, Iraq on Saturday.    Protesters have also taken to the streets of Tehran to condemn the Pentagon’s assassination of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard general.

Protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, Saturday Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
    The Iranian Ambassador to the UN condemned the airstrike on Friday, saying that it was “an act of war, on the part of the United States, against the Iranian people.”
    “Last night, they opened a new chapter (in their) attack against the Iranians by assassinating one of our most beloved generals,” stated Majid Takht-Ravanchi.    “I do not believe the U.S. took an action to stop a war because the plan for the assassination of General Soleimani was in the making for quite some time.”

1/4/2020 U.S. denies responsibility for second airstrike in Iraq by OAN Newsroom
Iraqi security forces stand guard in front of the headquarters of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the
Popular Mobilization Forces, PMF, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
    A U.S. led military coalition is saying the U.S. was not responsible for the latest airstrike in Iraq.
    On Saturday, officials from Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) spoke out about a recent airstrike, which hit northern Baghdad on Friday night.    This coalition, which is led by the Defense Department, is a joint task force made up of U.S., Syrian and Iraqi personnel.    Their goal is the investigation and defeat of all terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
    The potentially Iranian-backed airstrike landed near Camp Taji, an Iraqi military base that frequently houses counterterrorism forces and U.S. personnel. At least six people were reportedly killed and several were wounded.
    Iraqi state media blamed U.S. forces for the attack.    The Iraqi military and OIR have denied any role in the matter.
    “The Coalition did not conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji in recent days,” stated OIR spokesman Col. Myles Caggins III.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport
following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
    This new attack came days after a U.S. airstrike eliminated General Qasem Soleimani, who was said to be the “number one terrorist anywhere in the world.”

1/4/2020 Clashes break out at Paris protest against pension reform by Sudip Kar-Gupta
Protesters wear Guy Fawkes and Salvador Dali masks as they attend a demonstration during the 31st consecutive day of
strike against French government's pensions reform plans in Paris, France, January 4, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    PARIS (Reuters) – Police on Saturday fired tear gas at demonstrators in Paris’s busy Gare du Nord station, used by tourists taking the Eurostar service, and at the Gare de l’Est, during demonstrations against plans to reform France’s pension system.
    The demonstrators, who set fire to rubbish bins, included “Yellow Vests” anti-government activists, whose name is derived from the high-visibility jackets worn at their protests.
    Police also used tear gas in Paris’s Bastille area, as demonstrators marched through the city.
    President Emmanuel Macron has said reforms are essential to simplify the convoluted pensions system, but his opponents say they will mean many French people having to work for longer.
    “People have to think a bit about what kind of society they want in general and, on a more personal level, whether you’re 20, 30, 40 or 50, one day you’ll retire,” said Jean-Gabriel Maheo, an industrial technician who said he was in his 50s.
    “If the currently proposed system passes in the way it is laid out, it will be a social catastrophe.    Already, the previous reforms are seeing people retire with measly pensions,” added Maheo, taking part in the Paris demonstration.
    Much of France has been crippled by a national transport strike since the pensions protests began a month ago.    Another big nationwide demonstration is due on Jan. 9.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Pascale Antonie; additional reporting by Bertrand Boucey; Editing by James Drummond)

1/4/2020 American strike in Iraq prompts anti-war protests in U.S. cities by Jan Wolfe
People take part in an anti-war protest amid increased tensions between the United States
and Iran at Times Square in New York, U.S., January 4, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Groups of protesters took to the streets in Washington and other U.S. cities on Saturday to condemn the air strike in Iraq ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Trump’s decision to send about 3,000 more troops to the Middle East.
    “No justice, no peace. U.S. out of the Middle East,” hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the White House before marching to the Trump International Hotel a few blocks away.
    Similar protests were held in New York, Chicago and other cities.    Organizers at Code Pink, a women-led anti-war group, said protests were scheduled on Saturday in numerous U.S. cities and towns.
    Protesters in Washington held signs that read “No war or sanctions on Iran!” and “U.S. troops out of Iraq!
    Speakers at the Washington event included actress and activist Jane Fonda, who last year was arrested at a climate change protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
    “The younger people here should know that all of the wars fought since you were born have been fought over oil,” Fonda, 82, told the crowd, adding that “we can’t anymore lose lives and kill people and ruin an environment because of oil.”
    “Going to a march doesn’t do a lot, but at least I can come out and say something: that I’m opposed to this stuff,” said protestor Steve Lane of Bethesda, Maryland.    “And maybe if enough people do the same thing, he (Trump) will listen.”
    Soleimani, regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran, was killed in the U.S. strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport on Friday in a dramatic escalation of hostilities in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies.
    Public opinion polls show Americans in general have been opposed to U.S. military interventions overseas.    A survey last year by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found 27% of Americans believe military interventions make the United States safer, and nearly half said they make the country less safe.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Will Dunham)

1/4/2020 Inside the plot by Iran’s Soleimani to attack U.S. forces in Iraq by Reuters staff
FILE PHOTO: Iranian demonstrators react during a protest against the killing of the Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of
the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, in
front of United Nations office in Tehran, Iran January 3, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo
    (Reuters) – In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad.
    The Revolutionary Guards commander instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters.
    The strategy session, which has not been previously reported, came as mass protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq were gaining momentum, putting the Islamic Republic in an unwelcome spotlight.    Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect that rising anger toward the United States, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi’ite politicians and government officials close to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
    Soleimani’s efforts ended up provoking the U.S. attack on Friday that killed him and Muhandis, marking a major escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran.    The two men died in air strikes on their convoy at a Baghdad airport as they headed to the capital, dealing a major blow to the Islamic Republic and the Iraqi paramilitary groups it supports.
    Interviews with the Iraqi security sources and Shi’ite militia commanders offer a rare glimpse of how Soleimani operated in Iraq, which he once told a Reuters reporter he knew like the back of his hand.
    Two weeks before the October meeting, Soleimani ordered Iranian Revolutionary Guards to move more sophisticated weapons – such as Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters – to Iraq through two border crossings, the militia commanders and Iraqi security sources told Reuters.
    At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries – unknown to the United States – who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases.    He ordered Kataib Hezbollah – a force founded by Muhandis and trained in Iran – to direct the new plan, said the militia sources briefed on the meetings.
    Soleimani told them such a group “would be difficult to detect by the Americans,” one of the militia sources told Reuters.
    Before the attacks, the U.S. intelligence community had reason to believe that Soleimani was involved in “late stage” planning to strike Americans in multiple countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, U.S. officials told Reuters Friday on condition of anonymity.    One senior U.S. official said Soleimani had supplied advanced weaponry to Kataib Hezbollah.
    White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters on Friday that Soleimani had just come from Damascus, “where he was planning attacks on American soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors and against our diplomats.”
    An official at the headquarters of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards declined to comment.    A spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry was not available for comment.
PICKING U.S. TARGETS WITH DRONES
    The United States has grown increasingly concerned about Iran’s influence over the ruling elite in Iraq, which has been beset for months by protesters who accuse the government of enriching itself and serving the interests of foreign powers, especially Iran, as Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs or basic services.
    Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was instrumental in expanding Iran’s military influence in the Middle East as the operative who handles clandestine operations outside Iran.    The 62-year-old general was regarded as the second-most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    Muhandis, a former Iraqi lawmaker, oversaw Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella grouping of paramilitary forces mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.
    Muhandis, like Soleimani, had long been on the radar of the United States, which had declared Muhandis a terrorist.    In 2007, a Kuwaiti court sentenced him to death in absentia for his involvement in the 1983 U.S. and French embassy bombings in Kuwait.
    Soleimani picked Kataib Hezbollah to lead the attacks on U.S. forces in the region because it had the capability to use drones to scout targets for Katyusha rocket attacks, one of the militia commanders told Reuters.    Among the weapons that Soleimani’s forces supplied to its Iraqi militia allies last fall was a drone Iran had developed that could elude radar systems, the militia commanders said.
    Kataib Hezbollah used the drones to gather aerial footage of locations where U.S. troops were deployed, according to two Iraqi security officials who monitor the movements of militias.
    On December 11, a senior U.S. military official said attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were increasing and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.
    His warning came two days after four Katyusha rockets struck a base near Baghdad international airport, wounding five members of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service.    No group claimed responsibility for the attack but a U.S. military official said intelligence and forensic analyses of the rockets and launchers pointed to Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia groups, notably Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
    On Dec. 27 more than 30 rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base near the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk.    The attack killed a U.S. civilian contractor and wounded four American and two Iraq servicemen.
    Washington accused Kataib Hezbollah of carrying out the attack, an allegation it denied.    The United States then launched air strikes two days later against the militia, killing at least 25 militia fighters and wounding 55.
    The attacks sparked two days of violent protests by supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups who stormed the U.S. Embassy’s perimeter and hurled rocks, prompting Washington to dispatch extra troops to the region and threaten reprisals against Tehran.
    On Thursday – the day before the attack that killed Soleimani – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned that the United States might have to take preemptive action to protect American lives from expected attacks by Iran-backed militias.
    “The game has changed,” he said.
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Brian Thevenot)

1/4/2020 White House expects Iranian response in coming weeks by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at
King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    As tensions increase, the White House said it is expecting Iran to retaliate sooner rather than later.    The Trump administration has reportedly notified Congress that it’s anticipating Iran to respond to the killing of one of its top leaders in the coming weeks.
    Officials said Iran’s possible targets could include Iranian proxy actors such as Hezbollah, U.S. allies in the Middle East and U.S. bases in the region.
    President Trump issued a warning to the country on Saturday, saying Iran “will be hit very fast and very hard” if it attacks Americans or U.S. assets.
    He also noted that his administration has targeted 52 Iranian sites for potential future strikes, should the country choose to retaliate.

A soldier dons his gear Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 at Fort Bragg, N.C., as troops from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne are deployed to the
Middle East as reinforcements in the volatile aftermath of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
    This came after an Iranian senior commander said his country will punish Americans wherever they’re within reach.    He said the country has identified 35 U.S. targets that the country is considering attacking.    This list included Tel Aviv and American ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
    “The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West, a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there,” stated Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh.    “Vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago…some 35 U.S. targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach.”
    He said Iran reserves the right to take revenge against the U.S. for killing General Qasem Soleimani.
Protesters demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, Saturday Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

1/4/2020 DHS Secy. gives departments two weeks to provide plans to protect faith communities across U.S. by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2019, file photo, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, walks after a conference with
interior ministers of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in Guatemala City. (AP Photo/ Oliver de Ros, File)
    The acting head of Homeland Security has directed the agency to ramp up plans to protect houses of worship in America.    In an internal memo sent Thursday, acting Secretary Chad Wolf gave department heads 14 days to review the recent recommendations from the DHS Security Advisory Counsel.
    Following the review, departments are expected to provide their plans to implement those security recommendations.
    The committee completed a report on the vulnerability of faith communities two weeks prior to the recent attacks.
FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2018, file photo, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, right, of Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation
hugs Rabbi Cheryl Klein, left, of Dor Hadash Congregation and Rabbi Jonathan Perlman during a community gathering
held in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
    Amid the rise of attacks on Jewish and Christian communities across the nation, one Texas police officer is taking additional measures to help the faithful feel safe.    In a series of tweets from the Fort Worth Police Department, the agency said Chief Ed Kraus has authorized, and is encouraging, officers to attend church services in full police uniform.
    The department said the move was to help reassure congregants and serve as a deterrent to any individuals plotting an attack on houses of worship.    The chief has also authorized officers to wear their uniforms during services outside of city limits, saying threats against these communities are not defined by city limits.
    However, the department has asked officers to first speak with their respective church leaders about showing up in uniform.
    Fort Worth Police Department was one of the law enforcement agencies that responded to the shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ on Sunday, December 29th.    A gunman opened fire during the church service, killing two church members before being fatally shot by another parishioner.
    Authorities said the incident could have been much worse had church members not acted quickly and not had a security plan in place.    While some congregations allow for the open carry of firearms by licensed and authorized persons, including law enforcement officers, other faith communities have declared themselves gun free zones.
Police and fire departments surround the scene of a shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ
in White Settlement, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (Yffy Yossifor/Star-Telegram via AP)

1/5/2020 Dems: No funding without approval by Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
    With tensions rising between the United States and Iran after the killing of top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation on Friday that would block funding for any military action “in or against Iran” without congressional authorization.
    The sponsors, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., represent some of the most progressive wings of the Senate and House of Representatives.
    “Today, we are seeing a dangerous escalation that brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East,” the lawmakers said in a statement.    “A war with Iran could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars and lead to even more deaths, more conflict, more displacement in that already highly volatile region of the world.”
    Framing their bill in terms of socioeconomic inequality, Sanders and Khanna urged their fellow lawmakers to pass their legislation because “We know that it will ultimately be the children of working-class families who will have to fight and die in a new Middle East conflict – not the children of the billionaire class.”
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said late Thursday the world “cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”
[After seeing the Progressive Liberal Democrat idiots in Congress trying to pass this law its no wonder that Mitch McConnell in the Senate has held up many of the bills that Congress has passed because they are so biased and totally in violation of the Separation of the Powers.].

1/5/2020 Democrats draft resolution to limit President Trump’s war powers by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump arrives for an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus
International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    Senate Democrats are seeking to curb President Trump’s war powers in retaliation for his initiation of the drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
    Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tim Kaine are cosponsoring a resolution that would force the administration to withdraw all troops from Iran, unless Congress itself declares war.
    “I will file a resolution, pursuant to the War Powers Act of 1974, to try to force Congress to have a debate about whether or not it is in the United States’ best interest to be in a war with Iran,” stated Durbin.    “We can’t let the president make this decision on his own.”
    Sen. Chuck Schumer touched on the issue in a weekend interview, where he exploded on the president and accused him of acting on impulse.
    “Congress and I will do everything I can to assert our authority.    We do not need this president…impulsively getting us into a major war.    The reason the Founding Fathers said Congress had to okay it is because that’s a check on a president who is doing so many wrong things.” – Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Minority Leader
An anti-war rally is hosted by United Activists of Fort Wayne Indiana and Fort Wayne for Peace to protest
for peace and diplomacy in response to the latest U.S. airstrike of Iraqis, at the Allen County Courthouse
in Fort Wayne, Ind., Saturday, Jan. 4th, 2020. (Katie Fyfe/The Journal-Gazette via AP)
    Lawmakers on the left fear Soleimani’s death will trigger a major military clash.    The House is planning to force a vote in the Senate.    Since the War Powers resolution is privileged, the full Congress will have to vote on the initiative, even if only one chamber supports Kaine’s resolution.
    The president will likely veto the measure once it reaches his desk.    Democrats are not expected to have the two-thirds majority needed in both chambers to override that veto.
    Many Republicans have come out in support of the president and have said he was justified in making the drone strike against Soleimani.    Democrats, on the other hand, have claimed President Trump has not given a satisfactory legal justification for the strike.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s setting up a classified briefing to go over the details of the strike sometime next week.
This photo provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
walk as they prepare equipment and load aircraft bound for the U.S. Central Command area of operations
from Fort Bragg, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (Spc. Hubert Delany III/U.S. Army via AP)

1/5/2020 Solidarity March against anti-Semitism draws thousands in New York by OAN Newsroom
People march across the Brooklyn Bridge in solidarity with the Jewish community after recent string of anti-semitic
attacks throughout the greater New York area, on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
    Thousands of people took part in Sunday’s Solidarity March against anti-Semitism in New York.    While speaking at the demonstration, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo denounced recent anti-Semitic attacks as repugnant acts of “racism,” “hate” and “terrorism.”
    “It is domestic terrorism,” he said.    “These are terrorists and should be punished as such.”
    Cuomo went on to say these attacks against Jewish communities are anti-American. He thanked the thousands of demonstrators for their “support and love” in the face of the city’s recent tragedies.     “I’m heartened to see this amazing show of support and solidarity.    Literally, over 10,000 people have shown up to show support and love for the Jewish community.    That’s New York at her best.” – Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
    He pledged $45 million in state funding for impacted communities and launched a discrimination hotline to curb the rising wave of anti-Semitism in New York.
Betsy Rentz of Philadelphia, left, and Marion S. Mishkin of Manhattan, right, cheer as they listen to speakers during a solidarity
rally against anti-Semitism at Cadman Plaza, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Brooklyn, New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)

1/5/2020 Pompeo defends U.S. killing of Iranian as Democrats ask ‘Why now?’ by Doina Chiacu and Daphne Psaledakis
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on human rights in Iran
at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, as Democratic lawmakers questioned whether the action was justified and the United States braced for retaliation.
    Democrats in Congress said it was not clear why the Iranian military leader, long seen as a threat by U.S. authorities, had to be killed now.    They said Trump does not have the authority to go to war without congressional approval, and that his actions put the country at greater risk.
    Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress have generally backed his decision.
    Pompeo, Trump’s top diplomat and a trusted adviser, made the administration’s case during multiple television interviews on Sunday, saying there was “no skepticism” among senior U.S. leaders who had access to all the intelligence on Friday’s targeted killing.
    He deflected questions about the “imminent attack” he had cited on Friday as justification for the strike, and described the threat posed by Soleimani as long-term and wide-ranging.
    “We would have been culpably negligent had we not taken this action,” Pompeo said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    “It’s never one thing. … It’s never one moment.    It’s never one instance,” he said.    “It’s a full situational awareness of risk and analysis.”
    U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Soleimani had been plotting against the United States for decades and that lawmakers had not received enough information on the alleged threat to convince him the killing was warranted.
    “So the question is, why now?” he asked on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
    “I don’t think the intelligence supports the conclusion that killing a top Iranian official is going to either stop (the) plotting or improve American security.”
    Pompeo repeatedly said Soleimani’s killing made Americans safer, but he also tallied the steps the United States is taking to guard against Iranian retaliation, including warning Americans to leave the region, boosting the U.S. military presence and shoring up cybersecurity systems.
LONG-RUNNING HOSTILITIES
    The attack that killed Soleimani at Baghdad airport took long-running hostilities between Washington and Tehran into uncharted territory and raised the specter of wider conflict in the Middle East.
    Senator Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in November’s presidential election, noted the strike came as Trump faced a Senate trial after his impeachment by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
    Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Trump’s “taunting tweets” to Iran did not help de-escalate tensions, a stated goal of the Trump administration.
    In a series of Twitter warnings to Iran on Saturday, Trump said Washington had identified 52 targets, including some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” that would be hit hard and fast if Tehran attacked Americans or U.S. assets.
    Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said he was not yet convinced there was an imminent threat that justified the strike.
    “I accept the notion that there was a real threat.    The question of how imminent is something that I need more information on,” Warner told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    “We do not need this president either bumbling or impulsively getting us into a major war,” added Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, on ABC’s “This Week.”
    Pompeo said intelligence justifying the Soleimani strike has been shared with leaders in Congress and he expects they will be briefed again this week.    He bolstered Trump’s promise to respond forcefully to any Iranian attack.
    “We’ve told the Iranian regime: enough.    You can’t get away with using proxy forces and think your homeland will be safe and secure.    We’re going to respond against the actual decision-makers – the people who are causing this threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said on ABC.
    In a statement on Saturday, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the strike was “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate.”    She said a classified notification lawmakers received on Saturday prompted “serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran.”
    White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Saturday the operation was legal and that Justice Department lawyers had signed off on it.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Daphne Psaledakis and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Gareth Jones and Daniel Wallis)

1/6/2020 Trump doubts North Korea leader will break promises on denuclearization
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump makes a speech to evangelical supporters in Miami, Florida, U.S., January 3, 2020. REUTERS/Eva Marie Uzcategui
    ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he did not expect North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to break his promise about denuclearization, but conceded that he might.
    Kim Jong Un said last week there were no longer grounds for Pyongyang to be bound by a self-declared moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb testing and that a “new strategic weapon” would be introduced in the near future.
    “I don’t think he’d break his word to me, but maybe he will,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington after a two-week stay in Florida.
    Trump – who in 2018 became the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader – said after Kim’s comments that the North Korean leader had signed a denuclearization contract and Trump thought Kim was a “man of his word.”
    Last month, Pyongyang warned Washington of a possible “Christmas gift” after Kim gave the United States until the end of the year to propose new concessions in talks over his country’s nuclear arsenal.
    Speaking with reporters last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said the alert status of American forces was at a sufficient level to respond to anything that happens and military defensive capabilities were adequate to defend the United States.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

1/6/2020 Conway says airstrike critics sound like they’re defending Soleimani and attacking President Trump by OAN Newsroom
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters at the White House, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    According to Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, the White House got over appeasing the president’s critics a long time ago. She went on to slam lawmakers who are criticizing the strike on Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
    While speaking to reporters Mondya, Conway said Congress will be briefed in due course, but lawmakers should “celebrate” and not “denigrate” the killing of the Iranian.    She also said the president did what a responsible and strong commander-in-chief should do when faced with the opportunity to take out one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
    Conway then called out lawmakers for appearing to defend Soleimani:
    “Prove to Congress?    You think that they’ll be satisfied?    They sound like they’re defending Soleimani and attacking this president, and that’s on them.    I’m a little tired of the hero worship of whoever the president has taken out…what happened when he took out al Baghdadi?    I don’t like the way he had his press conference.    Who the hell cares already?    Is the guy dead or is he not?    Is he a coward who blew himself up as we were advancing on him and killing his own children?    Or was he not?"
    Conway also pointed out people who usually don’t support the president, such as former Democrat Sen. Joe Liebermann, have said he was “lawful” and “constitutional” in what he did.

1/6/2020 Michael Avenatti fails to narrow Nike indictment; U.S. judge cites Cosby case by Jonathan Stempel
FILE PHOTO: Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at United States Court in the
New York City borough of Manhattan, New York, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday rejected Michael Avenatti’s bid to dismiss two of the three counts in an indictment accusing the celebrity lawyer of trying to extort Nike Inc by threatening to reveal its alleged improper payments to college basketball recruits.
    Citing an alleged extortion of comedian Bill Cosby in the late 1990s, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan said prosecutors could try to prove that Avenatti engaged in wrongful conduct by threatening Nike with economic and reputational harm unless it paid him millions of dollars.
    Gardephe also called it premature to dismiss as vague the two counts, alleging extortion and transmitting interstate communications with intent to extort.
    Avenatti is also charged with honest services wire fraud against his client, youth basketball coach Gary Franklin, by concealing how Nike had offered to settle so long as it did not have to hire and pay Avenatti to probe the alleged payments.
    Lawyers for Avenatti did not immediately respond to requests for comment.    A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan declined to comment.
    Avenatti, 48, became famous representing porn star Stormy Daniels and becoming an antagonist of U.S. President Donald Trump.
    He faces a scheduled Jan. 21 trial after pleading not guilty to illegally demanding up to $25 million from Nike last March in exchange for not publicizing the basketball payments, and being hired for the internal probe.    Nike has denied wrongdoing.
    In letting the case proceed, Gardephe cited the 1997 conviction of Autumn Jackson for trying to extort $40 million from Cosby in exchange for not revealing she was his illegitimate child.
    Cosby disputed that claim, but admitted to having an affair with Jackson’s mother, and had quietly made payments to help her and put Jackson through college.
    Jackson was sentenced to 26 months in prison. Cosby is serving a three- to 10-year prison sentence following his 2018 sexual assault conviction.
    Gardephe said conduct becomes wrongful when people to threaten economic loss or reputational harm to obtain property to which they are not entitled.
    Prosecutors alleged that money Avenatti sought for himself was separate from the $1.5 million he sought for Franklin.
    “While Avenatti’s client may have been in a position to make demands to Nike, Avenatti had no right – independent of his client – to demand millions of dollars from Nike based on confidential information supplied by his client; without his client’s knowledge; and to his client’s detriment,” Gardephe said.
    Avenatti has also pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Manhattan that he cheated Daniels out of proceeds from a book contract, and in California that he defrauded clients out of millions of dollars.
    The case is U.S. v. Avenatti, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00373.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Paul Simao and Matthew Lewis)

1/6/2020 Europeans set to toughen Iran response over nuclear violations: diplomats by Robin Emmott and John Irish
FILE PHOTO: Members of the media and officials tour the water nuclear reactor at
Arak, Iran December 23, 2019. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
    BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) – European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal could launch a dispute resolution process this week that might lead to renewed U.N. sanctions on Tehran, European diplomats said.
    Iran took a further step back from its commitments to the 2015 pact with six world powers by announcing on Sunday that it would scrap limits on enriching uranium, though it said it would continue to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
    Its decision followed the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike.
    Iran has criticized Britain, France and Germany for failing to salvage the pact by shielding Tehran’s economy from U.S. sanctions, reimposed since 2018 when Washington pulled out of the agreement.
    Confirming an emergency meeting of the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers would take place on Friday, an EU diplomat said: “We must be ready to react to Iran’s breaches of the nuclear deal.”
    Asked whether this could mean triggering a mechanism that could result in international sanctions being reimposed on Tehran, the envoy said: “It is increasingly likely, but not yet decided.    Friday will be key.”
    Two other diplomats said France, Britain and Germany could make the decision before Friday.
    Asked whether the mechanism would be triggered, one of the diplomats said: “Not later than Friday, but yes.”
THE DEAL IS ALL BUT DEAD
    Iran, which says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, has already breached many of the restrictions under the 2015 deal, intended to increase the amount of time Tehran would need to accumulate enough fissile material for an atomic bomb from 2-3 months to about a year.
    “The vagueness of the Iran announcement makes it more necessary than ever to launch the mechanism since its whole purpose is to resolve the differences we have on this,” a third diplomat said.
    Any party to the deal that believes another is not meeting its commitments can refer the issue to a Joint Commission comprising Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers and the EU.    There would then be 15 days to resolve the differences, but the period can be extended if there is a consensus to do so.
    The process can ultimately lead to a “snapback” – the reimposition of sanctions in place under previous U.N. resolutions unless the U.N. Security Council decides otherwise.
    Diplomats have said that unless any violations by Iran cross an unacceptable threshold, the Europeans will focus on extending the process rather than pushing toward sanctions, but it is unclear what the Europeans’ breaking point would be.
    “The deal is all but dead, but we will do everything to slow and limit the (nuclear) proliferation slope that has been taken to try and save what can be saved,” said a fourth European diplomat, suggesting Europe still needed to gauge what would be the impact of any measures Iran takes most importantly on the breakout time.
(Writing by John Irish, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

1/6/2020 U.S. briefs NATO over Iran strike, avoids European criticism by Robin Emmott
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg takes part in a news conference after a meeting of the Alliance's ambassadors
over the security situation in the Middle East, in Brussels, Belgium January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – All members of the Atlantic alliance stood behind the United States in the Middle East after it briefed NATO on its drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
    Speaking after a rare NATO meeting on Iran and Iraq in which the United States briefed its allies about last Friday’s drone strike, Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation of tensions, echoing the statements of some European leaders.
    “We are united in condemning Iran’s support of a variety of different terrorist groups,” Stoltenberg said.    “At the meeting today, allies called for restraint and de-escalation.    A new conflict would be in no one’s interest.    So Iran must refrain from further violence and provocations.”
    Despite anger last year among European NATO allies over U.S. strategy in the Middle East under President Donald Trump, two diplomats present confirmed that the two-hour meeting at NATO headquarters went smoothly.
    They said that no envoy challenged U.S. State Department and Department of Defense officials, who briefed via video conference, over the merits of Friday’s drone strike.
    There was also no discussion or criticism of Trump’s list of targets, that include cultural sites, if Iran were to retaliate with attacks on Americans or U.S. assets, the diplomats said.
    The meeting, which took place on a day of huge outpouring of national grief for Soleimani in Iran, centred mainly on NATO’s decision to suspend its training mission in Iraq, after an Iraqi parliamentary resolution called on foreign troops to leave.
    While there was concern that the killing of Iran’s second-most powerful man could trigger a conflagration in the Middle East, France, Germany and others said they wanted the Iraq mission to continue.
    “It would send the wrong signal if we withdraw,” one NATO diplomat said.
    The NATO Iraq mission, made up of several hundred trainers, advisers and support staff from both countries of the 29-member alliance and non-NATO partner countries, includes military and civilian personnel.
    Established in Baghdad in October 2018 after three years of war against Islamic State militants, the mission is a non-combat “train-and-advise” mission to help Iraqi security structures and institutions fend off future insurgencies.    Its personnel do not deploy with Iraqi forces during operations.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Gareth Jones and Nick Macfie)

1/6/2020 Germany says still wants to save Iran nuclear deal
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany still wants to save Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers despite Tehran’s announcement on Sunday that it would abandon limitations on enriching uranium, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
    “That would be a further breach of the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) but not – I want to stress that – automatically the end of the agreement,” the spokesman told a regular government news conference.
    “Our goal remains to save the agreement. We are in talks on that,” he added.
(Writing by Paul Carrel, editing by Thomas Escritt)

1/6/2020 Private equity’s talent challenge: Keeping it out of the family by Chibuike Oguh
FILE PHOTO: Billionaire investor George Soros and his wife Tamiko Bolton attend
the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
    (Reuters) – Family offices, which handle the wealth of the very rich and their kin, are increasingly poaching young talent from buyout firms, challenging the private equity industry’s claim as the destination of choice for aspiring dealmakers.
    The five executive headhunting firms with the biggest market share on Wall Street – Korn Ferry, Egon Zehnder, Russell Reynolds Associates, Odgers Berndtson and Heidrick & Struggles – told Reuters they have seen a significant increase in the number of private equity professionals moving to family offices in the last five years.
    Walton Enterprises LLC, Pritzker Private Capital and Soros Fund Management LLC are among the family offices competing with private equity giants such as Blackstone Group Inc and KKR & Co Inc in the fight for talent, the headhunters say.
    A spokeswoman for Pritzker Private Capital confirmed it seeks to hire top talent from private equity firms.    Walton Enterprises, Soros Fund Management, Blackstone and KKR declined to comment.
    Some money managers making the move to family offices say they are lured by the lucrative pay that is often offered and are seeking to escape the private equity industry’s intense pace of sourcing transactions and fundraising.
    “I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial.    I had two very young children and I saw that the lifestyle of a private equity partner would not allow me to be as present in their lives as I wanted to be,” said Sarah Overbay, who manages the investment portfolio of North Island, the family office of Glenn Hutchins, a co-founder of Silver Lake Partners.
    Overbay previously spent six years working at private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co before joining Marron Capital, the family office of late financier Donald B. Marron, in 2011.    “Don offered me similar compensation to what I was making,” she said.
    Many family offices are investors in private equity funds.    The competition for talent underscores family offices’ growing ability to bypass buyout fund managers and allocate money directly to leveraged buyouts, avoiding the private equity industry’s hefty fees.
    Family offices have been poaching private equity talent by tweaking their compensation plans. Just like private equity firms, they are offer investment professionals substantial “carry economics” – the performance fees tied to investment returns – in addition to salaries and bonuses.
    The competition has been intensifying as the family office industry grew in assets under management from about $4 trillion in 2017 to $5.9 trillion this year, according to market research firm Campden Research.
    “The growth (in family office recruitment) is two-fold: there’s more wealthy families who can create investment firms, and a dissatisfaction with private equity firms,” said Joe Healy, a partner and head of the private equity practice at Korn Ferry.
BUYOUT FIRMS SWEETEN TERMS
    To be sure, the private equity industry continues to attract the bulk of aspiring dealmakers, given the relatively small size of family offices’ investing teams, executive headhunters say.    It also remains an attractive destination for many investment bankers and seasoned corporate executives.
    But even in instances where staff is not poached from buyout firms, the intensified competition for talent had raised the pressure on them to provide attractive employment terms and a desirable work-life balance, the headhunters said.
    Base salaries and vacation time in the private equity industry have been rising, while staff bonuses and long-term incentives accounted for a greater percentage of overall compensation in 2019 than in prior years, according to the 2019 Private Equity & Venture Capital Compensation Report.
    “Family offices understand that the cost of acquisition for this type of professional is high, but the return can be easily measured, and they may be more inclined to provide that type of incentive,” said David Fox, president of Northern Trust’s global family and private investment group, which oversees up to $92 billion in assets for single-family offices.
(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Dan Grebler)

1/6/2020 GOP PAC ‘WinRed’ sees a 300% jump in anti-impeachment related donations by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump arrives at W.K. Kellogg Airport to attend a campaign rally, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, in
Battle Creek, Mich., on the same day the House of Representatives voted to impeach him. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    Voters against impeachment are dishing out cash to voice their support for President Trump.    In a series of tweets Monday, GOP PAC ‘WinRed‘ announced it raised $101 million in the second half of 2019, including nearly $35 million raised after the House’s October 31st vote to begin impeachment proceedings.
    The group claims anti-impeachment-related fundraising efforts garnered 300 percent more donations when compared to its non-impeachment related fundraisers. As a result, the group said their average donation amount jumped 176 percent before the end of 2019.
    The numbers come as a welcome mark of success for the newly launched PAC, which opened in late June of last year.    The Republican National Committee and White House’s grassroots fundraising platform is advertised to be the end-all-be-all for Republican lawmakers and causes.
    The group said the ongoing impeachment process kick-started an amazing outpouring of support and momentum for the PAC.    In comparison to its Democrat rival ‘ActBlue,’ WinRed‘ raised more money in its first quarter than ‘ActBlue‘ in its first three and a half years of operation.
    In that time, ‘WinRed‘ reported it received $30 million in donations with an average contribution of $46 versus ‘ActBlue‘s’ reported $29.9 million earned between 2004 and 2008.    ‘WinRed‘s’ funds will be used to support President Trump reelection bid as well as other GOP 2020 campaigns.

1/6/2020 President Trump threatens cultural heritage sites if Iran strikes Americans or assets by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at
King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is doubling down on threats against Iran’s cultural heritage sites, which he says are at risk if the country attacks Americans.    While speaking from Air Force One Sunday, the president said Iran cannot be allowed to kill and torture Americans while the U.S. is prevented from touching these particular sites.
    On Saturday, President Trump said the U.S. has identified 52 Iranian sites that it will hit “” if Iran strikes Americans or American assets.    Iran’s foreign minister has since responded, saying targeting cultural sites is a war crime.
    The new commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said he will continue the policies of now-deceased General Qasem Soleimani and force U.S. troops out of the region.
Mourners step over a U.S. flags with pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump, under a picture of
Qasem Soleimani with Arabic that reads “We are all Soleimani and al-Muhandis.” (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed General Esmail Ghaani, who severed as Soleimani’s deputy, as the new commander of the Quds Force on Friday.
    “We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before, with the help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim at getting rid of America from the region in several steps,” said Ghaani.    “And we will continue our path towards a global rule by our Imam.”
    The new Iranian general promised revenge for the death of Soleimani.    He previously told Iranian media that President Trump’s threats against Iran will only damage America.
    Soleimani’s daughter spoke out at her father’s funeral, where she also warned of vengeance on the U.S.

1/6/2020 VP Pence praises Venezuela’s Guaido on election win
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido,who many nations have recognized as the
country's rightful interim ruler attend a meeting of the Lima Group in Bogota, Colombia, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence congratulated Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido for his re-election as head of Congress, describing Guaido as the “only legitimate president” of Venezuela, a person familiar with the matter said.
    Pence made the remarks in a 10-minute call on Monday afternoon, the source said, after Venezuela’s socialist government installed a new head of Congress, with armed troops blocking opposition legislators from entering parliament.
    Pence described the moment as “an inflection point in terms of freedom and democracy moving forward in the country,” the person said.    The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the call.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler)

1/6/2020 U.S. considering more sanctions to ratchet up pressure on Venezuela: special envoy
FILE PHOTO: United States diplomat Elliott Abrams listens during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council
called to vote on a U.S. draft resolution calling for free and fair presidential elections
in Venezuela at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is looking at additional sanctions to step up pressure on the Venezuelan government, the U.S. special envoy for the country said on Monday, after Venezuela’s ruling Socialist party moved forcefully to install a new head of Congress.
    Special envoy Elliott Abrams spoke to reporters at the U.S. State Department a day after armed troops blocked Venezuelan opposition legislators, including their leader Juan Guaido, from entering parliament.
    “We are looking at additional sanctions – personal sanctions, economic sanctions – that we think will bring more pressure yet on the regime,” Abrams said.
    In addition, he said, the U.S. Congress had allocated “a fair amount of money to help the Democratic opposition in Venezuela and we will be thinking of ways to use those funds and to try to get other countries to give support.”
    He said the United States would also try to get other countries to provide support for the opposition.
    Troops with riot shields on Sunday blocked Guaido from entering parliament for what was expected to be his re-election as head of Congress.
    Opposition legislators quickly re-elected Guaido – who is recognized by dozens of nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader – in a session at the headquarters of a pro-opposition newspaper.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Tom Brown)

1/7/2020 Oil up $0.22 to $63.27, DOW up 69 to 28,703.

1/7/2020 Between U.S. and Iran, EU powers try mediation and pressure to ease crisis by Luke Baker, John Irish and Robin Emmott
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo
    LONDON/PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany, Britain and France are scrambling to keep talks with Iran over its 2015 nuclear agreement alive despite Tehran having all but torn up the deal after the United States killed its top military commander.
    In its first formal response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad airport, Iran said on Sunday it would abandon limits on its enrichment of uranium, further breaching a central component of the deal it struck with six major powers.
    Since Iran did not say how far it would take enrichment while reaffirming cooperation with U.N. inspectors monitoring its nuclear activity, European Union officials found positive elements in the statement and the potential for de-escalation.
    At the same time, EU foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on Friday to discuss ways to save the deal via pressure if necessary, a step that could lead to the reimposition of U.N. sanctions on Tehran.
    “The deal is all but dead, but we will do everything to slow and limit the (nuclear) proliferation slope that has been taken and try to save what can be saved,” a European diplomat said.
    A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said the deal struck between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany was not yet dead and two-way communication was ongoing.    “Our goal remains to save the agreement,” the spokesman said.    “We are in talks on that.”
    As has been the case since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, Britain, France and Germany find themselves as mediators, trying to convince Iran to stick with the pact and the Americans that they are tough-minded allies who will not be deceived by Tehran.
    In a joint statement issued after Iran’s announcement on enrichment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was an “urgent need for de-escalation.”
    “We specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation, and urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPOA,” they said, referencing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal’s formal name.
    In the wake of Soleimani’s killing, which came in response to stepped-up attacks on U.S. assets by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, tensions in the region have risen to their highest level in more than a decade, making mediation more difficult.
    Compounding the frustration on the European side is the fact they were given no advanced warning of Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani despite its potential to destabilize the region.
    Nuclear experts interpreted Iran’s statement as leaving the door open to talks.    They said it was positive that Tehran had not threatened to enrich uranium to a fissile purity of 20% – a critical threshold attained before 2015 that moved it much closer to the 90% concentration required for bomb material – and that IAEA inspections would continue.
    “This is softer than it could have been and leaves room for the possibility of negotiations,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, an associate fellow and non-proliferation specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
    “It is ominous that Iran is declaring all limits off. We have to see what it actually does, however.”
CARROT AND STICK
    While European diplomats said the first priority was to halt further escalation toward armed conflict, they are concerned about the unpredictability of the Trump administration and aware that they have little to offer Iran to stick with the JCPOA.
    France in the past talked about providing Tehran with credit lines to ease the pressure of U.S. sanctions, and Britain, France and Germany created a payment mechanism for humanitarian and food trade, but it is not yet working a year on.
    Overall they have been unable to deliver on what Iran really wants for remaining in the deal – the end of sanctions and freedom to sell its oil.    With Soleimani’s death, the possibility of those steps looks even less likely.
    If forced to choose, the Europeans may have little option but to side with the Trump administration.
    In that vein, the joint German-British-French statement took a tough line with Iran over its “negative role” in the region and did not refer at all to the U.S. strike on Soleimani.    That may satisfy Washington – but aggravate Tehran.
    “If you look at how the E3 have reacted, they are edging closer and closer to the Americans.    I can’t see them changing that path, but they also have to keep dialogue open with Iran.    It’s a question of timing,” said a Western diplomat.
    As well as pushing to maintain talks, European officials are exploring what sticks they could use to corral Iran.
    The JCPOA includes a dispute resolution mechanism that if activated would ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic, bringing closer the possibility of reimposing United Nations sanctions that were rescinded under the 2015 deal.
    Officials said such a step could be taken as early as this week, with EU foreign ministers set to discuss it on Friday.    Yet it was unclear what reaction it might provoke from Iran, or whether the Trump administration would view it as sufficient.
(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper in London, Andreas Rinke in Berlin and Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/7/2020 Rep. Nunes: GOP actively investigating ICIG Michael Atkinson by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, left, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, listens as the
House Judiciary Committee hears investigative findings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump,
Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes recently revealed that Republicans are actively investigating the Intelligence Community’s inspector general.    In an interview Monday, he said Michael Atkinson is still “facing serious questions.”
    This comes after Atkinson alerted the director of National Intelligence about the whistleblower complaint, and deemed it credible after conducting his own independent investigation.    The inspector general then notified House Democrats of the existence of the complaint.
    Although Atkinson testified in October, a transcript of his interactions with lawmakers has not yet been released to the public.    In the meantime, government watchdog group Judicial Watch is suing the Department of Justice for communications between Atkinson and lawmakers.
    “Everyone needs to see that testimony and the reason that it’s not being released is because it’s very damaging, not only to the whistleblower, but also to Atkinson himself,” Nunes stated.
    The California lawmaker went on to say he believes Atkinson needs to retract or correct his statements.    Since giving his testimony, the inspector general has refused to respond to requests for comment on the matter.

1/7/2020 McConnell calls on Democrats to wait until Iran briefing before voicing opinions on Soleimani’s death by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is surrounded by reporters after remarks
on the floor in Washington, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently defended the Trump administration’s decision to carry out the operation, which resulted in the death of Qasem Soleimani. While speaking on the Senate floor Monday, he suggested Democrats are jumping to conclusions regarding Soleimani’s death and are accusing the government of misconduct without knowing any facts.
    McConnell went on to say Democrats should wait until the White House is able to give the Senate a full briefing on the operation.
    “Can we not wait until we know the facts, can we not maintain a shred, just a shred, of national unity for five minutes before deepening the partisan trenches?” asked the Kentucky lawmaker.    “Must Democrats’ distaste for this president dominate every thought they express and every decision they make?
    The Trump administration is scheduled to hold a Senate briefing on the operation on Wednesday.    Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence is set to lay out the U.S.’s policy on Iran during a speech in Washington next week.
FILE – Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the opening ceremony of the International
Astronautical Congress, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
    Pence is scheduled to speak at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ annual national security summit on Monday.    A White house official said he will discuss the differences between the Iranian people and the Iranian government.
    This comes after Pence expressed support for the president’s decision to take out Iran’s top general.    Pence said, “the president took decisive action against the leading state sponsor of terror, who is responsible for killing thousands of Americans.”

1/7/2020 More Americans leaving high-cost states in search of affordable living by OAN Newsroom
FILE- This photo shows a “For Rent” sign outside an apartment building in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
    New York, California and Hawaii seem to have a common trend within the states; residents are leaving like never before.
    In the Empire State, thousands are migrating elsewhere despite New York’s booming economy and dropping unemployment rate.    A study conducted by the Empire Center for Public Policy found that nearly 76,000 people have moved away since the start of 2019.
    Over on the West Coast, the U.S. Census Bureau reported more than 200,000 people moved out of California between 2018 and 2019.    This is an increasing trend in states across the country.    Experts believe there are four key factors contributing to this shift, the biggest being afford ability.
    In hot spot tourist destinations like Los Angeles, Hawaii or New York City, the cost of rent is sky rocketing.    The average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment in the Big Apple is $3,000.
FILE – The Empire State Building is seen in midtown New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    Along with a high cost of living, people are also trying to leave states with high income taxes.    While money is the biggest driving force for moving out of state, there are other motivating factors too.
    A recent survey found about 40 percent of respondents chose to leave their home state because of its political culture, noting their state’s government does not enforce policies which line with their beliefs.
    Lastly, thousands of seniors preparing for retirement are leaving their states in search of more calm and warm climates.    The top destinations for people moving are South Carolina, Florida, Delaware and Georgia.

1/7/2020 President Trump to hold ‘Keep America Great’ rally in N.J. on Jan. 28th by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Target Center,
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is expected to hold an event in New Jersey later this month. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced he will be in Wildwood on January 28th for a ‘Keep America Great’ rally.
    The president will be speaking at the Wildwoods Convention Center, which is located in the same district of congressman Jeff Van Drew.    The lawmaker switched parties, becoming a Republican, amid the ongoing impeachment push.    He has sided with the president over Democrats.
    Van Drew met with the president at the White House shortly after, where he made these comments:
    “I don’t want anybody to ever tell me that there isn’t American exceptionalism.    I don’t want anybody to ever that this is the same as every other country in the world, because it is not.”
    President Trump is expected to repay the favor and will likely rev up his base to vote for Van Drew ahead of the state’s primaries.
    One America News will cover the ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Woodwild, New Jersey on Tuesday, January 28th starting at 7 p.m. EST / 4 p.m. PST.
[Well Trump knows he will not be impeached and will run for a second term no matter what the Democrats try to do to him, and he is thankful to GOD for allowing that.].

1/7/2020 UK is not unquestioning in support of U.S., defense minister says by Kylie MacLellan
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is seen at Downing Street in
London, Britain, December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is not unquestioning in its support of the United States, defense minister Ben Wallace said on Tuesday, as he underlined the importance of trying to “reboot” the Iranian nuclear deal.
    Britain has sought to tread a careful diplomatic line since last week’s killing of a top Iranian general by a U.S. drone strike, avoiding criticizing its close ally while also seeking to work with European partners towards a diplomatic solution.
    Ministers have said General Qassem Soleimani was a threat but also called for an easing of tensions in the region.
    Asked by an opposition Labour lawmaker in parliament about the risks of Britain’s “unquestioning” support of President Donald Trump, Wallace said: “Our support for the United States is not unquestioning at all.”
    “We are friends and allies but we are also critical friends and allies when it matters.”
    Trump’s administration has said Soleimani was planning new attacks on U.S. interests.
    Asked about the legality of the drone strike, Wallace said Britain defended a nation’s right to take such action, and that from the intelligence he had seen “there is a definite case to answer that there would be a cause for self-defence.”
    He also said Britain would “call out” any attacks on cultural sites, threatened by Trump but prohibited under international law.
    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s desire to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States was influencing the government’s judgement.
    “Isn’t the truth that he is scared to stand up to President Trump because he has hitched his wagon to the prospect of a toxic Trump trade deal?” Corbyn said in parliament.
    “Instead, at this highly dangerous moment, we find the government giving cover and even expressing sympathy for what is widely regarded as an illegal act, because they are in hock to Trump.”
    Wallace said Britain was working with Germany and France to “reboot” the 2015 JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, from which Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States in 2018.
    “We believe the JCPOA still has life in it ..,” he said, adding that the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism was one route to that end.
    “We have not yet gone to that but it is one of the areas you can seek to remedy if you are going to try and pull back Iran from potentially the path that may potentially break that JCPOA.”
(Editing by Stephen Addison)

1/7/2020 British PM, Turkey’s Erdogan say Iran must comply with nuclear deal
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson shakes hands with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a
welcoming ceremony at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool.
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a phone call that Iran must comply with the terms of the nuclear deal agreed with major powers and cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
    Iran said on Sunday it was taking a further step back from its commitments to abandon limits on enriching uranium after Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq.
    “The leaders discussed the situation in Iraq following the death of Qassem Soleimani.    They agreed on the importance of reducing tensions and finding a diplomatic way through the current crisis,” a statement from Johnson’s office said.
    “They agreed that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon and must comply with the terms of the nuclear deal.”
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Kate Holton)

1/7/2020 Secretary of State Pompeo, National Security Adviser O’Brien defends President Trump’s actions towards Iran by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about Iran, Tuesday Jan. 7, 2020,
at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently defended the president’s actions towards Iran. While speaking at the State Department Tuesday, he justified the killing of Iran’s top military General Qasem Soleimani by claiming the operation saved American lives.
    “If you’re looking for imminence, you need to look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani, and then in addition to that you have what we can clearly see are continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans,” Pompeo explained.    “It’s the right decision, we got it right.”
    Soleimani’s death has led to increased aggression from Iran with officials threatening revenge on the U.S. and even placing a bounty on President Trump.    However, Pompeo said the U.S. will target important cultural sites if Iran attempts to attack Americans or American assets.    He also added that the strikes would be within the international rules of war if they were to occur.
    Meanwhile, National Security Adviser recently said the Trump administration had “strong evidence” and “strong intelligence” of an “imminent threat” by the Iranian general.    While speaking to reporters Tuesday, O’Brien’ said Soleimaini was plotting to attack U.S. facilities, diplomats, soldiers and other personnel.
    O’Brien also said he doesn’t know if the administration will be able to declassify the intelligence regarding the threat because it does not want to put sources and methods at risk.    The official asserted the administration is keeping tabs on ongoing threats from the Islamic Republic.
    “The Iranians have been making many, many threats to the United States over the past several days — we take those seriously and we’re watching and monitoring them,” he explained.    “…I mean, the president’s been very clear in his message, and and we hope that they’re deterred and that they think twice about attacking America and its interests.”
    O’Brien also said the nation is safer after Soleimani’s killing and pointed out that the two greatest terrorist threats in the world have been taken off the battlefield over the past four months.

1/7/2020 Sen. Schumer intends to force vote on witnesses at start of impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is seeking to force the chamber to vote on witnesses at the start of the impeachment trial.    During remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, Schumer said there will be votes at the beginning of the trial on whether to call four witnesses Democrats have recommended.
    The Democrat also accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of being unwilling to help get the facts for a Senate trial over his refusal to call witnesses.    Schumer dismissed the idea of voting on witnesses after opening arguments.
    “The Republican leader and several Republican senators have suggested that each side complete their arguments and then we decide on witnesses,” he stated.    “This idea is as backward as it sounds — trials should be informed by witnesses and documents, they’re not an afterthought.”
    Schumer also claimed it’s the Senate’s job to go outside of the record established by the House’s impeachment inquiry.
    Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are preparing to proceed with setting the framework for an impeachment trial without Democrat support.    While speaking after a Republican Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has enough votes within his 53 member caucus to pass a draft set of rules.    The move ultimately denies Schumer’s request for additional witness testimony and new evidence to be considered.
    McConnell has said many times the Senate will follow the same rules that were followed during Bill Clinton’s impeachment.    This comes a day after Senate GOP introduced a resolution that aims to dismiss the charges brought by the House against the president.
    While moderate GOP senators like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins said they would like to hear from witnesses such as John Bolton, they agree a decision can be made once a trial is underway.    In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has continued to withhold the articles from the upper chamber.

1/8/2020 Oil down $0.57 to $62.73, DOW down 120 to 28,584.

1/8/2020 Trump briefed on reports of attacks on Iraq air base: White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump makes a speech to evangelical supporters
in Miami, Florida, U.S., January 3, 2020. REUTERS/Eva Marie Uzcategui
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed on reports of an attack on U.S. facilities in Iraq and is monitoring the situation, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said on Tuesday.
    “We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq.    The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
    A U.S. official told Reuters that rockets have been fired at Iraq’s al Asad airbase, which hosts U.S. forces.    It was not immediately clear what the extent of damage or casualties were amid tensions between Washington and Tehran following the U.S. killing on Friday of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Makini Brice; editing by Grant McCool)

1/8/2020 Trump says U.S. does not have to use military against Iran by Jeff Mason and Doina Chiacu
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement about Iran flanked by U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Vice President
Mike Pence and military leaders in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States did not necessarily have to use its military power against Iran, in an apparent attempt to defuse a crisis over the American killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
    In an address from the White House, Trump said no Americans were harmed in Iranian missile attacks on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and suggested Washington might not carry out immediate retaliation.
    “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it.    We do not want to use it.    American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent,” he said.
    “Our great American forces are prepared for anything.    Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” he said.
    Trump stopped short of making any direct threat of military action against Iran but said the United States “will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime” in response to what he called “Iranian aggression.”
    He offered no specific measures.
    Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday in retaliation for the killing of Iranian general Soleimani, raising the stakes in its conflict with Washington amid concern about a wider war in the Middle East.
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressing a gathering of Iranians chanting “Death to America,” said the attacks were a “slap on the face” of the United States and said U.S. troops should leave the region.
    Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran took “proportionate measures” in self-defense and did not seek to escalate the confrontation.
    Trump again vowed that he would not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and urged world powers including Russia and China to abandon the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and work toward a new agreement.
    “We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,” he said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Howard Goller)
[As you can see all the Democrats were railing that Trump will start WWIII, but he told them he took out a terrorist in action out of Iran and the Mullahs now shot some missiles to save face and no Americans were killed.    I think it was this day that Trump will eventually get all of the U.S. out of the warring parties in the Middle East but will continue with the sanctions until Iran changes and this will be the time when the King of the North and King of the South will begin to influence this area and as to the King of the West may be countries of the European Union and NATO will still have their noses into it and how this affects Israel and the United States is to be seen.    I think GOD provided this to be as prophecy is beginning to come to light.].

1/8/2020 Iran believed to have deliberately missed U.S. forces in Iraq strikes: sources
Al Asad air base in Iraq is seen in a satellite picture taken January 8, 2020. Planet/Handout via REUTERS.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran is believed to have deliberately avoided U.S. military casualties during retaliatory missile strikes on bases housing American troops in Iraq, following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general, according to U.S. and European government sources familiar with intelligence assessments.
    The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday the Iranians were thought to have targeted the attacks to miss U.S. forces to prevent the crisis from escalating out of control while still signaling Iranian resolve in response to the U.S. killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week.
    A source in Washington said overnight that early indications were that there were no U.S. casualties following the strikes on the al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil.    Other U.S. officials declined comment.
    Iran was believed to have tried to hit certain parts of the bases to minimize casualties and especially to avoid U.S. fatalities, three sources said.    This assessment included some intelligence from inside Iran confirming the nature of the attack plan, they said.
    “They wanted to respond but almost certainly not to escalate,” one of the U.S. sources said.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran took “proportionate measures” in self-defense and did not seek war with the United States.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, who ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday, gave an initial response to the Iranian missile attacks, saying on Twitter: “All is well!
(Reporting By Mark Hosenball and Matt Spetalnick, Editing by Franklin Paul and Bernadette Baum)

1/8/2020 UK PM Johnson condemns Iranian attack on military bases in Iraq
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street
in London, Britain, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned on Wednesday the attack by Iran on military bases in Iraq housing western troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of an Iranian general.
    Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani, raising the stakes in its conflict with Washington amid concern of a wider war in the Middle East.
    “We of course condemn the attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition forces,” Johnson told parliament, speaking in public on the crisis for the first time.    “Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but must instead pursue urgent de-escalation.”
    Johnson said “as far we can tell” there were no U.S. casualties in the attack, and no British personnel were injured.
    Asked by opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn what evidence he had to suggest the U.S. drone strike on Soleimani was not illegal, Johnson said it was not up to Britain to determine the legality of the operation.
    “Most reasonable people would accept that the United States has a right to protect its bases and its personnel,” Johnson said, adding that Soleimani had supplied improvised explosive devices which had been used against the British military.
    “That man had the blood of British troops on his hands,” he added.
    Johnson shrugged off suggestions by Corbyn that he would fall into line with the United States over its Middle East policy because he wanted a trade deal after Brexit.
    “This is absolute fiction,” he said.
    “The UK will continue to work for de-escalation in the region … He should be in absolutely no doubt … that we are determined to guarantee, with everything that we can, the safety and security of the people of Iraq.”
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)

1/8/2020 Venezuela’s Guaido pushes past troops to enter congress after socialist takeover by Mayela Armas and Brian Ellsworth
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler speaks
next to Venezuela's National Assembly first Vice President Juan Pablo Guanipa and second Vice President
Carlos Berrizbeitia during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan security forces let U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido enter the legislative palace on Tuesday amid a showdown for control of parliament after the ruling socialist party installed its own rival congressional chief.
    Guaido, who was re-elected on Sunday to a second one-year term as head of the opposition-held congress, had pledged to preside over Tuesday’s opening session after security forces blocked him from the building over the weekend to allow socialist legislators to swear in their own speaker.
    Local television images early Tuesday showed Guaido arguing for half an hour with troops wielding riot shields who again blocked the entrance to the legislative building, but eventually allowed him to push past them.
    “This is not a barracks.    This is the house of laws,” Guaido told the soldiers blocking his entrance.    “The military does not get to decide who can enter the house of laws.”
    But inside, a brief session led by Luis Parra – who was sworn in by allies of President Nicolas Maduro as parliament chief Sunday – had already ended, according to Reuters witnesses.
    Parra’s swearing in on Sunday gave Maduro sway over the last major state institution that had remained outside his control and appeared to mark a setback to Washington’s efforts to unseat him.
    The gambit marked an escalation in Maduro’s crackdown on the opposition, whose key international ally – the Trump administration – has so far been unsuccessful in its year-long attempt to oust Maduro through economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure.
    U.S. special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams on Monday said Washington was preparing new sanctions to step up pressure on Caracas.    But     Maduro’s move suggests he does not expect major consequences from the United States, though the government has steered clear of actions – like arresting Guaido – that could provoke a harsher response.
    “We once again handed imperialism a defeat,” socialist party Vice President Diosdado Cabello said on his talk show Monday night.
    Parra, who was elected to congress in 2015, had been expelled from the First Justice opposition party in late 2019 due to corruption allegations, which he has denied.
    Dozens of countries, including the United States, denounced Parra’s appointment as illegitimate, and said they continued to recognize Guaido as the parliament’s head and as Venezuela’s rightful president.
    On Sunday, after soldiers prevented Guaido from entering parliament, he held a separate session elsewhere in which 100 lawmakers backed his bid despite the earlier swearing-in of Parra.    The legislature has 167 seats.
‘THE PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE’
    Guaido had vowed to preside over Tuesday’s legislative session despite what he called Parra’s “parliamentary coup.”    Parra has rejected that description, while saying he wants to end confrontations with Maduro’s government.    “We came to save parliament from destruction,” he said on Twitter.
    After security forces opened the gates to allow him to pass, Guaido stood in the leadership post and sang the Venezuelan national anthem with allies.    Electricity swiftly went out in the chamber, and state television – which had broadcast footage of Parra’s session – cut away from the congress.
    “In here, the people are in charge,” lawmakers chanted as Guaido entered.
    Guaido was elected head of the congress in January 2019 and invoked Venezuela’s constitution to assume an interim presidency, denouncing Maduro as a usurper who had secured re-election in a 2018 vote widely considered fraudulent.
    So far, Maduro has fended off Guaido’s challenge, retaining control of the armed forces and tightening the noose around opposition lawmakers.    More than 30 of Guaido’s congressional allies are in hiding, in prison, or in exile.
    Guaido has also been losing support as Venezuelans tired with Maduro lose patience with his floundering movement.    It remains to be seen whether his defiant response to Maduro’s move could galvanize his supporters, who turned out by the hundreds of thousands to protest Maduro early last year.
    Parra’s new policy agenda focuses on reducing conflict with the government.    Maduro was quick to celebrate his swearing-in, highlighting a “rebellion” among opposition lawmakers.
    Parra said Monday his priority was to set up a new electoral council to preside over free and fair elections.
    His brief session included a debate over proposals to tackle widespread shortages of gasoline.    The session began around 10 a.m. and ended in under an hour.
(Reporting by Angus Berwick, Mayela Armas, Vivian Sequera, Corina Pons and Brian Ellsworth; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Tom Brown)

1/8/2020 Report: President Trump ready to begin new nuclear talks with Iran by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi
air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and others looks on. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is reportedly seeing an opportunity to restart talks with Iran regarding a new nuclear deal.    According to Senate Armed Service Committee Chair Jim Inhofe, the president told him on Tuesday night that he is ready to negotiate with Iran.
    Inhofe said the president was pleased that no Americans were killed in the Iranian missile attack and believes that opened the door for new talks.
    “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” said President Trump.    “No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces and an early warning system that worked very well.”
    This came after Iran vowed it would no longer adhere to the 2015 nuclear agreement.
    During Wednesday’s televised address to the nation, President Trump said the U.S. is ready to embrace peace.
    The president encouraged the U.K., France, Russia and China to break away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and work together on a new deal.    He suggested drafting a deal that would ensure Iran’s aggression comes to an end while allowing “Iran to become a thriving and prosperous nation.”    He added the U.S. is ready to embrace peace for all who seek it.
    President Trump said U.S. military installations in the region sustained minimal damage in the attack, but added the U.S. has a great and powerful military that is ready for anything.

1/8/2020 Senate Democrats split with Pelosi over impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., welcomes Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece before a bipartisan
meeting with congressional leaders, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The impeachment battle is causing a rift among Democrats as Republicans look to move forward.    Top Senate Democrats are reportedly echoing calls from the GOP to hold an impeachment trial.
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said the longer it goes on, the less urgent it becomes.    Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he believes Democrats should “move on” and send the articles to the Senate while Sen. Jon Tester said he’s ready for a trial to start.
    This sentiment breaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders, who are holding onto the articles until their demands for a trial are met.
    Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will proceed without the Democrats.     “We have the votes, once the impeachment trial has begun, to pass a resolution essentially the same to the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial, which sets up, as you may recall, what could best be described as maybe a phase one,” he said.
    House Democrats, along with some moderates, have largely stood by Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles from the Senate.    McConnell has repeatedly urged Pelosi to send them over and has publicly called out the divide within her party over the issues.
[Pelosi you can keep those impeachment papers and stick them where the sun does not shine because the Senate is not going to do anything until you walk them over.    So quit your cry babying and do your job and suck it for your parties failure to do an impeachment improperly or go back and do it right this time..].

1/8/2020 Rep. Scalise on Soleimani: It was time to take him out by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrives for a briefings on last week’s targeted killing of Iran’s senior military
commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    House Minority Whip Steve Scalise is saying the world is a safer place without Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    Following the House briefing on the strike against Soleimani, Scalise said President Trump took the “appropriate action” and had clear legal authority to do so.
    He also pointed out there’s a lot of documented information about the kind of attacks Soleimani plotted and executed against Americans.
    “The fact that he was plotting further attacks to kill Americans made it clear that it was time to take him out.    Real question I would ask would be, ‘Is the world a safer place without Soleimani in it?’    Based on his own history as a terrorist, but also the things he was plotting against Americans in the future, the clear answer is ‘Yes, the world is a safer place with Soleimani gone.’” – Steve Scalise, U.S. House Minority Whip
    He went on to say the president has a very clear plan to protect Americans at home and abroad.

1/8/2020 GOP Sen. Grassley wants to limit President Trump’s tariff powers by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks as
Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File)
    Senator Chuck Grassley is moving to limit President Trump’s ability to impose tariffs on other nations.    While speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, Grassley said he wants to push legislation that would accomplish his longtime goal.
    The Iowa Republican went on to say the measure would target the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which the president has used to slap tariffs on our global trading partners.
    The president’s critics have accused him of abusing his power by imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, the EU and Japan.    However, he later reversed course regarding Mexico and Canada after they agreed to the USMCA, a NAFTA replacement trade deal.
    “I think that we’re seeing a lot of economic benefits from this, even beyond agriculture,” said Grassley.
    “It’s going to be good for farmers, small business and manufacturing.”
    Sen. Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has called for increased congressional oversight regarding trade many times before.

1/8/2020 Sen. McConnell: We must remain vigilant in the face of serious threats by Tehran by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., left, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tells
reporters he has secured enough Republican votes to start President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and postpone a decision on
witnesses and documents Democrats want, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying the U.S. must remain vigilant in the face of serious threats posed by Tehran and the Islamic Republic’s recent attacks on bases in Iraq.
    On Wednesday, McConnell said these strikes demonstrate the significant progress Iran has made in building a ballistic missile force. He also pointed out one of the primary shortcomings of former President Obama’s deal with the nation, which was the absence of constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program.
    McConnell emphasized the U.S. government’s capacity, not only to respond, but also to exhibit restraint.
    “As a superpower, we have the capacity to exercise restraint and to respond at a time and place of our choosing, if need be.    I believe the president wants to avoid conflict or needless loss of life, but is rightly prepared to protect American lives and interests.    I hope Iran’s leaders do not miscalculate by questioning our collective will and launching further attacks.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Majority Leader
    McConnell added he hopes our congressional delegations do not give Iran a reason to question America’s will.

1/8/2020 President Trump, Bloomberg spend $10M on Super Bowl advertisements by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally for evangelical supporters at the
King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Major companies are preparing to compete for the spotlight during the biggest advertising day of the year.    For this year’s Super Bowl, they will be going head-to-head with some new advertisers: political candidates.
    On Tuesday, President Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale announced the campaign had purchased a 60 second slot during the big game, which was estimated to have cost north of $10 million.    Parscale has elected to have the ad premier at the beginning of the game, during peak viewing hours, and believes the ad will “ramp up” campaign efforts.
    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is competing with the president, has also announced a 60 second slot purchase.
    Bloomberg has reportedly spent more than $100 million of his own money on his advertising efforts so far.    The decision to self-fundraise has received criticism from the other members of the Democrat field and has prevented the former mayor from participating in the debates
.
    The game is scheduled for Sunday, February 2nd.
Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, speaks
during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
[AS I WROTE IN MY 'GLOBALISM VERSES NATIONALIM' FILE THAT BLOOMBERG JOINED THE RACE IS BECAUSE THE DEEP STATE GLOBALIST AND CFR. ETC. WERE GETTING DESPERATE AND SOROS IS NOT A POLITICIAN SO THEY SENT BLOOMBERG TO THROW MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF CAMPAIGN ADS AGAINST TRUMP AS A LAST DITCH DESPERATION.].

1/8/2020 Reps. Meadows, Hice, Biggs slam House for stalling on impeachment by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.,
second from left, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., right, and House Ways and
Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., left, in a private room just off the House floor after the House votes
to impeach President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Reps. Mark Meadows, Andy Biggs and Jody Hice held a rally with activists at the U.S. Capitol to criticize Democrats’ inaction on impeachment.    This comes as the articles of impeachment against the president have yet to be released to the Senate.
    Rep. Hice was the first to address the group on Wednesday.    She accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “fomenting a coup attempt” against     President Trump. Congressman Biggs said Pelosi has built up impeachment “on straw at best,” adding that her reluctance to send impeachment articles shows she has nothing on the president.
    Rep. Meadows then accused Adam Schiff of goading impeachment witnesses during House hearings when he did not get the answers he wanted.
House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., from left, with fellow members Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.,
speaks during a rally in support of President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    “Adam Schiff didn’t get the answer he wanted, Nancy Pelosi didn’t get the answer she wanted and so what are they doing?” asked Meadows.    “They continue to play politics in this building right behind us instead of allowing Mitch McConnell to do his job in the Senate and acquit this president, so we can get on with creating jobs and doing what this president does best.”
    The North Carolina lawmaker also said while the Republicans can’t impeach Pelosi, there are ways to remove her from her post.

1/9/2020 Oil down $3.09 to $59.61, DOW up 162 to 28,743.

1/9/2020 Senate Democrats grow impatient on impeachment trial - Pelosi, McConnell still go back and forth on rules by Christal Hayes and Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats are growing impatient for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, as the impasse continues over sending the articles of impeachment from the Democratic House to the Republicanled Senate.
    “We’re ready, willing and able,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a former state attorney general.    “I’m ready to go to court and try this case.”
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has delayed sending the two articles, which accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstruction Congress, until she learns more about how the Senate trial will be conducted.
    A big sticking point between the two sides is whether witnesses will be allowed to testify during the Senate trial.
    Democrats have argued the trial should include witnesses who didn’t testify during the House inquiry.    But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he has the votes to begin the trial without making a decision on witnesses. But McConnell said he won’t hold the vote until the Senate receives the articles.
    McConnell said the trial rules would be modeled on those for former President Bill Clinton’s trial in 1999.    House managers, who serve as prosecutors, and White House lawyers, who serve as defense lawyers, would give opening statements.
    Then senators would submit questions to each side through Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside. After those steps, senators could vote on witnesses.
    Pelosi declined to comment Wednesday when reporters asked about sending the articles to the Senate.
    But she told fellow House Democrats in a letter Tuesday that McConnell should publish the rules the Senate will follow in the trial.
    She has argued she needs to know the rules in order to decide who and how many managers she should appoint to prosecute the case.
    “It is important that he immediately publish this resolution, so that, as I have said before, we can see the arena in which we will be participating, appoint managers and transmit the articles to the Senate,” Pelosi said.
    But McConnell said Pelosi is waiting in order to gain an advantage in the trial.
    “Supposedly the explanation for this shameless game-playing is that Speaker Pelosi wanted leverage – leverage to reach into the Senate and dictate our trial proceedings to us,” McConnell said Wednesday.    “Now I’ve made clear from the beginning that no such leverage exists.    It is nonexistent.    And yesterday we made clear it will never exist.”
    Blumenthal said now that Pelosi knows the plan, she should transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate – even if she doesn’t have the text of the rules.
    “She knows what the plan is and she will have to make a judgement,” Blumenthal said.
    He joined a growing list of Senate Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who have made similar comments that it’s time for the Senate to receive the articles.
    “I think if we’re going to do it, we should do it,” said Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who added that she didn’t understand what could be gained by a delay.
    McConnell’s announcement defused demands from Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York that senators should vote before the trial starts on whether to hear testimony from witnesses.
    One of the potential witnesses, former national security adviser John Bolton, said Monday he would testify if subpoenaed.
    The House accused Trump of abusing the power of his office by asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, withholding a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid.
    The House also accused Trump of obstructing Congress by directing aides and agencies to defy subpoenas for documents and testimony, although some officials did testify.
    The House approved the two articles of impeachment on Dec. 18.
[PELOSI IS JUST STAALLING BECAUSE SHE KNOWS THAT ABUSE OF POWER AND OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS ARE NOT CRIMES LISTED IN THE CONSTITUTION REGARDING IMPEACHMENT.].

1/9/2020 Trump pulls back from more military action in Iran crisis, promises new sanctions by Babak Dehghanpisheh, Jeff Mason and Ahmed Aboulenein
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement about Iran flanked by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper,
Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley
in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    DUBAI/WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has stepped back from new military action against Iran after its missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops caused no casualties but he told Iran he would tighten already crippling U.S. sanctions.
    Trump and Iranian officials looked to defuse a crisis that on Wednesday had threatened to spiral into open conflict after the killing of a prominent Iranian general in Iraq on Jan. 3 in a U.S drone strike was followed by Iran’s retaliatory attack.
    The tit-for-tat military action, after months of rising tension since the United States withdrew in 2018 from Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers, had stoked global concerns that the Middle East was heading towards another war.
    But both sides drew back from the brink, while Arab and other international leaders called for restraint.    In Iraq, Muslim Shi’ite groups, opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq, also sought to cool passions.
    “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it,” Trump told the nation after saying Iranian ballistic missiles fired in the early hours of Wednesday caused no casualties and limited damage.
    He said Iran “appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned” but he said the United States would impose additional sanctions on Iran, adding to measures that have slashed its oil exports and crippled its economy.
    Trump, who faces re-election this year and who accused predecessors of dragging the United States into unnecessary regional wars, did not say what new sanctions would involve.
    His comments came hours after Iran’s foreign minister said Iranian missile strikes “concluded” its response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful general who masterminded Iran’s drive to build up proxy armies abroad.
    The minister, Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that Iran did not “seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression”
    Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had called Iran’s missile attack a “slap on the face” for the United States and said Iran remained determined to drive U.S. forces out of the region, a policy that analysts say it has pursued via its proxy forces.
    But Washington said it had indications Tehran was telling its allies to refrain from new action against U.S. troops.
CALLS FOR PATIENCE
    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told CBS News the United States was receiving “encouraging intelligence that Iran is sending messages” to its allied militias not to attack U.S. targets.
    Moqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shi’ite cleric opposed to U.S. and Iranian interference in Iraq, said the Iraq crisis was over and called on “Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions.”
    Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia the United States blamed for an attack in Iraq in December that killed a U.S. contractor, said “amidst these conditions, passions must be avoided to achieve the desired results” of expelling U.S. forces.
    That contrasted with fiery comments early on Wednesday from Qais al-Khazali, leader of another Iran-backed militia, who said Iraqi forces should respond to the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who died with Soleimani in the Jan. 3 U.S. strike.
    Arab states, which lie across the Gulf from Iran and feared their region was being dragged into another conflict, also called for cooler heads to prevail in Iraq and beyond.
    “The brotherly Arab nation of Iraq today is in need of solidarity among its people to avoid war and becoming the site of a battle in which it would lose most,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan wrote on Twitter.
    In Trump’s address on Wednesday, he repeated his promise not to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon – an ambition it denies ever having – and called for world powers to quit the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran that he abandoned.
    Trump said world powers should negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran to replace the one set in place under Barack Obama.
    Iran has rejected new talks and said negotiations could not be held without an end to sanctions, which have sent Iran’s currency plunging and slashed vital oil revenues.
    There has been no immediate reaction from Iranian officials to Trump’s address.    The semi-official Fars news agency described the U.S. president’s remarks as a “big retreat from threats”
    Analysts have said Iran, despite its strident words, has wanted to avoid a conventional war with superior U.S. forces.
    U.S. and European government sources said they believed Iran had deliberately sought to avoid U.S. military casualties in its missile strikes to prevent an escalation.
    An Iranian army spokesman denied “foreign media reports” suggesting there was some kind of coordination between Iran and the United States before the attack to evacuate bases.
(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Babak Dehghanpisheh, Parisa Hafezi and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai, Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Robert Birsel)

1/9/2020 President Trump set to hold ‘Keep America Great’ rally at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio by OAN Newsroom
.
President Donald Trump outside the Oval Office as he welcomes Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis
to the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are back on the campaign trail this week.    The president’s first stop in 2020 will be in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday. This will be the first time he has been in the city since 2016.    In that same year, President Trump beat out his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, by a total of eight points in the swing state.
    A previous ‘Keep America Great’ rally was help in Ohio in August, where the president took the opportunity to highlight the success of the U.S. manufacturing industry as well as job creation.    He pointed to his tough stance on trade as a driving factor behind the increase of American jobs.    He is expected to revisit this notion after an iron manufacturing plant owned by Cleveland Cliffs announced it is on track to open this year.
    President Trump is also expected to touch on the recent death of a top Iranian general.    Shortly after the Quds Force commander was killed by a U.S. airstrike, Iran targeted U.S. troops stationed at airbases is in Iraq.    While speaking during a televised address to the nation Wednesday, the president made the following comments on the issue:
    “As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.    Our great American forces are prepared for anything.    Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”
    Additionally, the president may also bring up the Senate impeachment trial.    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been withholding the articles of impeachment.    President Trump has continued to slam the efforts to remove him from office as a “hoax.”    He said, “it’s become a laughing stock all over the world.”
    The ‘Keep America Great’ rally will be held at the Huntington Center at 7 p.m. EST / 4 p.m. PST.    One America News will cover the event live and without interruption.

1/9/2020 Rep. Stefanik GOP campaign holds significant lead over Democrat opponent by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., questions former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testify
before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the
second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    GOP congresswoman Elise Stefanik has continued to make waves in Congress.    That’s according to a Wednesday press release from the New York representative’s campaign, which detailed her performance heading in to 2020.
    Her campaign disclosed that Stefanik has raised more than $3.2 million in the last quarter of 2019.    It also noted her significant lead over her Democrat challenger Tedra Cobb, who has raised roughly $2 million.
    Meanwhile, the New York representative has also raised nearly $3.4 million in cash, which is more than she’s raised in any two-year election cycle.    This spike follows recent impeachment hearings, where California Democrat Adam Schiff refused to let Stefanik question witnesses.
    Stefanik also gained attention for her arguments during the impeachment inquiry by highlighting Democrats’ double standard when it came to investigating Hunter Biden’s conflicts of interest at a Ukrainian energy company.
    “President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interests from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful ambassador nominee before her confirmation, and yet our democratic colleagues and the chairman of this committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that Obama State Department was so concerned about,” Stefanik stated during the testimony of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
    The exchange prompted backlash from Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, who attempted to convince voters to support Stefanik’s Democrat opponent.    Meanwhile, President Trump applauded her testimony.    After the hearings, he took to Twitter to congratulate her.

1/9/2020 Reports: Bloomberg to attend Ga. event hosted by Stacey Abrams against ‘voter suppression’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2019 file photo, former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams,
speaks at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy, File)
    Democrat 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg is set to attend a voting rights event in Georgia hosted by activist Stacey Abrams.    According to local media Wednesday, Bloomberg will arrive in Atlanta on Friday to appear alongside Abrams to call for more inclusive voting.    The event is reportedly not an endorsement by either of the two.
    Abrams drew criticism during the 2018 gubernatorial election in Georgia by aligning herself with radical left-wing groups and stirring allegations of “voter suppression.”    Experts say Bloomberg is trying to rally black voters behind his presidential campaign, which may have played a role in his decision to attend the event.
    “My strategy starts with a basic premise, the federal government is grossly under investing in America and Americans,” stated Bloomberg.    “Well, I believe in America and I believe in the American spirit, and I’ve always believed that success starts with investing in people and places where they live and work.”
    So far in his campaign, the billionaire has tried to distance himself from his Democrat competitors by refusing to take donor money.    This comes as Bloomberg has seen a boost in national polls lately,with some polls putting him in third place among Democrats alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the
Bounce Innovation Hub, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    Meanwhile, Bloomberg recently released an outline for his economic plan. On Wednesday, the former New York City mayor unveiled information about his “All-In Economy” agenda.    The plan calls for a $15 federal minimum wage increase and sending thousands of American workers to apprenticeship programs.
    This comes as candidates are starting to share comprehensive plans before the primary elections officially kick-off next month.    Bloomberg did not release the cost of the plan, but said he would make education and training a priority for his administration.

1/9/2020 Trump floats expanding NATO to add Middle East
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event to announce proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act
regulations in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he supported expanding the North American Treaty Organization to include Middle Eastern nations, as the United States seeks to limit its troop footprint globally.
    “I think that NATO should be expanded and we should include the Middle East, absolutely,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
    Trump proposed increased NATO involvement in the Middle East on Wednesday when he addressed the Iranian strikes against U.S. troops in Iraq, carried out in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian military commander.    The military leader, Qassem Soleimani, played a major role in the fight against Islamic State militants in the region.
    Trump said Islamic State presented an international problem that other countries should help address.    “We can come home, largely come home and use NATO,” Trump said.    “We caught ISIS, we did Europe a big favor.”
    Trump has been a critic of NATO, demanding that Europe pay more for its collective defense and make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.
    Trump joked that the organization could be called NATO-ME, or NATO plus the Middle East.    He said he floated the possible name to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a call on Wednesday.
    The White House said Trump “emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East” in the call.
    The U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said on Thursday the fight against Islamic State is important to both the United States and its NATO allies.
    “I think what the president is looking for is more of our allies working with us in Iraq,” she told CNBC.    “And that is something that our NATO Council will have to discuss and decide that we would do more.”
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Doina Chiancu; Editing by Dan Grebler)

1/9/2020 French unions battle Macron in make-or-break pension protest by Tangi Salaün and Caroline Pailliez
A French SNCF railway worker holds a flare as he demonstrates during the 36th consecutive day of strike against
French government's pensions reform plans, in Nice, France, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
    PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron stood his ground as trade unions on Thursday brought tens of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in a make-or-break push to force him to abandon his planned pension reform.
    Teargas swirled in Paris where riot police charged at demonstrators who hurled projectiles and lobbed insults in cat-and-mouse skirmishes as darkness fell.
    Some protesters dressed in black and hiding their faces daubed anarchist slogans on buildings and the windows of several properties, including a Starbucks cafe, were smashed.
    The country’s hard-left unions rallied supporters hoping to regain momentum at a time when participation in a 36-day long public sector strike has waned and opinion polls show public backing for the industrial action has dropped.    But turnout was down sharply from the previous nationwide protest marches.
    “The ball is in the government’s camp.    Either they listen, or they govern against the people’s will,” hard-line CGT union boss Philippe Martinez told reporters.
    Macron wants to streamline France’s unwieldy pension system and provide incentives for people to stay in work longer to pay for some of the most generous retirement benefits in the industrialized world.
    The proposed reform would be the biggest overhaul of the system since World War Two and is central to the president’s drive to make the labor force more flexible and more competitive globally.
    While the CGT and other hard-left unions are demanding the reform be scrapped altogether, France’s largest union, the reform-minded CFDT is open to Macron’s planned single “points” system that treats contributions from all workers equally.
    But it refuses to accept the proposal that French workers work two years longer, until the age of 64, to receive a full pension. CFDT boss Laurent Berger said this crossed a red line.
    Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has agreed to a CFDT-proposed “financing conference” aimed at finding alternative ways of balancing the pension budget.
    But in the strongest signal yet that the government has not dropped the increased retirement age from the draft bill, which has not yet been made public, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said such a move was “fair and efficient.”
    “What is certain is that we must work longer,” Darmanin told Le Figaro newspaper.
PROTESTER NUMBERS FALL
    Macron, a former investment banker, says the myriad special benefits handed out to different types of workers in France’s existing pension system deter mobility within the job market.
    If he succeeds in defeating the unions – he has already succeeded in reforming state-run SNCF railways and in easing labor laws – he will strengthen his hand to embark on further pro-business reforms as he eyes re-election in 2022.
    The interior ministry said 452,000 people nationwide answered the union leaders’ protest call, a significant decline since the first big day of action on Dec. 5, which brought 806,000 onto the street.
    Rail services were disrupted, schools shut and power generation by EDF was cut by about 10%.
    Rail workers and teachers, lawyers and nurses railed against a president they accuse of turning a deaf ear to popular feeling.
    While the strikes are the longest-running in decades, they have failed to paralyze France in the way achieved by a wave of industrial action in 1995 that forced a government U-turn from which the prime minister of the day never recovered.
    Hard-left unions argue Macron’s reform amounts to an attack on hard-earned benefits that help compensate for salaries below those in the private sector and will ruin public services.
    “If there are no retirement perks, there’s no reason to stay in the public sector,” said teacher Antoine Rouilly in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
(Additional reporting by Bate Felix, Christian Lowe, Richard Lough, Michel Rose and Caroline Pailliez in Paris and Johanna Decorse in Toulouse; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Alison Williams, Frances Kerry and Lisa Shumaker)

1/9/2020 Sen. McConnell: Senate will move forward with legislative business without articles of impeachment by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., heads to a briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary
Mark Esper and other national security officials on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the upper chamber will not wait for the House to send over the articles of impeachment.    While speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, the Republican leader said House Democrats can create a cloud over the presidency, but they can’t to do it forever.
    The Kentucky lawmaker then said the Senate has real business to do for the American people, and will move forward next week if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t act sooner.
    “If the Speaker continues to refuse to take her own accusations to trial, the Senate will move forward next week with the business of our people,” he stated.    “We will operate on the assumption that House Democrats are too embarrassed to ever move forward.”
    McConnell also said the Senate will continue to process the USMCA as well as work on issues related to the opioid and drug abuse crisis.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with reporters following escalation of tensions this week
between the U.S. and Iran, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi seems to be in no hurry to release the articles of impeachment to the Senate.    While speaking to reporters Thursday, she said she’ll send the articles when she’s ready.
    This comes weeks after the House passed the articles with zero Republican support.    The Democrat went on to say she’s waiting to see the “terms” for the Senate trial, and expressed concern that senators won’t be impartial.
    When asked by a reporter if she should move faster on sending the articles, Pelosi said “no” and claimed she’s “moving smartly and strategically.”

1/9/2020 Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar under fire for PTSD remarks by OAN Newsroom
Congressional Progressive Caucus members Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center accompanied by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.,
Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis. speaks during a news conference about the targeted killing of Iran’s senior military commander
Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Rep. Ilhan Omar received an avalanche of criticism this week after she spoke out about how conflict with Iran is making her feel uneasy.    As a survivor of war-torn Somalia, Omar said the talk of war brought back her post-traumatic stress disorder.
    “Every time I hear about conversations around war, I find myself being stricken by PTSD,” she said.    “But I find peace knowing I serve with people who show courage against war.”
    However, many found her remarks to be insensitive, including Indiana Congressman Jim Banks.
    Banks, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, immediately took to Twitter with a response.    He called her remarks a “disgrace and offensive to our nation’s veterans, who really do have PTSD after putting their lives on the line to keep America safe.”
    “An Iranian terrorist, who orchestrated attacks that injured and killed U.S. soldiers, got blown up by President Donald Trump,” added Banks.    “Hard to see how any patriotic U.S. Representative could feel ‘ill’ about that.”
    Omar hit back by saying she survived war as a child, and dealt with the disorder much like those who serve or live through war.
    Others continued to blast her remarks and used her past words against her.    Critics said it’s interesting she has PTSD over war with Iran, yet remained indifferent when it came to 9/11 when she said “some people did something.”
    A conservative talk show host said Omar’s remarks were “a direct spit in the face of those who serve in the military.”

1/9/2020 Calif. considering state-wide ban on gas-powered tools by OAN Newsroom
File – Commuters make their way along a highway during morning rush hour in
Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 22, 2019. (REUTERS Photo/Mike Blake)
    Gas-powered gardening tools may soon become a thing of the past. At least that’s the goal for California state air regulators, who are considering a state-wide ban on the equipment.
    The ban would look to eliminate tools such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers and chain saws in an effort to cut down on carbon emissions.         However, small business owners have argued they would be negatively impacted by the ban.    Many are now looking to convince lawmakers it is not the answer.
    According to studies from the state’s air regulators board, running a lawn mower for one hour produces as much smog as a five-hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.    Battery-powered equipment is being proposed as an alternative, but experts worry the tools may not be as effective.
    Furthermore, business owners say they would lose thousands of dollars in loss of business, inventory they could no longer sell and the purchase of all new inventory as a result.
    “I would lose accounts, I would start losing business,” said landscape business owner Jeremy Kincaid.    “It would probably put me out of business.”
    At least 60 cities in California, including Berkeley and Sonoma, have issued at least partial bans on gas-powered tools.    The state’s air regulators said their goal is to gather enough signatures by the end of 2020 to get the ban approved.
    Officials have claimed the ban, if passed, would happen in phases to give business owners and at-home gardeners the time to adjust ahead of the full ban, which would reportedly be slated for 2022.

1/9/2020 Colo. police confiscate guns with red flag law one day after it took effect by OAN Newsroom
In this Thursday, July 26, 2012 file photo, an AR-15 style rifle is displayed at the
Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    Colorado saw its first request to take guns away from a resident one day after the state’s controversial ‘red flag’ law took effect.    This first example came January 2nd after Denver police were called to the scene of a domestic dispute.
    According to the affidavit, a man was allegedly intoxicated and threatened to kill himself.    Officers used this as evidence of a “credible threat” in their request to a judge under the new law.    If a judge approves the request, police will be able to hold the man’s guns for 364 days and could prevent him from owning other firearms during that time.
    Some are skeptical of the new law due to its vague language, which allows weapons to be confiscated without criminal charges.
    “To go in and conduct a search warrant on someone’s home, based on the word of a third party…I think that’s a huge overreach of the Constitution and that’s where I’d have to draw the line,” said Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.
    While the law is still new, some have expressed concerns about the length of time weapons are held and the extremely high burden placed on respondents to restore their constitutional right.
    Colorado is not the first state to pass ‘red flag’ laws.    The controversial measure has been adopted in 17 states and the District of Columbia.    These laws encourage family members and law enforcement to petition a judge, which could end with an order to temporarily revoke a person’s ability to possess firearms.
    “We obviously encourage people, who look at this law and look at what it allows, that if it is something that they think will make them safer, to go through the appropriate process with the courts to determine if that’s what works best for them,” stated Lt. John Koch of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
    Despite mixed responses from the community, the Colorado legislature’s fiscal analysis estimated 95 percent of petitions will be granted.

1/9/2020 President Trump hosts first ‘Keep America Great’ rally of 2020 by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump points to supporters before he speaks during a campaign rally
at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    On Thursday night, President Trump joined his supporters in the Buckeye State for his first reelection campaign rally of 2020.    At the Huntington Center in Toledo, the president touched on a variety of topics, including recent tensions with Iran.
    He spoke to his supporters directly about the Iranian conflict for the first time since the U.S. conducted a missile strike operation against top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani.    The president emphasized “we did exactly the opposite of Benghazi.”
Supporters listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    He added he decided not to alert Congress because his administration worried House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or other Democrats, could have leaked news of the planned attack and potentially botched the whole operation.
    “Here’s a guy who slaughtered and butchered civilians all over, and military, whoever was in his way.    We have Bernie and Nancy Pelosi, we have them all saying, ‘How dare you take him out that way. You should get permission from Congress.    You should come in and tell us so that we can call up the fake news that’s back there and they can leak it.'” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    The president also touched on the state of the economy, saying “Ohio just had the best year economically in the history of the state.”    He added this year is going to be even better.
    President Trump also touted record-breaking unemployment rates, soaring stock market earnings and progress in trade agreements with foreign countries.    He wrapped up the event by promising a renewed focus on his administration’s work to better the lives of American families, not only Ohio, but across the entire country.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
[Trump’s rally’s show that the American people do not want him impeached and I am sure it is making the Democrats very sad.]

1/9/2020 House passes War Powers Resolution aimed at limiting U.S. involvement in Iranian conflict by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with reporters following escalation of tensions this week
between the U.S. and Iran, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The House has passed a new War Powers Resolution regarding the conflict with Iran.    The legislation, which was pushed by House Democrats, passed mostly along party lines in a 224-to-194 vote on Thursday.
    GOP members Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Thomas Massie and Rep. Rooney voted in favor of the bill.

    Democrat Representatives Max Rose, Ben McAdams, Anthony Brindisi, Joe Cunningham, Elaine Luria, Josh Gottheimer, Kendra Horn and Stephanie Murphy voted no on the measure.

    The bill was created limit the president’s powers as commander in chief as well as the Pentagon’s involvement with military action against Iran.    The Defense Department will be limited to 30 days, unless Congress provides approval for additional action.
    The bill is now headed to the Senate, where it will need to be reconciled with a competing bill.    President Trump is expected to veto the legislation if it passes the Republican controlled Senate.

1/9/2020 President Trump signals White House would attempt to limit Bolton testimony by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this July 31, 2019 file photo, then National security adviser John Bolton
speaks to media at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    President Trump has signaled the White House may try to restrict the testimony of former National Security Adviser John Bolton.    On Thursday, the president said he would defer to the Senate if Bolton were to testify in the upcoming impeachment trial.
    He claimed that “we have to protect presidential privilege,” not just for him, “but for future presidents.”
    “To me, for the future, we have to protect presidential privilege,” stated President Trump.    “When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that.”
    The president’s remarks came after the former top White House aide said Monday that he would be willing to testify.
    Bolton has also spoken out against the new War Powers Resolution, which aims to restrict the president’s military action against Iran.

1/9/2020 Trump administration to gut National Environmental Policy Act regulations by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    President Trump said he will be gutting regulations in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).    During Thursday’s press conference at the White House, the president said the current regulations are “too bureaucratic” to function properly.
    He said the new changes are meant eliminate costly red tape that impacts our nation’s farmers and infrastructure projects.
    “These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers,” said President Trump.    “From day one, my administration has made fixing this regulatory nightmare a top priority.”
A grain truck drives past a Keystone pipeline pumping station near
Milford, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
    Among the biggest changes, federal agencies will no longer have to consider so-called climate change when they submit for environmental reviews.    They will only need to asses immediate environmental impacts.
    The new regulations will also set time limits on environmental assessments.    However, the changes will not eliminate policies meant to protect the environment.
    Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the average time it takes to complete an environmental impact statement is roughly four years.    She said that number can jump as high as seven years for something like a highway project.
    “Our infrastructure needs to be addressed,” said Chao.    “Many of these regulations have not been updated in decades.”
    The proposed changes will now be open for a 60 day public comment period before they are finalized.    Environmental groups are also expected to issue legal challenges to the White House’s proposals.

1/10/2020 Oil down $0.05 to $59.56, DOW up 212 to 28,957 another record.

1/10/2020 Trump cites plot to ‘blow up’ U.S. embassy as element in decision to kill Soleimani by Phil Stewart
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event to announce proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act
regulations in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani shortly after he landed in Iraq last week in part because “they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
    The remarks could shed more light on what so far has been largely vague descriptions of the intelligence that drove Trump’s administration to conclude that killing Soleimani and disrupting his plots would justify any fallout Washington may face.
    The United States saw some of the repercussions from its strike on Wednesday, when Iran fired 16 missiles at bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces – an attack that the Pentagon believes was designed to inflict casualties but which killed and injured no one.
    “We caught a total monster and we took him out and that should have happened a long time ago.    We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
    Trump said the United States also carried out the strike because of a rocket attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq by an Iran-backed militia in December that killed a U.S. contractor, which U.S. officials believe Soleimani had a role in orchestrating.
    That was followed by violent protests by supporters of Iran-backed militia outside of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.    Trump said Soleimani had wanted those protests to become more violent.
    “That was a totally organized plot.    And you know who organized it.    That man right now is not around any longer.    Okay?    And he had more than that particular embassy in mind,” he said.
    Asked about Trump’s remarks on the plot to blow up the Baghdad embassy, a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted Soleimani had orchestrated protests at the embassy and acknowledged there had been such plotting to blow up the embassy.
    The official declined to provide details on the U.S. intelligence.
    Although Iran’s foreign minister has said the missile strikes on Iraqi bases that house U.S. forces had concluded Tehran’s response to the killing of Soleimani, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards issued new threats to Washington on Thursday.
    One senior commander warned of “harsher revenge soon” and another said Wednesday’s missile strikes were only the start of a series of attacks across the region.
    Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, the new head of the Quds Force, which runs Iran’s foreign military operations, said he would follow the course pursued by his slain predecessor Soleimani.
    Soleimani carved out a sphere of Iranian influence running through Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, challenging regional rival Saudi Arabia as well as the United States and Israel.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

1/10/2020 U.S. House votes to rein in Trump’s war powers as U.S.-Iran tensions stay high by Patricia Zengerle and Ahmed Aboulenein
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement about Iran flanked by U.S. Defense Secretary
Mark Esper, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General
Mark Milley in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to stop President Donald Trump from further military action against Iran as the Middle East remained tense after the U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander and Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes.
    The resolution passed 224-194 along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House with nearly all Republicans opposed.    The measure orders termination of Trump’s war powers to use U.S. armed forces against Iran without Congress’ consent.
    The measure now goes to the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s Republican Party, and faces an uphill battle.
    The vote came just hours after Trump said that Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq last week last because he had planned to blow up a U.S. embassy.
    “We caught a total monster and we took him out and that should have happened a long time ago.    We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
    His remarks seemed to shed more light on what so far have been largely vague descriptions of the intelligence that drove Trump’s conclusion that killing Soleimani and disrupting his plots would be better than any fallout Washington may face.
    A White House spokesman called the House-passed war powers measure “ridiculous” and politically motivated.    The measure “could undermine the ability of the United States to protect American citizens whom Iran continues to seek to harm,” an administration policy statement said.
    But if passed by the Senate, the measure does not need Trump’s signature to go into effect.
    Potentially stepping up international pressure on Tehran, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. officials said they believed a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran on Wednesday was brought down by Iranian air defenses by mistake hours after Iran launched its missiles attacks.
    Trump said he had suspicions about the cause of the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 plane crash, adding: “Somebody could have made a mistake.”
    Iran denied the reports of missiles downing the plane.
NEXT MOVE?
    Earlier on Thursday, Iran spurned Trump’s call for a new nuclear pact, and its commanders threatened more attacks, fueling worries that an apparent pause in U.S.-Iran conflict could be short-lived.
    But each side’s next move was uncertain. Iranian generals resumed their habitual barrage of warnings to Washington, and Trump said new sanctions had been imposed, as his Democratic rivals criticized his handling of the crisis.
    Iran fired missiles on Wednesday at bases in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing in a U.S. drone attack of in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
    Trump said no U.S. troops had been harmed in the strikes and Iran “appears to be standing down,” adding that Washington did not want to use its “great military.”
    The tit-for-tat actions followed months of tension that has increased since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Tehran’s vital oil exports.
    Trump said it was time for world powers to replace the 2015 nuclear pact with a new deal so Iran could “thrive and prosper.”
‘ECONOMIC TERRORISM’
    Responding to Trump’s call for a new nuclear deal, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tehran could not trust any idea of dialogue when faced with the “economic terrorism” of sanctions, Iranian media reported.
    Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards also issued new threats to Washington, with one senior commander warning of “harsher revenge soon” and another saying Wednesday’s missile strikes were only the start of a series of attacks across the region.
    Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, the new head of the Quds Force, which runs Iran’s foreign military operations, said he would follow the course pursued by his slain predecessor Soleimani.
    Soleimani carved out a sphere of Iranian influence running through Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, challenging regional rival Saudi Arabia as well as the United States and Israel.
    Soleimani was a national hero whose funeral drew vast crowds of mourners.    The West saw him as a dangerous and ruthless enemy.
    The military comments contrasted with Wednesday’s remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who said Tehran did not want an escalation.
    Analysts say that in an election year, Trump wants to avoid getting into a drawn-out conflict.    In turn, Iran will try to avert direct confrontation with superior U.S. forces but can call on proxy militias across the region as U.S. sanctions bite.
    “I’m not expecting further direct attacks from Iran.    We are likely to see more indirect responses through proxies,” said Ali Alfoneh, senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
    He said there might be a chance for a negotiated solution to the latest standoff as “the Trump administration does not appear to actively pursue a war and Iran needs sanctions relief.”
(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Babak Dehghanpisheh, Parisa Hafezi and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai, Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by David Lawder and Edmund Blair; Editing by William Maclean, Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)

1/10/2020 Appeals court: $3.6B in military funds for wall by Kristin Lam, USA TODAY
    A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling on Wednesday, approving the Trump administration to use military construction funds to build a border wall along the country’s border with Mexico.
    The decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, lifts an injunction issued last month in Texas that blocked the re-allocation plan. In the 2-1 ruling, judges granted the administration’s request to temporarily halt the nationwide injunction from U.S. District Judge David Briones of El Paso. Congress appropriated the $3.6 billion to the Department of Defense for 127 construction projects, Briones had ruled, so the administration shouldn’t divert it to the border wall.
    The appeals court judges said the Supreme Court recently halted a similar injunction, but gave no specific reason for ruling in the administration’s favor.    The dissenting judge, Stephen Higginson, wrote that the administration did not prove it will suffer irreparable harm without a halt on the injunction.
    “Although I agree with my colleagues that this matter presents ‘a substantial case on the merits’ and involves a ‘serious legal question…’ I am unable to agree, without focused panel deliberation and discussion – possibly aided by dialogue with counsel – that the government presently has shown either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm in the absence of a stay,” Higginson wrote in his dissent.
    About $1.8 billion of the funding was originally allocated for projects at overseas bases, including $119 million for storage warehouses at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and $87 million for storage at Fairford Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom.
    Last February, Trump declared a national emergency to free up funding for a border wall.    The administration announced the reallocation plan in September and drew bipartisan criticism in Congress.
    The promise of a wall along the U.S.Mexico border was a central piece of Trump’s 2016 campaign.    Trump asked for nearly $6 billion to build the border wall in 2018, but Congress only appropriated $1.375 billion for border wall projects.
. Contributing: Lauren Villagran, El Paso Times
President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he tours a section of the
southern border wall on Sept. 18, 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif. EVAN VUCCI/AP

1/10/2020 Trump admin. authorizes new sanctions on Iran by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin brief reporters about additional
sanctions placed on Iran, at the White House, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The Trump administration is rolling out new sanctions on the Iranian regime.    While speaking at the White House Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration will continue to cut off resources to Iran to stop its global terrorist activities.
    Secretary Pompeo said additional sanctions will be imposed on any entity working to advance Iranian industries.    This includes 17 separate sanctions on Iranian money as well as steel and iron manufacturers.
    “Today they are accountable for murder and mayhem,” he stated.    “The goal of our campaign is to deny the regime the resources to conduct it’s destructive foreign policy, we want Iran to simply behave like a normal nation.”
    The announcement comes after Iran’s retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani.    Pompeo said additional sanctions will be placed on the eight senior officials who were involved in missile strikes on U.S. military bases in Iraq this week.
    The U.S. secretary of state told reporters there’s no doubt Iranian Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks on Americans before his death.    He didn’t disclose when or where the assaults would take place, but said the threat was very real.
    “We had specific information on an imminent threat and that threat stream included attacks on U.S. embassies — period, full stop,” he stated.    “…it was very clear Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large scale attack against American interests.”
    Pompeo pointed out that any member of Congress can access obtained intelligence regarding the threats to see for themselves the attacks planned by the Iranian leader were imminent.

1/10/2020 White House: War Powers Resolution undermines U.S. Armed Forces ability to prevent terrorist activity by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.,
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, en route to Ohio for a campaign rally. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    According to the White House, the War Powers Resolution passed in the House undermines the ability of U.S. Armed Forces to prevent terrorist activity from Iran.    The Trump administration issued the statement Thursday, stating that the resolution is political, misguided and hinders the president’s right to protect the American people.
    This comes after the legislation passed in the House Thursday, limiting the president’s powers regarding military action against Iran.    The measure passed mostly along party lines in a 224-to-194 vote.    House Democrats pushed for the resolution after claiming President Trump should have consulted with Congress on his decision to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.     The president commented on the issue while speaking at a 'Keep America Great’ rally in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday.    He pointed out that there tends to be a lot of behind-the-scenes corruption as well as leaks to the media.
    The White House went on to say the president had every right to strike the world’s leading terrorist under his powers as commander-in-chief as well as the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
    President Trump took to Twitter prior to the vote, where he said he hoped all Republicans voted against “Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s” resolution.    However, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R.-Ky.) and Rep. Tom Rooney (R.-Fla.) all voted in favor of the bill.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 7, 2020, as Democrats prepared largely
symbolic resolutions under the War Powers Act to limit the president’s military actions regarding Iran. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Meanwhile, Democrat Reps. Max Rose (D.-N.Y.), Ben McAdams(D.-Utah), Anthony Brindisi (D.-N.Y.), Joe Cunningham (D.-S.C.), Elaine Luria (D.-Va.), Josh Gottheimer (D.-N.J.), Kendra Horn (D.-Okla.) and Stephanie Murphy (d.-Fla.) voted ‘no’ on the measure.
    With its passing, the Defense Department will be limited to 30 days unless Congress provides approval for additional action.    The bill is now headed to the Senate, where it will need to be reconciled with a competing bill.
    President Trump is expected to veto the legislation if it passes the Republican controlled Senate.

1/10/2020 Judge fast-tracks lawsuit against Census Bureau as House committee holds hearing on 2020 census by OAN Newsroom
FILE – This photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident
as part of the nation’s only test run of the 2020 Census. AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)
    A federal judge is fast-tracking a lawsuit against the Census Bureau.    According to reports, oral arguments for the legal challenge brought forth by the city of Newburgh, New York and a Bernie Sanders aligned activist group will take place on March 18, 2020.    The judge is also prepared to make a ruling as early as March 20, 2020.
    The lawsuit is claiming changes made to the 2020 census poses the risk of vastly under-counting minorities. This comes as the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the 2020 census Thursday, where witnesses and Democrats said there should be no debate over the inclusion of the citizenship question.
    However, Ohio congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) disagreed.    He made the following point during the hearing:
    “Between 1820 and 1950 it was asked on the decennial census.    Between 1970 and 2000 it was asked on the long-form census.    Between 2000 and today the Census Bureau has placed it on the community survey.    So it’s been asked every single time, but now today we’re not even supposed to debate it…this is where the left wants to take us.”
File – House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio speaks during a
House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    The witnesses who testified before the panel said the inclusion of the citizenship question on the decennial census detracts from the mission of counting the entire population.

1/10/2020 House leaders square off on impeachment, Pelosi may send articles next week by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday,
Dec. 19, 2019, on the day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two charges. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is speaking out against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment against President Trump instead of sending them over to the Senate.
    While speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, the Republican congressman said members of Pelosi’s own party don’t even know what she’s doing.    He quoted senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), who he called “the hometown senator for Nancy Pelosi.”    Feinstein previously made the following statement:
    “The longer it goes on, the less urgent it becomes.    So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it is not, don’t send it over.”
    McCarthy also questioned why Pelosi would use her party’s majority to impeach the president, but then hold onto the papers.    Pelosi defended her actions by claiming House Democrats need to know what type of trial the Senate intends to conduct.    She also pointed out that some Republican senators said they would vote to dismiss the charges outright without having a trial, which she claimed equates to a cover-up.
    However, it appears she may finally be budging.    In a letter Friday, Pelosi said she has “asked Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring” a resolution to the floor next week “to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate.”    This follows increasing calls from both sides of the aisle.
    In the letter, Pelosi criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for planning to dismiss the charges.    She has called on the upper chamber to hold a trial.    This comes after McConnell suggested the Senate would move on to the business of the American people next week if the House speaker did not hand over the charges levied against the president.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with other House Democrats on the morning following Iranian attacks
on bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

1/10/2020 Homeland Security officials announce milestone in southern border wall construction by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2019 file photo, government contractors erect a section of
Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
    Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf provided an update on the construction of the U.S. border wall on Friday.    While speaking in Yuma, Arizona, Wolf marked a milestone for the Trump administration by announcing 100 new miles of southern border wall have been completed.
    Homeland Security officials later posted a video to Twitter, saying new stretches of the wall were constructed in every border state “from California to Texas.”
    Republican Sen. Martha McSally also joined him on the trip. She said Border Patrol agents will now be able to stop illegal activity because border walls work.
    Wolf provided assurances that Homeland Security keeps the safety and well-being of the local communities.
    “We continue to be transparent on everything that we do. We continue to reach out to land owners.    We continue to engage local communities, local representatives, elected officials and the like.    So there’s nothing that we’re trying to hide here, we’re very transparent about it.    We’ll continue to be very cognizant of any environmental issues that we address.” – Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security
    Construction crews are aiming to finish 450 miles of the border wall by the end of 2020.

1/10/2020 President Trump: Soleimani was targeting 4 U.S. embassies by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2016 file photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary
Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)
    President Trump is saying Iranian General Qasem Soleimani had been planning attacks on four U.S. embassies before his assassination.    On Friday, the president released new details as to why the Pentagon believed Soleimani had been an “imminent” threat to the U.S.
    He stated he believed four embassies were being targeted, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
    “We will tell you, probably, it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” stated President Trump.    “I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.”
    Sources said Congress members were not given this information during a briefing earlier this week.
An Iraqi soldier stands guard in front of the U.S. embassy while firefighters work on putting out a fire set by pro-Iranian
militiamen and their supporters, in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
    In addition to this planned takedown effort, the U.S. was also reportedly targeting a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Republican Guard Corps in Yemen.    However, the mission to take out the Abdul Reza Shahlai was unsuccessful.
    Reports said the move would have devastated the leadership of the Quds Force, which has been designated as a terror organization.    Pentagon officials allegedly said the U.S. could go after Shahlai again, but for now, the focus remains on deescalating the situation in Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin brief reporters about additional sanctions
placed on Iran, at the White House, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    Earlier the same day, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Iran in hopes of stopping its global terrorist activities. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters there’s no doubt Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks on Americans before his death.
    “We had specific information on an imminent threat, and that threat stream included attacks on U.S. embassies — period, full stop,” he stated.    “It was very clear Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large scale attack against American interests.”
    Pompeo pointed out that any member of Congress can access obtained intelligence regarding the threats to see for themselves the attacks planned by the Iranian leader were imminent.

1/10/2020 Texas governor says state will not accept more refugees by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this June 21, 2019 file photo, Gov. Greg Abbott, left, speaks at a news conference
at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)
    Governor Greg Abbott is saying the state of Texas will not accept any more refugees.
    On Friday, Abbott said Congress has left the ‘Lone Star State’ to deal with what he called “disproportionate migration issues” created by a broken immigration system.
    “Texas is one of the most welcoming states for refugees seeking to escape dangers abroad,” he wrote.    “In addition to accepting refugees all these years, Texas has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system.”
    The Republican governor also claimed Texas has done more than its share in handling the influx of migrants across the southern border.
    Texas has become the first state to refuse refugee resettlement under a new rule set forth by the Trump administration. However, at least 42 other states have agreed to take more refugees.

1/10/2020 Labor protests continue in France for 37th day by OAN Newsroom
Striking workers march during a demonstration Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
    French President Emmanuel Macron continued to push his pension reform plan as union protests entered their 37th day.
    Union labor strikes persisted on Friday due to Macron’s refusal to remove a key clause in his draft legislation, which will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64-years-old.
    Workers would still be able to retire at 62, but pension benefits would not be received in full.
    Negotiations between the French Prime Minister and unions continue in hopes of ending the stalemate.
    “Obviously, we have asked Édouard Philippe to roll back the measure on the ‘pivot age,’” said UNSA Secretary General Laurent Escure.    “I think he understood, as he understood our commitment to the idea that the compromise on balancing the retirement budget must be found in parallel to the drafting of the legislation.”
    Public transportation remains affected as citizens endure the longest strike in the country’s history.    However, reports showed protest support and attendance is slipping.
    Parliament is expected to debate the bill in February.
Protesters wave flares during a demonstration in Lyon, central France, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

1/11/2020 Oil down $0.47 to $59.12, DOW down 133 to 28,824 and it actually went above 29,000 by 44 earlier today.

1/12/2020 Irish foreign minister says EU will not be rushed in post-Brexit negotiations: BBC
FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney speaks as he leaves the General Affairs
council addressing the state of play of Brexit, in Luxembourg October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
    LONDON (Reuters) – Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday the European Union would not be rushed in negotiations with Britain to thrash out their post-Brexit relationship.
    “The European Union will approach this on the basis of getting the best deal possible – a fair and balanced deal to ensure that the UK and the EU can interact as friends in the future – but the EU will not be rushed on this,” he told the BBC.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Potter)

1/12/2020 Venezuela’s Guaido calls for more protests against Maduro by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera
Juan Guaido, president of Venezuela's National Assembly share with supporters after
a citizen assembly in Caracas, Venezuela January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday called for more protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in the wake of a failed attempt by the ruling Socialist Party to install allied leadership in congress.
    Guaido held his first rally since troops six days ago blocked his access to congress long enough for the Socialist Party to declare an allied legislator as head of parliament.
    Opposition legislators in a separate session on Jan. 5 re-elected him anyway, and they later returned to the legislative palace to hold session.
    “We have to go into the streets to protest and make demands, we have to push together,” Guaido said on Saturday at a sparsely attended rally in the Montalban neighborhood of western Caracas that brought out several hundred people.
    “Nobody can stay in their house.    Nobody can kneel before the dictatorship.”
    Guaido, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president, has since November sought to revive the groundswell mobilizations of early 2019 that galvanized the opposition.
    But rallies have consistently been smaller than last year, with many Venezuelans expressing weariness with the ongoing political standoff and frustration that Maduro remains in power despite an economic crisis and U.S. sanctions.
    Guaido had called on supporters on Tuesday to march to the headquarters of parliament to hold session, but Socialist Party leaders on Saturday called in sympathizers to surround Congress.
    At Saturday’s rally, Guaido noted that congress can hold session where and when it chooses, signaling he may avoid a confrontation.    After being blocked from congress, legislators held session at the headquarters of opposition-linked newspaper El Nacional.
    Guaido’s press team on Friday said that a representative of the Norwegian government would visit Venezuela, but that the opposition would not participate in any efforts by Norway to mediate conversations with the government.
    The two sides in 2019 participated in talks brokered by Norway that were meant to ease the political deadlock, but the opposition walked away from the meetings because it contended the government was using them to buy time.
(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

1/12/2020 Defense Secy. Esper says attack against U.S. was ‘days away’ prior to death of Soleimani by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper talks to the press on
Iran and Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at the Pentagon in Washington. (divids via AP)
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper has reaffirmed his belief that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. prior to the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    On Sunday, Esper stated an attack against the U.S. was “days away” and said it was described as being much bigger than previous actions taken by Iran.
    He called Soleimani the “world’s foremost terrorist,” citing his previous track record of attacks and killings.
    “We are safer today than we were just a few weeks ago.    Why?    Because we took out the world’s foremost terrorist leader, Qasem Soleimani, who had the blood of hundreds of American service members on his hands.    Secondly, we restored deterrence with Iran without any United States casualties.    And third, we reassured our partners and allies in the region that we will stand up and defend our interests.” – Mark Esper, U.S. Secretary of Defense
    The secretary also sided with President Trump, and other intelligence officials, in regards to Iran’s suspected intent to target several U.S. embassies.

1/12/2020 Speaker Pelosi to release impeachment articles this week by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with reporters following escalation of tensions this
week between the U.S. and Iran, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    In a Friday letter to House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would release articles of impeachment sometime in the coming week.
    “I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” wrote Pelosi.    “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”
    In response, the president mocked the speaker for her ineptitude as a leader of the House. He pointed to Pelosi’s increasingly questionable mental health and indecision in the inquiry as evidence she has allowed the proceedings to proceed dishonestly and corruptly.
    He went on to question why she would allow Rep. Adam Schiff to “lie before Congress.”
    Pelosi’s stated reason for withholding articles of impeachment from the Senate was to ensure the Senate put on a “fair trial.”    Many in Washington have called her out as a hypocrite for wanting to slow proceedings in the Senate after having spent months rushing impeachment in the House.
    Some have speculated that, in spite of Pelosi releasing the articles, she will still be very involved in the progress of impeachment.    However, any future role will likely be symbolic.    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear the Senate will hold their trial swiftly, using the Clinton precedent, and Pelosi will have no say in how it proceeds.
[NO ONE IN CONGRESS ESPECIALLY DEMOCRATS WOULD NOT KNOW A FAIR TRIAL IF IT BIT THEM ON THEIR NOSE.].

1/12/2020 President Trump says former DOJ official David Kris has ‘zero credibility’ by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    President Trump is blasting the FISA Court’s decision to appoint an Obama-era official to oversee changes deemed necessary by the Inspector General’s report.    On Sunday, the president called David Kris’ role with the DOJ “controversial” and said he has “zero credibility.”
    Reports said Kris is a left-wing blogger, who has previously written in support of the FBI’s use of FISA applications.
Photo of David Kris via Twitter.
    The president further suggested the official is the newest member of ‘The Swamp,’ which he has repeatedly said the government has no place for.
    As you know, the FISA Court and your top judge is very much involved, and hopefully they’re going to do something about it,” said President Trump.    “These were evil people and I hope that someday I’m going to consider it one of my greatest achievements getting rid of them.”
    Congressman Devin Nunes has also blasted the FISA Court’s decision.
    “It’s hard to imagine a worse person they could have chosen, outside of James Comey, Andy McCabe or Adam Schiff,” he said.
[ David S. Kris, an American lawyer from 2009 to 2011, and served as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division of the United States Department of Justice, and also as the Associate Deputy Attorney General for national security issues at the Department of Justice from 2000 to 2003.    In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Kris for Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's National Security Division, which was created in 2006.    Kris had been a high-ranking DOJ lawyer in the Bush administration for several years, and had appeared before Congress to advocate for the administration's positions regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the USA PATRIOT Act.    He had appeared before Congress in his personal capacity, after leaving the DOJ, to continue advocating for the government to have enhanced flexibility under FISA and the PATRIOT Act.
    You would think they would pick someone who is not biased for that project if there is someone who is not biased.].

1/12//2020 Trump admin. claims there’s no rush for Supreme Court to hear Obamacare appeal by OAN Newsroom
In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo, police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    The White House is saying there’s no reason for the Supreme Court to rush a ruling on the Obamacare lawsuit.    On Friday, the Trump administration said it would be premature if justices decided to expedite the review of the lawsuit, which is seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
    The White House said a lower court should first deliberate on the matter before the Supreme Court takes up the case.    Democrats have urged the court to overrule December’s decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the insurance mandate to be unconstitutional.
    The Democrat led House and fellow blue states then urged the high court to speed up a decision on the matter before justices go on June recess.    However, administration officials argued there is no urgency or immediate threat that needs to be resolved.
    President Trump has continued to push for the removal of the mandate during his campaign.
    “We got rid of the individual mandate,” said the president.    “(It was) the worst thing in Obamacare, where you paid a fortune for the privilege of not paying for horrible health care, and I got rid of it.”
    Legal experts aren’t sure if the Supreme Court would defy its usual precedence and take up a case that isn’t final.    Experts also said the case will most likely not be decided until after the presidential elections in November.

1/13/2020 Pelosi warns against ‘cover-up’ by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to consult with fellow Democrats about sending the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, she warned Majority Leader Chuck McConnell that an attempt to dismiss the case without a trial or to bar witnesses would be perceived as a “cover-up.”
    Last month, the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.    Trump has denied any wrongdoing and Republicans in the House have called the impeachment effort a partisan hitjob.
    McConnell has signed onto a resolution by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to dismiss the articles if they were not sent to the Senate within 25 days of their adoption by the House, which took place on Dec. 18.
    “Dismissing is a cover-up,” Pelosi said on ABC News’ “This Week.”
    She said the House Democratic Caucus will vote on whether to forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate during its weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
    Pelosi did not rule out the possibility that the House might file new articles of impeachment against Trump if behavior she thought unconstitutional continued.
    “Let’s just see what the Senate does.    The ball will be in their court soon,” she said.
[WHO MADE QUEEN PELOSI THE QUEEN OF ARTICLE 1 WHO HAS GONE ROUGE AND IS THREATENING THE SENATE IF THEY DO NOT DO WHAT SHES SAYS.    MITCH TELL HER WHERE TO STICK HER CROWN UP.].

1/13/2020 Pelosi warns GOP about dismissing Senate trial - Tactic would amount to a ‘cover-up,’ she says by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to consult with fellow Democrats about sending the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, she warned Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that an attempt to dismiss the case without a trial or to bar witnesses would be perceived as a “cover-up.”
    Last month, the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.    Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and Republicans in the House have called the impeachment effort a partisan hit job.
    Pelosi has delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in an attempt to get McConnell – who has said he is not impartial and wants Trump to be acquitted as quickly as possible – to agree to what she considers a “fair” format for the trial.     McConnell has rejected Pelosi’s efforts to negotiate with him, declaring on the Senate floor last week that there “will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure.”    On Thursday, McConnell signed on to a resolution introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to dismiss the articles for “failure to prosecute” if they were not sent to the Senate within 25 days of their adoption by the House, which took place Dec. 18.
    “Dismissing is a cover-up,” Pelosi warned McConnell on ABC News’ “This Week.”
    The biggest concession Pelosi wanted from McConnell was to allow witnesses to testify and for additional documents to be allowed to be submitted for evidence. McConnell has refused to commit to allowing witnesses, saying the Senate “will not cede our authority to try this impeachment.”
    Citing polls that showed about 70% of Americans favor additional witness testimony, Pelosi said McConnell and Senate Republicans will “pay a price” and “will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial.”
    Among the witnesses Pelosi would like to see testify is former national security adviser John Bolton.    He refused to cooperate with Trump’s alleged effort to leverage military aid to pressure Ukraine into opening a pair of investigations, which he called a “drug deal,” according to witnesses.    Bolton said he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate after previously saying he would do so only if ordered to by a court.
    Critics of House Democrats’ handling of the impeachment inquiry have questioned Pelosi’s decision not to subpoena Bolton.    Pelosi has said that the process was too urgent to wait for the courts to review the case and that there already was enough evidence to warrant Trump’s removal from office.    But on Sunday, Pelosi said it was still possible that the House would subpoena Bolton if the Senate does not.
    Despite McConnell’s refusal to budge on allowing witnesses, Pelosi defended the strategy of holding onto the articles of impeachment.    She said it led to a “positive result” because, in the interval, reporting uncovered emails that appeared to directly tie Trump to the order to delay military aid and Bolton agreed to testify.
    “And more importantly, raising the profile of the fact that we need to have witnesses and documentation, and if we don’t that is a cover-up,” she said.
    “We wanted the public to see the need for witnesses, witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what happened, documentation which the president has prevented from coming to the Congress,” she said.
    She said the House Democratic Caucus will vote on whether to forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate during its weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
    In the interview, host George Stephanopoulos asked Pelosi about a tweet Trump posted Sunday morning telling him to ask “Crazy Nancy.” why she allowed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, DCalif., to paraphrase the readout from his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
    “It’s Sunday morning.    I’d like to talk about some more pleasant subjects than the erratic nature of this president,” Pelosi said.
    Pelosi did not rule out the possibility that the House might file new articles against Trump if behavior she thought unconstitutional continued.
    “Let’s just see what the Senate does,” she said. “The ball will be in their court soon.”
Articles of impeachment
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House Democratic Caucus will vote in its weekly meeting Tuesday morning whether to forward two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

1/13/2020 President Trump blasts FISA court’s decision to appoint Obama-era official to oversee changes to IG report by OAN Newsroom
In this Jan. 9, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks on proposed changes to the
National Environmental Policy Act, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is blasting the FISA court’s decision to appoint an Obama-era official to oversee changes deemed necessary by the Horowitz Inspector General report.    While taking to Twitter Sunday, he slammed former Department of Justice official David Kris.
    The decision to appoint Kris is highly controversial, which is something the president pointed out.    He’s left-wing blogger and has previously written in support of the FBI in its use of FISA applications.    The president suggested Kris is the newest member of the swamp, which he has repeatedly said the government has no place for.
File -David Kris is pictured. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

    “Now, as you know, the FISA court and your top judge is very much involved, and hopefully, they’re going to do something about it,” said President Trump.    “These were dirty people, these were evil people, and I hope that someday I’m going to consider it my greatest or one of my greatest achievements — getting rid of them.”
    Congressman Devin Nunes is also slamming the FISA court’s decision.    He stated, “it’s hard to imagine a worse person they could have chosen outside of James Comey, Andy McCabe or Adam Schiff.”
[MORE ATTEMPTS TO COVER-UP CRIMES WHICH HAVE BEEN UNCOVERED BY IG HOROWITZ' INVESTIGATION AND WILL BE GOING TO BARR AND DURHAM SOON SO THE DEEP STATE IS GETTING DEPERATE ESPECIALLY ADAM SCHIFF WHO FOR TWO YEARS PUSHED HIS LIES OF RUSSIAN COLLUSION AND I WOULD NOT COUNT HIM OUT AS THE ONE WHO HAD THE FBI LAWYER CHANGE THE EMAIL THAT AFFECTED THE ILLEGAL FISA INFORMATION.].

1/13/2020 U.S. targets Maduro-picked top legislator, six others in fresh Venezuelan sanctions
FILE PHOTO: Lawmaker Luis Parra speaks during a swearing-in ceremony at Venezuela's
National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials it said led a bid by President Nicolas Maduro to wrest control of the country’s congress from U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.
    Earlier this month, troops blocked Guaido from entering congress long enough for the Socialist Party to declare allied legislator Luis Parra as head of parliament.
    Opposition legislators in a separate session on Jan. 5 re-elected Guaido and later returned to the legislative palace to hold session.
    Washington blacklisted Parra and six other current or former officials “who, at the bidding of Maduro, attempted to block the democratic process in Venezuela,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
    The other Maduro-aligned National Assembly delegates blacklisted on Monday are: Jose Noriega, Franklyn Duarte, Jose Brito, Conrado Perez, Adolfo Superlano and Negal Morales.
    Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration was weighing imposing sanctions against Parra and more than a dozen others who took part in the Socialist Party’s attempt to take control of congress.
    The sanctions, Washington’s latest action targeting the socialist Maduro government, freeze any U.S. assets of those targeted and generally prohibit Americans from doing business with them.
    Last January, Washington recognized Guaido as the OPEC nation’s legitimate interim president and began ratcheting up sanctions and diplomatic pressure in an effort to oust Maduro.
    A year later, Maduro remains in power, backed by the military as well as Russia, China and Cuba.    A senior administration official told Reuters in October that U.S. President Donald Trump’s frustration over the lack of results had spurred aides to ready further actions.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Susan Heavey; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker)

1/13/2020 WikiLeaks founder Assange needs more time to speak to lawyer, court told by Elizabeth Howcroft
WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is not getting the time he needs with his legal team to discuss his fight against extradition to the United States, causing delays to the case, his lawyer told a British court on Monday.
    After skipping bail in Britain, Assange spent seven years holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London before he was dragged out by police in April last year.
    He is being held in a British jail pending the U.S. extradition case, having served a sentence for skipping bail.
    The United States wants him extradited to face 18 charges including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.     He could spend decades in prison if convicted.
    The 48-year-old Australian appeared for Monday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court wearing glasses and a dark blazer over a light top.    He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth to the judge and saluted his supporters in the public gallery at the beginning and end of the hearing.
    Assange’s lawyer Gareth Peirce said difficulty in getting time with Assange had delayed the case, telling the court: “This slippage in the timetable is extremely worrying.”
    He fled to Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 to avoid being sent to Sweden to face sex crimes accusations that were dropped last year.
    He says the U.S. charges against him are a political attempt to silence journalists and publishers, and that the Swedish allegations were part of a plot to catch him.
    Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
    Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange could have time on Monday to speak to his lawyer and appear in court again later in the day.    In that second sitting, Peirce said that she had only had an hour to speak to Assange.
    Assange’s next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.    He is due to appear via video link from London’s Belmarsh prison.
    Full extradition proceedings are expected to commence in February.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Writing by Alistair Smout; Editing by Catherine Evans and Philippa Fletcher)

1/13/2020 Trump, Germany’s Merkel discussed security, Libya: White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a meeting during
the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about security in the Middle East, Libya and other issues, White House spokesman Judd Deere said on Monday.
    Sunday’s discussion followed a separate conversation between the two leaders last week in which they talked about “the tense situation regarding Iran and Iraq.”
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Susan Heavey)

1/13/2020 Founder, executives of pharmaceutical company set to be sentenced in scheme of over-prescribing painkillers by OAN Newsroom
FILE – A protester gathers containers that look like OxyContin bottles at an anti-opioid demonstration in front of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The justice system is looking to crackdown on perpetrators of the opioid crisis as a federal court looks to set a precedent with high level executives of a pharmaceutical company.    Recent reports confirmed the sentencing of seven top former employees, including the founder of Insys Therapeutics, who are set to appear in front of a federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts.
    The case surrounding Insys founder John Kapoor and his employees stem from their scheme to over-prescribe their opioid product, which has affected nearly 400,000 lives over two decades.
    “People who are desperate for pain relief because they’ve suffered terrible pain injuries, and to see them being taken advantage of like this is sickening,” said attorney Michael Rainboth.
    The company bribed doctors to over-prescribe their fentanyl-based oral spray Subsys to cancer patients seeking to ease their pain.    Insys also misled insurance companies to pay for the drug, which costs $19,000 a month.
FILE – In this Jan. 30, 2019, file photo, Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor
leaves federal court in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
    Former employee Patty Nixon blew the whistle on the company’s practices, which resulted in an extensive legal battle causing Insys to file for bankruptcy and settle $225 million with the Department of Justice.
    Once the convictions of executives began, Nixon expressed hope her actions would cause longstanding changes to the industry.
    “The pharmaceutical companies have been able to get away with criminal activity for a very long time,” she stated.    “I think this decision, today, will change the entire industry as it should…it’s not okay to put patients’ lives at risk for profit.”
    While the defendants can face up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors aren’t seeking a maximum penalty.    They are looking to sentence Kapoor to 15 years, while arguing that he is the leader of the bribery scheme.    The other defendants are being pushed to serve anywhere from five to 11 years behind bars.    Sentencing hearings begin Monday, January 13, 2020.

1/13/2020 Farmers optimistic about ‘phase one’ trade deal by OAN Newsroom
FILE – American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
    American soybean farmers are hopeful ahead of the signing of the U.S. trade deal with China.    According to a recent report, farmers impacted by previous trade agreements with China are looking ahead to a better deal and increased profits in 2020.
    This comes as President Trump and China’s vice premier are set to sign the ‘phase one’ deal in Washington on Wednesday.    The deal is expected to reduce some U.S. tariffs on Beijing and boost Chinese purchases of American products.
    Profits from soybean exports to China reportedly dropped dramatically from $12 billion in 2017 to a little over $3 billion in 2018. Despite the overall hit, U.S. farmers have remained optimistic.
FILE – In this May 23, 2019, file photo, a farmer plants soybeans in a field in Springfield, Neb. China’s imports of soybeans
surged in November following the announcement of an interim trade deal with the United States. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
    “We knew as soon as the trade war escalated and the price of soybeans dropped so bad, that we were in trouble,” explained Illinois soybean farmer John Kiefner.    “Resolving this trade war is definitely gonna be a step in the right direction.”
    President Trump is expected to ask China to purchase around $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods, which would be a huge boost for U.S. farmers.    However, China has not confirmed they will make the purchase.

1/14/2020 Oil down $1.03 to $58.09, DOW up 83 to 28,907.

1/14/2020 McConnell: Pelosi failed in delaying Trump trial - Impeachment articles may reach Senate soon by Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said Monday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “strange gambit” to withhold the articles of impeachment against Trump from the Senate in hopes of influencing how he and his colleagues conduct the trial has failed.
    He appeared encouraged by news that Pelosi finally may send the articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which the House of Representatives approved on Dec. 18, 2019, to the Senate later this week.
    “Well I’m glad the speaker finally realized she never had any leverage in the first place,” McConnell said in a brief speech on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.    “In terms of influencing Senate proceedings, this strange gambit has achieved absolutely nothing.”
    The Kentucky Republican referred to Pelosi’s recent tactic as a “one-woman blockade” of an impeachment trial.
    McConnell’s latest comments on impeachment came a day after Pelosi warned in a television interview that dismissing the impeachment case would constitute a “cover-up.”
    Pelosi took aim, in particular, at McConnell’s decision to sign onto a proposed Senate resolution that would allow the chamber to dismiss articles of impeachment if the House fails to send them over within 25 days of adopting them.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned in a television interview that
dismissing the impeachment case would constitute a “cover-up.”J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP FILE
[PELOSI WOULD NOT KNOW A COVER-UP IF IT BIT HER ON HER BUTTOCK AND IT IS IRONIC THAT ALL IS OCURRING NOW IS THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO COVER-UP BIDEN'S CRIMES, SCHIFF'S CORRUPT WHISTLEBLOWER, FISA ABUSE BY THE FBI, DOJ, NSA, CIA UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, AND A PHONY IMPEACHMENT.].

1/14/2020 DOJ to change requirements to launch probes into presidential campaigns by OAN Newsroom
Attorney General William Barr speaks to reporters at the Justice Department
in Washington, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Attorney General William Barr is raising the requirements for the Justice Department to investigate presidential campaigns, following the so-called Russia collusion probe.    He made the initial announcement on Monday.
    This means any new investigations into presidential campaigns would require signatures from both the attorney general and the head of the FBI.    Department of Justice lawyers currently review applications sent through the FISA court and are able to approve them without receiving signatures from high-ranking officials.
    Barr said FBI Director Christopher Wray has already agreed to the change.
    “Well we’re considering a number of additional things, Chris Wray and I have discussed a number of possibilities,” he stated.    “One of the things we have agreed on is that the opening of a counter-intelligence investigation of a presidential campaign would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on and the attorney general would have to sign off on.”
    This all comes after a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the Intelligence Community committed a number of infractions while conducting a preliminary probe into now-debunked claims the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
    The 2019 report outlined multiple instances of the FBI officials either leaving out crucial information or, in some cases, taking active steps to conceal evidence against the claim that Trump campaign members were working with Moscow.    This happened with higher-ups at both the FBI and the FISA courts.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a Senate committee on FISA investigation
hearing, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    This led both Horowitz and the Department of Justice to vow to take a second look into how FISA investigations are conducted and compiled by the Intelligence Community.
    “We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate handpicked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations,” stated the Department of Justice Inspector General.    “The circumstances reflect the failure, as we outlined in the report, not just by those who prepared the applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the crossfire hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed.”
    On Friday, Wray announced the FBI also plans on tightening its protocol when investigating sensitive electronic information.    Meanwhile, the FISA court announced Obama-era Justice Department official David Kris has been nominated to oversee the changes, which is a move President Trump has heavily criticized due to his history as a left-wing blogger.
[As we see news articles come out like this we will see a barage of fake news disputing them soon after.].

1/14/2020 U.S. House committee threatens subpoena if Pompeo will not provide Iran information by Patricia Zengerle
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee threatened on Tuesday to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he does not provide information about Iran policy and President Donald Trump’s ordering the strike that killed an Iranian military commander.
    “If Secretary Pompeo is not going to cooperate with the committee, then we will consider very strongly taking other action in the future, including subpoenas,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel said in remarks opening a hearing where Pompeo had been invited to testify, but did not appear.
    Engel also said he would send a letter on Tuesday to Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper seeking information about the strike.
    The Democratic-led committee said last week it had called Pompeo to testify, as members of Congress pushed Trump’s administration for more information about the killing this month of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
    The State Department declined comment.    Pompeo was on a trip to California.
    Criticism of the administration has grown as officials have offered shifting justifications for the strike.    Trump fueled controversy by saying on Twitter that “it doesn’t really matter” whether Soleimani posed an imminent threat.
    Representative Mike McCaul, the leading Republican on the committee, said Soleimani’s history of involvement in hostilities against U.S. interests justified the strike but added the administration could declassify more information about the matter.
    The House on Thursday rebuked the president by passing a resolution, mostly along party lines, that would stop Trump from further military action against Iran.
    “I think the administration is not being straight with the country or the Congress,” Engel said as he opened the hearing.
    The Senate is expected to vote on the war powers resolution as soon as this week.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Howard Goller)

1/14/2020 U.S., EU, Japan agree new subsidy rules with China trade in focus by Philip Blenkinsop
FILE PHOTO: A red light is pictured at a pedestrian crossing in front of the World Trade Organization headquarters
in Geneva, Switzerland, December 9, 2019. Picture taken December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States, the European Union and Japan proposed new global trade rules on Tuesday to curb subsidies they say are distorting the worldwide economy, with China their clear target.
    A day before Chinese officials are due to sign the first phase of a trade deal with the United States in Washington, Beijing is again the focus of criticism from its main trading partners.
    The Phase 1 U.S.-China deal will lead to China buying more U.S. products, but not tackle hard issues such as subsidies.
    Japanese economy minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan said in a joint statement that existing World Trade Organization (WTO) rules were insufficient to tackle market distortions from subsidies.
    The proposed rules are the outcome of two years of trilateral discussions, but are only a precursor to the hard work of convincing other WTO members, including China.
    They also mark a note of harmony in U.S.-EU relations, strained by U.S. tariffs and disputes over aircraft subsidies and EU auto exports.
    The three partners intend to bring their proposals to the Geneva-based WTO, with as many countries involved as possible, even if probably not all the WTO’s 164 members.
    “This would only make sense if the big subsidisers were on board,” an EU source said.
    The EU last year hailed a breakthrough in talks with China on industrial subsidies and believes Beijing’s desire to keep the WTO afloat may make it more flexible.
    Meanwhile, Beijing has said it would be more ready to discuss industrial subsidies if talks also extended to agricultural subsidies prevalent in the west.
    The WTO already bans any subsidies which are used to boost exports or to give an advantage to local over imported goods.
    The three partners want to add four banned subsidy types, namely unlimited guarantees, subsidies to ailing enterprises without a restructuring plan, subsidies to firms unable to obtain long-term financing and certain forgiveness of debt.
    They would also seek to ban other large subsidies, such as to prop up zombie enterprises, to create overcapacity or to lower input prices unless the subsidizing country can prove there are no negative effects.
    They are also seeking to devise rules to end forced technology transfer and current WTO rules that allow countries such as China, Korea and Singapore to designate themselves developing countries, which enjoy advantages.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Alexander Smith)

1/14/2020 Impeachment trial likely to begin next Tuesday by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks from his office to the Senate chamber,
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to release the text of the motion to dismiss the impeachment charges against President Trump.    The Kentucky lawmaker has reportedly been surveying members of his conference to gauge support for a dismissal, but apparently GOP senators are generally not interested in such a move as some attempt to remain impartial ahead of the upcoming 2020 primaries.
    McConnell took to the Senate floor Tuesday to speak out against Democrats’ demands for calling specific witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial.
    “House Democrats’ case cannot simultaneously be so robust that it was enough to impeach in the first place, but also so weak that the Senate needs to go fishing,” he stated.    “If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation.”    He added, “if the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place.”
    The Senate majority leader said the House is likely to send the articles of impeachment over on Wednesday, which would then allow the Senate to go through some preliminary steps this week. The impeachment trial could begin as early as next Tuesday.

The U.S. Capitol is seen on a rainy day, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Meanwhile, the president’s impeachment legal team is coming together as the trial quickly approaches.    The Trump administration confirmed Tuesday that White House counsel Pat Cipollone will lead the defense efforts.    President Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow and deputy counsels Michael Purpura and Patrick Philbin will also aid in the impeachment defense.
[I would love to see that Mitch allows all the witness that they can find and keep bringing them in and let this whole process drag on all year long until after the November elections and Trump is re-elected just to piss off the Democrats for not taking their supaoneas to the Article 3 Supreme Court of the United States.].

1/15/2020 Oil up $0.15 to $58.23 DOW up 32 to 28,940.

[HERE COMES THE DEEP STATE USING THE FAKE NEWS SERVICE TO TRY TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE ON WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AS THEY ARE GETTING DESPERATE, AND THEY WILL PROBABLY ACUSE TRUMP OF DOING IT, AND BY THE WAY I HAVE SUSPECTED AND DO NOT TRUST FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY IN EARLIER ARTICLES SUSPECT BECAUSE HE WAS THE ONE BROUGHT IN AFTER ALL THE CORRUPT FBI WERE BEING FIRED AND HAS NOT REALLY DONE ANYTHING TOWARD PROMOTING THE CORRUPTION OF THE FISA COURT ISSUE AND OTHER SUCH AS FIONA HILL AND YANOVITCH AS THE EVIDENCE AND WITNESS THAT GUILIANI HAS SHOWN TO BE VALID AND IT LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE IS TRYING TO COVER THAT UP ALSO.].
1/15/2020 Researchers: Russia hacked Burisma by Bart Jansen and Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – A computer security company reported Monday that Russian hackers sought access to the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, and House Democrats warned the meddling threatened to interfere with the 2020 election.
    Area 1 Security, a California company focused on email security, reported that members of Russian military intelligence known as GRU launched a campaign in early November to steal email credentials from workers at Burisma Holdings.
    Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, previously served on Burisma’s board.    Trump’s call for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and Burisma led to the president’s impeachment.
    FBI Director Christopher Wray and others have said there is no evidence that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.    Other officials, such as Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official, testified in the impeachment inquiry that accusations against Ukraine are Russian propaganda to divert attention from their own election interference.     Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden’s 2020 campaign, said the Burisma hacking illustrated that Russia seeks to meddle in the campaign to help Trump.
    “Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anticorruption victory because he recognized that he can’t beat the vice president,” Bates said.    “Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat.    Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections.”
    The cyberattack against Burisma involved phishing, an effort in which hackers mimic legitimate organizations in order to trick targets into divulging email passwords and other information.    It wasn’t clear what information the phishing campaign sought, according to Area 1’s eight-page report.
    “The phishing campaign identified is designed to steal email credentials (usernames and passwords) of employees at Burisma Holdings and its subsidiaries and partners,” the report said.
    The apparent cyberattack worried House Democratic chairmen because the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russians interfered with the 2016 election by hacking into Democratic Party computers and by circulating false information on social media.    Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents of GRU on charges of computer crimes and identity theft.
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told reporters the Burisma hack was evidence Russians were trying to help Trump again.
    “We know that the Russians wanted Donald Trump elected last time and they actively supported him,” Nadler said.    “We know the president tried to get foreign help, tried to extort foreign help for the next election campaign.    And it looks like the Russians are trying to open up again.”
    The House impeached Trump on articles accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.    Trump is accused of urging Ukraine to investigate his political rival while withholding $391 million in military aid from the country, and then defying congressional subpoenas during the inquiry.
Contributing: Nicholas Wu
[THERE WAS NOT ONE COMMENT HERE BY THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AND IF YOU COULD NOT SEE THE EXTREME BIAS IN THIS FAKE NEWS ARTICLE THEN I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.].

1/15/2020 Democratic group to spend an additional $50M targeting Trump
    WASHINGTON – The largest Democratic Party super PAC is pouring an additional $50 million into advertising attacking President Donald Trump.    Priorities USA announced Tuesday that it has increased the amount of money it plans to spend before the Democratic convention to $150 million.    The political action committee plans to spend $70 million in TV and digital ads in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.    It says the additional investment will prevent Trump from having a monopoly on messaging with undecided voters.
[THE DIFFERENCE HERE IS THAT TRUMP IS GETTING THE DONATION MONEY FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEING WHAT HE IS DOING FOR THEM.    THE DEMOCRATS ARE GETTING THIS MONEY FROM BILLIONAIRES LIKE BLOOMBERG OR THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OR AKA THE DEEP STATE GLOBALIST WHO WERE THE ORIGINAL RUSSIAN COLLUSION CREATORS WHEN TRUMP WON THE PRESIDENCY AND NOW IN DESPERATION THEY WILL TRY AGAIN TO INFLUENCE THE PRESIDENCY AWAY FROM THE NATIONALIST WHO WANT THEIR FREEDOM FROM THEM.].

1/15/2020 President Trump, Chinese Vice Premier sign ‘phase one’ trade deal at the White House by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, after signing a trade agreement in
the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has officially signed the ‘phase one’ trade deal with China.    He held a signing ceremony at the White House Wednesday alongside the Chinese vice premier and top U.S. trade officials.
    Part one of the agreement outlines changes China must make to protect intellectual property rights and will end forced technology transfers.    Additionally, President Trump said China agreed to increase imports from the U.S. by more than $200 billion over the next two years.    The ‘phase one’ agreement also includes $50 billion in agriculture purchases.
    U.S.-China Business Council President Craig Allen said both the U.S. and China will benefit from the new trade deal.    In a recent interview, he said the agreement’s benefits to both sides gives him hope it will be sustainable and provide a foundation to move forward in the “economic arena.”    Allen also said the deal puts a stop to the deterioration of the U.S.-China relationship and is a substantial step forward.
    Meanwhile, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also touted the benefits of the ‘phase one’ deal.    While speaking to reporters Wednesday, he called the agreement “historic.”    Kudlow said the U.S. is prepared to take “proportionate actions” if China does not make good on its commitments, which include changing its criminal and civil procedures to strengthen IP protections.
    “As a free trader, I agree with him…President Trump’s strategy was exactly right,” he stated.    “I think tough tariffs brought him to the negotiating table, I think that tough tariffs hurt their economy and made them much more amenable to a good deal.”
    President Trump confirmed ‘phase two’ negotiations will start as soon as ‘phase one’ kicks in and current tariffs will remain until that round is concluded.    Kudlow said the outcome of those talks will ultimately depend on the success of ‘phase one.’
President Donald Trump signs a trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, in the East Room
of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

1/15/2020 House Democrats block vote on resolution in support of Iranian demonstrators by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during a news conference on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    House Democrats have blocked a vote on Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s resolution to support the demonstrators in Iran.    On Tuesday, Democrats in the lower chamber prevented consideration of the measure, which would have called on Iran to refrain from violence against the protesters.
    The resolution would have also called on the Islamic Republic to protect the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
    In a tweet, McCarthy called Democrats’ move a disappointment.    He added this should be a time for Congress to speak with one voice and condemn the regime that kills its own people.

In this photograph taken Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, Iranian police officers take position while protesters gather in front of
Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, to remember victims of a Ukrainian airplane shot down by an Iranian missile. (AP Photo)
    The representative previously said America should stand with anyone in the world who craves freedom, including the citizens of Iran.
    On Tuesday, McCarthy applauded the people of Iran for taking to the streets and protesting the lies of the Ayatollah regime.    He introduced a resolution to support the protesters and condemned Iran for shooting down the Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 passengers.
    The representative also pushed back against Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said the U.S. was partly to blame for incident.    McCarthy said the Iranian government escalated tensions and Canadian citizens are dead because of Iran’s actions.

1/15/2020 Growing number of Texas cities vote to become ‘sanctuary cities for the unborn’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 23, 2017, file photo, marchers arrive for a Roe v. Wade protest as hundreds
converge on the Kansas Statehouse in Topika, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
    A growing number of cities in Texas are voting in favor of becoming ‘sanctuary cities for the unborn.’    The city councils of Big Spring and Colorado City voted on Tuesday in support of a new ordinance, which will prohibit abortions from being performed within city limits.
    The city of Rusk became the eighth city in Texas to approve the measure, which is part of a pro-life movement spearheaded by the Right to Life Organization.
    “This right here says, about the city of Rusk, that we are going to be the town that stands up for what is right,” stated Rusk Councilman Martin Holsome.    “We may not always agree, but I do believe over time that this is going to unify this town.”
    There are currently no abortion clinics located in the cities where the measure has passed.
    However, most provisions of the ordinance will not take effect unless the Supreme Court issues a new option on the legality of abortion, specifically on the Roe v. Wade decision.
Anti-abortion advocates gather outside the Planned Parenthood clinic Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

1/15/2020 House passes resolution naming managers in the impeachment trial against President Trump by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accompanied by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. left,
and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference
to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    The House has passed a resolution authorizing impeachment managers, which sets up the Senate for the long awaited impeachment trial.    The resolution passed 228-to-193 mostly along party lines Wednesday.    Only one Democrat, congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota, sided with Republicans on the “no” vote, while nine lawmakers did not cast a vote at all.
    The legislation officially appointed the seven lawmakers named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, as managers of the Democrat’s case against the president.
    Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the only thing Speaker Pelosi has achieved with the impeachment process is proving she is focused on politics instead of the American people. In a scathing statement Wednesday, Grisham said Pelosi held the articles of impeachment for a month in an egregious effort to garner political support, but failed.
File – White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats
for delaying handing over the articles of impeachment to the Senate. (AP Photo)
    She added, the naming of impeachment managers does not change a single thing as President Trump did nothing wrong.
    Grisham also said the president expects to be fully exonerated in the Senate.
    The articles of impeachment are expected to be walked over to the Senate this evening.

1/15/2020 Report: White House doesn’t expect impeachment trial to take longer than 2 weeks by OAN Newsroom
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson, left, and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pass through Statuary Hall
at the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate,
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s signing of the articles of impeachment on Wednesday, the Senate is expected to begin their impeachment trial.
    White House officials are bracing for a “quick” trial in the Senate and said they don’t expect new witness testimonies.    Top administration officials believe President Trump is overwhelmingly winning in the impeachment case.    They also expect the trial to last no more than two weeks.
    White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said the president is not worried about the trial and believes Democrats’ case for impeachment is blatantly political.
    “The whole process has been proven, to this point, to be a sham and illegitimate.    The president has done nothing wrong.    The articles of impeachment don’t even allege a crime.    The president is focused on doing his job, focused on making the lives of all Americans better.    Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are focused on their own selfish political desires.” – Hogan Gidley, White House Deputy Press Secretary
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
    Senators will reportedly vote on having witnesses in the impeachment trial, but not on promptly dismissing the House’s articles of impeachment.    Wednesday reports, which cited GOP senators, said an organizing resolution for the trial will mandate senators debate and vote on a motion to subpoena additional witnesses.
    GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander said the measure guarantees a vote on witnesses after arguments from both sides.    The resolution does not call for a vote to immediately dismiss the articles of impeachment, which is an idea President Trump has previously expressed interest in.

1/15/2020 Report: Chief Justice Roberts to swear in senators in impeachment trial this week by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2019 file photo, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts answers questions
during an appearance at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
    Chief Justice John Roberts could reportedly swear in jurors for President Trump’s impeachment trial this week.
    Wednesday reports said the House’s impeachment managers are expected to read the articles of impeachment in the chamber on Thursday. Roberts will then be sworn in and to proceed to swear in all 100 members of the Senate.
    While presiding over the trial, he will call the chamber to order, decide when to adjourn and read questions from senators aloud.
    It’s unclear how Roberts will handle the impeachment trial.    However, the chief justice has notably sought to appear nonpartisan in his time at the helm of the Supreme Court.
    “For Chief Justice Roberts, I think, the thing that he’s focused on above all is being someone committed to the rule of law, being apolitical.    Starts back during his confirmation proceedings, when he talked about justices being like an umpire who calls balls and strikes.    We’ve seen it through the decisions, like in the Obamacare case, and I think that’s going to define what he does when he presides over the Senate hearings.” – Bill Treanor, Dean of Georgetown University Law School

1/15/2020 Report: Trump admin. to divert $7.2B in defense, counterdrug funds to border wall construction by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2019 file photo, government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall
along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. The White House says construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall will move
forward after a federal appeals court ruling that frees up construction money. (AP Photo/Matt York)
    The Trump administration is set to divert billions of dollars to further construction of the president’s border wall.    According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the White House is planning to reappropriate $7.2 billion for wall construction.    This includes $3.5 billion from anti-drug trafficking programs and $3.7 billion from military construction projects.
    The additional money on top of the $1.4 billion already approved by Congress will allow for the construction of more than 800 miles of border security infrastructure to be built by the spring of 2022.    That’s above and beyond the current plan of just over 500 miles of border wall set to be completed by the end of this year.
    Administration officials reportedly made the decision to divert more funds after the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which reversed a lower court’s ruling prohibiting the administration from diverting military funds to the wall.
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump tours a section of the southern border wall in
Otay Mesa, Calif. The Trump administration is weighing whether to shift billions more in military funding for the border wall
after moving more than $6 billion, prompting a fresh round of criticism from lawmakers (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
    In February of 2019, the president signed a national emergency declaration for the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, which authorized the White House to divert funds for border security without regard to congressional appropriations.
    Despite Democrats’ history of being proponents of military budget cuts, lawmakers like Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have called the administration’s decision to once again divert funds to the border wall an “unconstitutional waste of money.”    Leahy claimed the wall could be defeated by a $100 saw.
[NOT SO LEAHY ANOTHER PROMISE MADE AND A PROMISE TO KEPT AND THEN IN TIME HE WILL HAVE MEXICO PAY FOR IT].

1/15/2020 U.S., Germany preparing for largest military drills in Europe in 25 years by OAN Newsroom
File – U.S. Army, U.S. soldiers gather for a brief during a combined joint patrol rehearsal. (Zoe Garbarino/U.S. Army via AP Photo)
    The Department of Defense is preparing for the largest military drills held in Europe in 25 years.    While speaking in Berlin Tuesday, U.S. Gen. Andrew Rohling said the joint U.S.-NATO exercise will involve 20,000 American troops.
    The U.S. official said NATO will test its ability to deploy a massive force of personnel and equipment to repel a potential invasion of the European continent. According to German officials, the drills come in response to emerging new challenges, but are not aimed against Russia.
    “It’s not just about military readiness and military capabilities…the ports we’re coming into in Europe are civilian ports, so we will receive support and capabilities from the civilian ports,” he stated.    “We’re using the Deutsche Bahn as our main rail source across Germany, again, a civilian agency.”
U.S. Army Europe Deputy Commanding General Andrew M. Rohling poses for the media in front of a logo after a press
conference in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 on the ‘Defender 2020’ military exercise. About 20.000 US soldiers
will take part in the exercise between February and Mai 2020 in Germany, Poland and Lithuania. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
    German officials said the drills will test their ability to use dual-purpose infrastructure in case of an emergency.    The joint exercise will start in late February and extend into March.

1/15/2020 President Trump thanks Obama-era official for comments on Soleimani operation by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Milwaukee to attend a campaign rally,
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump recently thanked a former Obama-era official for his comments on the operation which resulted in the death of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.    In a tweet Tuesday, the president praised former National Security adviser and retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Jones.
    This comes after Jones said the Trump administration was “absolutely correct” in taking out terrorist leader Soleimani with an airstrike.    He also advised the president not to listen to Democrats on the issue and not let up on pressure against the Ayatollah regime.
U.S. Soldiers stand near the site of Iranian bombing at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Ain al-Asad air
base was struck by a barrage of Iranian missiles on Wednesday, in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed atop Iranian
commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose killing raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Qassim Abdul-Zahra)
    “I think what the administration did in the Soleimani case is absolutely correct, I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Jones.    “…I give them credit for doing that and I think it was the right thing to do, and I think, as articulated by the President, it’s a potential game-changer.”
    The former National Security adviser also went on to say he believes the Iranian regime is closer than ever before to finally collapsing.

1/15/2020 Judge orders hearing for Judicial Watch, Awan Brothers case by OAN Newsroom
The gavel is pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The Justice Department is being forced to explain why they have repeatedly failed to produce records for the Awan Brothers case.
    During a snap hearing on Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the DOJ must appear for a status hearing on Wednesday regarding Judicial Watch’s 2018 FOIA request.    The organization previously asked the FBI for information on the brothers’ involvement in a congressional Democrat information technology scandal.
    Imran Awan and his family members served as aides to dozens of House Democrat lawmakers in 2017.    They reportedly received mysterious payments after they were determined to be security risks.
    “After the House Inspector General determined that Imran Awan and his family members made unauthorized access to House data, and were funneling data off the House network by abusing their positions as I.T. guys, a lot of people wondered, ‘How did they get into this place?'” stated investigative reporter Luke Rosiak.    “It turns out, just as people had suspected, the Democrats did not run a background check on these guys.”
    In November, the DOJ told the court they were having “technical difficulties” producing documents related to the case.    Judicial Watch has alleged the DOJ and FBI are helping cover up the Democrat cyber operation through Awan.
[JUST SO YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT I SHOW YOU THE NEWS ARTICLES FROM 2019 ON AWAN WHICH IS ASSOCIATE WITH THE ABOVE ARTICLE AND AS YOU READ ABOVE THE DEEP STATE IS STILL TRYING TO COVER THIS UP EVEN TODAY.
1/31/2019 Purported hackers stole U.S. evidence to discredit Mueller probe: filing by Sarah N. Lynch
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said on Wednesday that self-proclaimed hackers in Russia stole evidence in an attempt to tarnish its investigation of a firm charged with funding a Russian propaganda campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
    Prosecutors said in a court filing in Washington that a Twitter handle called @HackingRedstone came online last Oct. 22 to brag it had hacked some of the evidence in the case.
    “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case,” the court document quoted the Twitter post as saying.
    In February 2018, Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies with allegations of tampering in 2016 to support then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.    In all, 34 people have pleaded guilty, been indicted or otherwise swept up in the broader inquiry.
    The companies named in the indictment included the Internet Research Agency (IRA), known for its “trolling” on social media, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is said to have provided financial backing for the operation, and Concord Catering.
    The Twitter account linked to an online file sharing portal which it said contained Mueller’s documents about the “IRA and Russian collusion.”    “Enjoy the reading!” it added.
    The data that appeared online was “altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system,” prosecutors wrote.
    On the same day, a journalist contacted Mueller’s office to report receiving a Twitter message from someone who said they had hacked a Russian legal firm that had received the evidence from Concord’s U.S. based law firm Reed Smith LLP.
    The illicit activity outlined by prosecutors illustrates the concerns of U.S. intelligence officials about continuing efforts by Russia to interfere in U.S. politics.
    The FBI has found no evidence that U.S. servers were compromised, and the IP address of the account used to publish the materials originated in Russia, prosecutors said.
    Concord Management is being prosecuted in Mueller’s investigation of U.S. allegations that Moscow meddled in the American democratic process to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
    Mueller is also investigating whether there was any coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Moscow officials.    The Kremlin denies election interference and President Trump denies there was any collusion, calling the inquiry a political witch hunt.
    Wednesday’s filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is the latest in a dispute between prosecutors and Concord’s American attorneys over how the defense team may share highly sensitive evidence with Concord’s Russian corporate officers.
    One of those officers is businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and known in Russia as “Putin’s cook.”
    In the indictment, prosecutors said Russian defendants adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, traveled to the United States to collect intelligence and orchestrated political rallies while posing as Americans.    Prigozhin was one of the 13 people indicted.
    He is not expected to appear in a U.S. court because Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.    His company Concord did hire American lawyers, however, to fight the charges.
    Prosecutors say they do not oppose allowing Concord’s corporate officers to see the evidence.
    However, they fear U.S. intelligence sources and methods could be compromised if the materials are not reviewed in the United States.    They have asked the judge not to let Concord distribute the materials electronically to people in Russia.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Grant McCool)

Frederick H. Fleitz, an American government official, analyst, and commentator, whowas the President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, serving since January 2019.
    He previously served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council from May through October 2018, during the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.    Fleitz is a former CIA analyst, and news commentator, and served in U.S. government national security positions for 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of State, and the staff of the U.S. House Committee on Intelligence.    Fleitz spent 19 years with the CIA working on a variety of areas, including the CIA Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC).    He used his experiences as a CIA UN analyst to write his 2002 book, Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions, and U.S. Interests.
    In April 2018, John R. Bolton was appointed National Security Advisor for President Donald Trump.    Fleitz had previously served as Bolton's Chief of Staff at the State Department during the Presidency of George W. Bush.    Bolton selected Fleitz to serve as his NSC Chief of Staff, replacing Keith Kellogg.    He left his position on October 31 of that year to rejoin the Center for Security Policy.
    The reason I put this here is I heard Liz Wheeler of "The Tipping Point" show say that Fleitz went to Russia when Trump met Putin and heard the comments between the two and apparently said it was normal with no collusion that all the Democrats are flapping their mouths that he did someting wrong.
    The bottomline is the trump administration at that time was keeping it hush hush because of all the leaking to the fake news.    When he returned the press skewed everything he did and even the images to make it look like he was and did things wrong.    GO.    Figure.    Most Americans now I think have woke up to the fake news antics finally.

    Luke Rosiak, is the author of the book: "Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats" which is about the real foreign hacking and collusion, and the book that exposes corruption in the FBI, DOJ and Congress through the wildest case you've never heard of.    Investigative reporter Luke Rosiak is being hailed as “one of the smartest, most diligent reporters in Washington” (TUCKER CARLSON) and “a bulldog” (DANA LOESCH) for uncovering “what is possibly the largest scandal and coverup in the history of the United States House of Representatives” (NEWT GINGRICH).
    As you can see it includes Nancy Pelosi, Jeff Sessions, then Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., former chair of the Democratic National Committee, who used Perkins Coie an international law firm headquartered in Seattle, and the last individual is Imran Awan.
    Imran Awan, a former IT administrator for members of Congress, arrested at Dulles International Airport before he could escape to Lahore, Pakistan, indicted for bank fraud.
    Imran’s arrest made headlines, as he was then still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after being banned from the House network since February 2, 2017.    Capitol Police say they tossed Imran and his associates off the House network after he provided them with fraudulent data of what was supposed to be a copy of the data on the House Democratic Caucus’ server—a-server Imran was accessing against House rules as he moved data from the many Democrats in the House he and his associates worked for to the server.
    The U.S. district attorney got an indictment to hold him to investigate, for a bank fraud charge.    Suppose to have a hearing scheduled for just before Thanksgiving, postponed to January 8, 2018, now moved to March.
    The official explanation for this postponement from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says:
    Since the last status conference, the government has continued to engage in substantial discussions with counsel for the defendants regarding complex discovery issues and other legal issues in this case, in particular issues surrounding claims of attorney-client privilege being raised by defendant Imran Awan.    Regarding those issues, the government has provided defendants with additional discovery, which they continue to review and analyze.    As such, all of the parties in this case are respectfully requesting additional time to address these issues with their clients and with the government.
    Awan is charged with “conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false statements on a loan or credit application, and unlawful monetary transactions,” yet U.S. attorneys and the lawyers representing the defendants are in the throes of a fight about attorney-client privilege related to a laptop computer, letters and a notebook used by Imran, but that was officially owned by Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s office, that was found sitting in what was once a phone booth in a congressional building after midnight on April 6, 2017.
    The affidavit from the FBI used to attain the indictment very clearly laid out their alleged bank fraud and related crimes, apparently there is more to it since U.S. attorneys wouldn’t need the data on the laptop or the other evidence left in the congressional building for a conviction.
    So, there is more here than possible bank fraud, with Capitol Police investigating and the FBI, for well over a year the only charges filed so far are these bank fraud and related charges—even though prosecutors and defense attorneys are wrestling over evidence that appears to have to do with other things besides bank fraud, but a concern by 40-plus members of Congress the Awans and their associates worked for were all Democrats.
    So something smells funny and it is another cover up by the Democrats.
[Shahid Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American information technology worker from 2004 to 2017, a shared employee for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.    In July 2017, arrested on bank fraud charges as part of a federal investigation.
    Investigative reporter Luke Rosiak the website The Daily Caller, spread allegations and conspiracy theories about Awan, alleged that he had unauthorized access to classified government data, and that he had provided to the Pakistani government and/or leaked some of that information, and hacking of the Democratic National Committee server in 2015 and 2016, which the U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia was responsible for.    Rosiak stated in April 2018 that the affair was "straight out of James Bond."
    President Donald Trump called for Awan to be investigated for espionage in several posts on Twitter, including one in April 2018 when he referred to Awan as the "Pakistani mystery man," and another in June 2018 when he wrote, "Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook."    Days after Awan was cleared of espionage accusations, Trump mentioned the conspiracy theory during a press conference with Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki, asking "what happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?" Trump had been asked if he believed Putin or American intelligence regarding 2016 election interference.    The judge who sentenced Awan in the bank fraud case criticized these conspiracy theories, calling them "an unbelievable onslaught of scurrilous media attacks to which he and his family have been subjected," adding there had been "accusations lobbed at him from the highest branches of the government, all of which have been proved to be without foundation by the FBI and the Department of Justice."
AS YOU CAN SEE THINGS ARE COVERED UP FAST AND BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE READ BEFORE THIS IS JUST TOO COINCIDENTAL.]
--------------
    Apparently Becerra was paying Awan's family $30,000 on top of Awan's salary without any explanation in hiding a massive violation.
    In July 2017, Imran was arrested on bank fraud charges as part of a federal investigation who leaked some of that information, and hacking of the Democratic National Committee server in 2015 and 2016, which the U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia was responsible for as seen at http://www.tesla-motors-cronyism.com/index.php?post/Tom-Steyer-and-Margie-Sullivan%3A-Billionaire-Democratic-Donors%2C-Fusion-GPS-Clients-And-Hillary-s-Special-Friends.    President Donald Trump called for Awan to be investigated for espionage and not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook.    Days after Awan was cleared of espionage accusations, all of which have been proved to be without foundation by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
    All of this was connected to Hillary Clinton's campaign, as millions of dollars of cash was flowing to the Clinton Foundation amid a Russian Uranium Deal during April 23, 2015, which was supposed to be for the U.N HIV victims in the third world and was used to steal the election by rigging the election against Bernie Sanders.
    And continued into Hillary's private server with Classified information on it had 33,000 emails deleted off of it but the FBI found 110 classified documents on it that led FBI James Comey to say foreign operatives likely accessed that information, which started the WikiLeaks issue, and soon after Clinton, which Operation Research, spearheaded a Dossier to get a FISA warrant approval to start spying under surveillance on Carter Page, and later it was discovered that the FBI helped in creating the Dossier, and the continuance of the Obama-Hillary Clinton abuse of the surveillance system that had been used for 8 years to stop anyone who came against them.
AS YOU CAN SEE THINGS ARE COVERED UP FAST AND BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE READ BEFORE THIS IS JUST TOO COINCIDENTAL AND I WILL ADD MORE AS IT COMES AVAILABLE.    END OF PAST ARTICLES ABOUT AWAN, HILLARY, ETC. CORRUPTION.]

1/16/2020 Oil down $0.42 to $57.81, DOW up 31 to 29,030 a new record again and may 30,000 by the end of the year.

1/16/2020 Judge revokes bail for Avenatti, citing new crime evidence
    SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California judge revoked attorney Michael Avenatti’s bail Wednesday after prosecutors said he was hiding assets from creditors to live lavishly.    U.S. District Judge James Selna said Avenatti, best known as the brash lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, likely committed the new financial crimes and was a threat to engage in others if he remained free.    In New York, U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe said the disruption had thrown Avenatti’s extortion trial scheduled to start in a week into chaos.
[Maybe they should let him run for president with the rest of the crooks, i.e. Qid Pro Joe Biden.].

1/16/2020 Top Democrat wants probe of threats to Yovanovitch by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – A top House Democrat demanded an investigation Wednesday into new evidence suggesting that former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance by associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
The evidence emerged Tuesday when House Democrats released text messages and other documents gathered as part of the impeachment probe into     Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for an investigation into a political rival.    The text messages reveal that an associate of Giuliani’s, Lev Parnas, was in contact with Robert Hyde, a pro-Trump congressional candidate in Connecticut who claimed to have Yovanovitch under surveillance.    Parnas worked with Giuliani to execute Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign.
    In March, Parnas sent Hyde articles critical of Yovanovitch, to which Hyde responded, “Wow.    Can’t believe Trumo (sic) hasn’t fired this b****.”
    Hyde sent Parnas a series of messages suggesting he had hired people in Ukraine to surveil the ambassador and was getting updates about her whereabouts and activities.
    “She’s talked to three people.    Her phone is off.    Computer is off,” Hyde wrote in one message.    In another: “They will let me know when she’s on the move.”
    Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the messages “profoundly alarming” and said he would demand documents and a briefing from State Department officials.
    “The messages suggest a possible risk to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s security in Kiev before she was recalled from her post last year,” Engel said.    Trump yanked her from her post early after Giuliani complained that she was obstructing efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
    “This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Engel said.
    Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she received a call in April from a State Deparment official, who told her she needed to leave Ukraine on the next flight home.    “This is about your security.    You need to come home immediately,” Yovanovitch said she was told.
Yovanovitch
[The Left is desperate to find something on Trump but ignore all the corruption that has been found done by the Democrats.    Go figure.].

1/16/2020 Trump impeachment: Was someone tracking the U.S. ambassador in Kiev? by Patricia Zengerle
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Democrat in Congress vowed on Wednesday to investigate “profoundly alarming” messages suggesting that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was subject to surveillance before President Donald Trump fired her in May.
    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said the messages, which were released on Tuesday as part of the impeachment case against Trump, suggested former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch faced security risks when Trump allies tried to discredit her before she was fired.
    “This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Engel said in a statement.
    Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also issued a statement demanding a briefing.
    The documents released on Tuesday included encrypted messages between Florida businessman Lev Parnas and Robert F. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate in Connecticut, disparaging the respected career diplomat and apparently providing updates on her movements in Kiev.
    In one, Hyde wrote, “They are moving her tomorrow.” In another, he said he had associates in Ukraine who could help keep track of Yovanovitch.    “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” he said.
    Hyde denied wrongdoing, saying on Twitter he had never been in Kiev.
    “For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable,” he wrote.
    He did not respond to a request for comment.
    The chairman of the Connecticut Republican party said on Twitter on Wednesday that he had asked Hyde to end his bid for Congress.
    House Democrats say the messages add to the evidence they will present to the Senate in an impeachment trial due to start in earnest next week, after the House voted on Wednesday to send the impeachment charges over to the Senate.
    Trump is charged with abusing his power and obstructing Congress for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.    Trump denies wrongdoing.
    During the impeachment investigation last fall, Yovanovitch testified that she had received a late night call from Washington warning her that she needed to return to the United States urgently and that there were concerns about her safety.
    The Ukraine-born Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has pleaded not guilty to federal campaign-finance violations in a separate criminal case.
    Engel said he would convey to the State Department on Wednesday a formal request for documents, information and a briefing from senior officials.
    The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
    The State Department also canceled without explanation a regular monthly briefing set for Wednesday on embassy security.    In light of tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian military commander, the session was to have focused on Iran.
    “The Trump administration is poisoning the traditionally good relationship between the State Department and Congress.    Members are running out of patience with the constant stonewalling,” a Democratic aide said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Andrea Ricci)
[More fake news from the leftist narrative.].

1/16/2020 President Trump: Farmers are really happy with new ‘Phase One’ China trade deal and USMCA by OAN Newsroom
File – A field of corn is seen in front of a barn carrying a large Trump sign in rural Ashland, Neb., Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
    President Trump recently said farmers are very happy with his new trade agreement with China as well as the USMCA trade deal.    He made the comment in a tweet Thursday, where he also said he hopes the thing farmers remember the most is the fact he was able to use “massive incoming tariff money” to assist them during negotiations.
    As part of the ‘Phase One’ deal signed by the president Wednesday, China promised to buy billions of dollars more in agricultural products from U.S. farmers.    The American Farm Bureau praised the move and said the agreement will help boost agricultural exports.    President Trump is set be the keynote speaker at the bureau’s annual convention this Sunday.
    In a separate tweet on Thursday, the president spoke out against Sen. Chuck Schumer regarding the Democrat’s recent remarks on the new China trade deal.    He pointed out how Schumer is privately telling people the agreement is “unbelievable,” yet he publicly criticizes it whenever possible.    The president stated, “that’s politics, but it’s so bad for the country.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., walks at the Capitol, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    His remarks are in response to recent comments by the Democrat senator, who has referred to the new trade deal as an “historic blunder.”    Schumer also claimed it doesn’t require China to play fairly.
    China’s vice premier signed ‘Phase One’ alongside President Trump on Wednesday.    Officials on both sides plan to begin ‘Phase Two’ negotiations as soon as the first agreement kicks-in.

1/16/2020 Former National Security adviser Michael Flynn asking to withdraw guilty plea by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves
federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
    President Trump is lending a helping hand to former National Security adviser Micheal Flynn as his legal battle prepares for new twists and turns.    The president re-tweeted a statement by former White House Deputy Sebastian Gorka that was released Tuesday, detailing Flynn’s decision to withdraw his guilty plea in the Mueller investigation.
    Support him at: https://t.co/j5rGnXYQZd pic.twitter.com/RIX4iIGqnl — Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) January 15, 2020
    In his complaint, Flynn’s lawyers argued the general was targeted by “vindictive and unprincipled prosecutors” that engaged in “bad faith” by trying to reverse course on his 2017 plea agreement.
    According to the statement, the government reneged on the agreement in 2019 when Flynn said he refused to perjure himself in a separate case involving a former business partner.
    Flynn’s team has alleged his refusal to lie led the court to scrap the deal and in essence violate his plea agreement.    He was granted a stay in his sentencing on Tuesday, which was initially set for January 28th, to allow time for the change.
    Meanwhile, Flynn and his lawyers have set up a fundraising site to help cover his legal costs.

1/16/2020 Judicial Watch: State Dept. delaying release of Biden-Ukraine files until after impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
File – Then-Vice President Joe Biden, right, and his son Hunter Biden, left, are pictured at a street
dedication ceremony in the village of Sojevo, Kosovo, on Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
    According to oversight group Judicial Watch, the State Department is delaying releasing documents detailing Joe and Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption in Ukraine.
    The government watchdog filed a Freedom of Information request for the Biden-Ukraine’ files back in September, but the State Department said it hasn’t even completed its search for the related records yet.
    State Dept slow walking Biden Ukraine corruption docs. @RealDonaldTrump @JudicialWatch pic.twitter.com/qI4nZ9ir1V — Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 14, 2020
    Judicial Watch has claimed the department is trying to wait until after the impeachment trial to proceed with the request.
    “And the Deep State’s approach, the left media complex’ approach is that if the target is someone they like politically, whether it was Hillary in 2016 or Biden this year, they should be immune from scrutiny,” said Tom Fitton, president of the watchdog group.
    Judicial Watch also claimed the State Department is full of anti-Trump bureaucrats and is calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as President Trump to authorize the release of the Biden-Ukraine records.

1/16/2020 G.A.O. says Trump admin. violated the law regarding Ukraine aid, O.M.B. disagrees by OAN Newsroom
From left, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., House Intelligence
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,
walk to the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    The Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) and the Office of Management and Budget (O.M.B.) disagree over whether the Trump administration broke the law.
    The O.M.B. said they don’t agree with the G.A.O report, released Thursday, which claims this administration violated the law by withholding aid from the Ukraine.
    An O.M.B. spokeswoman stated the office is careful to spend tax-payer money appropriately in line with priorities of the president and consistent with the law.
    WH Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Rachel Semmel responds to GAO report:
    “We disagree with GAO's opinion. OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President's priorities and with the law." — Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) January 16, 2020
    According to the House inquiry testimonies, the White House Budget Office notified federal agencies the Ukraine aid would be withheld.     Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway recently defended the hold when asked about the G.A.O. report.
    “Well, then it’s a good thing that the aid that Congress approved got to Ukraine intact and it got there because this president released it,” she stated.    “And he wanted it to be higher and better and bigger than it was under President Obama.”
    This comes as the Capitol prepares for the Senate impeachment trial, which will explore the hold on Ukraine aid.

1/16/2020 Impeachment articles delivered to Senate, House appoints managers to oversee the prosecution by OAN Newsroom
The Capitol and Senate are seen in Washington, early Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The Senate is taking the handoff from the House of the articles
of impeachment against President Donald Trump and preparing for a trial set to get underway next week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The next phase of impeachment is officially underway as the articles are set to be formally be read and presented to the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in and he will then swear in all 10 senators as jurors.    The full Senate trial is expected to begin next Tuesday.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed-off on the articles Wednesday before the seven impeachment managers walked them through the Capitol Building to the Senate.    This comes after Pelosi waited weeks to transfer the articles and move onto the next phase of the process.
    “Madam Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 767, I now send to the desk a resolution anointing and authorizing managers for the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump,” stated Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)
    The House of Representatives named managers in the Democrats’ case against President Trump, which paved the way for an impeachment trial to begin in the Senate.    Speaker Pelosi named seven lawmakers Wednesday, who will oversee the prosecution in the trial.
    “Today (Wednesday) is an important day because today is the day that we name the managers who go to the floor to pass the resolution to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate,” she stated.
    Pelosi chose Democrat Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, and Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff.    The speaker said she chose the lawmakers not based on their abilities as litigators, but based on their comfort in the court room.
    #NEW on #OANN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the list of seven "managers of the impeachment trial" which include Congressmen Adam Schiff & Jerry Nadler https://t.co/0BaV7Xx6bu — Rachel Acenas (@RachelAcenas) January 15, 2020
    Republicans in the lower chamber, including Georgia congressman Doug Collins spoke out against the resolution.    He made the following comments regarding the move:
    “This is all they wanted, it was a political impeachment.    They said he is impeached for life.    This shows the true motivation, I believe, of the other side: it is their dislike for this President and the good work he is doing.”
    The resolution passed mostly along party lines with one Democrat, congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota, siding with Republicans on the “no” vote.    Nine lawmakers did not cast a vote at all.    The House managers will now bring their case to the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from right, speaks before signing the resolution to transmit the two articles of impeachment
against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Meanwhile, White House officials are bracing for a “quick” trial in the Senate and said they expect it to last no more than two weeks. Top administration officials believe President Trump is overwhelmingly winning in the impeachment case.
    White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said the president is not worried about the trial and believes Democrats’ case for impeachment is blatantly political.br>     “The whole process has been proven, to this point, to be a sham and illegitimate,” he stated.    “The president has done nothing wrong, the articles of impeachment don’t even allege a crime.”
    President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has called on the Senate to dismiss the articles.    He stressed that before the Senate trial could proceed, the articles of impeachment must be analyzed to see if they allege an impeachable offense.    If they fail to do so, Giuliani said proceeding with the trial would amount to unconstitutional abuse of authority.

1/16/2020 White House ‘not concerned’ about Lev Parnas interviews, evidence by OAN Newsroom
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and deputy press secretary Hogan Gidleyare
pictured in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The White House has responded to new interviews and evidence from Lev Parnas, who is the former associate of Rudy Giuliani.
    While speaking with reporters Thursday, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “this is a man who is under indictment and who’s actually out on bail.”    She added, “this is a man who owns a company called ‘Fraud Inc.,’ so we’re not too concerned about it.”
    When asked about evidence Parnas gave to the House Democrats, which was sent with the articles of impeachment, Grisham said, “we know that everything in the Senate is going to be fair.”
    This comes amid Parnas’ media tour, where he and his lawyer have been telling his side of the so-called “Ukraine pressure campaign.”
FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani,
has provided a trove of text messages and photos to the House committee leading the impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
    “As far as I know, the only thing we cared about was to get Zelensky or Poroshenko or somebody to make a press release, an announcement, into the Biden investigation,” Parnas told a CNN reporter.
    The comments come as critics have been casting doubt over Parnas’ claims about President Trump and Giuliani.    Many have claimed he may be trying to gain favor with the judge in his trial.
    Giuliani also responded to Parnas’ interviews by calling him a “sad situation” and telling reporters to “trust him at your own peril.”

1/16/2020 Honduran migrants form caravan, head to U.S. by OAN Newsroom
Migrants from Honduras carry their national flag as they walk in hopes of reaching the distant United States, in Entre Rios, Guatemala,
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Hundreds of migrants arrived at the Guatemala border after walking and hitching rides from San Pedro Sula,
Honduras in a bid to form the kind of migrant caravan that reached the U.S. border in 2018. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
    A new caravan of migrants is headed north from Honduras in hopes of reaching the U.S. border.    Hundreds of people recently started walking from the city of San Pedro Sula for the weeks-long journey.
    Most caravan attempts in 2019 were broken up by law enforcement in Mexico after continued pressure from the U.S.
    However, migrants gathered at bus terminals and hitched rides to join the group this week after an advertisement circulated on social media and local news.
    Some migrants have admitted the journey will be tough, but have decided to leave their families behind and give it try regardless of the risks.
    “You know very well that here the economic situation is not right.    Every day things are getting more expensive, and we have children and family and we can not afford them.    We believe that by traveling we can have more opportunities to get ahead of those who remain here, everything depends on God.” — Denis Irias, Honduran migrant
A group of migrants walk on their way to the United States, near El Cinchado, Guatemala, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, on the border with
Honduras. Hundreds of mainly Honduran migrants started walking and hitching rides from the city of San Pedro Sula and crossed the
Guatemala border in a bid to form the kind of migrant caravan that reached the U.S. border in 2018. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
    The caravan is headed north through Guatemala and will then attempt to continue into Mexico.    Meanwhile, President Trump has threatened sanctions against Central American governments if they don’t step in to stop the caravans.
    “We were sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Guatemala and Honduras, we’re not going to send it anymore,” said the president.    “We haven’t been sending it for the last year because they weren’t doing anything for us…they were forming caravans and sending them up, and in those caravans you have some very bad actors, you had some people that we would not want in our country.”
    Mexico’s foreign minister has reportedly told the Guatemalan government the migrants will not be allowed to enter Mexico.    Some migrants have said they will stay and live in Guatemala where there are job opportunities if they cannot reach the U.S.
    First group of #migrantcaravan crossed the El Corinto HN-GT border a few hours ago.    Some tear gas was fired at the group but most got across the border without problems.    Second & largest group still on their way to the border #Honduras pic.twitter.com/w1MaRxKqmI — Honduras Solidarity (@hondurassol) January 15, 2020

1/16/2020 Over 1,000 migrants enter Guatemala, caravan heads toward Mexico by Sofia Menchu
    GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – At least 1,300 people have entered Guatemala in a new U.S.-bound caravan from Honduras, authorities said on Thursday, putting pressure on the region to satisfy Trump administration demands to contain northbound illegal immigration.
    Mexico’s government is bracing for the arrival of hundreds of Central Americans on its southern border in coming days, an event likely to be closely monitored by the U.S. government, which has made curbing illegal immigration a priority.
    Arriving in Guatemala chiefly via crossings on its northern border with Honduras, around 1,350 migrants had been registered entering legally by late morning, said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s National Migration Institute.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has put Mexico and Central American nations under pressure to accept a series of migration agreements that aim to shift the burden of dealing with asylum-seekers on to them, and away from the United States.
    The bulk of migrants caught on the U.S. border with Mexico depart from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador seeking to escape chronic poverty or gang violence.
    Unlike Guatemala, Mexico has refused to become a so-called safe third country obliging it to accept asylum claims from migrants that set foot on its soil.    Still, Trump has threatened trade sanctions if it does not contain the flow of people.
    Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, said on Wednesday that Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard had told him Mexico would not allow the new caravan to pass.
    Mexico’s foreign ministry has not responded directly to that assertion.    However, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said the border would be policed and that the Mexican government would not be issuing any visas of safe conduct to the migrants.
    “That’s very clear,” she told reporters.
    According to communications shared by some of the migrants on messaging service WhatsApp, some of the Hondurans said that they planned to meet in the town of Santa Elena in northern Guatemala and head for the Mexican border on Saturday.
    Under a freedom of movement accord between northern Central American countries, Giammattei said he would let the caravan enter Guatemala provided people had the necessary paperwork.
    Some migrants were turned back at the Guatemalan border on Wednesday and Honduran police fired tear gas on others who tried to cross without going through migration checks.
(Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City and Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by David Gregorio)

1/16/2020 USMCA headed to President Trump’s desk after clearing by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump smiles during an event on prayer in public schools, in the Oval Office
of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is one step closer to becoming a reality after it overwhelmingly cleared the Senate on Thursday.    The upper chamber passed the trade deal to replace NAFTA in an 89 to 10 vote.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the pact as a “major win for the Trump administration.”
    Sen. Chuck Grassley also praised the deal as a big achievement for our country.
    “The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a major achievement for President Trump and a very big bipartisan win for the American people,” said Grassley.
    The deal cleared the House last month.    It includes provisions to tighten rules for making and selling cars, improve access to markets for farmers, mandate inspections of factories for labor violations and establish new digital trade rules.
    President Trump and the leaders of both parties have strongly supported the measure.
    “When the last North American Free Trade Agreement was considered, nobody had a smart phone.    So what we did is we protected intellectual property, prohibited shake downs of data belonging to innovative companies.    We drew on established U.S. laws to protect entrepreneurs working to build successful companies in a field dominated by Goliath’s.” – Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland, left, Mexico’s top trade negotiator Jesus Seade, center,
and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, sign an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement,
at the national palace in Mexico City, Tuesday, Dec. 10. 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised the passage of the USMCA and said the accord will help strengthen investment in Mexico.
    “This is a significant step,” said President Obrador.    “This is something very important, because this deal will generate more confidence in Mexico for more investment, for companies to come in, for work with good salaries and a good standard of living for our country and the people.”
    Canada is expected to ratify the agreement in the coming weeks.
President Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Neto, left, participate
in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    President Trump’s reelection campaign took aim at 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders after the senator voted against the deal.    In an email to supporters, the president’s team said Sanders proudly voted against new jobs and higher wages for American workers.
    Sanders was one of 10 senators, and the only Democrat presidential candidate, who voted against the NAFTA replacement.    He claimed the trade deal doesn’t stop American jobs from being outsourced overseas.
    The Trump campaign previously criticized Sanders, saying he lectures Americans on how to live their lives, but fails to follow his own advice.

1/16/2020 Capitol Police: 11 Trump protesters arrested by OAN Newsroom
Protesters stand in the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, calling for
the removal of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    A handful of protesters, who are calling for President Trump’s removal from office, were arrested at the Senate on Thursday.    Several activist groups chanted anti-Trump slogans and read the Impeachment Clause of the Constitution aloud in the halls in protest.
    The demonstration comes as the upper chamber is set to begin the second phase of impeachment next week.    House members officially delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Thursday.
    Protesters said they want the Senate to keep the Constitution in mind during their deliberations.
    “We’re here to protest that Donald Trump is still the President of the United States.    We’re here to support the movement to move forward with the trial now that the impeachment has been won, succeeded.    So we’re here to encourage senators to do the right thing, to honor the Constitution.” – Paki Wieland, protester
    Capitol Police said a total of 11 people were arrested.    They have been charged with crowding and obstruction.
Demonstrator, Tae Phoenix, of Seattle, center, is taken into custody by Capitol Police after she refused to disperse during a protest in
the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

1/16/2020 Conway: Parnas’ claims of Ukraine collusion make as much sense as debunked Russia hoax by OAN Newsroom
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pauses as she speaks to the media outside
the White House, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed Democrats’ latest claims that Ukraine could be helping discredit 2020 hopeful Joe Biden.    On Thursday, Conway said the allegations of President Trump’s collusion with Ukraine are as ridiculous as the debunked Russia hoax.
    She added the president doesn’t need anyone’s help to beat Joe Biden.
    Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s former associate, recently claimed President Trump played a key role in pressuring Ukraine to take down Biden.    Conway said Parnas is trying to avoid prosecution for his actual crimes.
    “Nobody on TV like that is under oath.    He obviously is desperate to get attention, which you all will shower him with promptly, I’m sure.    He’s somebody who was arrested and indicted on some serious campaign finance charges.    You’ll never be able to say what someone else knew.” – Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump
    Conway also pointed out six of the seven impeachment managers were chosen by House Democrats and had been openly biased against the president long before the Ukraine phone call.
FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. Parnas, a close
associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has provided a trove of text messages
and photos to the House committee leading the impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
    President Trump has disavowed knowing anything about the indicted Soviet-born businessman.    When asked about his relationship with Parnas, the president said he barely knew him.
    He added it doesn’t matter what Parnas said about him because the entire impeachment process is a hoax.
    “I don’t know him at all, don’t know what he’s about, don’t know where he comes from, know nothing about him,” said President Trump.    “I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax.”
    The president went on to say Parnas is probably trying to make a deal for himself in his campaign finance violation trial.
President Donald Trump speaks during an event on prayer in public schools, in the Oval Office
of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    This came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Senate should consider hearing witness testimony from Parnas.    Her remarks came in response to comments made by some GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber, who said the Senate should only consider the materials presented with the articles of impeachment.
    Pelosi suggested Parnas could be called as a witness.    She went on to say the Senate Republican leadership is afraid of the truth and is trying to ignore new evidence.
    “Under other circumstances, if somebody like Parnas came forward and there was evidence, there was reason to believe that some of that was factual, there would be a special prosecutor appointed,” she said.
    The House speaker then criticized Attorney General William Barr and claimed he does the bidding of the president.

1/16/2020 Sen. McConnell slams Democrats for ‘celebrating’ impeachment, Republicans debate possible trial testimonies by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Senate chamber at the
Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Republican senators continue to debate whether they want to hear from new witnesses in the impeachment trial.    On Thursday, some senators called to dismiss the articles without a trial while others said new witnesses could help defeat the impeachment case.
    Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said the decision on new witnesses could be made after the trial starts.
    The House officially delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Thursday.    The House Sergeant at Arms escorted Democrat representatives to the well of the Senate chamber, where Rep. Adam Schiff formally detailed the charges of misuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from right, distributed pens after she signed the resolution to transmit the two articles of impeachment
against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for celebrating impeachment.
    “Nothing says seriousness and sobriety like handing out souvenirs, as though this were a happy bill signing instead of the gravest process in our Constitution,” he said.    “It was a transparently partisan performance from beginning to end.”
    A rising number of Republicans believe the articles of impeachment could be dismissed before the trial starts next Tuesday.

1/17/2020 Oil up $0.71 to $58.52, DOW up 276 to 29,298 for another great record.

1/17/2020 GAO report: White House broke law by withholding Ukraine aid by Michael Collins and David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The White House budget office violated federal law when it withheld funds that Congress appropriated to provide security assistance for Ukraine, a nonpartisan government watchdog concluded.
    The Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that the White House Office of Management and Budget did not have the authority to withhold the money under the federal Impoundment Control Act, which governs Congress’ role in the budget process.
    “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the report says.    “i>OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted” under the law.
    The White House’s decision to withhold the money was at the heart of a congressional inquiry that triggered the impeachment of President Donald Trump.    The White House disputed the watchdog group’s findings.
    “We disagree with GAO’s opinion,” OMB spokesperson Rachel Semmel said.    “OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the president’s priorities and with the law.”
    Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman would not address questions on the GAO report but said the aid was released and national security was not affected.
    The watchdog agency’s report was released as the Senate prepared to swear in House impeachment managers who will prosecute the impeachment case against Trump in the Senate. The House approved two impeachment articles against Trump in December, charging him with obstructing Congress and abusing his power by asking Ukrainian officials to announce investigations into a political rival.
    The White House withheld nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine as Trump pressured Ukraine to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
    Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged that the money was withheld in part because of the president’s desire for the country to investigate potential corruption regarding U.S. domestic politics.
    Trump said in September that he withheld the funds but not as leverage to demand an investigation by Kiev into the Bidens.    Trump said he held up the money because he wanted other countries to contribute as well.
    In May, a top Pentagon official informed Congress that Ukraine had met anti-corruption standards required for release of the aid.    That letter, sent by John Rood, undersecretary for policy at the Defense Department, undercut White House claims that the aid had been withheld over concerns about corruption.
    Pentagon officials expressed dismay with the OMB for withholding the aid, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.    The top Pentagon official in charge of release of the aid warned colleagues that delaying the aid would break the law.
    “OMB continues to ignore our repeated explanation,” Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon’s comptroller, said in an email to colleagues in August.
    The funds were released after a whistleblower filed a complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry against Trump.     The aid package included Javelin anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers, radar and night-vision goggles to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed forces in a conflict that has killed 13,000 people.    Since 2014, the United States has provided Ukraine with $1.5 billion in security aid.
    On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers said the report reinforces that Trump withheld the funds to further his own political interest.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCalif., said the report “reinforces again the need for documents and eyewitnesses in the Senate.”    Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who asked the GAO to investigate the matter in December, called the report a “bombshell” and said it “demonstrates, without a doubt, that the Trump administration illegally withheld security assistance from Ukraine.”
    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, noted that the report blames the budget office, not Trump, for withholding the funds.
    “I don’t think that changes anything” in the impeachment trial, he said.<
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, Nicholas Wu
[THE DEEP STATE AND DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO USE ANYTHING IT CAN TO JUSTIFY THEIR FALSE IMPEACHEMNT GIG AND NOW I CAN KNOW THAT THE GAO IS IN ON THE SHAM ALSO OR THEY BETTER COME OUT AND EXCUSE THEMSELVES FROM THAT CLAIM.].

1/17/2020 Va. governor: Firearms banned at gun rights rally by Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY
    McLEAN, Va. – No guns allowed at the gun rights rally.
    That’s the word from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who announced Wednesday that he plans to declare an emergency and ban firearms around the state Capitol before a gun rights rally Monday that could draw thousands of armed people and militias from Virginia and out of state.
    Gun rights advocates organizing the event promised a “peaceful day to address our Legislature” in Richmond, but their efforts sparked a much larger, grassroots movement that has drawn interest from gun owners and militias around the country.
    Northam said at a news conference that intelligence from law enforcement indicates that out-of-state militias and hate groups fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories have “malicious plans” for the rally.
    “They’re not coming to peacefully protest.    They are coming to intimidate and cause harm,” Northam said.
    Northam said he will declare a state of emergency in Richmond from Friday evening through Tuesday evening.    Under the order, city, state and Capitol police will form a unified command, state employees are encouraged to stay home for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and all weapons will be banned in the Capitol Square. After the emergency expires Tuesday, most firearms will be allowed on the grounds. Virginia is an open-carry state.
    Northam said the decision was a response to threats, some of them made online in forums hosted by hate groups and white nationalists.    The governor called on rally organizers to dissuade out-of-state groups from coming to the rally and encouraged a “peaceful day” for Virginians.    “Unfortunately, they have unleashed something much larger – something that they may not be able to control,” he said.
    “No one wants another incident like the one we saw at Charlottesville in 2017.    We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here,” Northam said, referring to a white nationalist rally where clashes broke out and a counterprotester was killed.
    Philip Van Cleave, who is organizing the Richmond rally as president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said the event is still on.    He said his group will weigh how to respond to Northam’s ban, depending on the specifics.
    “Hell no, he’s not going to stop it with that little act,” Van Cleave told USA TODAY, adding that his group could pursue legal action.
    Driving the momentum is opposition to a host of gun control proposals from Northam and Democrats, who won full control of the state’s government in November for the first time since 1993.br>     “The governor and leadership in the Democratic Party have declared war on law-abiding gun owners, and they’re tired of it,” Van Cleave said.    “It’s basically people saying we’re fed up.    We’ve had enough.
    “The governor has touched the third rail.    He has motivated people to drive across the state and from other states to come protect our rights.”
    Van Cleave promised upward of 100,000 armed gun owners in Richmond in hopes to dissuade enough Democrats to scrap or weaken the proposals.
Supporters of gun laws hold up photos of gun violence victims at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., on Monday. STEVE HELBER/AP

1/17/2020 President Trump employs heavyweight defense team as GOP threatens to weaponize witnesses by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., join Congressional leadership and other members of Congress
at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) advocate and former National Football League
(NFL) player, Steve Gleason, in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Top Republicans in the Senate are hoping to put a stop to the push for witnesses in the impeachment trial against President Trump.
    Some conservatives, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), are warning both moderates in their conference and Democrats that if witnesses are called by Democrats then the president should be able to call whoever he wants.    However, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has also pitched “witness reciprocity,” which would allow for an equal number of witnesses to be called from both sides.
    Republican leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been against the calling of witnesses and introduction of additional evidence in an effort to hold a speedy trial.
    Meanwhile, President Trump is employing some legal heavyweights on his impeachment defense team.    It was confirmed Friday that Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz will present oral arguments against the president’s impeachment and removal.
    According to a statement, the professor’s involvement is to fight against a potentially dangerous legal precedent and uphold the integrity of the Constitution.

President Donald Trump speaks to attorney Alan Dershowitz, right, as he arrives for Christmas Eve dinner
at Mar-a-lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Former Circuit Court judge and independent counsel Ken Starr, whose investigation led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, will also be a part of the president’s legal team.    Starr’s successor to the office of the independent counsel, Robert Ray, will also defend the president.

1/17/2020 President Trump corrects GAO’s statement on Ukraine aid, OMB also challenges report by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during an event on prayer in public schools, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump recently responded to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) claim that his administration broke the law.    In a tweet Friday morning, he cited Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz who suggested the GAO has the Ukraine aid situation “backwards.”
    The president pointed out that Constitution does not allow Congress to substitute their own priorities for the foreign policies of the commander-in-chief.
    This comes after the watchdog report asserted the Trump administration violated the law by withholding the aid.    It also claimed the president imposed his own priorities.
FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in New York during
the United Nations General Assembly. Trump’s demand that Ukraine look into its own purported interference in the 2016 U.S. election and
investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, while the U.S. withheld the aid is at the heart of the congressional
investigation that produced Trump’s impeachment in the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
    Meanwhile, President Trump isn’t the only one challenging the report.    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is in disagreement with the GAO over whether the Trump administration broke the law.
    According to an OMB spokeswoman, the office is careful to spend tax-payer money appropriately in line with priorities of the president and consistent with the law.
    According to the House inquiry testimonies, the White House Budget Office notified federal agencies the Ukraine aid would be withheld.    Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended the hold when asked about the GAO report.
    “Well, then it’s a good thing that the aid that Congress approved got to Ukraine intact and it got there because this president released it,” she stated.    “And he wanted it to be higher and better and bigger than it was under President Obama.”
    This comes as the Capitol prepares for the Senate impeachment trial, which will explore the hold on Ukraine aid.
[DID THE GOA LIE TO THE DEMOCRATS OR DID THE DEMOCRATS REVERSED WHAT THE GOA STATED?    MOST LIKELY IT WAS THE LATER.].

1/17/2020 Secretary Pompeo denies knowledge of surveillance on former Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies
before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, FILE)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wasn’t aware of any surveillance carried out on former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.    He made the comments during an interview Friday.
    Pompeo pointed out he only became aware of the possibility Yovanovitch was being watched when text messages were released describing the allegations.    The messages by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas were released this week as part of the Democrat-led impeachment effort against President Trump.
    The State Department chief said he intends to investigate the accuracy of the claims.    He also denied knowing Parnas, who Democrats are pursuing for testimony in the coming impeachment trial.
    “I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers,” he stated.    “We’ll obviously do that.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a protocolary meeting of the Permanent Council at the Organization
of the American States, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy)
    Pompeo added, Washington is working hard to stay focused on the important items on President Trump’s agenda in the middle of all the “noise” around the impeachment effort.
    More recently, Parnas claimed the president previously tried to fire Yovanovitch four or five times.    In a interview which aired Thursday, he said President Trump directed the State Department to fire Yovanovitch before her departure in April after he learned she had “badmouthed” him and allegedly told others he would be impeached.
    Meanwhile, the White House and several GOP lawmakers have blasted Parnas’ credibility, noting he is under criminal indictment and has made several past false statements.

1/17/2020 Sen. Sanders admits impeachment trial may hurt his presidential campaign by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to reporters just after the start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump
on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    2020 Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders recently admitted the impeachment trial is going to negatively affect his presidential campaign.    While talking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, the Vermont senator said the trial may take several weeks, which he would rather spend campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire to win the Democrat Party nomination.     “I would hope that Sen. (Mitch) McConnell allows us to have a full and fair trial: he stated.    “When you have a trial you hear from witnesses, that’s what we do in the United States, and I hope McConnell will allow those witnesses to testify and give us their version of what happened.”
    Political experts as well as several lawmaker have said the impeachment trial gives an unfair advantage to Democrat candidates who are not U.S. senators, such as Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.

1/17/2020 Va. Supreme Court turns down request to overturn firearms ban by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, center, gestures as he delivers his State of the
Commonwealth address as House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, right, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, left, listen
before a joint session of the Virginia Assembly at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
    The Supreme Court of Virginia has denied a motion to overturn Governor Ralph Northam’s ban on all firearms at the state’s Capitol Square.    Justices denied the petition on Friday, which was filed a day after the governor’s executive order was issued.
    The lawsuit, which was brought forward by several gun rights groups and activists, argued the ban violated residents’ First and Second Amendment rights.    The suit was previously turned down in a lower circuit court, which led to an appeal in the state’s highest court.
    The move comes as pro-Second Amendment citizens across the state have been holding rallies in Richmond.    The leader of the Virginia Citizens Defense League told One America News that tens of thousands of gun rights activists were expected to attend his rally on January 20th.
    The league was founded in 1998 as a non-partisan civil rights advocacy group focused on gun rights.
    “We are a gun rights organization.    We lobby to make sure bad gun bills don’t make it through and good gun bills do.    We’re a watchdog.    If any local government tries to put up an illegal gun ban, we’re right there to make sure they stop doing that.” – Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League
Gun-rights supporters rally on the steps of the Washington Capitol, in Olympia, Wash., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
    For years, Virginia has been a safe haven for gun owners, who were unable to keep and bear arms, as the framers intended, in other states.
    “Virginia has had excellent gun laws for years and years,” added Van Cleave.    “Now, suddenly, with the elections that’s being threatened.”
    Democrats have proposed legislation at the state’s House of Delegates that would ban all military-style long guns.    They have also pushed so-called ‘red flag’ laws, which would allow local law enforcement to seize a person’s firearms.
    In response to these attempts to restrict gun rights, many Virginia counties have declared themselves ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries.’
    Virginia is an open carry state.    Supporters of gun rights have often shown up to political events and rallies with their weapons.    However, the governor’s ban will disrupt this tradition.
    Van Cleave said the league’s lawyers are working against the ban in hopes of overturning it.
    “We’re hoping maybe we can get rid of that ban on the capital grounds by Monday,” he said.
The Virginia state Capitol building is surrounded by fencing, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in Richmond, Va., in
preparation for Monday’s rally by gun rights advocates. (Dean Hoffmeyer/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

1/17/2020 Kudlow: Impeachment could be Democrat effort to ‘obfuscate the economic progress’ in America by OAN Newsroom
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters outside the West Wing
of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow is accusing Democrats of using impeachment as a distraction.    While speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, Kudlow said the impeachment process has not impacted the economy or the stock market.
    He attributed the strong economy to good policies and the free market’s “brilliant entrepreneurs.”
    Kudlow’s comments came after House Democrats finally released the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week.    The Senate trial is expected to begin next week.
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson, left, and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pass through
Statuary Hall at the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump
to the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The adviser gave his opinion about the real reason Democrats are moving ahead with President Trump’s impeachment.
    “I sometimes get a little annoyed that impeachment, and all the theater going with that, could be an effort on the other side of the aisle to obstruct and obfuscate the economic progress we’re making,” said Kudlow.
    The president has maintained his innocence and instead touted the economic boom under his leadership.    Administration officials said the record low unemployment is just one of the achievements that will help the president win reelection this year.

1/17/2020 Kimberly Guilfoyle: Forgotten men and women ‘forgotten no more’ under Trump presidency by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, Kimberly Guilfoyle arrives at the New York
special screening of “Fury,” in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
    Kimberly Guilfoyle is saying the forgotten men and women of America are “forgotten no more” under President Trump.    She added they have their wallets and pocket books to show for it.
    The senior campaign adviser made the comments on Friday during an interview, a day after the Trump campaign announced her new role.    She and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. will now serve as national chairwomen for the Trump Victory Finance Committee.
    After stepping into her new role, Guilfoyle said she’s surprised by how eager Americans are to donate to the president’s cause.
    “People come up to give checks to the president, they want to have skin in the game,” she said.    “They feel engaged in the political process, they want to stand for their president, and that to me was really interesting.”
    Guilfoyle added she’ll be focused on securing new donors and getting people out to vote.

1/18/2020 Oil up $0.09 to $58.68, DOW up 50 to 29,348 for another record.

1/18/2020 Protesters gather at Paris theater to confront Macron over pension reform
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his new year wishes to the military during a ceremony at the Orleans
– Bricy Air Base 123 in Boulay-les-Barres near Orleans, France, January 16, 2020. Julien De Rosa/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – Protesters opposed to the French government’s proposed changes to the pension system tried to force their way into a theater in Paris where President Emmanuel Macron attended a show with his wife.
    A crowd gathered outside the Theater Des Bouffes du Nord on Friday evening after the couple had arrived to watch a performance of La Mouche (The Fly).    Videos on social media showed protesters chanting “Macron resign” and at one stage trying to enter the venue near the Gare du Nord train terminus in northern Paris.
    “There was an attempted invasion of the theater but the presidential couple was able to remain until the end of the play and left the venue by car around 10pm with a police escort,” a source close to Macron said.
    The president’s presence at the theater was flagged on Twitter by journalist and political activist Taha Bouhafs, who was inside the venue.    He was later detained by police, according to a judicial source.
    Macron was previously targeted by “yellow vest” protesters in their year-long movement against the cost of living, accused of being arrogant and out of touch.
    The president has mostly stayed on the sidelines during protests against his planned overhaul of France’s retirement system, leaving Edouard Philippe, his prime minister, to face unions during a month and a half of transport stoppages.
    But with participation in rail strikes waning, opponents of the pension reform have staged more direct action.
    The headquarters of the moderate CFDT union, which the government has been trying to win over, was invaded on Friday by activists from other unions, while the Louvre Museum was blocked by striking staff.
    Macron, who included changes to the pension system in his 2017 election campaign, wants to replace dozens of existing schemes with a universal, points-based system.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz, Jean-Stephane Brosse and Marine Pennetier; editing by Mike Harrison)

1/18/2020 President Trump details Soleimani strike, warns Ayatollah Khamenei to be ‘careful with his words’ by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump listens to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speak during their meeting,
Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    President Trump reportedly told Republican donors that “bad things were being said” about the U.S. prior to the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    During a Friday fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago Resort, the president gave a minute by minute account of the U.S. drone strike that killed the commander in Baghdad.
    He described the exchange he had with military officials.
    “‘They’re together sir.    They have two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir.    They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle.    Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir.    30 seconds.    10, nine, eight…’ Then all of a sudden, boom.    ‘They’re gone, sir, cutting off.’    I said, ‘Where is this guy?’    That was the last I heard from him.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    According to audio recordings of the event, the president said Soleimani’s prior comments incentivized his decision to authorize the strike.    This validated the administration’s previous claim that an “imminent threat” against the U.S. was the reason for the strike.
In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers his
sermon in the Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

    This came after the president issued a word of warning to Iran’s supreme leader amid heightened tensions between both nations.    In a Friday tweet, he slammed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying the nation’s economy is crashing and he should be “careful with his words.”
    In a separate tweet, President Trump praised the people of Iran.    He said they need a government that will help them succeed.
    This followed Khamenei’s rare public address earlier in the day, in which he called Soleimani a martyr.    He went on to say the general was the strongest commander in the fight against terrorism.
    The supreme leader defended Iran’s armed forces and its missile strike against U.S. targets.

1/18/2020 Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani’s last minutes before death: CNN
FILE PHOTO: Women hold pictures of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force,
who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, during a funeral procession and burial at his hometown
in Kerman, Iran January 7, 2020. Mehdi Bolourian/Fars News Agency/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
(Please note vulgar language in last paragraph)
    PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
    With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
    The president spoke in a ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a Republican event that raised $10 million for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and for the Republican National Committee.
    Reporters were not allowed in for the event.    CNN said it obtained an audio recording of Trump’s remarks.    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The Jan. 3 killing of Soleimani at Baghdad airport prompted Iran to retaliate with missile strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq days later and almost triggered a broad war between the two countries.
    “They’re together sir,” Trump said military officials told him.    “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.    No emotion.    ‘Two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir.    They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle.    Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir.    Thirty seconds.    Ten, 9, 8 …’"
    “Then all of a sudden, boom,” he said.    “‘They’re gone, sir. Cutting off.'
    “I said, where is this guy?” Trump continued.    “That was the last I heard from him.”
    It was the most detailed account that Trump has given of the drone strike, which has drawn criticism from some U.S. lawmakers because neither the president nor his advisers have provided public information to back up their statements that Soleimani presented an “imminent” threat to Americans in the region.
    CNN said that in the audio, Trump did not repeat that Soleimani was an imminent threat.    Trump said Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing.
    “How much of this shit do we have to listen to?” Trump asked in the audio.    “How much are we going to listen to?
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao)

1/18/2020 Paris Opera musicians serenade public in pensions protest
Conductor Michel Dietlin and members of the Paris Opera's orchestra play an improvised open-air concert
outside the Opera Garnier to protest the government's proposed pension reform, which affects
the state-employed musicians' special status in Paris, France, January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
    PARIS (Reuters) – Striking musicians and singers of the Paris Opera staged an open-air concert on Saturday in front of the city’s historic opera house in protest against a pension reform that seeks to end their special retirement scheme.
    Orchestra members and singers performed well-known airs by Verdi and Bizet in a half-hour event outside the Opera Garnier building, ending with a rendition of the Marseillaise.
    The musicians were cheered on by colleagues including ballerinas who last month performed scenes from Swan Lake at the same spot in a similar protest over the proposed pensions overhaul.
    The event drew applause from passers-by on a sunny winter’s afternoon in the French capital, where performances by the Paris Opera have been canceled for the past month due to the strike by artists who want to preserve centuries-old retirement provisions.
    “We’re so unhappy about not being able to give our shows that we’re performing in a different way, in the street, to show the public that we’re not on holiday,” Fabien Wallerand, a tuba player in the Paris Opera’s orchestra, told Reuters.
    Under an arrangement dating back to 1698 and the reign of Louis XIV, Paris Opera dancers can retire on a full pension at the age of 42, singers at 57 and musicians at 60.
    President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to merge France’s various pension schemes into a single system has triggered more than a month of strikes, particularly in public transport.
    However, concessions by the government, notably a delay to a move to raise the age at which workers can claim a full pension from 62 to 64, have contributed to a waning in strikes.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Ardee Napolitano, writing by Gus Trompiz, editing by Christina Fincher)

1/19/2020 China will increase imports from U.S. according to ‘market principles’: official
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump sign "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement
during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    BEIJING (Reuters) – China will negotiate with American companies and increase imports of U.S. goods and products according to market principles, an official with its state planner said on Sunday.
    The United States has high quality supply in the fields of energy, manufactured goods, agricultural products, medical care and financial services, said Meng Wei, spokesperson for China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at a press conference on Sunday.
    China will boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years in exchange for the rolling back of some tariffs under an initial trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.
    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who signed the trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week, said the deal would not affect “third parties’ interests,” apparently in reference to deals made with other suppliers of farm goods.
    Chinese companies will import U.S. agricultural goods according to consumers’ need, and demand and supply in the market, Liu told reporters, according to CCTV.
(Reporting by Huizhong Wu; Editing by Peter Graff)

1/19/2020 Graham: Early dismissal of impeachment case ‘dead for practical purposes’ by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, presiding officer Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the
impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Senate has decided against dismissing articles of impeachment without conducting a trial.    On Sunday, Graham announced he and his colleagues need to hold a trial before striking down the House’s articles of impeachment, since the Senate does not have enough votes to dismiss them early.
    “That’s dead for practical purposes,” he said.    “There are a lot of senators who, I think, will wind up acquitting the president, but believe we need to hear the House’s case and the president’s case in answer to the House’s case.”
    However, he noted the trial will be over quickly because many members are planning to vote against further witness testimony, which has been requested by Democrats.
    Despite this, the president’s lawyers may be able to dismiss the case early.    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has prepared a resolution that would allow President Trump’s lawyers to potentially dismiss the impeachment charges if they choose.    Reports said there’s an option for the president’s counsel to make a motion during multiple phases of the process, including at the beginning of the proceedings.
    Sen. Josh Hawley has remarked he would be “very surprised” if the final resolution doesn’t include an option to dismiss or remove the charges.
    Should the charges not be dismissed early, reports claimed the trial may only last about two weeks.
In this image from video, Senate Majorty Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks as the impeachment trial against President
Donald Trump begins in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    White House officials said Rep. Adam Schiff may be called to the stand during the trial.    On Sunday, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Schiff lied during the impeachment probe, including when he said he did not know the identity of the whistleblower.
    Bondi, who will serve as part of President Trump’s legal team, added the impeachment case has turned into “basic trash.”    She said the president is just ready to put the whole thing behind him.    She went on to call the articles of impeachment “flimsy” and argued there was absolutely no crime committed.
    President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has said he would jump at the opportunity to testify in order to expose the corruption he’s discovered in Ukraine.    During a recent interview, the former New York City mayor said the corruption he’s found in the country “far surpasses any that I’ve seen before.”
    He claimed the corruption involves Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and “a lot of other Democrats.”    Giuliani said he has facts, witnesses, documents and recordings he would like to share with the public.    He added, “Everyone’s trying to suppress the facts to protect Biden.”
    The Senate impeachment trial is expected to begin on Tuesday as soon as Congress members reconvene.
In this image from video, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., swears in
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump
in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

1/19/2020 ICE director blasts NYPD, Mayor Bill de Blasio over sanctuary policies by OAN Newsroom
Matthew Albence, right, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
speaks during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Jim Mustian)
    New York City’s so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ are under fire yet again after an illegal immigrant allegedly murdered a 92-year-old woman.    Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence spoke at a news conference on Friday and highlighted some of the key issues with the city’s policies.
    “A lot of these guys are repeat offenders, or violent offenders, and these cops are out there day after day putting their lives on the line,” stated Albence.    “It’s got to be incredibly frustrating for them to arrest these guys, knowing they’re here illegally, knowing that ICE can get them off the street, and three weeks later they’re arresting them again.”
    The director used 21-year-old Reeaz Khan as an example.    The illegal immigrant from Guyana was charged with murder and sexual assault following his attack on the 92-year-old woman.
    “Make no mistake: It is this city’s sanctuary policies that are the sole reason this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman’s life,” he added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presents the fiscal year 2021 preliminary budget during a
news conference at City Hall, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
    ICE stated they sent a detainer request for Khan in November after he was arrested for allegedly stabbing his father with a broken coffee mug.    The New York Police Department claimed they never received the request.    However, Albence said the department has only complied with 10 out of more than 7,500 requests made in 2019.
    Multiple agencies and officials have criticized the sanctuary policies for being politically motivated and insisted they protect criminals while endangering the innocent.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to defend the policies and has denounced Albence’s claims.    He said the director is spreading lies in an attempt to divide the city.

1/19/2020 Sen. Perdue cites Parnas’ credibility, dismisses calling him as impeachment witness by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 file photo, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a news conference
about an immigration bill on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    GOP Sen. David Perdue called Rudy Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas a “distraction” and appeared to oppose having him testify in the impeachment trial.    On Sunday, Perdue suggested Parnas only has secondhand information and pointed out he has been indicted on campaign finance charges.
    He joined his colleagues, who are casting doubt on Parnas’ credibility.    They said the businessman lacks material evidence relevant to impeachment and added he was never close to the president at any point.
    Perdue also defended the president’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart.
    “The President of the United States is responsible for rooting out corruption.    We’re giving money to a country that we are afraid is going to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.    He is asking for help to root out this corruption.    He asked President Zelensky to actually talk to the attorney general about it.    You can characterize that as talking about a political opponent, (but) what hes talking about is an American citizen that was potentially involved in corruption.” – David Perdue, U.S. Senator (R-Ga.)
    The senator said he would prefer to see the impeachment articles dismissed outright and called the House’s inquiry an "illegitimate process."
    This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the
impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani. (House Judiciary Committee via AP)
    Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he is not concerned that Parnas has a criminal record.    Earlier on Sunday, Schiff claimed many people in President Trump’s circle end up indicted.    He also dismissed that Parnas’ criminal history creates questions on his credibility as a potential impeachment witness.
    The chairman stopped short of giving a definite answer on just how much the House would rely on Parnas’ testimony.    He said it would be impossible to tell, since the Senate has not granted the House’s request to include witnesses and evidence in the upcoming trial.
    "These are people that do have information about the president’s misconduct," stated Schiff.    "We can’t really make a determination on which witnesses we’ll call in the absence of knowing whether the Senate will allow any at all."
    He went on to say that the Senate has an obligation to conduct a fair trial, which includes letting the House add witnesses and evidence to their argument.
Impeachment managers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Adam Schiff, D-Calif., second from left, walk with as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.,
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., from the Senate at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

1/19/2020 U.K. Prime Minister arrives in Berlin for summit on Libyan Civil War by OAN Newsroom
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, third left, and Mike Pompeo, fourth right, Foreign Minister of the USA,
attend a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/DPA via AP, Pool)
    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is attending a conference in Berlin to discuss how to bring an end to the Libyan Civil War.    During Sunday’s summit, the prime minister met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, to begin talks of a possible ceasefire for Libya.
    Many leaders, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have agreed a ceasefire negotiation involving the United Nations would be the best strategy for lasting peace.
    "It’s time now to move on and to bring Libya together under the UN," said Johnson.    "The people of Libya have suffered enough, it’s time for the country to move forward."
Bangladeshi men who were rescued off the Libyan coast on Friday, watch the sea from the deck of the Open Arms rescue
vessel as the ship approaches the port of Messina, Italy, Wednesday, Jan . 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
    Libya has faced civil war since the Arab Spring, which lead to the overthrow of leader Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.
    6 million people are currently under the rule of either the unsupported Government of National Accord or the military, which is supported by other powers in the region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, front center right, and French President Emmanuel Macron, front center left, pose during a group photo at a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany,
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Front row left to right, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of the Republic Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

1/19/2020 Migrant caravan gathers on Guatemala border to enter Mexico en masse by Roberto Ramirez
Migrants from Central America, part of a caravan travelling to the U.S., wait to cross into Mexico at the border
between Guatemala and Mexico, in El Ceibo, Guatemala, January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Victor Pena
    TECUN UMAN (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central Americans gathered on the Guatemala-Mexico border on Sunday, aiming to cross en masse early on Monday in what could prove a stiff test of the Mexican government’s pledge to satisfy U.S. demands to curb migrant flows.
    President Donald Trump has threatened to hurt Mexico and Central American countries economically if they allow large numbers to reach the U.S. border.    U.S. border agents have tracked the latest exodus from Honduras this week.
    Small groups of migrants crossed the bridge from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Saturday after Mexican National Guardsmen repelled an attempt by some of the Central Americans to force their way through the border gates.
    Afterwards, most of the migrants withdrew to Tecun Uman to await the arrival of more travelers behind them in the hope they stand a better chance of progressing in one caravan.
    "We’ve been getting organized," said Jose Luis Cruz, a 33-year-old autoworker from Comayagua, Honduras, who left behind a wife and two children in a bid to reach the United States.
    Cruz said migrants waiting in Tecun Uman wanted to try and enter Mexico en masse at around 5 a.m. on Monday, hoping that authorities would let them pass to avoid clashes.
    "If we cross alone, they’ll get us, and all the sacrifices we’ve made to get here will have been in vain," he added.
    Guatemala’s government says at least 4,000 people have entered from Honduras since Wednesday, making for one of the biggest surges since three Central American governments signed agreements with the Trump administration obliging them to assume more of the responsibility of dealing with migrants.
    Tecun Uman’s main migrant shelter quickly filled to capacity with 600 people, and another 1,300 broke their journey in a second, makeshift refuge, said local priest Alfredo Camarena.
    Mexican authorities have so far controlled the border more successfully than in late 2018, when a large caravan of people sought to break through at the same crossing.    Many later crossed into Mexico via the Suchiate River dividing the two countries.
    Mexico has offered migrants work in the south, but those who do not accept it or seek asylum will not be issued safe conduct passes to the United States, the interior ministry said.
(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

1/19/2020 Thousands of Central American migrants try to push through Mexican border by OAN Newsroom
Migrants charge on the Mexican National Guardsmen at the border crossing between Guatemala and
Mexico in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
    More than 2,000 Central American migrants attempted to storm the Mexico-Guatemala border on Saturday.    Thousands of migrants reportedly tried to push their way through a bridge spanning the Suchiate River as the Mexican National Guard blocked their path.
    The agency said it had to reinforce several points along the country’s southern border to assure "safe, orderly and regular immigration."
    This came after Mexico’s president announced he has thousands of jobs available for those traveling north.    On Friday, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he is offering 4,000 jobs to migrants heading to the country.
    "The same as our fellow countrymen, there is a way for them to have work.    My ideal is: full employment, work for everyone.    Work and the right to work, both are guaranteed." - Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico
Honduran migrants walk north along a road in hopes of reaching the distant United States, one carrying a Honduran flag, as they leave
Esquipulas, Guatemala, just after sunrise Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. The group departed San Pedro Sula on Jan. 15. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
    More than 3,500 Honduran and Salvadoran people arrived in Guatemala earlier that day as the caravan traveled towards Mexico.
    "I won’t steal from anyone, I won’t harm anyone, but I am going with the intention of giving my children a future," said one migrant.    "That’s the idea I have."
    President Trump previously advised the region to prevent migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.     "The truth is that we don’t expect the same as last year to happen, because last year was pretty terrible,” stated river raftsman Marvin Garcia.    "We even suffered from tear gas that was shot because the people who came here, undocumented, caused riots."
Migrants charge on Mexican National Guardsmen at the border crossing between Guatemala and
Mexico in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
    The Mexican government has sent authorities to the country’s southern border to stop any migrants from passing through without proper documentation.
    "They can’t come in because it would be a violation of the law,” stated Commissioner Francisco Garduño.    "Everyone has to get in line, register, apply for immigration status and they will determine what the legal procedures are."
    U.S. border agents and Guatemalan authorities have already sent nearly 300 migrants back to Honduras amid their journey to the U.S. this week.
Migrants line up behind an Honduran flag at the border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico
in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

1/19/2020 Sen. Cornyn: GAO report on Ukraine aid an ‘allegation’, doesn’t justify impeachment push by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor with Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, left, and
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Sen. John Cornyn is questioning a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that claimed President Trump broke the law by withholding aid from Ukraine.    On Sunday, the Texas Republican said keeping back aid from a foreign country is not a crime.
    Cornyn added in the past, hardly anyone would have thought such an issue could escalate to the level of impeachment.
    Last week, the GAO claimed the president froze aid to Ukraine for a "political reason," despite the White House’s earlier statement it was due to concerns of corruption.
    Cornyn said the entire impeachment case is based on a nonfactual allegation.
    "This is the first time in history where a president has been impeached for a noncrime, for events that never occurred" he said.
    "This is really unique and I think every Senator is going to take this very seriously."
    The senator added President Trump was impeached for alleged abuse of power, which is not the high crime required for impeachment.

1/20/2020 Capitalism seen doing ‘more harm than good’ in global survey by Mark John
FILE PHOTO: The national flags of several countries and a flag with the logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) fly at the roof of the congress center
during preparations for the annual WEF meeting in the Swiss Alps resort of Davos, Switzerland January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    LONDON (Reuters) – A majority of people around the world believe capitalism in its current form is doing more harm than good, a survey found ahead of this week’s Davos meeting of business and political leaders.
    This year was the first time the "Edelman Trust Barometer," which for two decades has polled tens of thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, sought to understand how capitalism itself was viewed.
    The study’s authors said that earlier surveys showing a rising sense of inequality prompted them to ask whether citizens were now starting to have more fundamental doubts about the capitalist-based democracies of the West.
    "The answer is yes," David Bersoff, lead researcher on the study produced by U.S. communications company Edelman.
    "People are questioning at that level whether what we have today, and the world we live in today, is optimized for their having a good future."
    The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries, from Western liberal democracies like the United States and France to those based on a different model such as China and Russia, with 56% agreeing that "capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world."
    The survey was launched in 2000 to explore the theories of political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who after the collapse of communism declared that liberal capitalist democracy had seen off rival ideologies and so represented "the end of history."
    That conclusion has since been challenged by critics who point to everything from the rising influence of China to the spread of autocratic leaders, trade protectionism and worsening inequality in the wake of the 2007/08 global financial crisis.
‘INTO THE VOID’
    On a national level, lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75% and 74% respectively, with France close behind on 69%.    Majorities prevailed in other Asian, European, Gulf, African and Latin American states.
    Only in Australia, Canada, the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan did majorities disagree with the assertion that capitalism currently did more harm than good.
    The survey confirmed a by-now familiar set of concerns ranging from worries about the pace of technological progress and job insecurity, to distrust of the media and a sense that national governments were not up to the challenges of the day.
    Within the data there were divergences, with Asians more optimistic about their economic prospects than others across the world. There was also a growing split in attitudes according to status, with the affluent and college-educated much more likely to have faith in how things were being run.
    Of possible interest to corporate leaders gathering in Davos this week was the finding that trust in business outweighed that in governments and that 92% of employees said CEOs should speak out on the social and ethical issues of the day.
    “Business has leapt into the void left by populist and partisan government,” said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman.    “It can no longer be business as usual, with an exclusive focus on shareholder returns.”
(Writing by Mark John; Editing by Alexander Smith)
[THE GLOBALIST ARE STILL AT IT SO BE ALARMED THAT THEY WANT TO CREATE A NEW ONE WORLD ECONOMY AND A NEW ONE WORLD RELIGION AND A NEW ONE WORLD ENVIRONMENT POLICIES, AND A NEW ONE WORLD MILITARY DEFENSE/POLICE SYSTEM.].

1/20/2020 President Trump’s legal team issues briefs to Senate by OAN Newsroom
The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Washington. The impeachment trial
of President Donald Trump will resume in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
    President Trump’s legal defense team filed its brief for the Senate impeachment trial.    Those documents were handed over to the upper chamber Monday ahead of Tuesday’s trial session.    The brief states the articles of impeachment passed by the House are “an affront to the Constitution and fail to allege an impeachable offense.”
    The House has already submitted its trial brief, which argued the president has abused his power and obstructed Congress.    The White House has since responded, calling the impeachment trial “constitutionally invalid.”
    Trump legal defense member Alan Dershowitz said he will argue that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, even if proven true.    He made the following comments regarding the defense:
    “When you have somebody who, for example, is indicted for a crime — let’s assume you have a lot of evidence — but the grand jury simply indicts for something that’s not a crime, and that’s what happened here.    You have a lot of evidence, disputed evidence, that could go both ways, but the vote was to impeach on abuse of power which is not within the constitutional criteria for impeachment and obstruction of Congress.”
FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2019 file photo, Attorney Alan Dershowitz leaves federal court, in New York.
President Donald Trump’s legal team will include former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr,
the former independent counsel who led the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton, according to a person
familiar with the matter. The team will also include Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
    The upper chamber will review the White House documents before reconvening Tuesday.

1/21/2020 Virginians call for Gov. Northam’s removal, thousands protest new gun control measures by OAN Newsroom
Gun-rights supporters demonstrate in front of state Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday morning Jan. 20, 2020.
Gun-rights activists and other groups are descending on Virginia’s capital city of Richmond to protest plans
by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    Virginians are calling for the removal of Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam after his suggested gun control policies drew huge crowds to a pro-Second Amendment rally.    The protest, which is held by the Virginia Citizens Defense League every year, was bolstered by strict gun control measures passed by the state Senate as a priority for the governor.
    “He (Gov. Northam) thinks he can come in here and just say whatever he wants to do, and that’s not how it’s going to work,” stated Santiago Helmik, a Second Amendment supporter.    “He thinks everybody here is going to comply, I bet you nobody here is going to comply with any of the laws he’s going to pass.”
    Gov. Northam pushed for mandatory background checks in addition to a new measure prohibiting someone from purchasing more than one gun per month.    He received backlash after he banned all weapons from Capitol Square over threats of violence at the event.
A pro gun demonstrators hold a flag and signs in front of the Virginia State Capitol
Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    President Trump has pledged his support behind the activists. He recently said the Second Amendment is under attack and slammed Democrats for trying to take guns away.
[GOV. NORTHAM THESE ARE NOT WHITE NATIONALIST THESE ARE NORMAL AMERICANS THAT DO NOT WANT YOUR DEMOCRATIC POLICIES TAKE THEIR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS AWAY SO WAKE UP BEFORE YOU DO GET OVERTHROWN AND PUT IN PRISON FOR PROMOTING INFANTICIDE.]

1/20/2020 President Trump to begin allowing states to control Medicaid spending under federal guidance by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump returns to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020,
from a campaign trip to Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    The Trump administration is making plans to possibly change the way Medicaid is funded.    According to a Wall Street Journal report, President Trump is expected to release guidance that would make it easier for states to apply for block grants in the coming weeks.
    The way these block grants work is that each state that applies for the program would receive a capped chunk of federal money to spend on Medicaid, however they choose.    If a state spends less than what is given, they are able to keep that money for themselves.
    Thus, the measure motivates state governments to make cuts on Medicaid as well as relinquish the federal government’s requirement to match what states spend on the issue.    Many local lawmakers have reportedly praised the new tactic as financially responsible.
    “We don’t need to put welfare in the Constitution to meet the needs of the most vulnerable,” said Jonathan Small, member of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.    “It will cost $374 million in state taxpayer dollars, to cover 628,000 able bodied adults.”
    Conservatives argue another perk is that Medicaid block grants are more efficient at the end of the day.
File – In this March 4, 2019 file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his first State
of the State Address in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
    “Officials say it could improve the way Medicaid is administered since states can tailor their health care program to their citizens needs,” stated Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.    “Ultimately what that means is that the cost of healthcare will be lowered if states line up to be more efficient because they’ll be rewarded for such, then it will lower the cost of healthcare which is why it will be a win for the country.”
    Meanwhile, the Medicaid transformation is likely to spark new feuds with Democrats, who have strongly opposed block grants as illegal and have made expanding the government-run health care system a party backbone.

1/20/2020 Children go missing as Central American migrants clash with Mexican forces by Roberto Ramirez
A migrant, part of a caravan travelling to the U.S., holds a Honduran flag as he cross the Suchiate river at the
border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
    SUCHIATE RIVER, Guatemala/Mexico (Reuters) – Mexican security forces fired tear gas at rock-hurling Central American migrants who waded across a river into Mexico earlier on Monday, in a chaotic scramble that saw mothers separated from their young children.
    The clashes between hundreds of U.S.-bound Central Americans and the Mexican National Guard underscores the challenge President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces to contain migration at the bidding of his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.
    The mostly-Honduran migrants were part of a group of several thousand people that had set off last week from Honduras, fleeing rampant gang violence and dire job prospects in their homeland.
    Video footage showed scattered groups of migrants throwing rocks at a few members of the National Guard militarized police who were on the banks of the river attempting to thwart illegal crossings, while hundreds of others ran past into Mexico.
    “We didn’t come to stay here.    We just want to cross to the other side,” said Ingrid, 18, a Honduran migrant.    “I don’t want to go back to my country because there is nothing there, just hunger.”
    A Reuters witness spoke to at least two mothers whose young children had gone missing amid the chaos, as the migrants on Mexican soil scattered in an attempt to avoid being detained by Mexican officials.
    Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) said it will transfer all undocumented foreigners to immigration stations and will return them to their home countries if their legal status cannot be resolved.
    The Reuters witness said several kilometers from the border Mexican immigration authorities had filled a bus and pickup trucks with detained migrants.
    Trump has threatened to punish Mexico and Central American countries economically if they fail to curb migrant flows, resulting in a series of agreements aimed at making good on Trump campaign promises to curb immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
WADING ACROSS THE RIVER
    Over the weekend, at least 2,000 migrants had been camped in the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman, opposite Ciudad Hidalgo on the Mexican side.
    The migrants appeared to grow impatient on the bridge over the Suchiate River that connects the two countries, after some were denied permission to cross by assembled Mexican migration officials.
    The INM said it informed the migrants it could not allow them to cross into Mexican territory to “transit” through and blamed the group’s organizers for “ignoring the risk to minors and at risk people” by crossing the river.
    Mexico has offered migrants work in the south, but those who do not accept it or seek asylum will not be issued safe conduct passes to the United States, and most will be deported, the interior ministry said.
    Mexican authorities had already received nearly 1,100 migrants in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco, the ministry said on Sunday.
    According to Guatemala, at least 4,000 people entered from Honduras since Wednesday, making for one of the biggest surges since three Central American governments signed agreements with the Trump administration obliging them to assume more of the responsibility for dealing with migrants.
(Writing by David Alire Garcia and Anthony Esposito; Additional reporting by Dave Graham and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot)

1/20/2020 Macron and Trump declare truce in digital tax dispute
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a visit at the AstraZeneca factory in
Dunkirk, France January 20, 2020. Denis Charlet/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he had a “great discussion” with U.S. President Donald Trump over a digital tax planned by Paris and said the two countries would work together to avoid a rise in tariffs.
    Macron and Trump agreed to hold off on a potential tariffs war until the end of 2020, a French diplomatic source said, and continue negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the digital tax during that period.
    “They agreed to give a chance to negotiations until the end of the year,” the source said.    “During that time period, there won’t be successive tariffs.”
    France decided in July to apply a 3% levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with revenues of more than 25 million euros ($28 million) in France and 750 million euros worldwide. Washington has threatened to impose taxes on French products in response.
    French authorities have repeatedly said any international agreement on digital taxation reached within the OECD would immediately supersede the French tax.
    The White House said on Monday both Trump and Macron agreed it is important to complete successful negotiations on the digital services tax.
(Reporting by Michel Rose, additional reporting by Alexandra Alper in Washington; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Nick Macfie and Paul Simao)

1/21/2020 Case called ‘unlawful’
    Trump’s lawyers send Senate reply on ‘flawed’ impeachment articles backed by ‘no evidence.’
    President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Monday sent their response to the House case outline of the articles of impeachment, telling Senate Republicans they should simply dismiss the affair as a “brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn the 2016 election.
    In its brief, the defense team asserts the articles “do not identify any impeachable offense,” the House impeachment inquiry was “irredeemably flawed” and there is “no evidence” to back accusations of abusing power and seeking to obstruct Congress.    The trial was to begin Tuesday, with some details, notably including the witnesses the senators might hear, still to be settled.    House case managers had hoped to call more White House figures.
    “Defending the separation of powers is not an impeachable offense.”
    White House defense team, in its response to the House case outline.
The White House defense team criticized the House impeachment articles, shown being
delivered to the Senate on Jan. 15. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

1/21/2020 Trump’s lawyers deride impeachment articles - They call it ‘flawed’ case backed by ‘no evidence’ by David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s lawyers told Senate Republicans on Monday that they should simply dismiss the House Democratic impeachment case against their client, calling the charges unfair and political.
    “All that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,” said a legal document filed with the Senate, which is set to hear opening arguments in the impeachment trial Tuesday.
    In the brief, the president’s legal team said the two articles of impeachment against Trump “do not identify any impeachable offense,” the House impeachment inquiry was “irredeemably flawed,” and there is “no evidence” to back the articles, in which the House accuses the president of abusing power and seeking to obstruct Congress.
    As senators debated whether to call witnesses in the trial, the president’s lawyers indicated they would seek a quick dismissal.
    “The Senate should bring a decisive end to these excesses so that Congress can get back to its real job: Working together with the President to improve the lives of all Americans,” the filing said.
    The new filing supplements a brief legal document that Trump’s team submitted Saturday denying the allegations and describing the impeachment as a “brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn the 2016 presidential election.
    While providing more detail, citing court decisions and providing a history of previous impeachments, the briefing echoes previous arguments that were ridiculed by House Democratic managers who will prosecute the case.
    They cited evidence that Trump tried to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden by threatening to withhold aid from the country if it did not comply, then obstructed the House investigation into the incident.
    “The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, DCalif., one of the impeachment trial’s managers.
    Trump and his aides said he wanted Ukraine to investigate corruption, and concern about that corruption is why the administration held up aid temporarily.
    They noted that the money eventually was released.
    Trump’s attorneys also claimed there was no merit to the second impeachment article, which accuses Trump of obstructing the congressional investigation by withholding witnesses and documents from investigators in Congress.
    The filing by Trump’s lawyers said the White House withheld witnesses and documents because the information is protected by executive privilege, and Congress is not entitled access to internal deliberations within the executive branch.
    “Defending the separation of powers is not an impeachable offense,” it said.
President Donald Trump’s lawyers say they will seek a quick dismissal in just
the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president. SAUL LOEB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


1/21/2020 Thousands in Virginia rally for gun rights by Ryan W. Miller and John Bacon, USA TODAY
    RICHMOND, Va. – Thousands of gun owners and gun rights supporters gathered Monday at Virginia’s Capitol for a “peaceful day to address our Legislature” that appeared to generate none of the violence feared by some state leaders.
    Many demonstrators, opposed to proposed gun restrictions, openly displayed military-style semiautomatic rifles.    Other wore orange “Guns save lives” stickers as the crowd chanted “USA” and sang the national anthem. Signs read “Come and take it” and “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
    But despite warnings from Gov. Ralph Northam and law enforcement that out-of-state hate groups and militias could have incited violence, the protest did not grow heated. Gene Lepley, spokesman for the rally day information center in Richmond, said there was one arrest. Police estimated the size of the crowd at 16,000; 6,000 were inside Capitol Square.
    Demonstrator Matthew French, 40, of Bland called the rally a success and said he hoped the large, peaceful crowd would help sway legislators.
    “The sheer numbers here speaks for itself,” he said.    “I hope our legislators will back off. Today was the civil rights march of my life.”
    Tom Rohde, 49, of West Point said he was happy to see no violence.
    “You got thousands of guns and not a single bullet fired,” he said.
    Earlier, a heavy police presence greeted rallygoers who lined up to enter the state Capitol, where they had to pass through a security checkpoint.
    Connie Stanley, 58, of Aylett came to the rally with a group of women.    She sees the Second Amendment and owning a gun as a security issue. She said that where she lives, it could take police too long to respond if she calls 911.
    “As a woman, I feel like it’s about protection,” she said.    Northam declared a state of emergency Friday through Tuesday, banning all weapons, including firearms, in the square around the Capitol building.    He said law enforcement had received “credible” threats of violence from out-of-state hate groups and militias.
    At least six suspected members of a violent neo-Nazi group were arrested last week in Maryland and Georgia.    Authorities feared three of the men planned to try to incite violence at the rally.
    On Monday, law enforcement helicopters buzzed overhead as state, city and Capitol police kept a wary eye on the crowds.    Barricades lined the streets, and many shops were closed.
    Demonstrator Brantley Overby, 22, came armed to Richmond from Henderson, North Carolina.    He said whenever there’s a large group like the one Monday, carrying a firearm is about safety.
    “It’s a sense of security,” he said.    “If something happens, you have the option to use it.”
    He said he came to Virginia because he fears similar laws could pass in North Carolina and around the U.S.
    “This is the first attack on the Second Amendment I’ve seen in a long time.”
    Tim Hunter, 45, of Richmond said the Second Amendment is important to veterans like him. He served in Desert Storm in the Army.
    “There’s a reason it’s No. 2 on the list,” he said.
    Hunter was inside Capitol Square, where tight security and fences lined the perimeter.
    Hunter and everyone else inside the grounds “willfully decided to leave our weapons at home,” he said.    “If we come out here as an armed mob, nobody is going to listen.”
    While thousands gathered inside the grounds, many more rallied outside.    Flags bearing President Donald Trump’s name and “don’t tread on me” poked up above the crowd as the smaller crowd inside the Capitol grounds watched.    “We will not comply,” the crowd outside the gates chanted.
    The day was planned as a “lobby day” by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which has organized similar events to advocate for gun rights for years.    A mass movement grew out of the scheduled protest this year, however, drawing interest from people who had “malicious plans,” Northam said.
    Authorities were determined to ensure that the rally didn’t spark chaos that marked a 2017 protest in Charlottesville.    Clashes broke out at the Unite the Right rally, and a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd, killing a counterprotester.    Some of the militia groups that said they would attend the rally in Richmond are the same ones that attended that rally, the Daily Beast reported.
    “No one wants another incident like the one we saw at Charlottesville,” Northam said.    “We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here.”
    Ben Rego, 43, of Chesapeake was at his first “lobby day.”    Rego said Northam and Democrats’ proposals have mobilized people like him, who otherwise wouldn’t come out to the state Capitol, to show their opposition.
    “These laws aren’t being done in good faith,” he said.    He worries that if a few pass, many more gun control regulations will come and spread to other states.
    The Second Amendment is about self-defense and protection from a tyrannical government, he says.    He believes the latter is being lost in the discussion around gun control.
    “It’s a touchy subject, but it’s important,” he said.
    Driving the momentum behind the Richmond rally was a host of new gun control measures backed by Northam and Democrats, who flipped both houses of the General Assembly and have full control of state government for the first time since 1993.
    Democrats proposed limiting handgun purchases to one a month, universal background checks on gun sales, allowing localities to ban guns in some public areas and a “red flag” bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone found to be dangerous to themselves or others.
    Other proposals include rules around reporting lost or stolen firearms and a ban on “assault firearms,” though some moderate Democrats have expressed concerns over that bill.
    Advocates for the gun control laws say Virginians signaled their approval of the proposals when they elected the Democrat-controlled General Assembly in November.    Many Democrats campaigned on gun control, and gun laws were the most important debates before the election among Democrats and Republicans alike, according to a Washington Post-George Mason poll.
    Northam has worked to dispel the idea that he intends to go “door to door” with authorities to take away people’s guns.    He says the bills are intended to keep Virginians safer, but his detractors see them as infringing on their rights to bear arms.
    “All these bills are basically steps in the direction of disarming people,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
    Adding fuel to the fire: Trump on Friday tweeted that the Second Amendment was “under very serious attack” in Virginia.
    In the weeks leading up to the rally, more than 100 counties, cities and towns declared themselves “sanctuaries” for the Second Amendment, saying they would not enforce unconstitutional gun laws.
    While the “sanctuary” resolutions passed in many localities have been seen by supporters as a way to fight back against Northam’s proposals, legal experts say those resolutions are largely symbolic, because local law cannot supersede state law.
Contributing: Jorge Ortiz
An estimated 6,000 people gathered inside Capitol Square in Richmond, Va., with as many as 16,000 outside the square,
to oppose proposed gun restrictions in the newly Democratic-run state. PHOTOS BY JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
    Some protesters openly displayed military-style weapons outside Richmond’s Capitol Square. Gov. Ralph Northam had banned firearms inside the square.
Gun rights supporters gather Monday at Virginia’s Capitol. The rally stayed peaceful. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
[THE VIRGINA GOVERNOR SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF BUT HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THAT AS THE CROWDS THAT CAME HERE FROM ALL OVER THE U.S. ARE THE WORKING AMERICANS WHO DO NOT WANT TO LOSE THEIR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO LEFTIST DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE THEY ARE STARTING THE ASSAULT ON THEM AND ALSO ABORTION INFANTICIDE, SANCTUARY CITIES TO HIDE DANGEROUS ILLEGAL ALIENS AND WHAT EVER ELSE THEY CAN DO TO AMERICA.].

1/21/2020 Trump hails U.S. economic success in Davos as impeachment trial begins by Alexandra Alper
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF)
annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Thousands of miles from his impeachment trial in the United States, President Donald Trump took center stage at Davos on Tuesday to tout the success of the country’s economy.
    Trump, who is attending his second meeting of global political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum, also told a packed auditorium that recent trade deals with China and Mexico represented a model for the 21st Century.
    His address picked up on some of the themes Trump voiced when he first addressed the WEF two years ago.
    The impeachment trial begins in earnest in the U.S. Senate after the Republican president was formally charged by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in December with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
    Trump, who is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, says he is innocent of the charges.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)

1/21/2020 President Trump delivers remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump delivers the opening remarks at the World Economic Forum,
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Davos, Switzerland. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    “The American dream is back bigger and badder than ever before.” — President Trump
    President Trump delivered opening remarks at this year’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland.    While speaking in front of world leaders and powerful businessmen in Davos Tuesday, the president touted his administration’s economic accomplishments.    This included his efforts to make America more hospitable for large corporations.
    The president started his keynote address by touting record low unemployment rates in the U.S., noting 3.5 million people have joined the workforce under his administration.    President Trump said the stock market has soared by 50 percent since he took office and noted his recent trade deal with China will continue to boost the American economy.
    “Today, I’m proud to declare that the United States is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before,” he stated.    “We’ve regained our stride, rediscovered our spirit, and reawakened the powerful machinery of American enterprise.”
President Trump ended things off by praising American energy independence.    He claimed his administration has saved the American household over $2,000 in electricity bills annually.
    The U.S. president will hold bilateral meetings with multiple leaders Tuesday, including the presidents of the European Commission and Switzerland as well as the Pakistani prime minister.    On Wednesday, President Trump is set to meet with Iraq’s prime minister for the first time since the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.

1/21/2020 Senate impeachment trial resumes, senators set to debate & approve trial rules by OAN Newsroom
The Capitol and Senate are seen at sunrise on the first full day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges
of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    According to a draft resolution Monday, Senate Republicans are looking to pass rules for the trial, which sets aside 48 hours for opening arguments from the White House’s legal team and impeachment managers.    This will be followed by 16 hours of Q&A, ultimately leading to a vote on whether witnesses will be considered.
    This draft does not mention a motion to dismiss the charges outright as previously speculated.    The Senate will vote on this resolution Tuesday, with opening arguments expected to begin on Wednesday.
    Meanwhile, President Trump added a number of high-profile House Republicans to his legal team just ahead of the Senate’s impeachment trial.     On Monday, the White House confirmed the president appointed another eight representatives, including Doug Collins (R-Ga.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) among others.
    “These members of Congress have provided guidance to the White House team which was prohibited from participating in the proceedings concocted by Democrats in the House.”
    The last-minute reinforcements will provide “critical guidance on the case” given their “strong familiarity with the facts.”    However, they will not present statements on the floor.

1/21/2020 U.S. Agriculture Secretary: No need for more farm aid after China trade deal by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Oct. 13, 2019, file photo a farmer harvests soybeans in a field near Concordia, Mo. On Wednesday,
Jan. 15, 2020, the Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for December. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
    According to the secretary of U.S. Agriculture, there’s no need for additional aid to American farmers, following the ‘Phase One’ trade deal with China.    While speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention Monday, Secretary Sonny Perdue said now that Beijing is poised to buy $40 billion worth of agricultural goods, there is no need for more farm aid.
    This comes after farmers steadily relied on assistance from the U.S. government throughout the duration of the trade war.    Perdue’s remarks come one day after President Trump also spoke at the convention, where he assured farmers the recently signed deal will be good for them in the long-term.
President Donald Trump walks on stage and puts out his hand to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, right, before speaking
at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention in Austin, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “I don’t think the farmers and ranchers have been in this position maybe ever, I don’t think so, and I think it’s going to work out good,” he stated.    “And I think China is going to go all out to prove that the agreement that was signed is a good agreement, and we have very, very strong stipulations in there.”
    A 2019 Reuters-IPSOS poll revealed President Trump has gained support among American farmers ahead of the ‘Phase One’ deal signing.

1/21/2020 U.S. urges China to join nuclear arms talks with Russia by Emma Farge
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their
bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States urged China on Tuesday to join trilateral nuclear arms talks with Moscow, calling Beijing’s secrecy around growing stockpiles a “serious threat to strategic stability.”
    U.S. President Donald Trump said last year he had discussed a new accord on limiting nuclear arms with Russian President Vladimir Putin and hoped to extend that to China in what would be a major deal between the globe’s top three atomic powers.    But China has so far refused to take part.
    “We think, given the fact that China’s nuclear stockpile is estimated to double over the next ten years, now is the time to have that trilateral discussion,” Robert Wood, U.S. disarmament ambassador, told reporters on the opening day of the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
    He said that Washington had discussed the potential trilateral talks in a security meeting with Russia last week and had reached an “understanding” about pursuing them.    “We cannot afford to wait,” he added.
    Asked how to go about pressuring Beijing to join, Wood said that he hoped Russia, and others, would help.    “Hopefully over time and through the influence of others besides the United States, they (China) will come to the table.    We think it’s imperative for global security that the Chinese do that.”
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Russia would take part in potential trilateral talks but that he “won’t force China to change” its current position.
    China has previously said its weapons were the “lowest level” of its national security needs and not comparable to those of Russia and the United States.
    The United Nations is seeking the total elimination of nuclear arms but talks have been deadlocked for more than 20 years.
    Other talks between the five declared nuclear powers that have ratified the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – China, United States, Russia, France and the United Kingdom – are ongoing and a meeting is planned in London next month.
    However, Wood said this was not the right framework for nuclear arms talks with Beijing.
    In his speech, China’s disarmament Ambassador Li Song did not refer to its own nuclear stockpiles but called for cooperation among nuclear powers and made a thinly-veiled swipe at the Trump administration.
    Li called for a commitment to multilateralism, “with no exceptions, least of all the big power which shoulders a special responsibility for international peace and security and who is not expected to play the role of a ‘spoiler’ to our collective efforts and to withdraw from treaties.”
(Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/21/2020 Trump touts U.S. economy, dismisses climate ‘prophets of doom’ as Greta looks on by Alexandra Alper
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab as he arrives to deliver a speech
during the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump touted the success of the U.S. economy in Davos on Tuesday, dismissing “perennial prophets of doom” on climate change to an audience that included Greta Thunberg.
    With his impeachment trial set to begin in Washington, Trump largely shied away from environmental issues, which are top of the agenda at the gathering in a Swiss ski resort of business leaders for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
    Trump did not refer directly to teenage Swedish activist Thunberg, who responded to his speech by referring to “empty words and promises” from world leaders.
    “You say children shouldn’t worry … don’t be so pessimistic and then, nothing, silence,” star act Thunberg said in her latest high-profile tit-for-tat with the U.S. president.
    Trump said the U.S. would join an initiative to plant a trillion trees, but spent several minutes of his speech hailing the economic importance of the oil and gas industries.
    After days of uncertainty over whether Trump would actually attend the meeting in Davos, especially considering his impeachment trial in the U.S. is underway, the U.S. president landed in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday.
    It was the second time Trump has taken the stage at the WEF meeting.    Two years ago, he urged companies to invest in America after passing the first tax cuts to encourage business spending.
    This year, he stuck to the theme.    In a wide-ranging address pitched to appeal to the Davos crowd, touting the achievements of his administration despite his unorthodox approach, Trump picked up on some of the themes he voiced in 2018.
    He thanked overseas companies for investing in the United States and said the U.S. was on far better economic standing than he had imagined when he took office three years ago.
    “The time for scepticism is over,” Trump said as he invited more foreign money.
    “To every business looking for a place to succeed…there is no better place than the U.S.,” he added.
    He told a packed auditorium that trade deals struck this month with China and Mexico represented a model and took his biggest swipe yet at the Federal Reserve, whose policies he says are holding back the U.S. economy.
    “The Fed raised rates too quickly and has lowered them too slowly,” Trump said of the Federal Reserve, taking aim at the central bank’s policy decisions.
A TRILLION TREES
    Thunberg, one of many young people speaking at Davos this year, left Trump’s address flanked by security and pursued by camera crews and reporters.
    Trump later told reporters: “I’m a very big believer in the environment.    I want the cleanest water and the cleanest air.”
    However, Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz criticized the president’s swipe at climate activists.
    “As if what we are seeing with our eyes are not there. It’s astounding,” Stiglitz said.
    In Washington, the impeachment trial begins in earnest in the U.S. Senate after the Republican president was formally charged by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in December with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
    Trump, who is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, says he is innocent of the charges.
(Additional reporting by Anne Marie Roantree, Alessandra Galloni, Simon Robinson and Leela de Kretser; Editing by Alexander Smith)

1/21/2020 Lockheed Martin to migrate F-35 logistics system to cloud by 2022 end
A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
    (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin said on Tuesday that a cloud-based network will replace the computer-based logistics system in all its F-35 fighter jets by 2022 end.
    The weapons maker said the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN) will reduce administrator workload on the jet and is designed to deliver data in near real time on aircraft.
    The ODIN will replace the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which was blamed for delaying aircraft maintenance, one of the very things it was meant to facilitate.
    The system was made to underpin the F-35 fleet’s daily operations, ranging from mission planning and flight scheduling to repairs and scheduled maintenance.
    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) had estimated that ALIS would have cost more than $16.7 billion over its multi-decade life cycle.
    The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office will design the ODIN, which will be delivered to the fleet later this year, Lockheed said.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

1/21/2020 Central banks join forces to look at future digital currencies by Andy Bruce and Francesco Canepa
FILE PHOTO: Small toy figurines are seen on representations of the Bitcoin virtual currency displayed in front
of an image of China's flag in this illustration picture, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
    LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Major central banks are looking at the case for issuing their own digital currencies, the Bank of England and European Central Bank said on Tuesday, amid a growing debate over the future of money and who controls it.
    The central banks of Britain, the euro zone, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland will share experiences in a new group headed by former European Central Bank official Benoit Coeure and assisted by the Bank of International Settlements, they said.
    “The group will assess … economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability; and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies,” the central banks said in a statement.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve was notably absent from the group.
    Central banks across the world have quickened the pace with which they are looking at issuing their own digital currencies, also known as CBDCs.    Facebook’s push to launch its Libra cryptocurrency has added fuel to questions over whether nation states will continue to control money in the decades ahead.
    Of the major central banks, China’s has emerged as the frontrunner in the drive to create its own digitized money, though details of its project are still scarce.
    In the United States, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in November it was monitoring the digital currency debate but not actively considering its own amid a host of legal, regulatory and operational questions.
    But Philadelphia Federal Reserve bank president Patrick Harker said a month earlier it was “inevitable” that central banks, including the Fed, would start issuing digital currency.
    Harker cautioned that the United States should not be the nation to lead such a move.
    The Fed did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR?
    CBDCs are traditional money, but in digital form, issued and governed by a country’s central bank. By contrast, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are produced by solving complex maths puzzles, and governed by disparate online communities instead of a centralized body.
    The common denominator is that cryptocurrencies and CBDCs, to a varying degree, are based on blockchain technology, a digital ledger that allows transactions to be recorded and accessed in real time by multiple parties.
    Last year BoE Governor Mark Carney took aim at the U.S. dollar’s “destabilizing” role in the world economy and said central banks might need to join together to create their own replacement reserve currency.
    The best solution would be a diversified multi-polar financial system, something that could be provided by technology, Carney said.
    Facebook’s Libra is the most high-profile proposed digital currency to date but it faces a host of fundamental issues that it has yet to address, he added.
(Additional reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Pete Schroeder in Washington; Editing by William Schomberg and Gareth Jones)

2/21/2020 Acting Homeland Security Secretary: Border wall has been bipartisan issue for years before Trump admin. by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2019 file photo, government contractors erect a section of
Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
    According to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, building an effective border wall has been a bipartisan issue for 20 years.    In an interview this month, Wolf said Democrats are aware that illegal apprehensions go down in areas where an effective border wall system goes up.    He added that liberal law makers have only begun taking issue with this under the Trump administration.
    Secretary Wolf went on to say a number of lawmakers who oppose the wall have been on record in the past in support of a physical barrier.    The Homeland Security official said the wall is working so far, and the department plans to continue building in high priority areas.
    “We are putting the border wall system in priority locations, locations where it is very difficult for border patrol agents to patrol, and so what we’re trying to do is put the border wall up to push illegal apprehensions to areas they can patrol,” Wolf explained.    “They can apprehend and interdict folks and the like, that’s our goal, that’s our strategy and it’s working.”
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf arrives for a press conference with Hondura’s President Juan Orlado
Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Wolf said that the two countries had finalized their implementation
of an agreement that would send third country asylum seekers from the U.S. to Honduras. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez)
    This comes as the administration recently celebrated 100 miles of completed border wall construction.

1/22/2020 Oil down $0.29 to $58.25, DOW down 152 to 29,198.

1/22/2020 TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL - ‘ROAD MAP’ CHANGES - McConnell defends, then tweaks, Trump trial rules by Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell defended his proposed rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump as fair and evenhanded in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, but he quickly tweaked them in light of key Democratic concerns.
    “Today, we will consider and pass an organizing resolution that will structure the first phase of the trial,” McConnell said Tuesday, shortly before the trial got rolling.
    “This initial step will offer an early signal to our country: Can the Senate still serve our founding purpose?    Can we still put fairness, even-handedness and historical precedent ahead of the partisan passions of the day?” he asked.
    McConnell made it clear Tuesday that he felt the way for the Senate to show its determination to be fair during the trial would be to approve the rules he proposed.
    The Senate includes more Republicans than Democrats among its members.    And McConnell said his proposal, which he considers a “fair road map” for the trial, already had the necessary support of a majority of senators.
    “On every point, our straightforward resolution will bring the clarity and fairness that everyone deserves,” he said early Tuesday afternoon.
    However, not long after he made those comments on the Senate floor, McConnell made a couple of notable changes to the proposed resolution, which follows a layout similar to — but not exactly like — the way the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton was run.
    Specifically, he extended the time limits for opening arguments to let the prosecution and defense each make their presentations over three days instead of two.
    He also updated the resolution to say the House’s findings from its impeachment inquiry will automatically be admitted into evidence.
    Both those changes addressed issues Democrats had with the suggested trial rules McConnell initially floated.
    The longtime Kentucky senator and current Senate majority leader faces a major test as the nation watches to see how he and the chamber he helms will handle the Trump trial.    McConnell already has been slammed by top Democrats for refusing to agree up front to allow witnesses to testify during the trial and for saying he is not an impartial juror.
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s top Democrat, once again called on the Senate to require witnesses to testify and documents to be produced during the trial in a speech he gave right after McConnell concluded his remarks Tuesday afternoon.
    In recent weeks, McConnell has cast doubt on whether the Senate should call new witnesses whose testimony wasn’t included in the House’s impeachment investigation.    And he has repeatedly criticized the House Democrats’ impeachment as the “most rushed, least thorough and most unfair” such proceeding in American history.
    But Schumer tried to use McConnell’s own words against him.
    “The truth is Leader McConnell is plotting the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment trial in modern history, and it begins today,” Schumer said.
    After McConnell and Schumer gave their speeches on the Senate floor early Tuesday afternoon, the congressional chamber convened for the impeachment trial.
    The first order of business: debating and voting on the proposed rules for the proceeding.    That deliberation was still going on Tuesday evening.
Contact reporter Morgan Watkins at mwatkins@courierjournal.com and 502-5824502 or follow her on Twitter @morganwatkins26.    Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: subscribe. courier- journal.com.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chamber Tuesday
for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell steps out of the chamber Tuesday
during the start of the impeachment trial. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

Chief Justice John Roberts, the presiding officer at the impeachment trial,
speaks during the proceedings Tuesday. SENATE TELEVISION VIA AP

1/22/2020 Justices: No fast-track appeal of Obamacare - High court blocks third test of health care law by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to decide on a fast-track basis the fate of the landmark Affordable Care Act after a federal appeals court ruled that its central health insurance mandate is unconstitutional.
    By refusing to step in, the justices probably blocked the third Supreme Court test of the controversial health care law from an election-year docket teeming with major cases on abortion, immigration, gun control, gay rights, freedom of religion and subpoenas seeking President Donald Trump’s tax and financial records.
    This would have been the third time in eight years that the justices considered the 2010 law, not including challenges to parts of the law, such as its requirement that women receive free coverage for contraceptives.    That rule will come before the high court this spring, also for the third time.
    A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, ruled last month that the government cannot force most consumers to buy health insurance because Congress eliminated the tax penalty used to enforce the requirement in 2017.    The panel sent the case back to a federal district court to decide whether other parts of the law can be saved without the so-called individual mandate.
    The appeals court ruling left the law intact but facing an uncertain future. A coalition of predominantly Democratic states led by California, along with the Democratic-led House of Representatives, asked the justices to step in quickly so the case could be heard during this Supreme Court term, which ends in June.
    “The lower courts’ actions have created uncertainty about the future of the entire Affordable Care Act, and that uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for our nation’s health care system, including for patients, doctors, insurers and state and local governments,” California Solicitor General Michael Mongan said in seeking the quick Supreme Court review.
    The Justice Department said the law is in no imminent danger and urged the justices to stand down and let the district court do its work.
    “Petitioners’ submission, at bottom, is that the vitality of the ACA’s myriad provisions is too important to be left unresolved,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote the justices.    “But definitive resolution of that issue will be facilitated, not frustrated, by allowing the lower courts to complete their own consideration of the question.”
    The high court rescued President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement by a single vote in 2012 after an extraordinary, three-day oral argument.    The justices saved it again in 2015 when tax credits critical to the law’s success were challenged.
    The new challenge stems from the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress in 2017, which repealed the health care law’s tax on people who refuse to buy insurance.    That tax was intended to prod them into the health care marketplace rather than let them seek emergency care while uninsured.
    “The lower courts’ actions have created uncertainty about the future of the entire Affordable Care Act, and that uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for our nation’s health care system, including for patients, doctors, insurers and state and local governments.” Michael Mongan, California solicitor general
President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

1/22/2020 Warden says lawyer Avenatti kept in his own cell for his safety
    Michael Avenatti, the jet-setting lawyer who once represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Donald Trump, is being housed in isolation at a federal lockup facility for his own safety, the jail warden said Tuesday.     Avenatti is being held in the most secure section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan as he awaits his trial, which is set to start soon, on charges he tried to extort the sports apparel giant Nike.
    “Mr. Avenatti’s placement is for his own safety,” MCC’s warden, M. Licon-Vitale, wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.
    Gardephe had asked prosecutors to explain the conditions of Avenatti’s detention after his lawyer complained that he was being held in extreme isolation in in the same chilly cell that once held drug kingpin El Chapo.

1/22/2020 Senate approves impeachment rules, votes to block witnesses during first day of trial by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, the vote for passage approving the rules for the impeachment trial against
President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
is displayed. Senate resolution 483 passed along a party-line vote of 53-47. (Senate Television via AP)
    GOP Senators celebrated a successful day after the first round of impeachment debates came to a close.    Tuesday’s impeachment trial ended with the Senate voting to approve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules of impeachment.
    At the start of the trial, however, McConnell made last-minute adjustments on controversial provisions, which only granted House managers and White House attorneys 24-hours to make their argument in a span of two days.    The changes extended the impeachment trial to three days and granted each side 24-hours to debate.
Another provision also barred evidence gathered during the impeachment inquiry to be used in the chamber.    In a small victory for Democrats, McConnell made adjustments to automatically admit evidence unless there is an objection.    This comes after a small group of Republicans voiced their support to call on witnesses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks out of the Senate Chamber at the Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Washington.
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol.
Democrats objected strongly to rules proposed by the Republican leader for compressed arguments and a speedy trial. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    “The Clinton impeachment process allowed for witnesses to be determined after the opening arguments, I’m comfortable with that process,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).    “At this stage, I’d like to hear from John Bolton and other witnesses with the direct information.”
    Following the unexpected modifications, Democrats were given little else to celebrate.    The Senate voted along party lines, rejecting all eleven amendments posed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.    This included amendments to subpoena White House officials, Defense Department documents, and confidential State Department records surrounding the July phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president.
    “The presidential communication privilege has constitutional origin,” stated Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.    “Courts have recognized a great public interest in preserving the confidentiality of conversations that take place in the president’s performance of official duties, because such confidentiality is needed to protect the effectiveness of the executive decision making process.”
    Now that the Republican-lead Senate has ensured no witnesses will be heard, the president is reportedly facing favorable conditions as the trial moves forward.

1/22/2020 Sen. Cruz: Impeachment trial is excuse for Democrats to continue partisan attacks by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently criticized the House managers for using the impeachment trial to further their political attacks on President Trump.     On Tuesday, Cruz spoke to reporters during one of the recess sessions in between the debate on the Senate floor.    He commented on the Democrats’ assertion that the rules do not follow the ones from the trial of former President Bill Clinton by saying it’s virtually identical to the 1999 resolution.
    Sen. Cruz also mentioned he doesn’t believe the White House team will likely not push for a dismissal of the articles of impeachment when the time comes.    The Texas lawmaker then said he doesn’t think it was a good day for House managers.
    “We’ve seen the House managers and Senate Democrats making redundant motions over and over and over again, the same motions,” he explained.    “Motions that are being rejected and fundamentally it is clear House Democrats view this as an opportunity to continue their partisan attacks on the president, instead of focusing on the priorities of the people.”
    The Texas lawmaker then predicted that the end of the proceeding is going to be an acquittal because the House managers still can’t meet the constitutional threshold for conviction.

1/22/2020 Pompeo makes stop in Colombia, Costa Rica to discuss regional cooperation by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets officers who were wounded on the line of duty during a visit
to an anti-narcotics police base in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently met with member’s of Colombia’s military force to provide them with funding.    On Tuesday, he met with injured military personnel and announced a $1 million project to improve their ability to find successful careers.
    During his visit in Bogota, Pompeo was joined by Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Trujillo.    He praised the service members and the minister for their efforts in tackling drug trafficking, while also highlighting their sacrifice for this important mission.
    “The United States knows that we stand with you to assist you in these important efforts,” stated the U.S. secretary.    “We are confident in this year 2020, in the year ahead, we will still do better, and that the work between eradication and interdiction will stem the flow of these dangerous materials all across the world.”
    Pompeo’s trip to the country is part of an international conference to discuss regional cooperation against terrorism.
    After stopping in Colombia, Pompeo headed to Costa Rica where he called for Venezuela and Nicaragua to hold free and fair elections.    He slammed the two country’s left-wing governments and said he sees no evidence suggesting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro plans on holding open elections.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gives his annual address to the nation before members of the Constituent Assembly on the
grounds of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
    This comes as both countries have been slammed by U.S. sanctions amid ongoing economic and humanitarian crises.
    “There is no demonstration that he (President Nicolas Maduro) is prepared to permit free and open presidential elections,” said Pompeo.    “We constantly evaluate our policy, our goal has been very clear: we will continue to tweak our policy to get the strategy just right, but we have seen no evidence that Maduro is remotely interested in having free and fair elections.”
    Maduro’s envoys held talks with Venezuela’s opposition leaders last year in an attempt to reach a solution to the ongoing political crisis, though no agreement has been made yet.

1/22/2020 Citizens to get a say on how EU evolves after Brexit shock
A European Union flag flies outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Citizens of the European Union will have a say on how the bloc should change to meet their needs under a proposal of the executive European Commission as it seeks to digest the lessons of Brexit.
    Encouraged by a high turnout in last May’s European Parliament elections, the Commission proposes that EU institutions and officials engage in discussions with the bloc’s roughly half a billion citizens over the next two years on what kind of EU they want.
    The project, called the Conference on the Future of Europe, aims to counter the kind of alienation and distrust of Brussels that helped fuel Britain’s decision in a 2016 referendum to leave the EU after more than four decades of membership.
    “The overarching aim of the Conference on the Future of Europe is to encourage European citizens and make it easier for them to get involved in democracy beyond the European elections,” the Commission said.
    The final concept, structure, scope and timing of the project are still to be agreed between the European Parliament, national governments and the Commission, but the initial idea is to gather citizens’ feedback and views through conferences, panels and debates as well as a multilingual website.
    The EU executive offered to pull together the feedback in a quarterly report.
    The Commission, governments and the parliament would pledge to abide by the results in policy-making, and even change EU treaties if such was the conclusion of the process.
    “The Commission is convinced that a stronger partnership between European policy-makers and Europe’s citizens will serve to amplify their voices and guide European policy-making in the future,” the Commission said.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by John Chalmers and Gareth Jones)

1/22/2020 Exclusive: Giuliani told U.S. his client deserves leniency for financing Venezuela’s opposition – Parnas by Aram Roston, Matt Spetalnick and Brian Ellsworth>br>
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman
Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Aram Roston/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At a lavish August gathering at a private estate in Spain, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman under criminal investigation in the United States introduced Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, to the father of Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido.
    The affair was part of a campaign for leniency for the businessman, Alejandro Betancourt, who sought to demonstrate his close ties to opposition figures looking to oust Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro – a key objective of the Trump administration.
    Betancourt told Giuliani he secretly helped bankroll Guaido’s efforts to take over the leadership of Venezuela, according to four people familiar with the situation, two of whom provided details about the meeting in Spain.    Betancourt hoped those bona fides would enable Giuliani, his lawyer, to persuade Trump’s Justice Department to drop its probe of Betancourt in connection with a Florida money laundering and bribery case, the people said.
    A month later, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., Giuliani urged Justice Department prosecutors to go easy on Betancourt, according to a person with direct knowledge of the meeting, and Lev Parnas, a former Giuliani associate, who said Giuliani told him about it soon afterward.    Parnas and the other person said Giuliani told prosecutors that Betancourt had provided assistance for Guaido’s political efforts, and was therefore doing good work for the United States.
    This is the first time Parnas detailed his story about Betancourt, Giuliani and Venezuela.
    Giuliani declined to confirm meeting with U.S. prosecutors on Betancourt’s behalf and wouldn’t say whether the Venezuelan businessman is a client.    “Lev Parnas has no right to be talking about that meeting,” Giuliani told Reuters in a brief phone interview. “It was a confidential meeting – if it did happen.”
    “Lev Parnas’s credibility is worth nothing,” Giuliani said.
    The Justice Department declined to comment.    Betancourt and his attorney Frank Wohl did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
    Reuters couldn’t determine whether Betancourt did provide financing to the U.S.-backed opposition or if he was just claiming he did.
    Guaido and the main opposition political party, Popular Will, both denied receiving funding from Betancourt. Guaido was a member of Popular Will until he stepped back from it earlier this month.
    “I do not know Mr. Betancourt, there is no relationship,” Guaido told Reuters.    “As such, that is not possible.”
    Wilmer Guaido, Guaido’s father, denied meeting Betancourt in Spain.    “I only support my son like the whole family against that criminal dictatorship but I have not met anyone,” he said.
    Giuliani’s meeting with Betancourt at the Spanish estate, and his efforts to lobby the Justice Department on the businessman’s behalf, were previously reported by the Washington Post.    Reuters is the first to report that Betancourt told Giuliani that he provided financial support for Venezuela’s opposition, and that Giuliani touted that alleged assistance to U.S. prosecutors as a reason to remove the legal cloud dogging his client.
    The episode speaks to the complex roles that Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, has played in Washington since Trump took office in 2017.
    Giuliani frequently proclaims himself a business consultant and lawyer working on behalf of private clients.    Yet he also enjoys extraordinary access to the halls of power as the president’s unpaid personal attorney – work that has landed him at the center of Trump’s impeachment trial.
    Any attempt by a Giuliani client to avoid possible prosecution by claiming to have been backing an American foreign policy objective – the toppling of Maduro in this case – could prove embarrassing to the administration.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Parnas played a key role in Giuliani’s effort to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Ukraine for Trump.    Now under indictment for campaign finance violations, Parnas has been sharing information with Capitol Hill impeachment investigators, as well as the media, about the extent of the work he did for Giuliani.
    Betancourt said “he was backing Guaido financially,” Parnas told Reuters, and “was helping America with his cause.”
Since January 2019, the United States and dozens of other countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president.    But Maduro has remained firmly in power, much to the frustration of the Trump administration.
    Maduro’s government cut off paychecks for opposition lawmakers in 2016 after the opposition took control of the National Assembly.
    Claims that Betancourt helped finance his country’s opposition are potentially explosive in Venezuela, where the mogul forged a profitable relationship with the socialist government.    Derwick Associates, his Caracas-based energy firm, obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts to build power plants under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, according to local media.
    In a statement to Reuters, the opposition Popular Will party said that “information about the supposed remittance of funds by Alejandro Betancourt to our political organization is not true.”
    The existence of the U.S. criminal probe of Betancourt was confirmed to Reuters by a source familiar with the matter.    The Miami Herald reported last November that the investigation is linked to a large money laundering case in Miami, and that Betancourt is an unindicted co-conspirator listed, but not named, in legal records.    The 2018 charges accused eight defendants of embezzling $1.2 billion from Venezuela’s government-owned oil company PDVSA, then laundering it through schemes in Miami involving false real estate and security deals.
    A representative of Betancourt who declined to be identified said the magnate “didn’t do anything and he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.”    He also told Reuters that the businessman had provided “very substantial” financial support to Venezuela’s opposition.
    PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment.
    At the State Department, Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, told Reuters the administration is aware of the lack of transparency in the opposition’s financing.
    “We’re concerned about who are all these people, and how did they make their money.    And that is something we have raised with the opposition,” Abrams said.
    Asked whether Betancourt was one of those individuals of concern, Abrams said: “No comment on individual names.”
    He added that Giuliani had not been authorized to play any role in U.S. policy in Venezuela.
‘HELPING THE UNITED STATES’
    Parnas said the August meeting at Betancourt’s estate outside Madrid, and the presence of Guaido’s father, were meant to demonstrate Betancourt’s strong ties to Guaido and his support for U.S. interests in Venezuela.    It was to show Giuliani “that Betancourt is a really important person for the cause and that he is helping America,” Parnas said.
    The lobbying took place in Washington the month after the Spain meeting.    Giuliani met with Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, a Justice Department lawyer working on the case, and some other government lawyers, according to Parnas and the person with direct knowledge of that meeting.
    Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr, who handles communications for Benczkowski, said the department declined to comment.
    The person said Giuliani was there with two other Betancourt lawyers, and made his pitch that the prosecutors let Betancourt off the hook for the case in Florida.
    Giuliani first insisted there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute the case.    He then moved to U.S. foreign policy, pointing to Betancourt’s alleged support for Guaido.    “This guy’s been helping the United States,” the person with direct knowledge of the meeting said in describing Giuliani’s reasoning.
    Giuliani argued that Betancourt was crucial to the survival of the Venezuelan opposition, and he urged the Justice Department lawyers to talk to Guaido themselves to corroborate his claims, the person said.
(Reporting by Aram Roston and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Brian Ellsworth in
Caracas; Additional reporting by Paola Luelmo in Madrid; Editing by Marla Dickerson)

1/22/2020 Report: Rep. Schiff misconstrued Parnas evidence by OAN Newsroom
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks to reporters, on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff may have intentionally mischaracterized evidence regarding Rudy Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas.
    On Tuesday, reports uncovered a redacted section of a letter from Schiff to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. In the letter, Schiff summarized several documents and text exchanges turned over by Parnas.     In one section, Schiff stated Parnas and Giuliani continuously tried to meet with Ukrainian President Zelensky, citing a text message between the two that read “trying to get us Mr. Z.”
    However, new reports poked holes in these allegations, suggesting the so-called Mr. Z. was not Zelensky at all.    The reports found that Parnas was likely referring to Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma.
    Giuliani and Parnas were reportedly investigating Burisma’s hiring practices and had allegedly referred to Zlochevsky as Mr. Z. before.    GOP officials argued that by redacting this information, Schiff was caught, yet again, falsifying information to further portray a pressure campaign in Ukraine.
FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
    During Senate impeachment hearings, President Trump’s defense noted Schiff has not stopped misconstruing evidence and lying to the American people since the trial began.
    “Manager Schiff just said, ‘Try to summarize my colleague’s defense of the president,’” stated Jay Sekulow.    “He said it not in those words, of course, which is not the first time Mr. Schiff has put words into transcripts that did not exist.”
    Schiff continues to argue Parnas’ documents and text messages need to be admitted to the Senate impeachment trial.    He claimed this form of evidence has more credibility than witnesses testimony.
    “Witnesses may tell the truth and witnesses may lie, but documents generally tell the very straight story,” he said.

1/22/2020 Sekulow: President Trump’s legal team to challenge impeachment aggressively by OAN Newsroom
Personal attorney to President Donald Trump Jay Sekulow speaks to reporters during a recess in the impeachment trial
of President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    President Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said Democrats are failing to present a coherent impeachment case.    While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sekulow said Democrats have tried to deny the president his constitutional rights by dismissing executive privilege.
    The attorney stressed executive privilege is protected by Supreme Court decisions and added any attack against it amounts to an attack on the U.S. Constitution.
    He went on to say Democrats are contradicting themselves and making irrelevant points while trying to present their case for impeachment.
    “Adam Schiff today talked about quid pro quo. Notice what’s not in the articles of impeachment: allegations or accusations of quid pro quos.    That’s because they didn’t exist.    There’s a lot of things we’ll rebut, but we’ll do it in an orderly and, I hope, more systematic fashion.” – Jay Sekulow, Attorney for President Trump
    Sekulow said the president’s legal team will aggressively challenge and rebut impeachment allegations.    He added the facts are on the president’s side.

1/22/2020 Attorneys for Michael Flynn ask for sentence of probation, community service by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, Michael Flynn, center, arrives at federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
    Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is saying he should not have to serve any prison time for lying to the FBI.    In Wednesday’s court filing, Flynn’s attorneys argued he should be given probation and community service because of his 30 years of military service.
    The judge in the case has postponed the sentencing as Flynn seeks to withdraw his guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia.    In his complaint, Flynn’s lawyers argued the general was targeted by “vindictive and unprincipled prosecutors” that engaged in “bad faith” by trying to reverse course on his 2017 plea agreement.
    According to the statement, the government reneged on the agreement in 2019, when Flynn said he refused to perjure himself in a separate case.    His legal team alleged his refusal to lie led the court to scrap the deal and, in essence, violate his plea agreement.
    Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on February 27th.    In the meantime, he and his lawyers have set up a fundraising site to help cover his legal costs.
[This is just another example of the FBI corruption at the top who attempted to destroy one of Trump's picks in their Crossfire Hurricane and I hope when the evidence is all out someone will pay for that in prison time and they should pay the legal costs.].

1/22/2020 President Trump: Service members injured in Baghdad airstrike received only minor concussions by OAN Newsroom
US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the World Economic Forum
in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is easing concern over reports American troops were injured during an Iranian counterstrike on a base in Iraq. While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the president said some U.S. service members suffered concussions during the incident.
    Last week, the Pentagon said at least 11 service members were evacuated from Iraq with minor injuries.    The president suggested the media was sensationalizing reports of their injuries to drum up bad press on the White House.
    “I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I can report it is not very serious.    I don’t consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.    I’ve seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops.    I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms, and I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    The strike was in retaliation for the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.    The president said the general was plotting an “imminent” attack on U.S. forces before he was killed.

1/22/2020 Sen. Graham: Voters should decide presidency, not politicians by OAN Newsroom
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference
at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Sen. Lindsey Graham is responding to Democrats’ request for additional documents in the impeachment trial.    Before proceedings began on Wednesday, Graham said if he were President Trump, he would not cooperate with Democrats.
    He went on to say the impeachment trial has been personal because Democrats are doing whatever they can to attack the president.
    “They’re on a crusade to destroy this man and they don’t care what they destroy in the process,” said Sen. Graham.
    The senator claimed Democrats deprived the president of due process when they carried out their partisan impeachment inquiry.    He believes President Trump’s service as commander in chief should only end if the voters decide so in November.
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., walks from the podium
as he finishes speaking during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate
at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    21 GOP state attorneys general have called on the Senate to reject the articles of impeachment against President Trump.    In a letter to Senate members, they said the legal theories underlying the two articles are legally flawed, factually insufficient and contrary to the framers’ vision of the impeachment power.
    They further cautioned if the Senate does not reject the articles, the House will be emboldened to base future impeachments upon the same vague and destructive theories.

1/22/2020 Attorney General Barr swears in new law enforcement commission by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Attorney General William Barr delivers remarks to announce the establishment of the President’s Commission
on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, at an event at the Department of
Justice Headquarters, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy)
    Attorney General William Barr swore-in members of a new law enforcement commission, who have been tasked with studying the physical and mental challenges that affect officers in the line of duty.
    The 18 member panel, known as the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, was officially created during a ceremony in D.C. on Wednesday.    The panel will discuss ways to curb cybercrime and the opioid epidemic, how substance abuse and the homelessness crisis affect law enforcement, and how officers can improve community relations.
    “We must not only study crime to forge strategies for reducing it, but examine ways for promoting the profession of law enforcement, in order to uplift those who answer the call to public service and to help them earn the trust of the communities they protect,” stated Barr.
    During his speech, the attorney general said the record number of officers who committed suicide in 2019 was the driving force behind the panel’s creation.

1/22/2020 President Trump touts Phase One trade deal with China by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He shake hands after signing a U.S. China trade agreement
in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is touching on the potential impacts of the new Phase One trade deal with China.    On Wednesday, the president said the agreement will bring the U.S. and China together in so many ways.
    He added it was terrific working with Chinese President Xi Jinping and called the leader “a man who truly loves his country.”
    The president also hinted there was “much more to come” in terms of future trade developments with Beijing.
    “Our relationship with China right now has probably never been better.    We went through a very rough patch, but it’s never, ever been better.    My relationship with President Xi is an extraordinary one.    He’s for China, I’m for the U.S., but other than that we love each other.    Additionally, China will spend an additional $200 billion over two years on American services, agriculture, energy and manufactured goods.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    President Trump also said Phase Two of negotiations will be starting very soon.

1/23/2020 Oil down $1.64 to $56.74, DOW down 10 to 29,186.

1/23/2020 Trump trial arguments begin - Democrats ask for open minds; calling more witnesses seems unlikely by Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker and Zeke Miller, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – House Democrats opened arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, appealing to skeptical Republican senators to join them in voting to remove Trump from office to “protect our democracy.”
    Trump’s lawyers sat by, waiting their turn, while he blasted the proceedings from afar, threatening jokingly to face off with the Democrats by coming to “sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces.”
    Democratic accusers say Trump was the one with the “corrupt scheme” to abuse his presidential power and then obstruct Congress’ investigation.
    The challenge before the House managers is clear. Democrats have 24 hours over the next three days to prosecute the charges against Trump, trying to win over not just fidgety senators sitting silently in the chamber but an American public, deeply divided over the president and his impeachment.
    Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appealed to senators not to be “cynical” about the politics of impeachment, asking them to draw on the intent of the nation’s Founding Fathers who provided the remedy of impeachment.
    “Over the coming days, we will present to you – and to the American people – the extensive evidence collected during the House’s impeachment inquiry into the president’s abuse of power,” said Schiff, standing before the senators.    “You will hear their testimony at the same time as the American people.    That is, if you will allow it.”
    The proceedings are unfolding at the start of an election year, and there are few signs that Republican are interested in calling more witnesses or going beyond a fast-track assessment to bring a quick vote on charges related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
    A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows the public is slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%.    But a sizable percentage, 14%, say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.
    One question there’s wide agreement on: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial.    About 7 in 10 said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats.
    The question of witnesses, though, seems all but settled after wrangling over rules for the trial stretched late into the previous night, with Republicans shooting down one by one Democratic efforts to get Trump aides such as former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify as witnesses.
    Senators are likely to repeat those rejections next week, shutting out any chance of new testimony.
    Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled open Wednesday’s session as senators settled in for the long days ahead.
    Trump, who was in Davos, Switzerland, attending a global economic forum, praised his legal team, and suggested he would be open to his advisers testifying, though that seems unlikely.    He said “national security” concerns would stand in the way.
    After the House prosecutors present their case, the president’s lawyers will follow with another 24 hours over three days to mount a defense.    They are expected to take only Sunday off.
    Then there will be 16 hours for senators, who must sit quietly at their desks, no speeches or cellphones, to ask written questions, and then four hours for deliberations.
    By the end of next week, there is expected to be one last vote on whether or not they want to hear from more witnesses, and it appears increasingly likely that will be the end.
    Ahead of opening arguments, Republicans appeared to mock assertions by Democrats that they had overwhelming evidence against the president.
    “I am really excited to see this overwhelming evidence,” said Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.    “And once we’ve heard that overwhelming evidence,” she added, raising her voice sarcastically, “I don’t know that we’ll need to see additional witnesses, but let’s hear about that overwhelming evidence.”
    The trial began with a setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who backed off his plans to limit each side’s arguments to two days, as the White House had preferred.    But the GOP leader has been skilled at keeping Republicans united in batting back Democratic requests for witnesses and testimony.    They ultimately approved a rules package that pushes off a final decision on whether to seek additional testimony until later in the trial.
    Republicans were eager for a swift trial.    Yet Trump’s legal team passed on an opportunity to file a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, an acknowledgment that there were not enough Republican votes to support it.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the trial
managers, speaks on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

1/23/2020 Rand Paul: 45 in GOP OK to dismiss charges by Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told The Washington Post that 45 Republicans are willing to dismiss the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress that President Donald Trump faces during the Senate’s impeachment trial.
    The Washington Post reported this and other comments the Kentucky Republican made during an interview with the outlet Wednesday.    The Senate’s 53 Republican members form a caucus that controls the chamber, which is tasked with determining whether to convict or acquit Trump in the wake of the House of Representatives’ decision to impeach him.    “There are 45, with about five to eight wanting to hear a little more,” Paul said of his Republican colleagues in the Senate.    “I still would like to dismiss it, but there aren’t the votes to do it just yet.”
    Paul has been a fervent defender of Trump throughout the impeachment process that began last year, and this isn’t the first time he has advocated for swiftly ending the trial.
    “This has been unnecessary, distracting, and counterproductive,” Paul said in December 2019 statement when the House voted to impeach Trump.    “The Senate will not continue this partisan abuse of power and should at once put an end to the charade.”
    Paul told The Post that he will continue trying to rally his conservative colleagues and gain their support for wrapping up the trial quickly.
    The proceedings began in earnest this week.
    U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, one of the House’s impeachment managers who’s prosecuting the case against Trump, launched his side’s opening arguments in the trial Wednesday afternoon.
    But Paul indicated he doesn’t think Schiff will make much headway in persuading Republican senators that Trump committed impeachable offenses that warrant his removal from the Oval Office.
    “I will push it at some point,” Paul said of his desire to dismiss the charges against Trump.    “The more Adam Schiff speaks, the more we become unified.”
    Paul also said he does not support calling John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, to testify.
    “He’s a disgruntled employee with an ax to grind,” Paul said of Bolton.

1/23/2020 Extradition hearing for WikiLeaks’ Assange to be split in two parts
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court
in London, Britain January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – The hearing to decide whether WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange can be extradited from Britain to the United States will be split into two, with the second half delayed until May, a British judged ruled on Thursday.
    Following applications from Assange’s legal team and lawyers representing the United States, Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates’ Court agreed that the hearing would start on Feb. 24 for a week, with the remaining three weeks taking place from May 18.
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Howcroft; editing by Stephen Addison)

1/23/2020 President Trump says Democrats are ignoring that Obama held aid from several countries by OAN Newsroom
U.S. President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump, right, arrive at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday,
Jan. 22, 2020. The 50th annual meeting of the forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 21 until Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
    President Trump blasted Democrat lawmakers, following their opening statements in day two of the Senate impeachment trial.    He took to Twitter Thursday to state that their arguments, specifically those of lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s, were full “lies and misrepresentations.”
    During Wednesday’s hearings, Schiff called President Trump’s decision to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine funds highly unusual.
    “It was President Trump himself who originally authorized additional financial military assistance to Ukraine in 2017 and 2018, without reservation,” said Schiff.    “Making his abrupt decision to withhold assistance in 2019, without explanation, all the more surprising to those responsible for Ukraine policy.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., accompanied by the impeachment managers House Judiciary Committee Chairman,
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Zoe Lofgren,
D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. speaks to reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    However, President Trump said that Schiff, along with his colleagues, are refusing to state that the Obama administration withheld aid from many countries in an effort to side-step the fat that the measure is common practice for presidents.    He further noted that Obama withheld aid to several countries undergoing political strife, including Ukraine as well as Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, Honduras and Mexico.
    This comes as President Trump maintains there was no pressure in his communications with Ukraine and gave this explanation on releasing aid to the country:
    “That’s the whole case right there.    There was no pressure whatsoever.    I do say two things: we have to check corruption and we also have to find out why is it that the United States is always giving foreign countries money.”
    The president concluded his Thursday tweet, noting that the Democrat impeachment efforts are a “witch hunt!

1/23/2020 House prosecutors rehash old arguments on second day of Senate trial, cry corruption by OAN Newsroom
Night falls on the Capitol, in Washington, Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, 2020, during in the impeachment trial of President
Donald Trump. House prosecutors are outlining what they refer to as President Donald Trump’s “corrupt scheme” to
abuse power and obstruct Congress as they open six days of arguments in his impeachment trial. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Arguments and accusations from House prosecutors marked the second day of the Senate impeachment trial.    The trial kicked off Wednesday with two-hours of opening statements.
    Democrat House managers reportedly went into lengthy and worn-out arguments.    In one instance, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) cited the founding fathers to accuse the president of corruption for allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political opponent.
    “The framers of the Constitution worried then, as we worry today, that a leader might come to power not to carry out the will of the people that he was elected to represent, but to pursue his own interests," he stated.    “They fear that a president would subvert our democracy by abusing the awesome power of his office for his own personal or political gain.”
    Rep. Schiff went on reportedly suggesting removing President Trump from office is necessary to safeguard the 2020 elections from a Russian meddling.
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds redacted documents as he speaks during the impeachment
trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Although House Democrats promised to create a “overwhelming and damning” picture of the president’s alleged misconduct they failed to appeal to their Republican colleagues.    One of those GOP members is Sen. John Barrasso, (R-Wy.), who made the following comments following the trial:
    “Well, we’ve just come out of listening to, what, about six hours of testimony so far today, six and a half.    I didn’t hear anything new at all.    We were here all day yesterday for about 13 hours.    No new material presented.    It still seems to me this this was an effort by the Democrats in a very partisan way to bring a case against President Trump because they weren’t happy with the results of the 2016 election and are concerned that they’re going to have real problems in the 2020 election when we look at the candidates running for president against President Trump.”
    Meanwhile, President Trump seems to be unaffected by the trial against him and issued a response before leaving the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.    “They’re doing a very good job, we have a great case,” he stated.
    As the trial concluded for the day, the president’s impeachment defense team echoed similar optimism.
    “I want to let them try their case and we want to try our case, because we believe without a question that the president will be acquitted,” said Jay Sekulow, personal attorney for President Trump.    “There is not a doubt.”

1/23/2020 Julian Assange extradition hearing split in two by OAN Newsroom
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves in a prison van after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, for an
administrative hearing in London, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Assange made a brief court appearance Monday in his bid to
prevent extradition to the United States to face serious espionage charges. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
    A London judge has ruled to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial divided over two days, delaying the second part of the proceedings until May. The hearing Thursday was supposed to determine whether Assange would be extradited to the U.S. from the U.K. on 18 counts, including violating espionage law.
    Assange’s legal team and lawyers representing the United States agreed to split the trial, with the first week of the trial to begin February 24th and resume May 18th for the remaining three weeks.
    Supporters believe Assange is a champion for exposing what they call abuse of power by modern states, while critics believe Assange is dangerous and undermined U.S. security.
Demonstrators supporting Julian Assange hold banners outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday,
Jan. 23, 2020. Assange is scheduled to be presented before the court in Westminster by videolink, for a case management hearing
ahead of his full extradition trial which begins on Feb. 24. at Woolwich Crown Court. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
    “He is the acid test for the future of free speech in the world.    It’s simple, it’s very simple.    If he goes, if he disappears, so does free speech.    It’s the acid test.” — John McGhee, Assange supporter
    If Assange is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, he could spend decades behind bars.

1/23/2020 Analysts: White House counsel Cipollone snubs Rep. Nadler, scores major win for Trump’s legal team by OAN Newsroom
White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives at the Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. President Donald Trump’s
impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Democrats objected
strongly to rules proposed by the Republican leader for compressed arguments and a speedy trial. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    President Trump’s legal team marked its first major victory in the ongoing impeachment trial in an effort to sway public sympathies in favor of the president.
    During debate on the impeachment case in the Senate Wednesday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone fiercely criticized House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler for making false allegations against President Trump.
    This comes after Nadler accused the president and his attorneys of lying to the Senate.    However, Cipollone said Nadler has shown disrespect for the legislative body.
    “We’ve been respectful of the Senate,” he stated.    “Mr. Nadler came up here and made false allegations against our team, he made false allegations against all of you, he accused you of a cover up.”br>
Impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., second from left, and other impeachment managers, walk to the Senate chamber with
for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    Chief Justice John Roberts called on trial participants to avoid using inappropriate language or manner of speech. Analysts say Cipollone’s rebuttal of Nadler could further erode the case for impeachment.
    Additionally, Cipollone called out Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for pushing false allegations regarding the Ukraine phone call.    He pointed out how Schiff knowingly manufactured a fraudulent version of the call and read it to the American people.    The White House counsel slammed the California Democrat for the ultimate lack of transparency.

1/23/2020 Joe Biden admits Ukraine dealings ‘look bad’ by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on
foreign policy at a VFW post Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Osage, Iowa. (AP Photo/John Locher)
    On Wednesday, Joe Biden finally admitted his conflict of interest over his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine.    While speaking on the campaign trail in Iowa, the former vice president said the Burisma scheme appeared to “look bad.”    However, he reiterated his claim that Hunter did “nothing wrong.”
    “There’s nobody that’s indicated there’s a single, solitary thing he did that was inappropriate or wrong, other than the appearance,” stated Biden.    “It looked bad that he was there.”
    Newly released State Department emails suggested Biden was selling his office to pocket the proceeds of Ukrainian corruption.    A February 2016 email used Hunter Biden’s name in order to arrange a meeting between a senior State Department official and Burisma lobbyist Karen Tranmontano.

File – Then-Vice President Joe Biden, right, and his son Hunter Biden, left, are pictured at a street dedication
ceremony in the village of Sojevo, Kosovo, on Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
    Republican senators are now calling for a probe into the Bidens’ dealings.
    “I can promise you no one has looked at whether or not there was a conflict of interest,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.    “No one has taken the time to explain how Hunter Biden got rich in the Ukraine, and his father didn’t know anything about it.”
    State Department emails also showed Tranmontano wanted to lobby the U.S. government for Burisma after it faced anti-corruption scrutiny by the Ukrainian government.
    Reports claimed several Democrat witnesses were involved in the Biden-Ukraine corruption and benefited from it.
[DID QUID PRO JOE ACTUALLY MAN UP AND ACTUALLY ADMITTED HE DID AN ABUSE OF POWER AS VICE PRESIDENT UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND SOON WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT HIS SON DID TO EARN MASSIVE INCOMES FROM CORRUPT UKRAINE BUISNESS BURMISA WHICH THE IMPEACHING DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DENY THIS NEVER OCCURED.].

1/24/2020 Oil down $1.15 to $55.59, DOW down 26 to 29,160.

1/24/2020 EU, China and others agree appeals system to settle WTO disputes
FILE PHOTO: A red light is pictured at a pedestrian crossing in front of the
World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Seventeen World Trade Organization members including the European Union and China agreed on Friday to create a temporary mechanism to settle trade disputes after the United States paralyzed the WTO’s appeals body last month.
    The European Commission said the WTO members involved had agreed this contingency step would preserve the WTO’s two-step dispute system until its own Appellate Body became operational again.
    Washington froze the Appellate Body, which acts as a supreme court for international trade, by blocking appointments for over two years.    Two of the body’s three members came to the end of their terms in December, leaving it unable to issue rulings.
    The EU had previously teamed up with Norway and Canada to form a separate appeals body that could resolve disputes.
    The other countries that signed up on Friday are Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay.
    While the United States is outside the group, U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking in Davos on Wednesday, vowed “very dramatic” action for the Geneva-based WTO.    WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo is due to visit Washington soon.
    An EU source said the bloc welcomed the fact that the Trump administration was engaging with the WTO, which many of its members believe needs to reform to reflect changes in the global economy, including the rise of China.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Marine Strauss and Mark Heinrich)

1/24/2020 President Trump to host N.H. rally day before primary by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
    On the eve of New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary, the president plans to throw a ‘Keep America Great’ campaign rally for his supporters.
    President Trump took to Twitter to double down on his reelection team’s announcement that he will be returning to the Granite State on February 10th.
    According to reports, he may not be traveling to Manchester alone.    It has been suggested that an appearance from Vice President Mike Pence is also in the works.
    The event will be held at the Southern New Hampshire University Arena, which the president packed with thousands of supporters back in August of last year.
In this Jan. 14, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump arrives at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to speak at a campaign rally
in Milwaukee. Trump’s surrogates are fanning out across the country as part of an aggressive effort to stretch his appeal
beyond the base of working-class white voters who propelled him to victory in 2016 (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    According to Trump campaign Chief Operating Officer Michael Glossner, the “promises made, promises kept” message is one the president is eager to celebrate.
    New Hampshire is home to President Trump’s very first electoral victory when he came out on top in the 2016 presidential primary.    The president’s second visit to New Hampshire will draw focus as his Democrat challengers work to lock in votes before the polls open.
    RELATED: President Trump to hold ‘Keep America Great’ rally in N.J. on Jan. 28th.

12/24/2020 President Trump retweets Conway’s op-ed on shift in U.S. politics by OAN Newsroom
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pauses as she speaks to the media outside
the White House, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    President Trump recently highlighted the latest commentary on U.S. partisan politics from his counselor Kellyanne Conway.    On Thursday, he retweeted Conway’s latest op-ed in the Washington Post and noted that the Trump administration has transformed America’s political party system.
    Conway argued Republicans are now a party of youthful energy and practical solutions, while the Democrats have completely devolved into “old-guard sclerosis.”    She said up until 2016, the roles of two major parties were the exact opposite.
    President Trump agreed with Conway and said the Democrat Party has made itself irrelevant.
    “It’s a whole hoax, it’s called the impeachment hoax, and we’ve had it from the beginning,” stated the president.    “From the day I got elected this was going on.”
    The White House counselor went on to say Democrat 2020 candidates have no policy agenda except “beating Donald Trump,” or least attempting to.

1/24/2020 President Trump becomes first president to speak at ‘March for Life’ rally in D.C. by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump waves after speaking during the annual “March for Life” rally on
the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is renewing his commitment to protect the dignity and sanctity of human life.    On Friday, he became the first sitting president to attend the annual ‘March for Life’ rally.
    Tens of thousands flocked to the National Mall in D.C. for the 47th annual rally, which is the largest pro-life gathering in the world.
    During his address, the president noted there has been significant progress made for the pro-life movement in recent years.    He said he will continue working in the White House to veto pro-abortion legislation and appoint pro-life judges.
    The president thanked those in attendance and members of the faith for fighting for the unborn in a time of when they’re threatened the most.
    “Together, we are the voice for the voiceless,” stated President Trump.    “When it comes to abortion, Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions, taken and seen in this country for years and decades.”

President Donald Trump speaks at the “March for Life” rally, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Prior to his address, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen delivered a televised message to the crowd.    The pair gave a special thanks to members of the Catholic faith for their help in the fight for life.

1/24/2020 Protesters take to the streets of France against Macron’s pension reforms by OAN Newsroom
Women perform a dance against French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020
in Paris. French unions are holding last-ditch strikes and protests around the country Friday as the
government unveils a divisive bill redesigning the national retirement system. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
    Women wearing blue overalls in Paris jump-started a flash mob amid strikes and protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.
    According to reports Friday, the group of women are from the anti-globalization group Attac (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizens).    They criticized the new plans by dancing and singing a parody song.
    The group said women are likely to be hit the hardest by the reforms as the new system would penalize women for calling out of work for maternity leaves or other part-time jobs.
    “The pension reforms will take into account entire careers along with all the difficult periods, the part time periods, the lower salary periods, the breaks from work and who are the people who have this type of career path, well it’s women,” stated Aurelie Trouve, spokeswomen for Attac.    “So, of course on average women will be the ones most penalized.”
    Friday, January 24th marks the 51st day of France’s longest strike in 40 years and unions hope the protests will be enough to force the government to back down.

1/24/2020 Senators cope with archaic impeachment rules by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks to the podium to speak during the impeachment
trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    As the impeachment trial continues it’s hours-long sessions in the Senate, members of the jury are reportedly bending some of the rules in order to keep their sanity.
    One rule, which has been repeatedly dismissed from senators on both sides of the aisle, is staying seated for the duration of arguments.    At least 20 seats were reportedly counted as empty during Adam Schiff’s speech Wednesday night.    Many senators were seen walking around to stretch their legs, but some reporters alleged many were not even present in the chamber.
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Cory Booker (R-N.J.) were allegedly spotted in their respective party’s cloak rooms on their smart phones amid rules of no phones or devices of any kind on the Senate floor.    Other lawmakers were seen still wearing their Apple watches while the proceedings were underway.
    Another rule which is being overlooked is only water, milk and candy are allowed during the proceedings.    Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed to reporters that she snuck in a cup of yogurt.
    A former Senate parliamentarian told CNN the practice of consuming milk began in 1966 after one presiding Senate officer said, “Senate rules do not prohibit a senator from sipping milk during his speech.”
    Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is also a doctor, told reporters the milk precedent goes to lawmakers health.    He said milk was used as a home remedy for peptic ulcer disease when there was no treatment for the condition back in the 1950’s.
    Meanwhile, one Senate lawmaker is taking full advantage of the rule allowing candy.    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) set up what he calls “the candy desk.”    Toomey’s spokesperson said the candy desk is bipartisan and is even open to independents.    “The candy desk” actually dates back to 1965 when former California Republican George Murphy reportedly enjoyed a candy bar now-and-then when it was convenient.
    There’s also the unspoken rule of being bored.    With no foreign objects allowed during oral arguments, one lawmaker has gone the extra mile to ensure fellow senators stay awake.    Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) handed out so-called “fidget spinners” and other toys to his Republican colleagues during Thursdays GOP lunch.    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was later seen twirling a purple spinner at his desk, while distracting other Republicans.
Sen. Richard Burr R-NC., displays a stress ball as he walks to the Senate Chamber prior to the start of the impeachment
trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    Others are passing the time by either drawing or reading books.
    “Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye.    All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment.” — Michael Stenger, Sergeant at Arms – U.S. Senate
    While some of the conduct may be considered petty and small, it is unknown if the Senate sergeant at arms will enforce any of the alleged violations.

1/24/2020 U.S. says 34 troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after Iran strike by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart
U.S. soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base
in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. REUTERS/John Davison
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday that 34 service members had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following missile strikes by Iran on a base in Iraq earlier this month, a number higher than the military had previously announced.
    President Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran’s attack had not killed or injured any U.S. service members.
    Last week the U.S. military said 11 U.S. troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.
    Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that 17 service members diagnosed had already returned to duty in Iraq.
    Eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany had been moved to the United States and would receive treatment at either Walter Reed military hospital or their home bases.
    Hoffman said the service members were being treated on an outpatient basis and were transported back to the United States in order to be closer to their pre-deployment bases.
    Nine service members remain in Germany and are undergoing evaluations and treatment.
    Hoffman said the military had seen symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.
    On Wednesday, Trump appeared to play down the injuries, saying he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things.”
    Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries, but its handling of the injuries following Tehran’s attack has renewed questions over the U.S. military’s policy regarding how it deals with suspected brain injuries.
    While the U.S. military has to immediately report incidents threatening life, limb or eyesight, it does not have an urgent requirement to do so with suspected traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which can take time to manifest and diagnose.
    Hoffman said U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had directed the Pentagon to review the process for tracking and reporting injuries.
    “The goal is to be as transparent, accurate and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information,” Hoffman said.
    Various health and medial groups for years have been trying to raise awareness about the seriousness of brain injuries, including concussions.
    According to Pentagon data, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)

1/24/2020 The S&P 500 has worst day since October as virus fears mount by Stephen Culp
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street fell in a broad sell-off on Friday, as investors fled equities on growing concerns over the scope of the coronavirus outbreak, capping the S&P 500’s worst week in six months.
    All three major U.S. stock averages turned sharply negative, with the S&P 500 seeing its biggest one-day percentage drop in over three months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the second case of the virus on U.S. soil, this time in Chicago.
    S&P 500 and Dow wrapped up their worst week since August and the Nasdaq snapped a six-week winning streak.
    Market participants kept a wary eye on developments surrounding the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed “an emergency in China,” having now killed 26 people and infected more than 800 on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday.
    “Markets hate uncertainty and the virus has been enough to inject uncertainty in the markets,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York.
    But some analysts believe the investors were looking for a reason to take money off the table.
    “The virus is really more an excuse to take profits right now,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of CFRA Research in New York.
    Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago, agreed.    “The markets are expensive and were looking for a reason to go down, and (the virus) is the excuse to do it.”
    Intel Corp’s stock surged 8.1% after reporting jumps in data center and cloud computing revenue and forecasting better-than-expected 2020 earnings.
    Consumer credit company American Express Co benefited from a robust U.S. retail sales environment, posting a better-than-expected 9% annual revenue increase.    Its stock advanced 2.8%.
    Fourth-quarter reporting season is well under way, with 74 companies in the S&P 500 having reported, 68.2% of which have beaten Wall Street estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
    Analysts now expect earnings to have contracted by 0.5%, on aggregate, in the October to December quarter.
    Next week, a swarm of closely watched results are expected, notably from Apple Inc , McDonald’s Corp , Starbucks Corp , Tesla Inc , Amazon.com Inc , Boeing Co , Facebook Inc and Caterpillar Inc , among others.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 170.36 points, or 0.58%, to 28,989.73, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 30.09 points, or 0.90%, to 3,295.45 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 87.57 points, or 0.93%, to 9,314.91.
    Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but utilities <.SPLRCU> ended the session in the red, with healthcare <.SPXHC> and financial <.SPSY> suffering the largest percentage losses.
    Broadcom Inc rose 1.3% after entering an agreement with Apple Inc for the supply of wireless components used in its products.
    Rivals Skyworks Solutions and Qorvo Inc were down 4.6% and 4.5%, respectively, on the news.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.33-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.94-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
    The S&P 500 posted 85 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 115 new highs and 62 new lows.
    Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.96 billion shares, compared with the 7.13 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; editing by Diane Craft)

1/24/2020 HHS gives Calif. 30 days to end rule requiring insurance providers to cover abortions by OAN Newsroom
FILE- In this June 4, 2019, file photo, a Planned Parenthood clinic is photographed in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
    The White House may withhold federal funds to California if the state refuses to end a controversial insurance policy regarding abortion.     In a statement, Health and Human Services Director Roger Severino argued California’s rule, which requires insurance providers to cover abortions, violates federal law.
    Severino said states receiving funding from the department “can’t discriminate against health plans that decline to cover abortions.”    He added the rule also forces anti-abortion Americans to pay into plans that cover the procedure.
    The California law in question has been in place since 2014, but was recently challenged by a local church group.    The lawsuit was dismissed in late 2019, but the plaintiffs issued a complaint to HHS, who sided with the church.
    Sevarino said the move is part of the Trump administration’s vow to expand federal laws that protect religious freedom.
    “The foundational rights of conscious and religious freedom are going to be heard, and it’s going to be addressed,” he said.
FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court during the March
for Life in Washington. Anti-abortion activists will gather in Washington on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for the annual march,
eager to cheer on a continuing wave of federal and state abortion restrictions. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
    The director said the policy violates the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits federal funding to states that discriminate against anti-abortion health care providers.    In 2016, the Obama administration issued a ruling, which determined the policy did not violate the amendment.    However, Severino suggested the decision was made on a purely political basis.
    Governor Gavin Newsom passionately defended the rule, saying the Golden State “i>won’t back down from defending reproductive freedom for everybody.”
    California has 30 days to comply or it risks losing funding.
    HHS’s decision is also considered a “warning shot” for several other states that require insurance plans to cover abortions, including Illinois, New York and Maine.

1/24/2020 Florida lawmakers advance pro-life legislation to Senate by OAN Newsroom
State Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, speaks during a Senate Rules Committee hearing regarding SB 404, known as the
parental consent” bill, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla)
    Florida has passed a pro-life bill, which aims to expand protections for unborn and full-term infants, to the Senate.    On Wednesday, state legislators advanced the SB 404 bill, which would make parental consent mandatory for underage abortions.
    This expanded upon an existing law, which stated parents of children under 18-years-old must be notified before their children undergo the procedure.    The new measure would also reclassify aborting infants born alive from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

Joey Cousin, a transgender student from Broward county and an opponent of the SB 404, known as the “parental consent” bill,
speaks at a press conference at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla)
    This came after Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis expressed support for the bill in his State of State Address earlier this month.
    “I also hope that the legislature will send me, this session, the parental consent bill that was debated last year,” he said.    “(It was) passed by the House, but not passed by the Senate.”
    The bill will be heard on the Senate floor and a vote is expected next month.

1/24/2020 Sen. Rick Scott: Democrats are skipping over Joe Biden’s shady business in Ukraine by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    Florida Sen. Rick Scott took a hit at Democrat lawmakers during day three of the Senate impeachment trial.    On Thursday, Scott called out House impeachment manager Adam Schiff for trying to keep President Trump from being reelected.    He emphasized that Schiff doesn’t trust American voters.
    The lawmaker went on to say Schiff and his colleagues’ arguments were completely flawed.    Scott also pointed out the hypocrisy of Democrats portraying Joe Biden as someone who could do no wrong while presenting President Trump as a criminal.
    “It didn’t matter that his son had a job at Burisma. Didn’t matter that he had, you know, got the prosecutor he had no control over removed.    Joe Biden did the right thing. But Donald Trump, even though there’s no evidence, had to be sinister to get rid of an ambassador he had a right to get rid of.” – Rick Scott, U.S. Senator (FLA.)
    He went on to say the House managers’ arguments are nothing the Senate hasn’t heard before.    The lawmaker added every time they hear Democrats’ position, it’s like “Groundhog Day all over again.”

1/24/2020 President Trump’s legal team could opt for shorter defense by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow speaks to the media during a break in the impeachment trial
of President Donald, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    The president’s legal team is preparing to start its opening arguments on Saturday.    The defense is pushing ahead with the plan, despite the potential for further declining viewership, and may opt for a much shorter defense strategy.
    On Thursday, attorney Jay Sekulow told reporters the president’s legal team will present a vigorous defense of the facts and a rebuttal of the Democrats’ claims. He also said the defense team isn’t planning on running out the clock.
    “We’re going to use a sufficient amount of time to defend our case and point out the inconsistencies of their case.    We’re not going to try to run the clock out. We’re going to do what our legal team thinks is appropriate to present our case.” – Jay Sekulow, Counsel for President Trump
    He went on to say the president’s defense will make a decision on the time frame and depth of their arguments after the Democrats finish theirs.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, left, walks with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, right,
as they arrive at the Capitol in Washington during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges
of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    Earlier this week, Sekulow said Democrats are failing to present a coherent impeachment case.    While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the attorney said Democrats have tried to deny the president his constitutional rights by dismissing executive privilege.
    He stressed executive privilege is protected by Supreme Court decisions and added any attack against it amounts to an attack on the U.S. Constitution.

1/24/2020 Esper: China’s Communist Party stealing technology, building surveillance state by OAN Newsroom
Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan’s Defense Minister
Taro Kono at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said China and Russia are prioritized as America’s main security concerns.    He is warning of China’s growing surveillance footprint, both within its own borders and around the world.
    On Friday, Esper said both Russia and China are using emerging technology to reshape the world to their advantage.    He specifically noted Beijing is combining state investment, forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft.
    The secretary claimed China is attempting to narrow the gap between itself and its rivals.
    “The party has constructed a 21st century surveillance state with unprecedented abilities to censor speech and infringe on basic human rights,” he said.    “George Orwell would be proud.”
    He added China’s Communist Party uses this surveillance and artificial intelligence to routinely repress minorities and pro-democracy demonstrators.
    China has defended its surveillance use as a means of preventing terrorism and separatism.    They claimed they do not use it for religious or ethnic monitoring.

1/25/2020 Oil down $1.35 to $54.35, DOW down 170 to 28,990 most likely down due to disease threat from China.

1/25/2020 President Trump slams top Democrat lawmakers as defense team delivers opening arguments in impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks to a bipartisan group of the nation’s mayors in the East Room
of the White House, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump blasted top congressional Democrats as his defense team delivered opening remarks in Saturday’s impeachment hearing.    In a tweet, the president said, “Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi…and the entire radical left starts today.”
    He encouraged his followers to catch the trial on One America News.    He also joked they could tune in to “Fake News CNN” or “Fake News MSDNC.”
    House Democrats have argued the president abused his position by soliciting help from foreign country to investigate a political opponent.    President Trump has long denied wrongdoing and said he’s confident in his case against them. Prior to the proceedings, he advised his legal team to “just be honest, just tell the truth.”
In this image from video, White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin speaks during the impeachment trial against
Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    President Trump’s defense team is expected to lay out a case against allegations of abuse of power by the president.
    Among those set to speak are White House Counselor Pat Cipollone, Clinton impeachment investigator Ken Starr and attorney Jay Sekulow.
    On Saturday, Cipollone slammed the Democrat-led effort as a push to redo the 2016 presidential election.    He said Democrats do not have enough evidence to remove President Trump from office and added the Senate cannot make a decision without merit.
    “They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country, on your own initiative, and take that decision away from the American people,” he said.    “I don’t think they spent one minute of their 24 hours talking to you about the consequences of that.”
In this image from video, White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaks during the impeachment trial against President
Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Sekulow said the team intends to show there is overwhelming evidence the president did nothing wrong.    During Saturday’s proceedings, the attorney said disagreeing with the President Trump’s decisions on foreign policy, or whose advice he is going to take, is in “no way” an impeachable offense.
    He also accused House impeachment managers of trying to re-litigate the Mueller probe.    He suggested they are making false inferences about others’ intentions.
    “This case is really not about presidential wrongdoing.    This entire impeachment process is about the House managers’ insistence that they are able to read everybody’s thoughts.    They can read everybody’s intention, even when the principal speakers (and) the witnesses themselves insist that those interpretations are wrong.” – Jay Sekulow, Counsel for President Trump
    The attorney also pointed out the president has placed holds on aid a number of times to foreign countries.
In this image from video, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, Jay Sekulow, speaks during the impeachment trial
against Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Saturday marked the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial.    The legal team is set to argue for three days and will reportedly focus on Joe Biden’s efforts to get Ukraine’s former top prosecutor dismissed on corruption concerns.

1/25/2020 White House responds to ABC recording of President Trump ordering Parnas, Fruman to get rid of Yovanovitch by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies
before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, FILE)
    The White House is responding to a report from ABC News, which claimed it heard a recording of President Trump asking to “get rid” of ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.    On Friday, Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said every president in history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within their administration.
    The recording allegedly captured President Trump telling Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman “Get her out tomorrow, I don’t care, take her out okay?
    The president has repeatedly denied knowing Parnas or Fruman.
    “I don’t know Parnas, other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people,” he said.    “I don’t know him at all, don’t know what he’s about, don’t know where he comes from, know nothing about him.”
This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the
impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Trump in Florida. (House Judiciary Committee via AP)
    According to ABC, the tape was made on April 30th, 2018 during a dinner at the Trump Hotel in D.C.    The president reportedly gave the order after Parnas told him Yovanovitch was telling U.S. Embassy workers in Ukraine he was going to be impeached.

1/25/2020 Trump increases tariffs on derivative steel, aluminum products from some countries
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses U.S mayors in the East Room
of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation increasing tariffs on derivative steel products by an additional 25 percent and boosting duties on derivative aluminum products by an additional 10 percent.
    Trump said Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea are exempt from the additional tariffs on derivative steel products, and Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico are exempt from the added duties on derivative aluminum articles.
    Trump has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to help boost U.S. production, which he says is a national security issue.
    Since the imposition of tariffs, Trump said, imports of steel and aluminum have declined but imports of derivative products, like steel nails and aluminum cables, have increased.
    Trump said “foreign producers of these derivative articles have increased shipments of such articles to the United States to circumvent the duties on aluminum articles and steel articles.”    He said the increased tariffs would be effective on Feb. 8.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Sandra Maler)

1/25/2020 Rep. Jordan: Finally get to hear facts, truth from President Trump’s defense team by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, with Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., left, and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaks to
reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Rep. Jim Jordan is saying the American people will finally get to hear the facts and truth now that the Democrats’ opening statements are over.
    “Two hours of truth beats over 20 hours of presumptions, assumptions and hearsay,” said Jordan.
    On Sunday, the lawmaker took a shot at the Democrats’ case.    He said they relied heavily on Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony, which they referred to twice as much as any other witness account.
    Jordan stated Sondland had no evidence to back any of his claims and admitted he was just presuming.    He also pointed out the ambassador had to revise his testimony to clarify several of his statements.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland gives his opening statement as he testifies before the
House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President
Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The lawmaker went on to say President Trump’s defense team has a “bulletproof” case because the facts are on their side.
    “As we’ve said all along, the president’s case is so strong on constitutional grounds, so strong on the fact that he was denied due process in the House, and most importantly, those four facts that are on his side will never change,” he said.
    On Friday, Jordan said the Senate will work to end the trial as soon as possible so Congress can get back to working for the American people.
[The Trump’s councils annihilated the Democrats poor evidence and on top of it they brought to light that Nancy Pelosi failed to have the Congress by law to vote for any Impeachment Inquiry in the Schiff Intelligence committee which is not in the Constitution and anything in that should be thrown out as evidence and then the farce moved to Nadler's Judiciary and again they had no vote in Congress which violated the constitution again and after they did that all of this without defense for Trumps side or witnesses it was then they asked Congress to vote.    So in theory the Impeachment should be thrown out and Trump aquitted just on that.    Today the counselors read the Transcript to the Senate to tell them about the burden sharing and other things that the Left would not tell them, which some of them had never heard or even on the fake news.    SO THE BOTTOM LINE THEY DID A GREAT JOB TO DISMISS ALL THE DEMOCRATS 21 HOURS OF CLAIMS WITH NO VALID EVIDENCE IN LESS THAN 2 HOURS AND WILL COME BACK ON MONDAY AND CONTINUE THAT.].

[ON FRIDAY TRUMPS DEFENSE LAWYERS SHOWED THE ENTIRE POPULATION IF THEY WATCHED IT IN LESS THAN 3 HOURS ALL THE ISSUES THAT THE DEMOCRATS WERE NOT TELLING THEIR BASE FOR 3 AND A HALF YEARS ALL THE LIES THAT SCHIFF, NADLER AND PELOSI HAVE TRIED TO COVER UP BY NIT-PICKING INFORMATION AND IGNORING THE TRUTH, AND I AM SURE THERE ARE A FEW DEMOCRAT SENATORS WHO LEARNED SOMETHING NEW YESTERDAY. SO YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ THE LEFTS ATTEMPT TO DEFLECT FROM THE TRUTH AS THEY CONTINUE TO USE THE FAKE NEWS AS THEY HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS.].
1/26/2020 Trump team: Dems have agenda - Trial portrayed as effort to overturn 2016 election by Eric Tucker, Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s lawyers plunged into impeachment trial defense Saturday by accusing Democrats of striving to overturn the 2016 election, and arguing that investigations of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have not been a fact-finding mission but a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House.
    “They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told senators.    “And we can’t allow that to happen.”
    The Trump legal team’s arguments in the rare Saturday session were aimed at rebutting allegations that the president abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress as it tried to investigate.
    The lawyers are mounting an aggressive defense asserting an expansive view of presidential powers and portraying Trump as besieged by political opponents determined to ensure he won’t be reelected in November.
    “They’re asking you to tear up all the ballots across this country on their own initiative,” Cipollone said.
    Though Trump is the one on trial, the defense team made clear that it intends to paint the impeachment case as a continuation of the investigations that have shadowed the president since before he took office – including one into allegations of Russian election interference on his behalf.
    Trump attorney Jay Sekulow suggested Democrats were investigating the president over Ukraine simply because they couldn’t bring him down for Russia.
    “That, for this,” said Sekulow, holding up a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which he accused Democrats of attempting to “relitigate.”    That report detailed ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia but did not allege a criminal conspiracy to tip the election.
    From the White House, Trump tweeted that his team was making his case “against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam" “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi” and others of “the Radical Left.”
    Trump’s team made only a two-hour presentation, reserving the heart of its case for Monday.    Acquittal appears likely, given that Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and a two-thirds vote would be required for conviction and removal from office.
    Republican senators already eager to clear Trump said Saturday that the White House presentation had shredded the Democratic case.    Several of the senators shook hands with Trump’s lawyers after their presentation.
    The Trump attorneys are responding to two articles of impeachment approved last month by the House: one that accuses him of encouraging Ukraine to investigate Biden at the same time the administration withheld military aid from the country, and the other that accuses him of obstructing Congress by directing aides not to testify or produce documents.
    Trump’s defense team took center stage following three days of methodical and passionate arguments from Democrats, who wrapped up Friday by warning that Trump will persist in abusing his power and endangering American democracy unless Congress intervenes to remove him before the 2020 election.
    They also implored Republicans to allow new testimony to be heard before senators render a final verdict.
    “Give America a fair trial,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager.    “She’s worth it.”
    On Saturday, House managers made the procession across the Capitol at 9:30 a.m. to deliver the 28,578-page record of their case to the Senate.
    Republicans accused Democrats of cherrypicking evidence and omitting information favorable to the president, casing in a nefarious light actions that the president was legitimately empowered to take.    They focused particular scorn on Schiff, playing clips of past statements meant to undercut his credibility.
    Schiff responded on Twitter that Republicans were “trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth.”
    He later added: “What was most striking to me was … they don’t contest the basic architecture of the scheme.”
    The Trump team had teased the idea that it would draw attention on Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice president.    But neither Biden was a focus of Saturday arguments.
    “This entire impeachment process is about the house managers’ insistence that they are able to read everybody’s thoughts,” Sekulow said.,br>     “They can read everybody’s intention.    Even when the principal speakers, the witnesses themselves, insist that those interpretations are wrong.”
Jay Sekulow, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, said Saturday the
impeachment trial is an extension of the Russia probe. SENATE TELEVISION VIA AP

1/26/2020 Schiff’s ‘head on a pike’ remark irks GOP senators by Laurie Kellman, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans said lead impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff insulted them during the trial by repeating an anonymously sourced report that the White House threatened to punish Republicans who voted against President Donald Trump.
    Schiff, who delivered closing arguments for the prosecution Friday, was holding Republican senators rapt as he called for removing Trump     from office for abusing his power and obstructing Congress.    Doing anything else, he argued, would be to let the president bully Senate Republicans into ignoring his pressure on Ukraine for political help.
    “CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, ‘Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.’    I don’t know if that’s true,” Schiff said.
    After that remark, the generally respectful mood in the Senate immediately changed.    Republicans across their side of the chamber groaned, gasped and said, “That’s not true.”    One of those key moderate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, looked directly at Schiff, shook her head and said, “Not true.”
    “Not only have I never heard the ‘head on the pike’ line, but also I know of no Republican senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the administration,” Collins said in a statement.
    It wasn’t clear what impact, if any, Schiff’s comment would have on upcoming votes on witnesses and the ultimate question of whether Trump should be removed from office. Democrats need support from at least four Republicans to win a vote on calling witnesses, and Schiff’s arguments over three days were clearly aimed at persuadable GOP senators.
    Hearing the Republican protests, and with an eye toward Collins, Schiff paused and said: “I hope it’s not true.”
    But Republicans were already put off.
    “That’s when he lost me,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican moderate, said about Schiff’s remark, according to her spokeswoman.
    She denied having been told what the network reported about the White House.    Schiff’s invocation of it, she added, “was unnecessary.”
    Collins, another moderate who is up for reelection this year, is one of the few Republican senators to express an openness to calling witnesses in the impeachment trial.
    Collins had been listening intently to Schiff’s presentation and writing down some of his points.    When he made the “pike” comment, she looked directly at Schiff and slowly and repeatedly shook her head back and forth.    When he finished his speech and the trial adjourned, GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and John Barrasso of Wyoming made a beeline for her seat. Collins again shook her head and said, “No.”
    Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said the CBS report is “completely, totally false.”     “None of us have been told that,” he added.    “That’s insulting and demeaning to everyone to say that we somehow live in fear and that the president has threatened all of us.”
Last week House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appealed to persuadable GOP senators. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

1/26/2020 Canada identifies first case of coronavirus by Denny Thomas and Aishwarya Nair
People waiting for passengers wear masks at Pearson airport arrivals, shortly after Toronto Public Health received notification of
Canada's first presumptive confirmed case of coronavirus, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 25, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio
    TORONTO/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Canada on Saturday declared the first “presumptive” confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus in a resident who had returned from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak of the viral disease.
    Ontario health officials told a news conference the patient is a male in his 50s, who arrived in Toronto on Jan. 22 and was hospitalized the next day after developing symptoms of respiratory illness.
    Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, told reporters that the man is being treated in a public hospital and is in a stable condition.
    Ontario health officials are investigating the details of the man’s contact with others since arriving in Toronto.    Early indications are that he took private transportation home after arriving at Toronto airport and then paramedics brought him to the hospital, they added.
    The health officials said it is a relatively small family situation, though they declined to give a number, and there is very little by way of contact.    They said his family members have been put into self isolation.
    Officials said the results from the provincial laboratory confirming the positive case arrived earlier on Saturday.    Once the results from the local laboratory are confirmed by Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, the case will be declared the country’s first confirmed case of coronavirus.
    Canada is on high alert to prevent the spread of coronavirus and avoid the repeat of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, that killed 44 people in Canada, the only country outside Asia to report deaths from that virus in 2002-2003.    Government health officials say Canada is better prepared this time.
    The deadly coronavirus has infected more than 1,975 people and killed at least 56 in China.    The virus has spread to several countries including the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia and France.
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and Denny Thomas in Toronto ; Editing by Diane Craft and Sandra Maler)

1/26/2020 President Trump says Rep. Schiff ‘has not paid the price, yet’ for what he has done to the U.S. by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House before
departing on Marine One, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    On Sunday, President Trump blasted Democrat House impeachment manager Adam Schiff for being “a corrupt politician.”    The president took to Twitter to criticize Schiff for his role in the Senate impeachment trial.
    He said the California congressman is likely “a very sick man” and added “he has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our country.”
    In a separate tweet, the president questioned how anyone, including “sleepy eyes” Chuck Todd, could continue to listen to his con.

House Democratic impeachment manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., arrives at the Senate as work resumes
in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    This came after Schiff said the president can’t call witnesses who are irrelevant to the Senate impeachment trial.    The representative specifically claimed President Trump does not have the right to call Hunter Biden to testify.     He also said a fair trial requires witnesses and claimed GOP senators are afraid of what witnesses would say.    The Democrat insisted Hunter Biden would not be a relevant witness in the trial.
    “The question is, should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent, or is it to get to the truth?” asked Schiff.    “If it’s to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can’t tell us anything about the withholding of military funding (or) why President Trump wouldn’t let the president of Ukraine into the Oval Office.”
    He went on to say he is not afraid of anything potential witnesses, like Biden, could reveal.    He stressed he only wants to ensure a fair and just trial in the Senate.
James Lankford, R-Okla., with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks to
reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford weighed in, saying Democrats’ quest for more witnesses is just an attempt to slow down the proceedings.    Lankford said the House had earlier opportunities to call witnesses, but neglected to do so.
    He also said the lower chamber only had to subpoena witnesses like John Bolton if they wanted them to testify, but they refused to.
    “They’re saying the president not only can be impeached in 78 days from the House, the fastest ever in history, but they’re now saying the president should not have access to the courts at any point through the trial,” stated Lankford.    “The closing argument from Adam Schiff was, ‘Do not allow the president to be able to go to the courts.'
    Late last week, the senator compared Democrats’ witness strategy to a “fishing expedition.”    He added, “If we gave in to the House manager’s demands, the trial would last through the summer.”

1/26/2020 President Trump rejects possibility of talks with Iran by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump poses for photos at the White House, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is saying “no thanks” to the possibility of talks with Iran. On Saturday, the president said Iran’s foreign minister wants to negotiate with the U.S. under the condition that sanctions are removed.
    Tensions between Washington and Tehran have grown since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal and imposed crippling economic sanctions on the region.    The U.S. backed out of the deal in 2018 and slapped sanctions on Iran to crack down on their nuclear development.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, arrives prior to a meeting with his
Venezuelan counterpart in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
    Meanwhile, Iranian officials are boasting their nuclear capabilities.
    On Saturday, they said they’ll scrap any limitations on enrichment if their government allows it.    Officials from the country’s nuclear agency told reporters they can enrich nuclear energy at any percent if their government gives them the “green light.”
    This is the country’s latest step away from their commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, in which they agreed to cooperate with the UN’s nuclear standards.

1/26/2020 Two cases of coronavirus confirmed in Calif. by OAN Newsroom
A worker wearing a hazardous materials suit takes the temperature of a passenger at the
entrance to a subway station in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
    On Sunday, two new cases of coronavirus were reported in California.    These latest cases brought the total number of U.S. cases to four, with the other two being in Chicago and Seattle.     The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the fourth case in Los Angeles, while a third case was discovered earlier the same day in Orange County.
    Reports said the patient from Orange County, who has not yet been identified, recently returned from Wuhan, China.    The person is currently in stable condition at the hospital.
    Local health officials recently released a statement regarding the outbreak.
    “LA County is well prepared to manage cases, and suspected cases, of novel coronavirus.    We are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions we are taking to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, and to care for those who are ill. The risk of transmission of coronavirus in LA County remains low.” – Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health
    Nearly 2,300 cases have been confirmed worldwide and more than 80 people have died as a result.
Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, left, listens as Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam participates
in a press conference following the announcement by the Government of Ontario of the first presumptive confirmed case
of a novel coronavirus in Canada, in Ottawa, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)
    This came after officials confirmed Canada’s first case of the virus on Saturday.
The 50-year-old male victim reportedly traveled to Toronto from China on January 22nd and was hospitalized the next day after developing symptoms of the respiratory illness.
    Ontario health officials said his family members have been put into self-isolation.    The man is reportedly in stable condition.     “He had traveled to Wuhan, China and came back. Within a day, (he) became quite ill.    The emergency service was aware of his travel history, used full precautions.    (He) was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital and is now in a negative pressure room.” – Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario Associated Chief Medical Officer
    Health officials went on to say all staff at the hospital are taking appropriate precautions and are working to determine who came in contact with the man.

1/26/2020 Fifth case of coronavirus confirmed in Arizona by OAN Newsroom
People wear masks following the outbreak of a new virus as people arrive from the International terminal at Toronto
Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
    A fifth U.S. case of the coronavirus infection was confirmed on Sunday.    The Centers for Disease Control reported a new patient was diagnosed with the virus in Maricopa County, Arizona.
    The Arizona Department of Health Services said the patient recently visited Wuhan, China, where most cases of the virus have been reported.    The patient was reportedly a student at Arizona State University, but did not live in campus housing.
    “While the immediate risk of the 2019 novel coronavirus to the general public is believed to be low at this time, ADHS and our county public health partners will continue to actively monitor for the disease,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ.    “There are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take to prevent the spread of diseases.”
    Map highlights areas with cases of the new coronavirus.
    Earlier the same day, two new cases were confirmed in southern California. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the fourth case in Los Angeles, while a third case was discovered earlier the same day in Orange County.
Local health officials recently released a statement regarding the outbreak.
    “LA County is well prepared to manage cases, and suspected cases, of novel coronavirus.    We are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions we are taking to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, and to care for those who are ill.    The risk of transmission of coronavirus in LA County remains low.” – Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health
    Nearly 2,300 cases have been confirmed worldwide and more than 80 people have died as a result.    The Department of Health is encouraging travelers from Wuhan to contact their doctors within 14 days of feeling respiratory symptoms.

1/27/2020 President Trump’s defense team to resume arguments by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, attorney Alan Dershowitz talks to the
press outside federal court, in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
    President Trump’s defense team is gearing up to continue attacking the case made by the impeachment managers last week.    On Monday, the president’s legal team will address the Senate again during their second day of arguments.
    This week, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz has planned to argue that even if the president committed the actions the Democrats are alleging, it doesn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
    On Saturday, the team spent two-hours on its opening case for why President Trump shouldn’t be removed from office.    They cited lead manager Adam Schiff’s lack of credibility and claimed the Democrats are trying to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.    President Trump has echoed these sentiments.

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow gestures while speaking to the media during
a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction
of Congress, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    “This case is really not about presidential wrongdoing, this entire impeachment process is about the House manager’s insistence that they are able to read everybody’s thoughts,” said Jay Sekulow, attorney for President Trump.    “They can read everybody’s intention, even when the principal speakers, the witnesses themselves, insist that those interpretations are wrong.”
    Former Clinton special prosecutor Ken Starr is also expected to speak at the trial to argue against the article of obstruction of Congress.
[I AM GLAD THAT THE PRESIDENT TWEETS BECAUSE THAT WAY HE CAN REACH THE PUBLIC WITH THE TRUTH INSTEAD OF THE FAKE NEWS PUSHED BY THE DEEP STATE, GLOBALIST AND DEMOCRATS.].

1/27/2020 Va. House Public Safety Committee advances several gun control bills despite protests by OAN Newsroom
Gun-rights supporters pack the hill on Capitol Square as speakers talk in Richmond, Va., Monday Jan. 20, 2020.
Gun-rights activists and other groups are descending on Virginia’s capital city of Richmond to protest plans by the
state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation.(Rob Ostermaier/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
    A Virginia House committee has advanced several bills cracking down on gun control.    This week, the House Public Safety Committee passed six measures that would add more restrictions for owners of firearms.    This comes just days after thousands attended a gun rally in the state’s capital.
    The legislation includes a ‘red flag law’ allowing authorities to take guns away from people who they consider to be dangerous to themselves or others.    It also includes universal background checks, localities banning firearms in public, more severe penalties on unsecured guns around children and limiting firearm purchases to once a month.
    Republicans are backing two of the bills stating lost or stolen firearms must be reported within 24 hours and residents under a protective order will not be allowed to possess a gun.    Meanwhile, lawful firearm owners believe the bills are an infringement on their rights.
    “It’s not a surprise, I mean we saw these bills coming,” said Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.    “They’re an attack on gun owners, law-abiding gun owners.”
Gun-rights supporters gather for the rally at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday morning Jan. 20, 2020.
Gun-rights activists and other groups are descending on Virginia’s capital city of Richmond to protest plans by the
state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. (Rob Ostermaier/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
    However, those in favor of the measures believe they are necessary to ensure public safety.
    “I started this work 13 years ago when my daughter was shot and injured at Virginia Tech, and knew then the laws were porous,” explained Lori Haas, Director of the Virginia Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.    “The time is long passed due to pass these laws and I’m glad they’re finally moving in the General Assembly.”
    The bills will head to a House vote before reaching the Senate.

1/27/2020 Exclusive: Hackers acting in Turkey’s interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks – sources by Jack Stubbs, Christopher Bing and Joseph Menn
FILE PHOTO: A man waves a Turkish flag at the courtyard of the Grand Camlica Mosque
in Istanbul, Turkey, May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
    LONDON (Reuters) – Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organizations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said.
    The hackers have attacked at least 30 organizations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records.    Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government’s national security advisor, the records show.
    The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organizations.
    According to two British officials and one U.S. official, the activity bears the hallmarks of a state-backed cyber espionage operation conducted to advance Turkish interests.
    The officials said that conclusion was based on three elements: the identities and locations of the victims, which included governments of countries that are geopolitically significant to Turkey; similarities to previous attacks that they say used infrastructure registered from Turkey; and information contained in confidential intelligence assessments that they declined to detail.
    The officials said it wasn’t clear which specific individuals or organizations were responsible but that they believed the waves of attacks were linked because they all used the same servers or other infrastructure.
    Turkey’s Interior Ministry declined to comment.    A senior Turkish official did not respond directly to questions about the campaign but said Turkey was itself frequently a victim of cyberattacks.
    The Cypriot government said in a statement that the “relevant agencies were immediately aware of the attacks and moved to contain” them.     “We will not comment on specifics for reasons of national security,” it added.
    Officials in Athens said they had no evidence the Greek government email system was compromised.    The Iraqi government did not respond to requests for comment.
    The Cypriot, Greek and Iraqi attacks identified by Reuters all occurred in late 2018 or early 2019, according to the public internet records.    The broader series of attacks is ongoing, according to the officials as well as private cybersecurity investigators.     A spokeswoman for the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, declined to comment on who was behind the attacks. In the United States, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on who was behind the attacks and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not respond to a request for comment.
HIJACKED
    The attacks highlight a weakness in a core pillar of online infrastructure that can leave victims exposed to attacks that happen outside their own networks, making them difficult to detect and defend against, cybersecurity specialists said.
    The hackers used a technique known as DNS hijacking, according to the Western officials and private cybersecurity experts.    This involves tampering with the effective address book of the internet, called the Domain Name System (DNS), which enables computers to match website addresses with the correct server.
    By reconfiguring parts of this system, hackers were able to redirect visitors to imposter websites, such as a fake email service, and capture passwords and other text entered there.
    Reuters reviewed public DNS records, which showed when website traffic was redirected to servers identified by private cybersecurity firms as being controlled by the hackers.    All of the victims identified by Reuters had traffic to their websites hijacked – often traffic visiting login portals for email services, cloud storage servers and online networks — according to the records and cybersecurity experts who have studied the attacks.
    The attacks have been occurring since at least early 2018, the records show.
    While small-scale DNS attacks are relatively common, the scale of these attacks has alarmed Western intelligence agencies, said the three officials and two other U.S. intelligence officials.    The officials said they believed the attacks were unrelated to a campaign using a similar attack method uncovered in late 2018.
    As part of these attacks, hackers successfully breached some organizations that control top-level domains, which are the suffixes that appear at the end of web addresses immediately after the dot symbol, said James Shank, a researcher at U.S. cybersecurity firm Team Cymru, which notified some of the victims.
VICTIMS
    Victims also included Albanian state intelligence, according to the public internet records.    Albanian state intelligence had hundreds of usernames and passwords compromised as a result of the attacks, according to one of the private cybersecurity investigators, who was familiar with the intercepted web traffic.
    The Albanian State Information Service said the attacks were on non-classified infrastructure, which does not store or process any “any information classified as ‘state secret’ of any level.”
    Civilian organizations in Turkey have also been attacked, the records show, including a Turkish chapter of the Freemasons, which conservative Turkish media has said is linked to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.
    The Great Liberal Lodge of Turkey said there were no records of cyberattacks against the hijacked domains identified by Reuters and that there had been “no data exfiltration.”
    “Thanks to precautions, attacks against the sites are not possible,” a spokesman said, adding that the cleric has no affiliation with the organization.
    The cleric has publicly denied masterminding the attempted coup, saying “it’s not possible,” and has said he is always against coups.
    A spokesman for Gulen said Gulen was not involved in the coup attempt and has repeatedly condemned it and its perpetrators.    Gulen has never been associated with the Freemason organization, the spokesman added.
(Jack Stubbs reporting in London, Christopher Bing reporting in Washington and Joseph Menn reporting in San Francisco.; Additional reporting by Michele Kambas and Renee Maltezou in Athens, Ece Toksabay in Ankara, Can Sezer in Istanbul, John Davison in Baghdad and Benet Koleka in Tirana.; Editing by Cassell Bryan-Low and Jonathan Weber)

1/27/2020 Wall Street tumbles as virus fears hit travel, growth stocks by Sruthi Shankar
FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after
the opening bell in New York, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
    (Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes fell more than 1% on Monday as investors worried about the economic fallout of a virus outbreak in China that has prompted the country to extend the Lunar New Year holidays and businesses to close some operations.
    The benchmark S&P 500 was jolted off record highs last week as China locked down several cities and curbed travel, reminding investors of the deadly SARS virus that killed nearly 800 people in 2002-03 and cost the global economy billions.
    Travel-related stocks, including airlines, casinos and hotels, were the worst-hit on Wall Street, while shares of sectors exposed to China’s growth, including technology, materials and energy, pressured the markets.
    “We’d a strong market heading into the year and there was a little bit of over-confidence,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede in Philadelphia.
    “5-10% corrections are typical for any given year in equity markets.    Maybe this time around, there is a larger economic risk posed by this outbreak because the epicenter of the outbreak (China) is exactly the reason for concern from last year.”
At 1:13 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 1.26% to 28,624.77.
    The S&P 500 <.SPX> dropped 1.28% to 3,253.17 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> declined 1.58% to 9,167.40. The indexes were on track to post their biggest single-day percentage loss since October.
    Wall Street’s fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility index <.VIX>, jumped to its highest since Oct. 10.
    Technology and internet heavyweights that have powered the recent rally including Apple Inc , Microsoft Corp , Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc dropped between 1.6% and 3%.
    Wynn Resorts Ltd , Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp , which have large operations in China, slid between 3.7% and 7%. The NYSE Arca Airline index <.XAL> dropped 3.8%.
    Yum China Holdings Inc slid 4.3% after the company said it had temporarily closed some of its KFC and Pizza Hut stores in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
    The death toll in China rose to 81 on Monday and a small number of cases linked to people who traveled from Wuhan have been confirmed in more than 10 countries, including Thailand, France, Japan and the United States.
    The rush to safe haven assets sank U.S. Treasury yields to three-month lows, putting pressure on lenders.    The S&P 500 banks index <.SPXBK> was down 1.0%. [US/]
    The S&P energy index <.SPNY> dropped 2.4% as crude prices fell below $60 per barrel on fears of slowing oil demand following the outbreak. [O/R]
    Defensive sectors such as consumer staples <.SPLRCS>, real estate <.SPLRCR>, healthcare <.SPXHC> and utilities <.SPLRCU> posted minimal losses.
    Fourth-quarter earnings will kick into high gear this week with 141 of the S&P 500 companies, including Apple, Microsoft Corp and Boeing Co , expected to report.
    No.1 U.S. homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc rose 2.2% after raising the upper end of its forecast for full-year home sales.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.85-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 84 new lows.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)

1/27/2020 President Trump calls Bolton allegations about withholding Ukraine aid ‘false’ by OAN Newsroom
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., joined by from left, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.,
Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas,, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., speaks to reporters at the
Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Congressman Adam Schiff appears to be drumming up hype over John Bolton’s latest claims, which could potentially support the Democrat case for impeachment. While talking to reporters Monday, the California lawmaker said Bolton must testify in the impeachment trial, following the leak of a manuscript of his book.
    Bolton allegedly claimed President Trump told him he would withhold aid from Ukraine unless it agrees to investigate the Bidens.    Rep. Schiff is now hoping Bolton could provide evidence of that.
    “He should be placed under oath and this is why we think the testimony should be public,” he stated.    “It should be live; let the American people, along with the senators, evaluate John Bolton’s credibility when he testifies and make their own judgement.”
    President Trump denied the claims and said said he never told Bolton he would pressure Ukraine.    He believes his former national security adviser is trying to “sell his book” by suggesting the president tied Ukrainian security aide to Democrat investigations.
    Bolton has said he is willing to testify in the impeachment trial if subpoenaed, however, it is unclear if the Senate will choose to call him as a witness.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020,
in Washington, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    Meanwhile, moderate Republicans on the fence about calling witnesses are reportedly under more pressure after the Bolton book leak.     According to The Hill, Republicans could see Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) defect and vote in favor of new evidence and witnesses.    This follows their comments last week in support of issuing new subpoenas.
    Before the Bolton report was released, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a known swing vote, did not mention whether she backed more witnesses.    She said she needs to review her notes to make an informed decision.
    Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) suggested Bolton’s credibility could be called into question because he left the White House on bad terms.
    It’s unknown at this point whether the Senate has 51 votes to call new witnesses to speak under oath to lawmakers.    President Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege to block Bolton’s testimony and tangle the subpoena for his statement in the courts.

1/27/2020 President Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan Tuesday by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the
Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    While meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office Monday, President Trump announced his Middle East peace plan will be unveiled very soon. He confirmed he will be announcing the plan on Tuesday.
    President Trump said the plan is very important to the Middle East and pointed out many Arab nations have agreed to it.    He also said the plan is supported by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s political parties.    The also president added that the Palestinians should want the peace plan.
    “It’s very good for them, in fact, it’s overly good to them,” he stated.    “As you know, we cut off aid to Palestinians and it’s something I don’t like to do, but we did that and we think there’s a very good chance that they’re going to want this.”
    Netanyahu called President Trump the greatest friend Israel has had in the White House and said he looks forward to hearing his vision for peace.

1/28/2020 Oil down $1.37 to $52.83, DOW down 454 to 28,536 due to the virus.

1/28/2020 Trump discusses Syria, Libya with Turkey’s Erdogan: White House
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. President Donald Trump during the NATO summit
in London, Britain, December 4, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

1/28/2020 Trump proposes Palestinian state with capital in East Jerusalem by Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: People walking near the Al-Aqsa mosque reflect in a puddle next to a gate to the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount
and to Muslims as The Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem's Old City December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, dependent on Palestinians taking steps to become self-governing, in an attempt to achieve a peace breakthrough in their decades of conflict with Israel.
    Senior administration officials, briefing Reuters on the details of a plan the president was due to announce at the White House at mid-day, said that under Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
    In exchange, Israel would agree to accept a four-year freeze on new settlement activity while Palestinian statehood is negotiated, the officials said.
    Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in 2014, and it was far from clear that the Trump plan will resuscitate them.
    U.S. officials said they were braced for initial Palestinian skepticism but hoped that over time they will agree to negotiate.    The plan places high hurdles for the Palestinians to overcome to reach their long-sought goal of a state.
    It remains to be seen also how Israel responds, given the pressures the right-wing Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces going into his third attempt at re-election in less than a year.
    The plan encompasses about 80 pages, 50 of them the political plan announced on Tuesday and 30 from an economic plan announced last July setting up a $50 billion economic revival plan for Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt.
    The U.S. plan represented the most dramatic and detailed attempt to break the historic deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in several years, the result of a three-year effort by Trump senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and former adviser Jason Greenblatt.
    Trump has endorsed a proposed map outlining the two states, the officials said.    The Palestinian state would be double the size of land that Palestinians currently control and would be connected by roads, bridges and tunnels, the official said.
    Trump briefed Netanyahu and his rival in Israel’s March 2 elections, Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, in talks on Monday. Netanyahu was to appear alongside Trump for his announcement on Tuesday.
    Asked what Washington was prepared to do to advance negotiations, the officials said it was up to the Palestinians to come forward and to say they are prepared to negotiate.
    They said both Netanyahu and Gantz had said they were willing to support the effort.
    Israeli leaders have agreed to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan and agreed to the map, the officials said.    Israel’s agreement on statehood for Palestinians is dependent on a security arrangement to protect Israelis, they said.
    Israel will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites, the officials said.
    Palestinian statehood would be dependent on Palestinians taking steps for self-government, such as respect for human rights, freedom of the press and having transparent and credible institutions, the officials said.
    “In doing the map it’s incredibly difficult to try to create contiguity for a Palestinian state based on what’s happened over the past 25 years so if we don’t do this freeze now I think that their chance to ever have a state basically goes away,” said one official in reference to the growth of Jewish settlements.
    “So what we’ve done is basically we’ve bought four more years for them to get their act together and try to negotiate a deal for them to become a state, and I think this is a huge opportunity for them,” the official said.
    The official said the question for Palestinians is will they “come to the table and negotiate?
    If they agree to negotiate, there are some areas that can be compromised in the future, the official said without offering details.
    Trump’s plan calls for Palestinians to be able to return to a future state of Palestine and creates a “generous compensation fund,” the official said.
    About Israel retaining the settlements, a U.S. official said: “The plan is based on a principle that people should not have to move to accomplish peace … But it does stop future settlement expansion which we consider to be the most realistic approach."
    “The notion that hundreds of thousands of people, or tens of thousands of people, are going to be removed either forcibly or not from their homes is just not worth entertaining,” the official said.
    Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.
    While Israeli leaders have welcomed Trump’s long-delayed plan, Palestinian leaders had rejected it even before its official release, saying his administration was biased towards Israel.
    A Netanyahu spokesman said the Israeli leader would fly to Moscow on Wednesday to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on the proposals.
    Palestinian leaders had said they were not invited to Washington, and that no plan could work without them.
    On Monday Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he would not agree to any deal that did not secure a two-state solution.    That formula, the basis for many years of frustrated international peace efforts, envisages Israel co-existing with a Palestinian state.
    Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at such pro-Israeli policies as its moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose eastern half the Palestinians seek for a future capital.
    The Trump administration in November reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington no longer regarded the settlements on West Bank land as a breach of international law.    Palestinians and most countries view the settlements as illegal, which Israel disputes.
    Both Trump and Netanyahu face political challenges at home.    Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives last month and is on trial in the Senate on abuse of power charges.
    On Tuesday Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges, after he withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
    Both men deny any wrongdoing.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Dan Williams and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)

SO WILL THE PALESTINIANS TAKE WHAT IS BEING OFFERED OR CONTINUE TO LIVE IN SQUANDER AND STRIFE AS YOU SEE IN THE BELOW IMAGE WITH ISRAEL DEFENDING THEMSELVES FROM THEIR ONSLAUGHTS FROM THEIR OPRESSORS FROM BACKED IRANIAN HAMAS, HEZBOLLAH, ISIS AND HOUTHI WHO HAVE PUT THEM THERE WITH NO RESULTS IN PEACE FOR DECADES OR WILL THEY CONSIDER TO TAKE THE PEACE DEAL AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIFE AND PROSPER AS A VALID STATE IN THE WORLD STANDING.

1/28/2020 Explainer: What we know about Trump’s Middle East peace plan by Stephen Farrell
FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Jewish settlement of Dolev as the Palestinian city of Ramallah is seen
in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    (Reuters) – More than two years after he first proposed a plan to revive the long moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, U.S. President Donald Trump is finally set to release details.    But there is profound mistrust between the sides and no longer mutual acceptance that the United States is the natural broker of any solution.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES?
* The status of Jerusalem, including historical sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
* Establishing mutually agreed borders.
* Finding security arrangements to satisfy Israeli fears of attacks by Palestinians and hostile neighbors.
* The Palestinian demand for statehood in territory – the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.
* Finding a solution to the plight of millions of Palestinian refugees.
* Arrangements to share natural resources, such as water.
* Palestinian demands that Israel remove its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.    More than 400,000 Israelis now live among about 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with another 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem.
WHY REVIVE THE PEACE PLAN NOW?
    Both Trump and Netanyahu would like to divert attention away from their domestic troubles.    Trump faces an impeachment trial while Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges in November.    Both deny wrongdoing.
    They also both face re-election campaigns – Netanyahu in March and Trump in November.    Netanyahu twice tried and failed to secure a majority in the Israeli parliament last year.
    Trump has repeatedly delayed the launch of his plan to avoid causing election problems for Netanyahu because of the possibility it will require some concessions from Israel.
    He faces his own political clock and could ill-afford to wait for months for Israel to decide its next prime minister, according to a source familiar with the peace team’s thinking.
WHAT’S IN THE TRUMP PLAN?
    The proposal is dozens of pages long but little has been revealed about its contents.
    Palestinian and Arab sources who were briefed on the draft fear it seeks to bribe Palestinians into accepting Israeli occupation, in what could be a prelude to Israel annexing about half of the West Bank including most of the Jordan Valley, the strategic and fertile easternmost strip of the territory.
    Palestinians say the Jordan Valley, nearly 30 per cent of the West Bank, would be a vital part of their future state, as the breadbasket of the West Bank and its border with Jordan.
    Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the plan’s principal author, launched the first stage in Bahrain in June.    It called for a $50 billion investment fund to boost the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.
WHAT ARE ITS CHANCES?
    The last Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
    Enduring obstacles include the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land and generations of mutual suspicion.    The last two decades have also seen the rise to power in Gaza of the armed Islamist movement Hamas, which is formally committed to Israel’s destruction and is in the midst of a decades-long power struggle with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The elephant in the room is the two-state solution – the long-standing international formula to bring about peace by creating an independent Palestinian state co-existing side-by-side with Israel.
    The United Nations and most nations around the world back this blueprint, the foundation of every peace plan for decades.
    The Trump administration has refrained from endorsing it.    In November it reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington no longer regarded Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a breach of international law.
    Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this.
CAN THE UNITED STATES BE AN HONEST BROKER?
    Netanyahu, who heads Israel’s ruling right-wing coalition, “gladly” accepted Trump’s invitation to Washington.    On the eve of the announcement he said: “The deal of the century is the opportunity of a century, and we’re not going to pass it by.”
    His principal domestic rival, the centrist former general Benny Gantz, also visited Washington to discuss the deal with Trump, calling it “a significant and historic milestone.”
    Both are jostling for maximum political advantage ahead of the March 2 election, where Gantz will seek to oust Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister.
    But Palestinian Prime Minister President Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Trump administration plan was “nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.    We reject it.”
    The Palestinian leadership said Washington can no longer be regarded as a mediator after a series of Trump decisions that delighted Israel but infuriated Palestinians.
    These included recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
    The cuts were widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to come back to the negotiating table.    So far, that has failed.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Miami, Samia Nakhoul in Beirut; Maayan Lubell, Jeffrey Heller, Dan Williams and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/28/2020 President Trump is gearing up for a ‘Keep America Great’ campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J. by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Target Center,
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is gearing up for the latest stop in his 2020 reelection campaign.    He is traveling to Wildwood, New Jersey, where he will speak to a crowd of supporters at a ‘Keep America Great’ rally Tuesday night.
    The president will be speaking at the Wildwoods Convention Center, which is located in the same district of congressman Jeff Van Drew.    The lawmaker switched parties, becoming a Republican, amid the ongoing impeachment push.    He has sided with the president over Democrats.
    Rep. Van Drew met with the president at the White House shortly after making the decision to switch parties.    “I don’t want anybody to ever tell me that there isn’t American exceptionalism,” he stated.    “I don’t want anybody to ever think this is the same as every other country in the world, because it is not.”
    President Trump is expected to repay the favor and will likely rev up his base to vote for Van Drew ahead of the state’s primaries.    The president will also likely discuss the ongoing impeachment proceedings as his defense team continues its arguments.
    President Trump’s visit to the New Jersey town will mark the first-ever appearance by a sitting U.S. president.    Many of his supporters have been camped out for over 24-hours ahead of the event.
    One America News will provide full coverage of the president’s “Keep America Great” rally, without interruption, starting at 7 p.m. EST / 4 p.m. PST.

1/28/2020 Dershowitz, Purpura downplay Democrats’ case against President Trump by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, Alan Dershowitz, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks during the impeachment trial
against Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Attorney and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz laid out his case in favor of President Trump, while arguing the House’s charges don’t count as high crimes and misdemeanors.    He gave opening statements Monday, stating that Congress chose the wrong charges to impeach the president on.
    Dershowitz went on to stress his position as a non-partisan actor and a defender of the Constitution.    He also said this is a dangerous precedent for how Congress oversees the presidency.
    “I am here today because I love my country and our constitution – everyone in this room shares this love,” he stated.    “I will argue that our Constitution and its terms high crimes and misdemeanors do not encompass the two articles charging the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.”
    The attorney continued by saying the Senate needs to determine whether the House provided enough proof of the charges, whether the charges constitute an abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, and whether they would warrant impeachment.
    Dershowitz was backed-up by White House deputy counsel Mike Purpura, who said the impeachment case presented by Democrats fully exonerates President Trump.
    While speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Purpura said hard evidence disproves both articles of impeachment.    He then added, the White House proposed a meeting with the Ukrainian president three times without preconditions and while Ukraine did not know aid was being withheld.
In this image from video, White House deputy counsel Mike Purpura speaks during the impeachment trial against President
Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Purpura stressed that Democrats have failed to back up their claims with evidence.    The deputy counsel went on to say the case depicts Ukraine as a desperate and needy country, but diplomatic records show this is a misrepresentation of U.S.-Ukrainian relations.
    The president’s defense team will continue its opening arguments Tuesday.

1/28/2020 Sen. Cruz: Hunter Biden would be most important witness by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., right, speaks to reporters at the Capitol
in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, during a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on
charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
    According to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Hunter Biden would be the most important witness in the impeachment trial.    While speaking with reporters Monday, Cruz said House Democrats haven’t provided compelling evidence for the president’s impeachment.
    The Texas lawmaker also said he thinks calling witnesses isn’t necessary, but if they are called then Hunter Biden would provide the most important testimony.    He made the following comments regarding the topic:
    “In my view, additional witnesses are not necessary. The House managers have presented their case. They haven’t come remotely close to meeting their burden of proof. Now that being said, if the Senate later this week when we vote on witnesses decides to go down to the road of additional witnesses, I think at a minimum the most important witness for the Senate to hear from is now Hunter Biden.”
    Democrats would need at least four Republicans to vote in favor of calling witnesses in order for the motion to pass.    That vote could come as early as Friday or Saturday.

1/28/2020 French police clash with firefighters at Paris demonstration
French CRS riot police take position as French firefighters attend a demonstration to protest
against working conditions, in Paris, France, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
    PARIS (Reuters) – French police clashed on Tuesday with firefighters protesting in Paris against their working conditions and demanding more pay.
    Thousands of firefighters attended the protest in the French capital, asking for an increase of their hazard bonus, which has not changed since 1990.
    Police fired tear gas and hit some protesters with batons.
    In October, firefighters also protested in Paris, calling for better pay, guarantees of their pension benefits and greater respect for their profession.
    France has seen widespread labor unrest since December, with unions mobilizing against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the pension system.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Sophie Louet; Editing by Peter Graff)

1/28/2020 Belt and Road Initiative to boost Chinese lending in LatAm by Daniela Guzman and Aaron Weinman
FILE PHOTO: A woman checks her mobile phone next to a poster promoting a project of the Belt and Road in Colombo,
Sri Lanka at China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, China, May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
    NEW YORK (LPC) – China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is jumpstarting new infrastructure and energy development projects in Latin America, while opening the door for more Chinese lending in the region.
    Initiated in 2013 by the Chinese government, the BRI seeks to build a modern version of the Silk Road to link China with the rest of Asia, Europe and beyond through large-scale projects.    It is one of the most ambitious infrastructure initiatives conceived.
    Latin America is projected to be the “bright spark” for Chinese investment throughout 2020, according to a report from Fitch Solutions, as more countries sign up to the initiative and Chinese companies obtain new contracts to construct and finance infrastructure projects in the region.
    China is Latin America’s second-largest trading partner, after the US. Trade between China and the region grew 19% year-over-year to US $307.4bn in 2019 from 2018, according to Fitch Solutions.
    Since 2017, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador have signed agreements to cooperate with China on the BRI.
    As China’s President Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen ties with governments in the region, the country’s biggest state-owned firms are increasingly winning construction, energy and transportation projects.
    Earlier this month, utility China Yangtze Power completed a US$4bn bridge loan with the Bank of China, Industrial Commercial Bank of China, Santander in Hong Kong and MUFG supporting its proposed acquisition of Sempra Energy’s power assets in Peru.
    In November, power company State Grid Corp of China was seeking more than US$2bn in bank debt to finance the purchase of Sempra’s assets in neighboring Chile, sources told Refinitiv LPC at the time.
    “The favorite strategy of the Chinese investor is to invest in a Latin American company that has a connection with China, and they (China’s banks) prefer to lend bilaterally,” said a managing director at a US investment bank, adding that the country’s banks generally fund deals directly or on a club basis.
    ICBC and the Bank of China, for example, are providing US$600m in debt to help construct an oil refinery at the Mexican port of Dos Bocas, China’s Ambassador to Mexico Zhu Qingqiao told reporters on January 13 at a Mexican economy ministry event.    The refinery is estimated to cost up to US$8bn, according to various media reports.
    China Civil Engineering Construction Corp on January 7, signed a contract to build the Regiotram de Occidente, an elevated rail line in Colombia’s capital Bogotá, and the firm is after US$300m in debt to finance the operation, banking sources said.
DUE DILIGENCE
    As Chinese-backed projects progress in Latin America, the pace of BRI-related works could slow down in 2020, as the Chinese government works to improve transparency and sustainability on financing with BRI-linked countries, according to the January 8 report from Fitch Solutions.
    Given that most countries linked to the BRI are characterized as emerging markets that pose higher risks for investors, the scheme has faced some criticism.    Many observers are fearful that opaque financing arrangements could lead to unsustainable debt and question whether the initiative is more about promoting Chinese influence than bringing development.
    “There has been criticism around the types of projects that were advanced and transparency around projects’ costs, sovereign debt and the sustainability of government finances impacted by loans,” said Matteo Addonizio, an analyst at Fitch Solutions.
    In Ecuador, for instance, by the end of 2018, the government had borrowed up to US$19bn in loans from China to fast-track development projects.    The loans, which were partially repayable with oil shipments, became expensive as oil prices dropped.
    Ecuador has since struggled to tighten its fiscal deficit. In February 2019 it resorted to a US$10.2bn bailout package from international financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
    Going forward, China’s approach to each country is expected to be more customized, according to Fitch Solutions.    And this is likely to reduce reputational risk for China and help gain the trust of other BRI countries.
    “This increased focus on transparency will slow the advance of projects overall as the deal-making process will lengthen,” said Addonizio, but added that these processes would be more stringent with heightened due diligence measures.
(Editing by Michelle Sierra and Kristen Haunss)

1/28/2020 President Trump unveils Middle East peace plan with two-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump stand on stage together during
an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the
Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump proposed a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict as he unveiled his highly anticipated Middle East peace plan.    While speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Tuesday, the president laid out his administration’s plan.
    It includes a tunnel connecting the West Bank and Gaza.    Additionally, President Trump said the proposal will double Palestinian territory and set its capital in Eastern Jerusalem, where the U.S. will open an embassy.    The president also said his vision will end the cycle of Palestinian dependence on charity and foreign aid.
    Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the president for recognizing the state of Israel and for demanding Israeli security be upheld.    He said the White House peace plan would be successful because it attacks the root cause of the conflict.    Netanyahu went on to call President Trump the “greatest friend” the state of Israel has ever had.
    Critics have said Palestinian officials may resist the plan’s implementation as they may see it as too favorable for Israel.

1/29/2020 Oil up $1.05 to $53.14, DOW up 187 to 28,723.

1/29/2020 Trump Mideast plan cheers Israelis by Matthew Lee and Aron Heller, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Middle East plan, which was celebrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “vision for peace” but is likely to continue to be opposed by Palestinians who said it favors Israel and falls short of their goal of creating a viable independent state.
    Trump’s plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in east Jerusalem while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank – something the Palestinians are unlikely to accept.
    Trump called his plan a “win-win” for Israel and the Palestinians, but it was created without input from Palestinian leaders, and they had rejected it before the president unveiled it at the White House with Netanyahu by his side.
    Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s spokesman Jonathan Urich announced Tuesday on Twitter that the Israeli leader will ask his Cabinet on Sunday to approve his plan to annex parts of the West Bank.    The plan calls for leaving the strategic Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements under Israeli control.
    Trump acknowledged that he has done a lot for Israel, but he said he wanted the deal to be a “great deal for the Palestinians.”    He said his vision gives the Palestinians the time needed to rise up and meet the challenges of statehood.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “a thousand noes” to the peace plan.
    “After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand noes to the Deal of the Century,” Abbas said at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is headquartered.    He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.
    “We will not kneel, and we will not surrender,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means.”
    The plan calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated.
    However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.
    Trump said he sent a letter to Abbas to tell him that the territory that the plan has set aside for a new Palestinian state will remain open and undeveloped for four years.
    “It’s going to work,” Trump said.    “If they do this, it will work.    Your response to this historic opportunity will show the world to what extent you are ready to lead the Palestinian people to statehood."
    “President Abbas, I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries … we will be there to help you in so many different ways. And we will be there every step of the way,” Trump said.
    The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely.    However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements.
President Donald Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while unveiling his Middle East peace plan. SUSAN WALSH/AP

1/29/2020 Critics say Trump’s new peace plan futile by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
    President Donald Trump unveiled details of his administration’s plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday, though the proposal’s critics warned before its release it has little chance of success because of its pro-Israel slant.
    Trump’s plan is intended to defuse decades of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.    In a surprise move, the initiative called for a “two-state” solution – an independent Palestine sitting alongside Israel sharing a capital of East Jerusalem.    A “two-state” solution has been a hallmark of Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives for years, but before the plan’s release, there was speculation Trump might omit it.
    Details about the initiative’s economic proposals, including $50 billion in infrastructure spending and investment over 10 years for the Palestinian territories and neighbors Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, have been previously announced.
    The plan’s political aspects have been a closely guarded secret.    Its release, after three years in the making, comes as Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, at the White House to discuss the plan.    It was not clear whether an invitation was extended to Palestinian leaders.
    Trump described his plan as a “historic breakthrough” and said he wrote to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying territory set aside for the Palestinian state would remain open for four years in what amounts to a freeze in Israeli settlement construction.
    He said the deal, outlined in an 80 page document, was a “win-win” for Israelis and Palestinians.    The plan would more than double the territory under Palestinian control.    It recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, a scenario many Palestinians will find difficult to accept.    The plan would limit Palestinians to specific parts of East Jerusalem and leave Israel in sole charge of holy sites that are sacred to both sides.
    “After the nonsense we heard today, we say a thousand no’s,” Abbas said of the deal.
    Netanyahu said Israel owes Trump an “eternal debt of gratitude.”    He said Trump is the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House.    Shortly after the announcement, he asked his Cabinet to endorse a plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
    “While Trump claims a revolutionary approach to the peace process, this plan actually recycles past failed efforts: It places Palestinians on probation while they prove their worthiness of statehood, using conditions that are malleable and ill-defined; it seeks to induce Palestinian capitulation through economic largesse; and it removes the onus on IsraeI to make any concessions until Palestinians declare their full surrender,” said Tareq Baconi, a Middle East expert at International Crisis Group, a think tank.
    The peace plan was spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House adviser Avi Berkowitz, former Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.    All four men have deep religious and educational ties to Israel – factors that undermined their legitimacy as honest brokers in the eyes of many Palestinians.
    This “‘peace’ plan ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and thus will continue to perpetuate the conflict,” said Yousef Jabareen, an Arab Israeli member of Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament.    Estimates vary, but about 1.84 million Arabs live in Israel, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.    An additional 5 million live in Israeli- occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Attempts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have stagnated for years despite high-profile and rigorous American- brokered attempts at diplomacy.
    At its core, it’s a dispute – one of the world’s longest-running – over ancient land that two peoples, Jews and Arab Palestinians, lay claim to.

1/29/2020 Trump leaps into Middle East fray with peace plan that Palestinians denounce by Steve Holland, Dan Williams and Arshad Mohammed
U.S. President Donald Trump applauds Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they deliver joint remarks to discuss a
Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creating a Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace plan, drawing Palestinian condemnation for imposing strict conditions and agreeing to let Israel maintain control of long-contested West Bank settlements.
    Trump announced his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a White House event with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing at his side.    It includes what Trump called a four-year freeze by Israel on new settlement activity.
    Although Trump’s stated aim was to end decades of conflict, the plan he advanced favored Israel, underscored by the absence of Palestinians from Trump’s announcement.
    It seemed unlikely to immediately advance Israeli-Palestinian talks that broke down in 2014, but the plan was called “an important starting point for a return to negotiations” by the United Arab Emirates.    Saudi Arabia and Egypt also offered encouraging statements.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, mocked what Trump has called the “deal of the century,” describing it as the “slap of the century.”
    Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at pro-Israel policies such as moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eastern part of which is sought by the Palestinians.
    Trump set in motion a four-year timeline for Palestinians to agree to a security arrangement with Israel, halt attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas and set up governing institutions in order to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in Abu Dis, a part of east Jerusalem.
    That too poses a potential problem for Palestinians.
    Abu Dis is a West Bank village just east of the Israeli municipal boundaries for Jerusalem.    Palestinians living in Abu Dis are cut off by a high concrete Israeli security wall and checkpoints.
    Palestinians reject any proposal that does not envision a Palestinian capital in all of East Jerusalem, which includes the walled Old City.
    Trump’s plan says that barrier should serve as a border between the capitals of the two states, adding that Jerusalem should remain Israel’s undivided, sovereign capital.
    “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” Trump said.
‘JERUSALEM IS NOT FOR SALE’
    Abbas, speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said: “Jerusalem is not for sale, our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain and your deal, the conspiracy will not pass.”
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, one of the architects of the plan, told Reuters Television the Palestinians “look quite foolish” for immediately rejecting the plan and should take some time to consider “a very strong opening offer.”
    “If we feel like there is a good-faith chance or a desire on their side to come with a counter-proposal, we’ll figure out the right forum to engage in it to bring about a solution,” he said.
        Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.
    Critics say both Trump and Netanyahu have been intent on diverting attention away from domestic troubles.    Trump is going through an impeachment trial, while Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges on Tuesday.    Both men deny any wrongdoing.
    Netanyahu also faces a difficult election in March – his third in less than a year.    He is locked in a battle with Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, who also expressed support for the Trump plan.
    Netanyahu said the Trump plan offered Palestinians a pathway to a future state but that it may take them “a very long time to get to the beginning of that path.”
    “If they agree to abide by all the conditions you have put forward in your plan, Israel will be there. Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away,” he said.
    Trump said he had sent a letter to Abbas asking him to study the deal.
    “I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years.    During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood and become a truly independent and wonderful state,” he said.
    Under Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan, the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
    The White House document said Israel agreed to a four-year “land freeze” to secure the possibility of a two-state solution.    But a senior Israeli official later played down the notion of a settlement freeze in the West Bank.
    U.S. senior administration officials said they expected initial Palestinian skepticism over the plan but hoped they would agree to negotiate over time.    It places high hurdles for the Palestinians to overcome to reach their long-sought goal of a state.
    “Strip away the domestic and Israeli political considerations that determined the timing of the plan’s release, and the message to the Palestinians, boiled down to its essence, is: ‘You’ve lost, get over it,'” said Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group and a former U.S. National Security Council official.
    The U.S. plan represented the most detailed attempt to break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in several years.
    Trump has endorsed a proposed map outlining the two states, U.S. officials said.    The Palestinian state would be double the size of land that Palestinians currently control and would be connected by roads, bridges and tunnels, they said.
    Israel will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites, the U.S. officials said.
    Trump’s plan calls for Palestinian refugees to settle in a future Palestinian state and creates a “generous compensation fund” for them, one of the officials said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Dan Williams and Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Dan Williams, Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller, Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

1/29/2020 Kushner: U.S. deal to benefit both Israel, Palestine by OAN Newsroom
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner arrives for an event with President Donald Trump and
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020,
to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    According to senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s Middle East peace plan greatly benefits the Palestinian people.
    In an Tuesday, Kushner said the “deal of the century” gives Palestinians a chance to establish a stable and internationally recognized country.    He added, the deal will also curb violence and end Islamic terror in Palestine. The White House official noted the conflict in the region has been used to “stoke extremism” for a long time.
    However, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected the deal early Tuesday.    He said he wants Eastern Jerusalem and a removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.    Kushner pointed out that the deal is a compromise and can’t satisfy everyone’s demands.    He made the following comments on the matter:
    “The Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question: Do they want to have a state?    Do they want to have a better life?    If they do, we have created a framework for them to have it and we’re going to treat them in a very respectful manner.    If they don’t then they’re going to screw up another opportunity like they’ve screwed up every opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2020.
President Abbas said “a thousand no’s” Tuesday to the Middle East peace plan announced by President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    The senior White House adviser added, territorial concessions by Palestine are necessary to ensure the security of Israel.    In return,     Palestine gets to join the international community as a sovereign nation, which will allow it to improve the lives of its people.

1/29/2020 President Trump’s defense team set up their final defense in the impeachment trial by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin speaks during the impeachment trial against President
Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    President Trump’s impeachment team set up their final defense in the impeachment trial.    The defense team wrapped up their opening arguments Tuesday, giving their last uninterrupted remarks against the pair of articles.    They emphasized the articles don’t hold merit and don’t match what the framers of the Constitution envisioned.
    “And what we see in the House managers charges and their definition of abuse of power is exactly antithetical to the framers approach because their very premise for their abuse of power charge is that it is entirely based on subjective motive, not object of standards, not predefined offenses,” explained White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.
    The defense team also stressed the political gravity of removing the president under these charges, pointing out that it would set a “dangerous” precedent.    They said it would overturn the last election as well as interfere with the upcoming 2020 election.
    “What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election with no basis and in violation of the Constitution,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone.    “It would dangerously change our country and weaken, weaken forever, all of our democratic institutions.”
In this image from video, White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaks during the impeachment trial against President
Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    The president’s team also tackled concerns coming from former National Security Advisor John Bolton.    In his new book, Bolton alleges President Trump explicitly told him he would withdraw aid from Ukraine if they didn’t investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.    The team responded to the allegations by quoting the president himself who said the conversation never took place. Attorney Jay Sekulow read the follow response:
    “I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.    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.”
    Officials are expected to vote Friday on whether to call witnesses or produce more documents.

1/29/2020 Sen. Rick Scott releases anti-Biden political ad by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. President Donald Trump’s impeachment
trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Democrats objectedbr> strongly to rules proposed by the Republican leader for compressed arguments and a speedy trial. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) recently released a new political ad, which takes a shot at Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden as well as the ongoing impeachment trial.
    The Florida Republican launched the 30 second advertisement called “Biden Got Away With It” Tuesday, which is specifically airing on local television networks in Des Moines, Iowa.
    In the video, the GOP lawmaker slams Democrats for “badly botching the impeachment charade” and spending so much time covering up for the former vice president.
    The ad comes just before the Iowa caucuses are set to kick-off on February 3, 2020.    According to a Monmouth University poll, Biden is slightly leading the pool of Democrat 2020 contenders with 23 percent of likely voters choosing the former vice president.
    However, Sen. Bernie Sander (D-Vt.) came in a close second with 21 percent, followed by former Indian Mayor Pete Buttigieg who snatched 16 percent of likely voters.    The close numbers suggests a tight race ahead of the Iowa caucuses as Sen. Scott attempts to tip the scales.

1/29/2020 EU parliament gives final approval to Brexit deal
A British Union Jack flag flutters outside of the European Parliament ahead of the
vote on the Brexit deal in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament on Wednesday gave its final approval to Britain’s divorce deal from the bloc, paving the way for Brexit to take place on Friday.
    The chamber broke into singing Auld Lang Syne, a traditional Scottish song to bid farewell, after voting 621 for versus 49 against the Brexit deal, with 13 abstentions.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Robin Emmott)

1/29/2020 Tears and cheers as EU lawmakers give final nod to Brexit by Gabriela Baczynska and Jakub Riha
Britain's Ambassador to the European Union Tim Barrow delivers the instruments of ratification for Brexit, to European Council
Secretary General Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament gave final approval to Britain’s divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, paving the way for the country to quit the bloc on Friday after nearly half a century and delivering a major setback for European integration.
    After an emotional debate during which several speakers shed tears, EU lawmakers voted 621 for and 49 against the Brexit agreement sealed between Britain and the 27 other member states last October, more than three years since Britons voted out.
    Thirteen lawmakers abstained and the chamber then broke into a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, a traditional Scottish folk song of farewell.    Britain’s 73 departing EU lawmakers headed for an “Au Revoir” party in the EU chamber after the vote.
    Earlier on Wednesday, Britain’s ambassador to the EU handed documents formalizing Brexit to a senior EU official.    Against a backdrop of British and EU flags at the bloc’s Brussels headquarters, Tim Barrow, smiling, passed over a dark blue leather file embossed with the emblem of the United Kingdom.
    After protracted divorce talks, Britain will leave the club it joined in 1973 at midnight Brussels time (2300 GMT) on Friday, when British flags will be removed from EU offices and the EU flag lowered on the British premises there.
    With a status-quo transition period running only until year-end, fresh talks – covering everything from trade to security – will begin soon on a new relationship.
    “We are considering a zero-tariff, zero-quotas free trade agreement.    But the precondition is that EU and British businesses continue to compete on a level playing field.    We will certainly not expose our companies to unfair competition,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told the chamber.
    Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told envoys of the remaining 27 members earlier on Wednesday that a loose association agreement like the EU has with Ukraine should serve as the basis for new relations, diplomatic sources said.
    “We will not give ground on issues that are important to us,” Barnier said, according to sources briefed on the closed-door meeting.
THE UK DIDN’T FIT
    On his last working day as a member of the European Parliament, leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage told reporters there was “no going back” once the UK leaves.
    “The UK didn’t fit, we’d be better off out,” he said, describing euroscepticism as a settled view in the UK, where “Leave” won the 2016 referendum by a narrow 52 to 48 percent margin.
    He said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised him there would be no so-called ‘level playing field’ clauses on fair competition in the new EU-UK deal, highlighting a major point of contention with the bloc in the coming talks.
    As Farage beamed, his Brexit Party lawmakers waved goodbye to the chamber with mini Union Jack flags and chanted “Hurray!,” but their Socialist compatriot Jude Kirton-Darling choked back tears.
    “It’s probably the saddest day of my life so far. Brexit is something that attacks the very foundation of our identity,” said Kirton-Darling, who plans to stay in Brussels with her Belgian husband.
    Guy Verhofstadt, a liberal EU lawmaker from Belgium and a staunch europhile, lamented Brexit as a historic debacle: “It’s sad to see a country leaving that twice liberated us, twice gave its blood to liberate Europe.”
    As a new reality dawns on Europe from Saturday, the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU, or UKRep, will become a foreign mission – already dubbed “UKmissEU” by some.
(Additional reporting by Marine Strauss, Yves Herman and Christian Levaux, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by John Chalmers and Gareth Jones)

1/29/2020 White House: Bolton’s book contains ‘significant amounts of classified information’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this March 5, 2019 file photo, national security adviser John Bolton adjusts his
glasses before an interview at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    The White House has issued a formal notice to former National Security Advisor John Bolton regarding the classified information found in the manuscript of his upcoming book.    In a letter to Bolton’s attorney last week, a National Security Council official said the manuscript contains significant amounts of classified and top secret information.
    The official emphasized that under federal law and nondisclosure agreements Bolton signed, the manuscript may not be published or disclosed until the classified information has been removed.    According to the letter, the manuscript is still under review as officials assist the former adviser in identifying classified information.
    President Trump ripped into Bolton following reports on the contents of his upcoming book.
    In a series of tweets, he took shots at the former adviser’s career.    The president claimed Bolton couldn’t get approved for the UN ambassador job and begged him for the NSA position, despite objections from other advisers.
    President Trump also called out when he mistakenly said the “Libyan model” on TV while referring to North Korea.    He added, “If I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now.”
    The president then blasted his new book, calling the allegations leveled in it “nasty and untrue.”
    The book reportedly claimed that last year, President Trump wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine until their government agreed to investigate Democrats who wronged him in 2016, including the Bidens.
    The president denied Bolton’s account and said the former adviser is only trying to “juice book sales.”
A copy of a letter from the National Security Council at The White House that was sent to former national security
adviser John Bolton’s attorney objecting to “significant amounts of classified information” in the manuscript,
including at the Top Secret level, is photographed Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow)

1/29/2020 Bolton’s interview from 2019 describes Ukraine call as ‘warm and cordial,’ ‘no sign of pressure’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 1, 2019 file photo, National security adviser John Bolton talks
to reporters outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    A 2019 interview with former National Security Advisor John Bolton has resurfaced online. The video revealed the former adviser’s assessment of the July 25th Ukraine phone call before he was fired from the White House.    In August of last year, Bolton told Radio Liberty President Trump had spoken with Ukraine’s president twice and assured audiences that both conversations were friendly.
    “The president called to congratulate President Zelensky on his election and on his success in the parliamentary elections,” he said.    “They were warm and cordial calls.”
    Bolton recently claimed President Trump may have intended to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.    However, at the time of the call, the former adviser didn’t mention any signs of alleged “pressure.”
    “We’re hoping that they’ll be able to meet in Warsaw and have a few minutes together,” he said.    “The success of Ukraine, maintaining its freedom, its system of representative government, freed market economy free of corruption…are high priorities for the United States.”
    Bolton’s remarks from last year also refuted Democrats’ claims that the president abandoned Ukraine to help Russia.
President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York
hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump posted his reaction to the video on Twitter, saying, “Game over!

1/29/2020 President Trump officially signs the USMCA trade deal, making good on his promise to replace NAFTA by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump signs a new North American trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, during
an event at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump said the USMCA is a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal, which will keep jobs and wealth in America.    He made those remarks before signing the new trade agreement into law at the White House Wednesday.
    The president said his administration is finally ending what he called the “NAFTA nightmare.”    He then thanked several lawmakers and cabinet members for their work on the agreement, and said the USMCA is estimated to add another 1.2 percent to GDP as well as countless American jobs.
    President Trump then pointed out politicians have promised for years to replace NAFATA, but unlike them he keeps his promises.
    “Two decades of politicians ran for office vowing to replace the NAFTA and this was a catastrophe…yet once elected, they never even tried, they never even gave it a shot,” he stated.    “They sold out, but I’m not like those other politicians, I guess, in many ways — I keep my promises and I’m fighting for the American workers.”
    President Trump also said the agreement is a partnership with all three countries, and thanked Mexico and Canada for their work on the deal.

1/30/2020 Oil up $1.05 to $53.48, DOW up 12 to 28,734.

1/29/2020 CBP discovers smuggling tunnel system at border in San Diego by OAN Newsroom
A covered access point leading to a smuggling tunnel is seen on the U.S side of the border wall
in San Diego, Calif. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)
    Customs and Border Protection has discovered a smuggling tunnel at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.    On Wednesday, Border Patrol and the DEA said the illegal tunnel was three-quarters of a mile long.    The tunnel connected an industrial building in Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in Otay Mesa, San Diego.
    Officials said it could be used for drug smuggling and human trafficking.
    “I have no doubt that if drugs were smuggled in this tunnel, it was heroin laced with fentanyl,” said DEA official John Callery.
This undated photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration shows what is believed to be
the longest smuggling tunnel between Mexico and the U.S. Authorities have announced the discovery of
the longest smuggling tunnel ever found on the Southwest border. (Drug Enforcement Administration via AP)
    Agents found air-ventilation, an extensive rail system and an elevator in the tunnel, as well as electrical and drainage systems.
    “As far as the initial discovery, it was on the United States side, with a combination of a lot of intelligence gathering and technology that we were able to use,” stated Border Patrol Deputy Chief Aaron Heitke.    “With the help of Mexico, we were able to exact a location of the tunnel itself.”
    Officials believe the tunnel could have several exit points on the U.S. side, including in warehouses and open fields.
    The tunnel is expected to be filled with concrete.

1/30/2020 President Trump is gearing up to hold a 'Keep America Great’ rally in Des Moines, Iowa by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Wildwood, N.J., for a campaign rally,
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is gearing up to hold a ‘Keep America Great’ campaign rally in Iowa.    He will travel to Des Moines Thursday, where he is scheduled to deliver remarks to a crowd of supporters at the Knapp Center at Drake University.
    The visit comes as he is looking to bolster support for his 2020 reelection campaign and he will also likely discuss the Senate’s ongoing impeachment trial.    The president’s defense team sparred with House leaders Wednesday over the validity of the articles of impeachment.
    The rally marks the president’s fourth campaign event this month and comes before the Democrat caucuses are set to kick-off in Iowa on Monday, February 3, 2020.
    Vice President Mike Pence is slated to join President Trump in Des Moines after speaking at an ‘Evangelicals for Trump’ event in Sioux City.    The vice president has continued to tout the administration’s accomplishments and has maintained that the real verdict will come this fall when the America people cast their votes.
    One America News will cover the president’s ‘Keep America Great’ rally live and without interruption starting at 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST

1/30/2020 Pompeo: U.K. heads list of trade deal priority with U.S. by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reacts as he attends a public discussion event with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab,
at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, in London, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Pompeo is in London on the cusp of Britain’s
departure from the European Union for talks focused on a post-Brexit free trade deal. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is predicting a strong relationship between the U.S. and a post-Brexit U.K. in the years to come.    In a news conference with Britain’s foreign secretary Monday, he said he had faith in the U.K. population to hold their leaders accountable and get Brexit right.
    Secretary Pompeo went on to say the democratic process will deliver security, prosperity and opportunity for the British people.    On the topic of a post-Brexit trade deal, he said the U.K. is headed to the top of the list, even going as far as to say he believes a deal can be completed before presidential elections this year.
    “The previous administration took a view that if the United Kingdom made this decision, they’d be at the back of the line — we intend to put the United Kingdom at the front of the line,” stated Pompeo.    “This is a historic relationship between our two countries, save for that moment we busted away a couple hundred years ago, it’s been fantastic.”
    British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said both he and Pompeo have confidence in their relationship to have candid discussions over their concerns about trade.
    U.S. officials have cited their concerns over the U.K.’s plan to use Chinese Huawei technology in their future high-speed network, but have said it wouldn’t “greatly affect” trade deal negotiations.

1/30/2020 In Brussels, a quiet last nod for Brexit and a rainy ‘au revoir’ by Marine Strauss and John Chalmers
British Union Jack and EU flags are seen during a protest outside the
Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brexit cleared its last formal hurdle in Brussels on Thursday, setting Britain’s Jan. 31 exit from the European Union in stone, but it was an unceremonious moment and a party in the heart of the EU’s capital to say “au revoir” was a rain-drenched washout.
    The 27 EU member states that Britain will leave behind at midnight in Brussels on Friday approved the withdrawal agreement reached last October after more than three years of tortuous negotiations.
    Their green light came by so-called “written procedure,” shorthand for an email from each member state.
    That stood in stark contrast to the emotion and drama that gripped the European Parliament’s vote on the historic agreement on Wednesday, as British Brexit Party lawmakers cheered and waved mini Union Jack flags, while others wept over Britain’s departure from the EU after nearly half a century of membership.
    Britain will no longer be an EU member state from Saturday, and it will be considered a third country.
    However, it will enter a transition period until the end of December that is meant to give citizens and businesses time to adapt.    During the transition, Britain will continue to apply EU laws but will no longer be represented in EU institutions.
    A concert organized by the City of Brussels to celebrate its friendship with Britain got off to a miserable start on Thursday as rain lashed the majestic Grand Place.
    Tourists scurried across the square as music blared before a light show that would project the colors of the Union Jack onto buildings.     There was a London black cab on display and a traditional British red telephone booth that had to be covered over with plastic sheeting because the rain was leaking through.
    Nearby, the famous statue of a little boy urinating – the Manneken Pis – had been dressed in a Union Jack waistcoat.
    A more raucous party is planned for later in the day at the bar-lined Place Luxembourg, a few steps from the EU parliament.
    British Green EU lawmaker Magid Magid, the party’s organizer, wrote on Facebook: “Hard or soft, Brexit’s shit – but that doesn’t mean we can’t party together!
UKmissEU
    Brexit Day will be more muted in Brussels than across the Channel, where its supporters in London’s Parliament Square will celebrate their triumph 3-1/2 years after a referendum in which Britons voted to leave the EU.
    A Union Jack in the building of the European Council will be lowered at 7 p.m. time (1800 GMT) on Friday, and put away with the flags of non-EU countries.
    “They have to keep them in case Boris Johnson ever wants to come here,” said an EU official, who declined to be named.
    The European Parliament plans to place one of its British flags in the House of European History, a nearby museum that recounts the history of Europe since 1789.
    At the U.K.’s Representation Office in Brussels, the EU flag will be lowered at the end of the working day on Friday.    On Saturday the name plate outside the building will be replaced, and it will now be known as the U.K. Mission to the European Union, which some have already dubbed “UKmissEU."
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and John Chalmers; Reporting across Europe by Antonio Denti, Emily Roe, Christian Levaux, Ciara Luxton, Marine Strauss, Deborah Kyvrikosaios, Vassilis Triandafyllou, Lewis Macdonald, Dominik Starosz, Polly Rider and Ben Dadswel, Editing by William Maclean)

1/30/2020 Carter Page files lawsuit against DNC over fake dossier by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In a Nov. 2, 2017, file photo, Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, speaks with reporters
following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    Carter Page is filing a lawsuit against the DNC over the unverified dossier that launched the Mueller report.    The defamation suit was filed on Thursday morning in Illinois and also named law firm Perkins Coie and its partners.
    Last week, a federal court confirmed the FISA warrants that allowed Obama era FBI officials to spy on Page were invalid.    His lawsuit claimed the DNC, along with its partners, knowingly spread false and unverified information about him to both the FBI and the DOJ through the Steele dossier.
    “The defendants’ wrongful actions convinced many Americans that Dr. Page is a traitor to the United States, and as a result he has received — and continues to receive — multiple death threats,” the lawsuit stated.    “In short, the defendants’ actions have not only damaged the plaintiffs’ reputations and financial prospects, they have even caused Dr. Page to reasonably fear for his safety.”
    This followed the recent IG report, which outlined how the FBI mishandled the situation and led to dozens of corrective actions within the agency.
    “We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate handpicked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations,” stated the Department of Justice Inspector General.    “The circumstances reflect the failure, as we outlined in the report, not just by those who prepared the applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the crossfire hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed.”

1/30/2020 World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency by OAN Newsroom
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), talks to the media at the World Health
Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
    The World Health Organization (WHO) is declaring an international emergency in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.    On Thursday, the organization panel announced the fast spreading disease, which has infected more than 8,200 people across the world, is now a global health emergency.
    Since it emerged less than a month ago, the coronavirus has resulted in at least 170 deaths and has spread from China to more than a dozen other countries.
    “The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries,” explained WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.    “The greatest concern is for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill prepared to deal with it.”
    According to officials, the declaration does not mean the agency has a vote of no confidence in China.    The announcement was intended to help the agency mobilize financial and political support to contain the outbreak.

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, center, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D.,
left, and U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy director James Carroll speak about opioids with reporters
in the Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    White House officials have downplayed the threat posed by the Chinese coronavirus. On Thursday, Assistant Public Health Secretary Brett Giroir said the federal government is monitoring the virus’ spread.
    “This is no cause for urgent panic in any way in the United States,” stated Giroir.    “This is currently under control.”
    The secretary said screening procedures and medical teams are currently in place at U.S. airports to prevent new cases of the coronavirus from spreading.    He added officials are taking proactive measures to contain the threat.
    “Really, this is a dynamic, rapidly changing event.    The news can change at any given moment.    But the resources are deployed, the government’s mobilized and we feel confident.    We have good diagnostics now by the CDC.    The (National Institutes of Health) NIH already has candidate vaccines as well as many other individuals.” – Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Public Health
    The virus has already affected almost 8,000 people worldwide and claimed 170 lives, but its global spread has slowed in recent days.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Washington, about
the federal government’s response to a virus outbreak originating in China that has has sickened thousands of people
and killed more than 100. Standing with Azar are, from left, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Director Robert Redfield, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease Director Nancy Messonnier and
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Earlier the same day, the CDC confirmed the nation’s first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus.    The new patient was said to be the spouse of the Chicago woman who brought the infection back from Wuhan, China.
    Illinois health officials said the new patient, a male in his 60’s, has some underlying medical conditions, but is currently in good condition.    The other patient is doing well, but remains in isolation at a local hospital.

1/30/2020 Pentagon requests Iraqi government ramp up air defenses at U.S. facilities to deter future Iranian attacks by OAN Newsroom
Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono
at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    U.S. military officials are planning to ramp up air defense infrastructure at American facilities in Iraq to better contain Iran’s Ayatollah regime.    While speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. could move additional Patriot missiles to Iraq to repel possible Iranian attacks in the future.
    Esper pointed out the U.S. would require permission from the Iraqi government to do that.
    At least 50 American troops were wounded when 11 Iranian missiles hit the al-Assad Air Base earlier this month.    That facility did not have adequate air defenses at the time of Iranian attack.
    “We’re working with the Iraqi government in order to do exactly what you just suggested,” stated General Mark Milley.    “There’s mechanical pieces, the science of war so to speak, of actually moving and bringing in Patriot battalions.”
This aerial photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the
western Anbar desert, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
    U.S. troops wounded in the Iranian attack suffered a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI).    Esper pushed back on critics’ claim that the president was not concerned about the troops’ health in the Middle East.    He said President Trump was very concerned about the welfare of all of American service members, particularly those involved in the operations in Iraq.
    The secretary added officials are still learning about those affected and that the injury total could still rise further.
    “There’s a lot more to be learned about these injuries, we’re putting a lot of money into research,” he said.    “It affects us not just on the battlefield, but our service members get hurt during training as well.”
    Esper added all service members who were treated had mild cases of traumatic brain injury.    He also said the week delay in reporting was due to the nature of the wounds.
    “As we predicted, when the first reports came in several days later, there would likely be more and more,” he said.    “I think the TBI manifests itself over time.”

1/30/2020 President Trump: Mainstream media has no credibility for ignoring USMCA by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Knapp Center on the campus
of Drake University, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is hailing the USMCA trade deal as the biggest agreement ever made in U.S. economic history.    He took to Twitter on Thursday to criticize the lack of media coverage of the latest accord with Canada and Mexico.
    The president said mainstream outlets hoped the deal would fall through, but now that it’s signed, they are ignoring it.
    Recent reports found news networks are focusing on the impeachment trial and paying particular attention to Democrat arguments in it.
    While speaking to workers in Warren, Michigan on the same day, President Trump said the deal will improve the U.S. economy.
    “The USMCA is an especially big win for U.S. auto workers,” he said.    “We will create up to 80,000 minimum, probably about 120,000, new jobs, and that’s something that you haven’t seen.”
    The president said mainstream media has no credibility because they refused to acknowledge this latest achievement of his cabinet.

1/30/2020 McConnell has support needed to kill impeachment witness vote by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment
trial at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is confident he will have the votes needed to stop Democrats from calling more impeachment witnesses.    This came after McConnell said he was unsure if he would have the support needed to kill the vote earlier this week.
    Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them in order to call more witnesses for the trial.
    “I hope that we have just four Republicans, all we need is four, who rise to the occasion and say we need to find out the truth,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
    Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele said McConnell spoke with senators, like Lisa Murkowski, who were considered potential swing votes in hopes of persuading them to vote in line with the party.
    “There will be no more witnesses and there will be no new evidence that will be introduced because you’re not going to get the fourth senator,” said Steele.    “That fourth senator is not going to land because Mitch McConnell has such a tight grip on this process.”
    If the Senate kills the vote as expected, the upper chamber could move forward with a vote to formally acquit the president as early as Friday.

1/30/2020 Justice Roberts blocks Sen. Paul’s request to name whistleblower by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, presiding officer Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts reads a question during the impeachment trial
against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Chief Justice John Roberts has blocked Sen. Rand Paul’s attempt to get the alleged whistleblower’s name said on the Senate floor.    On Wednesday, Justice Roberts told senators no question resulting in the naming of the alleged whistleblower will be permitted.    This comes after he reviewed one of Sen. Paul’s questions, which demanded it.
    Democrats and the whistleblower’s lawyers have argued identifying the person could put their life in danger.    However, Sen. Paul believes Americans deserve to know and has been very vocal about his rejection of Democrat efforts to hide it.
    “The whistleblower needs to come before Congress as a material witness because he worked for Joe Biden at the same time Hunter Biden was getting money from corrupt oligarchs,” stated the Kentucky lawmaker.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment
trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    Other Republican senators involved in the impeachment trial have agreed with Justice Roberts and have discouraged outing the whistleblower’s identity.
    Sen. Paul’s spokesperson said it’s to be determined whether or not he will press the issue.
[Everyone ought to pay attention to Sen. Rand Paul now, because he was the one who stood up in Congress during the Obama administration and was telling everyone that the Snowden issue was telling us that there was corruption going on in the FISA surveillance that we should pay attention and stop it.    If they had did that then, we would not be where we are today.    So that DEEP STATE is still here and it was left for Presidnet Donald J.Trump to clean the SWAMP.
    On 1/22/2020 Article: New: Colleagues Overheard Eric Ciaramella, Alleged Whistleblower, Sean Misko Discuss How to Remove Trump from Office by www.redstate.com.
.
Sean Misko is a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff.    In addition to leading the Staff's work on long-term strategy and priorities, he advises the Secretary of State on South Asia and the Middle East.].

1/31/2020 Oil down $1.19 to $52.14, DOW up 125 to 28,859.

1/31/2020 Brexit day: Britain quits EU, steps into transition twilight zone by Guy Faulconbridge
A bus is seen at Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
    LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom leaves the European Union on Friday for an uncertain Brexit future, the most significant change to its place in the world since the loss of empire and a blow to 70 years of efforts to forge European unity from the ruins of war.
    The country will slip away an hour before midnight from the club it joined in 1973, moving into the no man’s land of a transition period that preserves membership in all but name until the end of this year.
    At a stroke, the EU will be deprived of 15% of its economy, its biggest military spender and the world’s international financial capital of London.    The divorce will shape the fate of the United Kingdom — and determine its wealth — for generations to come.
    “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say in a television address, though he has given few clues about his post-Brexit plans beyond inspirational words.
    “This is the dawn of a new era,” Johnson, one of the main leaders of the “Leave” campaign in the 2016, will say.
    Beyond the symbolism of turning its back on 47 years of membership, little will actually change until the end of 2020, by which time Johnson has promised to strike a broad free trade agreement with the EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc.
    For proponents, Brexit is a dream “independence day” for a United Kingdom escaping what they cast as a doomed German-dominated project that is failing its 500 million population.
    Opponents believe Brexit is a folly that will weaken the West, torpedo what is left of the United Kingdom’s global clout, undermine its economy and ultimately lead to a more insular and less cosmopolitan set of islands in the northern Atlantic.
DIS-UNITED KINGDOM
    Brexit was always about much than Europe.
    The June 2016 Brexit referendum showed a divided and triggered soul-searching about everything from secession and immigration to empire and modern Britishness.
    Such was the severity of the Brexit meltdown that allies and investors were left astonished by a country that was for decades touted as a confident pillar of Western political stability.
    At home, Brexit has tested the bonds that bind together the United Kingdom: England and Wales voted to leave the bloc but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.
    Scotland’s First Minister will use the moment to spell out her next steps towards holding a second independence referendum with a poll on Thursday suggesting a slim majority of Scots would now back a split because of Brexit.
    So on “Brexit Day,” some will celebrate and some will weep — but many Britons will do neither.    Many are simply happy that more than three years of tortuous political wrangling over the divorce are over.
    “I did not vote for it and I did not want it to happen, but now I just want it over,” said Judith Miller, a resident of London.    “I am tired, I have had enough, I am sick of it on the news and we are just going to have to deal with it.”
‘NEW DAWN’
    It is unclear how Brexit will play out for either the United Kingdom or the European Union.
    Brexiteers hope ‘independence’ will herald democratic and economic reforms that will reshape the United Kingdom, propelling it ahead of its European rivals which they say are chained to the doomed euro.
    Pro-EU supporters say the United Kingdom will atrophy and have little option but to move closer to U.S. President Donald Trump.    The Times newspaper showed a cartoon of Johnson leaping out the EU frying pan into the fire of Trump’s orange hair.
    Eurosceptic newspapers heralded the impending departure.
    “A New Dawn for Britain,” the Daily Mail said on its front page and the Sun’s headline was “Our Time Has Come.”    The pro-EU Guardian had a different slant: “Small island,” its headline said, adding it was the biggest gamble in a generation.
    Johnson will chair a cabinet meeting in Sunderland, the first city to declare support for leaving the EU in the June 2016 referendum.     Brexiteers will celebrate on Parliament Square while some opponents of Brexit are also due to gather.
    A Union Jack in the building of the European Council in Brussels will be lowered at 7 p.m. time (1800 GMT) on Friday, and put away with the flags of non-EU countries.
    With sorrow, some support for Brexit and even hope of a return, Europeans from across the EU bade farewell.
    “I am very sorry that the United Kingdom is exiting. I think it is a very, very bad thing for Europe, for the United Kingdom, for everything,” said Sara Invitto, from Milan.    “Goodbye!
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Catherine Evans, William Maclean)

1/31/2020 ‘Dawn of a new era’: UK’s Johnson ‘respectfully’ marks Brexit day by Elizabeth Piper
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured)
at Downing Street in London, Britain, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Pool
    LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hail Brexit day on Friday as “the dawn of a new era” and pledge to unite Britain in an address to the nation which he hopes will draw a line under years of angry debate over the European Union.
    On the day the United Kingdom ends its more than 40-year membership of the EU, Johnson, the face of the Brexit campaign, wants to avoid seeming triumphalist.
    He says he will celebrate “respectfully” to mark the country’s most significant geopolitical shift since World War Two, one that has also left deep wounds.
    When Britain leaves, little will change immediately.    Johnson has until the end of the year to negotiate a new trade and future relationship deal with the bloc — something that the EU has repeatedly warned will not be easy.
    But on Friday Johnson, who gambled with his reputation and future career by backing the Leave campaign in 2016, will toast Britain’s much-delayed departure with his team at his Downing Street residence, shunning some more extravagant parties planned in the capital by Brexit supporters.
    He will also be keen to move the debate on, to concentrate on meeting election pledges to help voters in more deprived regions of Britain that secured his governing Conservative Party a landslide victory in December.    Some in his team joke that the word “Brexit” will be banned after Friday.
    “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act,” Johnson will say in a television address due to be aired late on Friday.
    “This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances — your family’s life chances — should depend on which part of the country you grow up in."
    “This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up,” he will say, according to extracts released by his office.
GETTING BREXIT DONE
    After years of political wrangling in the wake of the June 2016 EU referendum, Johnson won December’s election by winning over many voters who traditionally supported the opposition Labour Party with the simple message “get Brexit done.”
    With a large majority of 80, the prime minister now has more freedom to mould Britain’s agenda than any Conservative government since the days of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
    But he also inherits a country where arguments about whether to stay in or leave the EU have divided towns, villages, friends and families for more than three years, and where many people increasingly distrust politicians.
    While wanting to celebrate Brexit, Johnson is also fearful of alienating the millions of Britons who supported staying in the bloc, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    Nationalists in Scotland are increasingly pressing for a new independence vote there, while the Brexit saga has fueled talk in Northern Ireland of reunification with EU-member Ireland.
    European Union chiefs vowed on Friday to find new ways of working together with Britain “as allies, partners and friends.”
    Johnson also wants to try to draw a line under the decades of painful battles over Europe within the Conservative Party which contributed to the downfall of four of his predecessors – Thatcher, John Major, David Cameron and Theresa May.
    Instead, he will focus on boosting funding for, and delivering infrastructure projects to, northern and central England, where thousands of Labour supporters switched to vote Conservative, often for the first time.
    “Our job as the government — my job — is to bring this country together and take us forward,” Johnson will say.
    “And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning … It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Catherine Evans)

1/31/2020 Senate to conclude closing arguments in impeachment trial before vote on whether to call witnesses by OAN Newsroom
The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, as the Senate resumes the impeachment trial of
President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The Senate is set to conclude closing arguments in the impeachment trial with Republicans hoping to close out the proceedings before the weekend.    On Friday, House managers and President Trump’s legal team will each have two hours to finish their arguments before the Senate prepares to vote on whether to call witnesses.
    Democrats need to gain the favor of at least four members of the GOP in order to put that process in motion.    They have been pushing for the testimony of former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney among others.
    If that resolution is killed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely call a vote to end the proceedings.    One senator who has vowed to vote against witnesses, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), is one of the many GOP senators who want to see an end to the trial.
    For a second time during the Q&A sessions of the Senate impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts shut down questions from Sen. Paul, drawing a red-line on submissions surrounding the White House whistleblower’s suspected identity.
    “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” stated Chief Justice Roberts.
    While taking to Twitter after the denial, Sen. Paul defended his inquiry by stating this question was, in fact, “not about a whistleblower.”
    The Kentucky lawmaker proceeded to further explain his rejected question to reporters on Capitol Hill.    He made the following comments:
    “As you may have noticed, we had something slightly atypical downstairs.    I ask a question and the question was refused.    Now, it’s been reported that this questions is about this, or about that, and it’s been refused for one reason or another.    I can tell you that my question made no reference to any whistleblower or any kind of person or a complaint from a whistleblower.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the
impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
    Back on Twitter, Sen. Paul told his followers what his exact question was.    He asked, “are you aware that House Intelligence Committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together?”    He continued by asking, “how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings?
    On Wednesday, Chief Justice Roberts denied Sen. Paul’s first question by saying the naming of the alleged whistleblower will be permitted.     Democrats and the whistleblower’s lawyers have argued that identifying the person could put their life in danger.
    President Trump has repeatedly called the alleged informant a “traitor,” and has suggested he would like to confront his accuser, whoever they are, and put the individual on the witness stand under oath.

1/31/2020 Britain cuts loose from EU with delight, anger and indifference by Guy Faulconbridge and William James
A pro-Brexit supporter holds a placard at Parliament Square on Brexit day, in London, Britain January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom leaves the European Union on Friday with a mixture of joy, anger and indifference, casting off into the unknown in one of the biggest blows yet to Europe’s attempt to forge unity from the ruins of World War Two.
    The EU’s most powerful leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, cast Brexit – due at 2300 GMT – as a sad moment that was a turning point for Europe. The EU warned that leaving would be worse than staying.
    In the United Kingdom’s most significant geopolitical move since its lost its empire, it turns its back on 47 years of membership and must begin charting its own course for generations to come.
    At the stroke of midnight in Brussels, the EU will lose 15% of its economy, its biggest military spender and the world’s international financial capital – London.
    Brexit supporters burned an EU flag outside Downing Street, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson lives.    Some EU supporters were mocked by a larger group of Brexiteers nearby chanting “Bye-bye EU” and “Shame on you” to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.
    “i>This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act,” said Johnson, one of the leaders of the “Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum.    “It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”
    Johnson planned to celebrate with English sparkling wine and a distinctly British array of canapés including Shropshire blue cheese and Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish.
    In Brussels, the European Union’s flag was removed from outside the British embassy.    The official symbol of the EU, a circle of 12 stars on a blue background, was pulled in, leaving only Britain’s Union Jack flying on the flagpole.
    Leaving the EU was once far-fetched: the UK joined in 1973 as “the sick man of Europe” and less than two decades ago British leaders were arguing about whether to join the euro.
    But the turmoil of the euro zone crisis, fears about mass immigration and a series of miscalculations by former Prime Minister David Cameron prompted the 52% to 48% vote to leave.
ANTICLIMAX?
    The final parting of the EU’s most reluctant member is an anticlimax of sorts.
    Beyond the symbolism of the Union Jack flag also being lowered at the European Council building in Brussels at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT), put away with the flags of non-EU countries, little will change until the end of 2020.
    By then, Johnson has promised to strike a broad free trade agreement with the EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc.
    “These negotiations certainly won’t be easy,” Merkel said, cautioning London that if it deviated from the EU’s rules then its access to the EU’s market would be limited.
    Macron said Britain it could not expect to be treated the same way as when it was part of the club.
    “You can’t be in and out,” Macron told the French in a televised address.    “The British people chose to leave the European Union.    It won’t have the same obligations, so it will no longer have the same rights.”
    U.S. President Donald Trump has long supported Brexit.    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Britons wanted to escape the “tyranny of Brussels.”
    Some Britons will celebrate and some will weep – but many will do neither.
‘INDEPENDENCE DAY’
    For proponents, Brexit is “independence day” – an escape from what they cast as a doomed German-dominated project with a doomed single currency that is failing its 500 million people.
    They hope departure will herald reforms to reshape Britain and propel it ahead of its European rivals.
    Karen Evans, a 47-year-old hairdresser carrying a Union Jack, dismissed the concerns of “Remainers”: “They lost.    They need to get over it.    They are bad losers.    This is a day for celebrating.”
    Opponents believe Brexit is a folly that will weaken the West, shrivel what is left of Britain’s global clout, undermine its economy and ultimately lead to a less cosmopolitan set of islands in the northern Atlantic.    They say Britain will now have little option but to cosy up to Trump.
    David Tucker, a pro-European of 75, said he had come to London from Wales to march in the hope that others would keep alive the hope that Britain would one day rejoin the EU:
    “It is a tragedy,” he said.    “We were once part of the world’s most powerful economic bloc.    Now we are just an inward-looking island that is going to get smaller.”
    “It’s a very sad day,” said engineer Roger Olsen, 63.    “I think it is a disaster.    An absolutely wrong thing. And I think time will prove that we have taken the wrong course.”
    Brexit was always about much more than Europe.
    The referendum exposed deep divisions and triggered soul-searching about everything from secession and immigration to empire and modern Britishness.
    Brexit has tested the very fabric of the supposedly united kingdom: England and Wales voted to leave the bloc but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.
    Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, used the moment to demand a second independence referendum. A poll on Thursday suggested a slim majority of Scots would now back a split because of Brexit.
    But after the twists and turns of 3-1/2-years, many voters are simply happy the wrangling is over.    “I just wanted to see it done with,” said Lee Stokes, a 44-year-old project manager.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Andrew MacAskill in London; John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alison Williams)

1/31/2020 Landmines important tool U.S. troops need: Pentagon chief
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global
Security Forum on "Emerging Technologies Governance" in Washington U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that landmines were an important tool that U.S. forces needed, as President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to relax Obama-era restrictions on the U.S. military’s use and acquisition of them.
    “Landmines are an important tool that our forces need to have available need to them in order to ensure mission success and in order to reduce risk to forces,” Esper said during a press conference with his Italian counterpart.
    “That said, in everything we do we also want to make sure that these instruments, in this case landmines, also take into account both the safety of employment and the safety to civilians and others after a conflict,” Esper added.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

1/31/2020 House Speaker Pelosi chastises President Trump’s impeachment defense team by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives as defense arguments by the Republicans resume
in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,
at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested President Trump’s legal team should be disbarred.    While speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, she claimed the president’s defense is trying to undermine the Constitution by saying the president can do anything that benefits his reelection.
    The California Democrat also said she doesn’t know how the defense could make such statements and retain their status as an attorney.
    Pelosi went on to address the possibility of an acquittal in the impeachment trial.    She made the following statement in regards to this possibility:
    “Well, he will not be acquitted.    You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial, and you don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and that.    I would hope that the senators, if it comes to a tie or if there is a question of hearing testimony or receiving documents, would leave it up to the chief justice of the Supreme Court…
    The House speaker also went on to claim President Trump does not know right from wrong, and said she is praying that senators will have the courage to handle the truth and call for witness testimony.

1/31/2020 Senate votes against witnesses, documents in trial by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, the final vote total on the motion to subpoena and allow additional
witnesses and documents, during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol
in Washington, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The motion failed by a vote of 51-49. (Senate Television via AP)
    The Senate has moved to block additional witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial.    Senators voted 51-to-49 on Thursday afternoon, shutting down any attempts to introduce more evidence in the case.
    Senators Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander, among a few others, were considered key swing votes in deciding if the trial would be prolonged.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously predicted the outcome of the vote and has since weighed in with a new statement.
    Tally for vote to subpoena witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
    “There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation, which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘beyond any doubt.’    Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation.    We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator
    The upper chamber is now in its very final stages of the trial.    A vote on the two articles of impeachment is expected next week.
    Republicans have signaled they want to get the trial over with as quickly as possible and added it’s very likely senators will vote to acquit President Trump.
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as they walk on the South Lawn as they depart the White House,
Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Following the vote, the president reacted to the news on Twitter.
    He added, “No matter what you give to the Democrats, in the end, they will never be satisfied.”
    He earlier stated that they were “scamming America.”
    Democrats reacted to vote by condemning the move as a “grand tragedy.”
    “America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” stated Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.    “If the president is acquitted with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value, because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial.”
[WHEN SHAM TRIALS WERE DONE IN THE CONGRESS WHERE WERE YOU, SO HERE WE SEE THAT WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.]

1/31/2020 Schiff and Nadler appear to fight over delivering final arguments by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., answers a question during the impeachment trial
against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    On Friday, President Trump highlighted a tense moment between lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff and Rep. Jerry Nadler.    On Twitter, the president stated “Nadler ripped the final argument away from Schiff and thinks Schiff did a terrible job” during Thursday’s Senate impeachment hearing.
    He added the two lawmakers “are fighting big time!
    The president then shared a video of Nadler stealing Schiff’s thunder for the final word after the lead manager tried to get his attention by calling out his name.
    After Nadler was done speaking, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate for the evening.
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., answers a question during the impeachment trial
against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said the Senate impeachment trial may spill over into next week.
    On Friday, senators said the final steps could last until Wednesday depending on two key issues: how long senators plan to deliberate and how inclined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will be to cooperate with Mitch McConnell.
    Sen. Mike Rounds said procedural issues, like allowing all Congress members 15 minutes to make statements on the Senate floor, could also make the trial last longer.
    After the witness vote, the Senate will likely proceed to another vote to lay out the rules for closing the trial before voting to acquit the president.

1/31/2020 Brexit supporters celebrate as U.K. leaves the European Union by OAN Newsroom
Brexit supporters celebrate at George Square in Glasgow, England, as Britain left
the European Union on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
    Brexit supporters celebrated in the streets of London following the separation of the U.K. from the European Union.    On Friday at 11:00p.m. local time, the U.K. officially left the EU after nearly 50 years of membership.
    Prior to the separation, Brexit supporters flocked to Parliament Square, where they urged fellow attendees to bring their flag and friends.    They said it would be a great opportunity to meet “like-minded people, who are so glad that Britain is finally going to be independent.”
    “This is our day to shine,” said one Brexit supporter.    “This is when we become our own sovereignty again and we rule.”
Brexit supporters gather during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
    Top officials also gathered in Parliament Square for patriotic songs and speeches, including Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who lead the countdown to the official British exit.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage celebrates during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
    On the so-called ‘Brexit Day,’ the British flag was removed from the EU council building in Brussels.
    The formal celebrations of the day concluded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s evening address to the nation.
    “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act.    This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances, your family’s life chances, should depend on which part of the country you grow up in. This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up.” – Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister

Brexit supporters celebrate during a rally outside Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland
as Britain left the European Union on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

1/31/2020 President Trump signs executive order to combat human trafficking by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump signs an executive order to help combat human trafficking in the East Room
of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is saying no one has done more to combat human trafficking than his administration.    He made the remark at the White House on Friday, where he signed an executive order aimed at fighting online child exploitation.
    “This order expands prevention education programs, promotes housing opportunities for survivors, (and) furthermore, it takes the vital step of designating a full time position here at the White House dedicated solely to combating human trafficking, so people know how important it is,” stated the president.
    He went on to say human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and a worldwide problem made worse by the internet.
    President Trump also said his administration has put unprecedented pressure on traffickers at home and abroad.    In recent months, authorities have rescued thousands of victims while ICE has arrested more than 5,000 traffickers.
    “We will not rest until we’ve stopped every last human trafficker and liberated every last survivor,” he said.

    This page created on 1/1/2020, and updated each month by 1/31/2020.

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