Lawyer for Ukraine whistleblower sends White House cease and desist letter to stop Trump’s attacks

(CNN)A lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint document triggered the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, has sent a letter to the White House warning the President to “cease and desist” attacking his client.
“I am writing out…
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Mick Mulvaney scheduled to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry: the latest

Nicholas Wu and Bart Jansen


Published 3: 00 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

WASHINGTON – Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is scheduled to testify Friday before the House Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and Intelligence Committees as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

Witnesses have placed Mulvaney at the middle of the controversy over the pressuring of Ukraine to open investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the withholding of nearly $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine. 

State Department official Catherine Croft had told members of Congress and staff on Oct. 30 that she had first learned of the withholding of security assistance during a July 18 video conference, where she was told Mulvaney had placed a hold on the security assistance. The reason she was given was that “the order came at the direction of the President.”

Mulvaney said during an Oct. 17 press conference that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to encourage an investigation into U.S. domestic politics, though he later issued a statement saying there was no quid pro quo to provide aid in exchange for an investigation of the 2016 election. 

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White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Mulvaney won’t “participate in such a ridiculous, partisan, illegitimate proceeding,” but on Thursday evening, the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Mulvaney for Friday’s deposition, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.

Mark Sandy, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for national security programs has also been summoned for testimony. But Acting OMB Director Russ Vought has said his office won’t be cooperating with the investigation.

Other OMB officials have also failed to appear so far in the impeachment inquiry. 

The scheduled appearances come a day after former national security adviser John Bolton failed to appear for a scheduled meeting with the committees, though Jennifer Williams, a State Department staffer to Keith Kellogg, the national security adviser for Vice President Mike Pence, arrived under subpoena to testify. 

The House Intelligence Committee said Bolton’s lawyer informed the lawmakers that he would take the panel to court if it subpoenaed him, according to a committee official who requested anonymity to describe the situation. Three other National Security Council officials have testified under subpoena.

Impeachment witnesses: Who are the witnesses in the Trump impeachment inquiry and what have they said?

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Federal prison guards falsified records of cell checks, inmate counts

Kevin Johnson


Published 3: 00 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

WASHINGTON–Federal prison employees have falsified logs to claim they conducted mandatory cell checks and inmate counts when they didn’t, according to a recent examination revealed by an internal Bureau of Prisons memo.

The Nov. 4 memo, issued by Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, warned that falsifying documents is “very serious misconduct” that could expose staffers to criminal prosecution.

Federal prison officials declined to respond to questions about how many staffers may have been identified in the reviews.

A prison union official, meanwhile, said he doesn’t believe the issue is widespread, and the real issue is chronic understaffing.

The memo comes as the Justice Department reviews similar allegations of misconduct related to the August suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. 

For months, federal authorities have been examining whether guards assigned to Epstein’s unit at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan slept through mandatory checks in the hours before he was found hanging from a bedsheet, and whether the guards falsified the logs accounting for their time on duty. 

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Epstein’s death, which has spawned multiple federal investigations, prompted a shakeup in leadership at the Bureau of Prisons, with Hawk Sawyer being put in charge. It is her second stint as director of the nation’s largest prison system, with 177,000 inmates.

Reviews of facilities show that “some staff members have failed to perform rounds and complete counts on housing units while documenting that they have,” Hawk Sawyer wrote.

Those checks are “vital to maintaining the safety of staff and inmates and the security of our facilities,” she wrote.

“Failure to conduct rounds, complete counts and providing inaccurate information in government systems and documents are considered very serious allegations of misconduct by the agency,” the director wrote. 

Employees could face discipline or criminal prosecution, she wrote.

Understaffing extends to prison where Epstein killed himself

Prison union representatives have long warned that staffing shortages throughout the prison system, and frequent overtime shifts to fill the gaps, have taken their toll on officers and compromised security.

That includes the Manhattan facility where Epstein died. At the time of his suicide, there were more than 30 staff vacancies, union officials said. Prison supervisors regularly assigned civilian staffers to work guard duty in order to plug unfilled officer positions, the officials said. 

Ten of the 18 staffers who reported for duty on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift–the one on which Epstein was found dead–were working overtime, according to federal prison records. On the previous shift, 4 p.m. to midnight, six of the 20 staffers were working overtime.

Shane Fausey, national president of the prison workers union, characterized the memo as a distraction from the staffing crisis and said he doesn’t believe there is widespread falsification of records. 

“We’re trying to figure out right now what the intent of the memo is,” Fausey said. “In order for a prison to function correctly, you have to have enough officers to make it safe.” 

“This is a distraction from current conditions in which officers are trying to accomplish the mission with one arm tied behind their backs,” he said.

Staffing issues tied to violence?

Indeed, lawmakers and union officials sounded the alarm years before Epstein’s death, highlighting prison operations in which staffers and inmates have been endangered mostly due to deep staffing shortages.

Only days before last year’s murder of gangster Whitey Bulger at a West Virginia federal prison, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and lawmakers from West Virginia and Pennsylvania warned then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the looming dangers.

Manchin cited the 2013 murder of officer Eric Williams at the United States Penitentiary Canaan in Pennsylvania and the 2018 killings of two inmates at the West Virginia lockup where Bulger was beaten to death.

The lawmakers suggested that the practice of deploying civilian prison workers–teachers, nurses, kitchen workers and counselors–to fill officer vacancies was unsafe. That’s because staffers aren’t prepared and inmates are left unmonitored.  

The practice, known as “augmentation,” has been outlined in a series of stories by USA TODAY beginning in 2016. Prison officials have defended the practice of assigning civilian staffers to guard duty, contending that all employees receive security training. 

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“We are writing to express our deep concerns about the Bureau of Prisons’ staffing practices, particularly the over-reliance on augmentation and the failure to follow clear congressional directives to hire more full-time correctional officers,” the lawmakers wrote.

Two days after they sent the letter, Bulger was fatally beaten in his cell. The incident prompted questions about prison officials’ decision to transfer the 89-year-old, wheelchair-bound inmate from Florida to the West Virginia facility, where he was killed hours after he arrived. 

At the time, there were about 40 officer vacancies at the prison.

Since Bulger’s murder, a hiring surge at the West Virginia prison has eliminated that shortage.

“I think she (Hawk Sawyer) has inherited a complicated mission,” Fausey said. “I really don’t think she knows how really bad it is.”

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Selena Gomez totally twinned with her 6-year-old sister at the ‘Frozen 2’ premiere

Andrea Mandell


Published 2: 43 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

Get ready for a cuteness overload.

At Thursday night’s World premiere of “Frozen 2,” Selena Gomez brought the cutest date of all – her 6-year-old sister, Gracie Teefey. 

Even sweeter? The sisters walked hand-in-hand down the red carpet in matching wintry princess garb.

Taking a night off from promoting her new music, the 27-year-old pop star went all in for the Disney event, wearing her hair in Princess Anna-worthy braids and twinning with her younger sister in “Frozen 2”-worthy Marc Jacobs ensembles of white prairie dresses and glittery, furry capes.

“Hope I’m officially the best big sissy ever now.. she was LIVING her best life!!” wrote Gomez on Instagram, sharing happy photos from the night. As for her review of the animated sequel? “Frozen 2 was amazing!!!”

Fans loved the cute red carpet moment.

“selena and her little sister matching on the frozen 2 red carpet has me CRYING,” tweeted @daylightjonah.

“MY HEART SELENA GOMEZ TOOK HER SISTER TO FROZEN 2 PREMIERE OMG,” wrote user @arifaiths, posting video of the sisters spinning together.

“remember when selena mentioned in 2015 that her and gracie were going to dress up as frozen characters and she was going to be elsa, and now she took her to the premiere too that’s really cute,” wrote user @selbieberauhl.

The pop star has been riding high since releasing two new songs in late October, in advance of her first album since 2015.

Gomez’s first single, “Lose You to Love Me,” shows fans the singer regrouping after a breakup left her vulnerable.

“This song is a perfect expression of healing & my absolute favorite song she’s put out yet. A triumph,” bestie Taylor Swift wrote on her Instagram story after the song went viral. “I love you so much @selena gomez”

“Frozen 2” hits theaters Nov. 22.

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Engage, ask questions and observe when investing in stock market

Nancy Tengler

Special to USA TODAY

Published 1: 00 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

Mrs. H was a wonderful role model for women investors: generous, kind, adventuresome, and prudent. Prudent because she informed herself and, in doing so, understood the important role risk played in her investment portfolio. Her interest and aptitude were extraordinarily rare. Few of my subsequent women clients have understood the importance of taking part in the management of their wealth. Or, understood risk is not universally bad.

In fact, Mrs. H understood the importance of taking enough risk to generate strong returns for the future. Which is why she questioned why we owned so many bonds in her portfolio – why not more stocks? Every student of investing learns diversification is prudent but Mrs. H wasn’t convinced. She believed she should own the best performing asset rather than a smattering of everything. If that meant more stocks, so be it.  She wanted to take more risks to achieve a reasonable total return, and she was right.

Only you can help your adviser understand your risk tolerance and return expectations. Take a page from Mrs. H’s book.

LM, on the other hand, was a gadfly. Like Mrs. H, she inherited her wealth but unlike Mrs. H she didn’t care one wit about the particulars. She hired me because she wanted a woman managing her money, but she wasn’t interested in the how and why of how we were investing her assets, rather, she was much more interested in the snowpack in Vale. 

At one point when I tried to reach her to suggest she take some profits off the table, I didn’t hear back for three weeks. I fired her. If LM wasn’t interested in her investments, I knew she would make a terrible client when the market went down. I exhorted her to engage in our process and to understand why we were doing what we are doing (the very reason she had hired us), but she remained uninterested and unresponsive – the quickest way to turn a large fortune into a small one.

Periodic engagement is dangerous. It causes one to zig when they should zag. “Stocks are down… let’s sell!”  

Finally, Ideal Client (IC) is a composite of savvy women I have worked with over the years. These women are engaged in the process, though somewhat tentative. (Being tentative is empirically proven to be a superior strategy.) These women know what they know and what they don’t know. However! They are not shy, they don’t withdraw. They ask questions. They own their input. They understand their limitations. They don’t try to tell me (their adviser) how to do my job, but rather, they enlighten me on the personal factors which inform my diagnosis of their financial fitness and ensure my recommendations are appropriate to their objectives and risk tolerance. 

These women are engaged by not trying to dictate the process. They understand the management of their wealth is uber important but they are unwilling to abdicate.   

Investing can be daunting but it is not brain surgery. Engage, ask questions, make suggestions and then sit back and observe. If your adviser is focused on you and your objectives you should achieve your goals. If not, find someone who will listen and adjust.

It is, after all, your money. 

Nancy Tengler is chief investment strategist at Tengler Wealth Management, ButcherJoseph Asset Management and the author of “The Women’s Guide to Successful Investing.”

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Deion Sanders emerges as candidate for Florida State football coaching job, per report

Jim Reineking


Published 12: 43 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

Deion Sanders — a member of both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fame — has emerged as a candidate for the Florida State head coaching job, NFL Network reports.

On Sunday, FSU fired Willie Taggart midway through his second season as head coach, opening up a job at what has historically been one of college football’s most successful programs.

Sanders’ candidacy is a surprise in that the former Seminoles defensive back has no college or NFL coaching experience. However, Sanders does have experience coaching high school athletes, most notably at the Under Armour All-America Game.

 At Florida State, Sanders was a standout cornerback for the Seminoles, earning consensus All-American honors in 1987 and 1988, and winning the Jim Thorpe Award (awarded to college football’s top defensive back) in 1988. He was also an outfielder for FSU’s baseball team.  

Professionally, Sanders was a two-sport star, spending 14 seasons in the NFL and nine years in Major League Baseball. He was a six-time first-team all-pro and a two-time Super Bowl champion. Sanders currently works as an analyst for NFL Network.

In USA TODAY Sports’ recent countdown of the 100 greatest players in NFL history, Sanders was ranked at No. 16.

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Buffalo Wild Wings employee dies after exposure to ‘common’ cleaning agent, 10 others hospitalized

Jordan Culver


Published 12: 27 AM EST Nov 8, 2019

An employee of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Massachusetts died and 10 others were hospitalized Thursday night after being exposed to a floor cleaner inside the restaurant. 

Just after 5: 30 p.m. Thursday, emergency responders in Burlington were called to the scene following the report of a “sick individual and a potential chemical release,” interim Fire Chief Michael Patterson told reporters in a video from the scene.

Patterson said the fire department arrived and found a man being treated by paramedics outside of the restaurant. He was transported to a hospital, where he died. 

The man, an employee of the restaurant, was exposed to a sodium hypochlorite floor cleaner called “Super 8,” which Patterson said is commonly used. Of the 11 total people hospitalized as a result of the incident, only two were customers, Patterson said. 

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A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson in a statement referred questions to local authorities, citing an ongoing investigation. 

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation,” the spokesperson said. 

Another worker “prepared the floor” with the cleaner and then immediately stepped outside for fresh air, according to Patterson. The worker who died then tried to squeegee the cleaning agent out of the restaurant “when he was overcome,” Patterson said. 

Patterson said the other victims in the incident transported themselves to the hospital and were suffering from difficulty breathing, runny and watery eyes and shortness of breath. He said none of the other victims were believed to be in serious condition. 

A hazmat crew responded to the restaurant and declared it safe, Patterson said. He also said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been informed of the incident and that local law enforcement will conduct an investigation. 

Patterson advised anyone with a medical condition who was inside the restaurant to seek medical attention. 

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