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National Govt & Politics
As Trump slams House impeachment probe, subpoenas pile up
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As Trump slams House impeachment probe, subpoenas pile up

As Trump slams House impeachment probe, subpoenas pile up

As Trump slams House impeachment probe, subpoenas pile up

Even as President Donald Trump again declared his opposition to an impeachment investigation in the U.S. House, Democrats sent out more subpoenas on Thursday, as the probe gathered more steam with the arrest of two associates of the President's personal lawyer, who were charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaign contributions.

Democrats wasted little time in sending subpoenas for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested at Dulles Airport on Wednesday night, heading for Europe on one-way plane tickets.

"Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch. They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry," Democrats told the lawyer for Parnas and Fruman.

"I don't know those gentlemen," President Trump told reporters at the White House. "Maybe they were clients of Rudy (Giuliani)."

"It just gets greasier and greasier," said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN).

Democrats also sent a subpoena to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, about his contacts with Ukraine government officials, and possible involvement in gas sales involving Ukraine.

It wasn't clear that Perry had done anything to press leaders in Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter - but it was clear the ex-Governor of Texas was now getting bogged down in this Ukraine investigation.

Investigators also want to know more about pressure reportedly put on the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, who was unhappy with Giuliani's activities.

"We are moving methodically but expeditiously to uncover how the President used the levers of his office to press Ukraine to investigate a political opponent," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Democrats have made clear to a number of witnesses that if they do not cooperate, it 'shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry.'

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News

  • A Boston bartender might have gotten his biggest tip yet — for performing a lifesaving technique on a man choking. While behind the bar at Silvertone Bar & Grill on Bromfield Street, Oscar Simoza saw a customer suddenly start to choke Thursday night. “At one point, he’s grabbing his friend’s shoulder, and he has, like, a face like he’s laughing, and then I realize his face turns red,” Simoza told WFXT. Simoza ran out from behind the bar to the stool where the man was sitting, surveillance video of the incident shows. He immediately began performing the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage from the man’s throat. “Yeah, I moved,” Simoza told WFXT. “I was surprised. I haven’t played rugby in a while, so it’s pretty funny I can actually run this way still. We got there fast enough.” Simoza was able to dislodge a steak tip the man was choking on. “I was like: ‘I’m doing the Heimlich. I’ve never done this before,’” Simoza said. The man was OK, and customers gave Simoza a big round of applause. “(The choking patron) probably gave me the best tip,' Simoza told WFXT. “Like I say, the best tip ever given to me, ‘Thank you for saving my life.'” When asked how he learned the Heimlich, Simoza replied:, “I learned it from watching ’Baywatch.'”
  • The father of the Florida man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years. Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot. It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son, Anthony Todt, told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog at their Celebration home, WFTV reported. Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case. He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school. Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife, Loretta Todt, on March 19, 1980, at their Bensalem home, People reported. The student, John Chairmonte, pleaded guilty to his involvement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1980. At the time, Chairmonte was characterized as a “burglar and a drug addict,” the newspaper reported in a Dec. 13, 1980, Inquirer story. “Who do you expect Bob Todt to hire to kill his wife, Donny Osmond?' Rubenstein told the newspaper. “A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told WFTV on Friday. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died, but, amazingly, she survived.” What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said. “Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” Rubenstein told WFTV. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.” When Robert Todt was convicted in 1981, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.” Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams. Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids. Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday in a statement. The Queen said the Sussexes “will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.” The couple also will no longer formally represent the Queen, the statement said. 'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family, the Queen wrote. “I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The couple will forgo state funding and repay millions of taxpayer dollars used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor, The New York Times reported. The agreement will go into effect later this spring and will be reviewed by the palace after a year, the newspaper reported. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to the statement from Buckingham Palace. The agreement was made to end the crisis that began 10 days ago when the couple announced plans to step back from their royal duties and spend time in North America, the Times reported.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.'s legal problems might be behind him. The Superdome officer who was slapped on the rear by the Cleveland Browns wide receiver after LSU’s championship victory Monday has decided not to press charges, NOLA.com reported. A video of the encounter has gone viral. The website, citing several anonymous sources, said the 48-year-old officer had signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue legal action against Beckham, 27, who is from New Orleans and played for LSU. The New Orleans Police Department had obtained a warrant for Beckham’s arrest on a count of simple battery, WAFB reported. New Orleans police could rescind the warrant or continue to pursue it, NOLA.com reported. According to the website, the officer had ordered LSU players to put out celebratory cigars lit in the locker room. While talking with one player, the lieutenant said he was struck in the rear by a man who was identified as Beckham. The Browns issued a statement Thursday and said Beckham’s representatives “are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation,” WAFB reported. Beckham has already come under scrutiny for reportedly throwing cash at players after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson, potentially violating NCAA rules.
  • Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a loving tribute to his father, who died Wednesday. Rocky Johnson, who wrestled for 27 years and broke barriers for black wrestlers, died at age 75. Dwayne Johnson posted a long tribute on Instagram, along with a video. “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.” The elder Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, along with his former father-in-law -- and the Rock’s maternal grandfather -- Peter Maivia. Tony Atlas, who along with Rocky Johnson became the first black tag team champions in WWE history, also posted a tribute on Twitter. “We changed wrestling by paving a new path, knocking down doors while showing what movin’ n groovin’ is all about!” Atlas wrote.