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    Democrat Elizabeth Warren says that if she’s elected president, she won’t immediately push to give every American government-funded health care and will work to pass a “Medicare for All” plan by her third year in office. That’s a significant step away from a proposal she’s spent months championing. The Massachusetts senator is pledging to build on existing programs to expand public insurance options in her first 100 days as president. The public option is backed by Warren’s more moderate rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. She says she’d work with Congress to pass universal coverage “no later than” her third year. Warren has been trying to show she’d pay for Medicare for All without raising middle-class taxes. Experts have criticized her approach for underestimating the proposal’s costs.
  • The Latest on Roger Stone’s conviction on witness tampering and other charges (all times local): 12:30 p.m. President Donald Trump is reacting to news that his longtime friend and confidant Roger Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. The president tweeted Friday, just minutes after the jury handed down its verdict in federal court in Washington. He called Stone’s conviction “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country,” because his frequent nemeses, including Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and “including even Mueller himself,” have not been convicted. “Didn’t they lie?,” Trump’s tweet said. Stone was convicted on a seven-count indictment brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election tampering. Prosecutors alleged he lied to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a House intelligence committee probe. __ 12:05 p.m. A judge says can Roger Stone can remain free pending his sentencing in February. Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected prosecutors’ request that Stone be jailed following his conviction Friday for lying to Congress and other charges stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Jackson said Stone will be subject to the same conditions he faced following his arrest, including a gag order preventing him from talking to media. She set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6. Stone, 67, could face up to 20 years in prison. __ 11:52 a.m. Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, has been found guilty at his trial in federal court in Washington. Stone was convicted Friday. He was charged in a seven-count indictment that alleged he lied to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a House intelligence committee probe. His trial highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about emails hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that were released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Prosecutors say Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host Randy Credico and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. He’s also accused of trying to intimidate Credico and threatening to take his dog. Stone had denied the allegations and decried the case as politically motivated.
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is on the ballot in New Hampshire, where he hopes his patience will pay off. The Democratic presidential hopeful signed up for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary on Friday, the final day of the filing period. Though he lags behind in polls, Booker says he's not one to switch strategies or states to focus on, as some other candidates have done. Booker’s latest trip to New Hampshire comes a day after former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick jumped into the race. Booker says it's good to have robust competition, and that he doesn't take it personally that some of his close friends are also running.
  • A State Department official who has drawn praise for speaking out in the past about problems in the Foreign Service is set to testify to House impeachment investigators about a conversation he overheard President Trump having about “investigations” in Ukraine. David Holmes, a career diplomat, is testifying Friday afternoon to lawmakers behind closed doors and is expected to discuss his recollection of a July 26 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union. The conversation came the day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which the U.S. president pressed his counterpart to find information that could help his campaign. This second call was revealed in congressional testimony by Bill Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, who said a staff member overheard while Trump spoke to Sondland by phone at a restaurant in Kyiv. Holmes, now the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, joined the Foreign Service in 2002 and has served in Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Kosovo and Russia as well as on the National Security Council staff. He won an award for constructive dissent from the American Foreign Service Association in 2014 for complaining about problems that an alternate diplomatic channel had caused in South Asia and recommending organizational changes to the State Department’s bureaucratic structure for the region. Holmes believed that rivalry between the Office of Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs was hurting efforts to promote American interests in the region. The special representative post, known as SRAP, was created in 2009 under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and held until his sudden death in late 2010 by the late, legendary diplomat Richard Holbrooke. While he held the job, Holbrooke gradually expanded its authorities and responsibilities in ways that continued after he passed away. The expansion of the SRAP office outside the usual chain of command caused consternation within the South and Central Asia bureau, which had traditionally held the entire portfolio. Holmes said competing interests between the two, notably the “non-business as usual approach” of Holbrooke’s former office had “hindered our diplomatic effectiveness” in South Asia. Holmes made his concerns known through the State Department’s so-called “Dissent Channel,” which provides diplomats with a confidential way of registering serious concerns. It’s similar to but distinct from the method — a personal cable to the secretary of state — that Taylor used to register his objections about Ukraine policy. Taylor revealed the call between Trump and Sondland when he testified Wednesday to Congress. The Associated Press later learned that a second U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv overheard the call between Trump and his ambassador to the European Union as they discussed a need for Ukrainian officials to pursue “investigations.”
  • Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, was found guilty Friday of witness tampering and lying to Congress about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election bid. Stone was convicted of all seven counts in a federal indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during the trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense. Stone, 67, showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read aloud, count by count. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6. He could face up to 20 years. Trump tweeted minutes after the verdict, calling the conviction “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country,” because his frequent nemeses, including Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and “including even Mueller himself,” have not been convicted. “Didn’t they lie?” In a trial that lasted about a week, witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Steve Bannon, who served as the campaign’s chief executive, testified during the trial the trial that Stone had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails. Campaign officials saw Stone as the “access point” to WikiLeaks, he said. After the verdict was read, prosecutors asked for Stone to be jailed as he awaits sentencing, arguing that he may have violated a judge’s order that prohibits him from communicating with the media about his case. But Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected that request and said Stone will be subject to same conditions he faced following his arrest, including the gag order. Throughout the trial, prosecutors used Stone's own text messages and emails — some of which appeared to contradict his congressional testimony — to lay out their case that he lied to Congress and threatened a witness. Stone did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses in his defense. On Tuesday, a top Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, who was a key cooperator in the Mueller probe, testified that that Stone tried to contact Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, to 'debrief' him about developments on the hacked emails. Prosecutors alleged Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico — who scored an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, when he was avoiding prosecution by sheltering in the Ecuadoran embassy in London — and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans. But he started pressing Credico to broker a contact, and Credico testified that he told Stone to work through his own intermediary. Earlier testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Assange and pressured Credico not to contradict him. After Credico was contacted by Congress, he reached out to Stone, who told him he should 'stonewall it' and 'plead the fifth,' he testified. Credico also testified during Stone’s trial that Stone repeatedly told him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before Congress. Prosecutors said Stone had also threatened Credico's therapy dog, Bianca, saying he was “going to take that dog away from you.” ___ Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and Ashraf Khalil at www.twitter.com/ashrafkhalil.
  • A federal judge has ruled the U.S. government was correct when it determined a woman who joined the Islamic State group was not an American citizen despite her birth in the country. Lawyers for the family of the woman said Friday that they plan to appeal the ruling. “While we are disappointed with and disagree with the Court’s ruling today, this is not the end of our client’s legal options,” said Christina Jump, a lawyer with the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America. Hoda Muthana was born in New Jersey in October 1994 to a diplomat from Yemen and grew up in Alabama. In 2014, she left the U.S. to join IS apparently after becoming radicalized online. While she was overseas the government determined she was not a U.S. citizen because her father was a diplomat at the time of her birth and revoked her passport. She surrendered in January to U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as the Islamic State began losing the last of its self-declared “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria and has been in refugee camps ever since. Muthana said she regretted her decision to join the group and wanted to return to the U.S. with her toddler child, the son of a man she met while living with the group and later died. Her family filed suit to enable her return to the United States. Children of diplomats are not entitled to birthright citizenship but the family’s lawyers argued that her father's status as a diplomat assigned to the U.N. ended before her birth and she was automatically a citizen. The U.S. says it wasn't notified that his status had changed until February 1995, apparently because of a delay in reporting it by the U.N., and therefore he was still a diplomat. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton upheld that determination Thursday. Jump said the judge ruled from the bench that he believes he is bound by the Department of State’s representation as to when the government received notice that the father’s diplomatic position had ended, and granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on that basis. Her case has drawn widespread attention because President Donald Trump tweeted about it in February, saying he had directed the secretary of state not to allow her back into the U.S. The decision to revoke her passport was made under President Barack Obama.
  • President Donald Trump will try to convince U.S. allies that they should increase defense spending when he attends a meeting of NATO leaders next month in London, the White House said Friday. Trump, who met this week at the White House with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, has long pushed allies to reduce their reliance on the United States for security assistance. ``We are making real progress,” Stoltenberg told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday. “Before allies were cutting defense budgets. Now, they are adding billions to their budgets and by the end of next year, NATO allies in Europe and Canada will have added $100 billion or actually more than $100 billion to their defense spending” since 2016. Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said Trump will attend the NATO meeting from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, and will also stress NATO’s readiness to respond to terrorist threats and cyberattacks that target infrastructure and telecommunications networks. She said the president and first lady Melania Trump will also go to a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
  • New rules from the Trump administration on Friday would require insurers and hospitals to disclose upfront the actual prices for common tests and procedures to promote competition and push down costs. But the sweeping changes face stiff pushback from the health care industry and a coalition of major hospital groups quickly announced that hospitals will sue to block the changes. Even in an ideal world where information flows freely, patients and their families would have to deal with a learning curve to become comfortable with the intricacies of health care billing. “This shadowy system has to change,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. “The patient has to be in control.” A final rule would apply to hospitals and a proposed regulation would apply to insurance plans. Disclosure requirements for hospitals would not take effect until 2021; for insurers, the timing is unclear. The requirements do not directly affect doctors. Officials say the rules would shine a spotlight on the confusing maze of health care prices, allowing informed patients to find quality services at the lowest cost. Prices for an MRI scan for example can vary by hundreds of dollars depending on where it’s done. Insurers would have to create individualized estimates of what patients would owe out-of-pocket due to deductibles and copayments. Insurers and hospitals say the push for disclosure goes too far. They say the government would force them to publicly disclose rates they negotiate as part of private contracts normally beyond the purview of authorities. “This rule will introduce widespread confusion, accelerate anticompetitive behavior among health insurers, and stymie innovations,” the American Hospital Association and three other major hospital groups said in a statement. “Our four organizations will soon join with member hospitals to file a legal challenge to the rule on grounds including that it exceeds the administration’s authority.” Insurers also contend the plan could backfire, prompting providers that are accepting a bargain price to try to bid up what they charge if others are getting more. Azar called such criticism “a canard,” saying transparency does not lead to higher prices in any other area of the economy. With the industry going to court, it could be a long time before the complex litigation is resolved and consumers might see changes. For hospitals, the rule would require: —publication in a consumer-friendly manner of negotiated rates for the 300 most common services that can be scheduled in advance, such as a knee replacement, a Cesarean-section delivery or an MRI scan. Hospitals would have to disclose what they’d be willing to accept if the patient pays cash. The information would be updated every year. —publication of all their charges in a format that can be read on the internet by other computer systems. This would allow web developers and consumer groups to come up with tools that patients and their families can use. For insurers, the rule would require: —creating an online tool that policyholders can use to get a real-time personalized estimate of their out-of-pocket costs for all covered health care services and items, from hospitalization, to doctor visits, lab tests and medicines. —disclosure on a public website of negotiated rates for their in-network providers, as well as the maximum amounts they would pay to an out-of-network doctor or hospital. The disclosure requirements would carry out an executive order President Donald Trump signed this summer.
  • President Donald Trump on Friday released the summary transcript of his April congratulatory call with Ukraine’s president-elect, the latest salvo in the White House effort to blunt Democratic allegations that Trump abused his power by pressuring a foreign leader to get involved in U.S. politics. The new account of Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelenskiy differs significantly from the initial summary of the conversation that the White House released in April. While the first readout of the call said Trump had expressed his commitment to help Ukraine 'root out corruption,' there is no mention of corruption in the rough transcript released on Friday. The release of the April call came as the House held a second day of public impeachment hearings with U.S. diplomats who have raised concerns that Trump may have misused his presidential powers by withholding military aid to Ukraine as he called on Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a top political rival. The 16-minute call, placed from Air Force One at Trump flew back to Washington after a weekend in Florida, is filled with flattery for Trump from Zelenskiy, and invitations from the new Ukrainian leader for Trump to visit Kiev. There is no reference to Biden or his son, or to Trump’s interest in having the Eastern European leader launch an investigation into the Bidens. National security officials who listened to the call had said in advance that this first conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy was not considered problematic. The House impeachment inquiry was spurred by Trump’s second conversation with Zelenskiy, on July 25, in which the U.S. president urged Zelenskiy to look into the Bidens and Democrats in the 2016 election. According to the White House account of the April call, Zelenskiy told Trump: “You are, as I said, a great example. We are hoping we can expand on our job as you did. You will always, also, be a great example for so many.” Pressing Trump to visit Ukraine, Zelenskiy added: “I know how busy you are but if it’s possible for you to come to the inauguration ceremony, that would be a great, great thing for you to do to be with us on that day.” Trump in recent days has attempted to shift the spotlight from his July conversation with Zelenskiy to the April call, in in which he spoke to Zelenskiy soon after he won a landslide victory over Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko. Trump, in comments to reporters last week, called the April call transcript “very important.” Referring to the April call, he urged reporters to read the transcript and “tell me if there's anything wrong with it.” The rough transcript as released minutes before former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch began her testimony before impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill. The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Devin Nunes, read the rough transcript aloud into the congressional record. “The President took the unprecedented steps to declassify and release the transcripts of both of his phone calls” with Zelenskiy “so that every American can see he did nothing wrong,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. In that first call, Zelenskiy, taking power against the backdrop of Russian menace, urgently tried to build a relationship with Trump, extolling Ukraine’s food and people while repeatedly asking the president to come visit. Trump demurred but pledged that a high-level delegation would attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence was slated to attend the Kyiv ceremony but his trip was canceled. In the end, Energy Secretary Rick Perry led the delegation. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer assigned to the National Security Council, said during a closed-door deposition last month that the two calls between the president were starkly different in tone. “What I could say is the tone in the call on the 21st of April was very positive, in my assessment,” Vindman said. “The call, the tone of the call on July 25th was not. It was...I'm struggling for the words, but it was not a positive call. It was dour. If I think about it some more, I could probably come up with some other adjectives, but it was just — the difference between the calls was apparent.” Fiona Hill, the former top Russia policy specialist at the National Security Council, in her deposition described the April exchange between the two presidents was a “short congratulatory call.” The first call was marked as unclassified, for official use only. The second call was classified as Secret/Originator Controlled/No Foreign Nationals and was placed on a highly classified National Security Council server. The rough transcript released Friday appeared to show some warmth between the two leaders with Trump extending congratulations on the electoral victory. “I think you will do a great job. I have many friends in Ukraine who know you and like you. I have many friends from Ukraine and they think — frankly — expected you to win,” Trump said. “I have no doubt you will be a fantastic president.” Democrats have said that Trump withheld military aid and the possibility of a White House visit, a clear symbol of alliance between the two governments, unless Zelenskiy investigated the Bidens. Trump, in the April call, did offer a visit to Washington. “When you’re settled in and ready, I’d like to invite you to the White House,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of things to talk about, but we’re with you all the way.” Zelenskiy has yet to visit Washington, though the two men met in September in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. In the April call, the Ukrainian leader vowed to practice his English for their eventual meeting — Trump responded with a laugh, “I could not do that in your language!” — and repeatedly extolled his country and asked Trump to come visit, even if not for the inauguration. “Well, I agree with you about your country, and I look forward to it,” Trump said. “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people.” ___ Follow Madhani on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@AamerISmad and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and House impeachment hearings (all times local): 11:35 a.m. The No. 3 Republican in the House says President Donald Trump “was wrong” to post tweets critical of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony in the impeachment hearings. Rep. Liz Cheney said Yovanovitch “clearly is somebody who’s been a public servant to the United States for decades and I don’t think the president should have done that.” The Wyoming Republican served in senior State Department roles when her father, Dick Cheney, was vice president and she has been more supportive of the career diplomats that have so far testified than some other Republicans. Trump tweeted about Yovanovitch as she was answering questions from lawmakers, noting that she’d once served in Somalia and adding, “How did that go?” He tweeted: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” ___ 10:55 a.m. Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says President Donald Trump’s tweets about her during her testimony in the impeachment hearings are “very intimidating” to her and other witnesses. Trump tweeted about Yovanovitch as she was answering questions from lawmakers, noting that she’d once served in Somalia and adding, “How did that go?” He tweeted: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Yovanovitch responded to Trump’s charge, saying, “I don’t think I have such powers.” She said she and her colleagues have improved conditions in places where they’ve served. Yovanovitch was abruptly dumped as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine this spring. State Department officials never criticized her performance. The career diplomat testified Friday that she’d been felled by a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump and his allies. ___ 10:35 a.m. Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says she was told by a colleague that “the color drained from my face” as she read a rough transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump said Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.” The rough transcript was released in September, months after Yovanovitch was ousted from the job at Trump’s direction. She told lawmakers at the second House impeachment hearing Friday that it felt like a vague threat. Yovanovitch said it was a “terrible moment” and that words fail her even now to describe it. She said it was hard to believe 'the president would talk to any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state, and it was me. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.' ___ 10:30 a.m. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says she was devastated when she learned President Donald Trump wanted to remove her from her post. A top State Department official told Yovanovitch in April to come back to Washington from Ukraine “on the next plane.’’ Yovanovitch told Congress Friday that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan “said the words that every foreign service officer” fears: “‘The president has lost confidence in you.’ That was a terrible thing to hear.” Sullivan told her that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “was no longer able to protect” her from attacks led by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch said the call “made me feel terrible. After 33 years of service to our country ... it was not the way I wanted my career to end.” ___ 10:20 a.m. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says she was told last April by a State Department official to return to the United States “on the next plane” because of concerns “up the street” — a phrase she understood to mean the White House. Yovanovitch said she received the call at 1 a.m. from an official who said she needed to come home right away. The person said there were concerns about her security. She asked if that meant her physical security. The person said no. Yovanovitch said this was “extremely irregular” and she argued. But she eventually returned, where she learned that President Donald Trump no longer wanted her to serve. ___ 10:15 a.m. Marie Yovanovitch says she had a reputation for championing anti-corruption interests in Ukraine. Yovanovitch, who was recalled last spring from her job as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said under questioning from Rep. Adam Schiff that that work may have upset certain officials in Ukraine. She says State Department officials tried to produce a statement of support for her after her abrupt recall from her post, but she was told that effort was unsuccessful because the officials feared their message would be undercut by the president. She says she was told that she had lost the president’s confidence and flew from Ukraine on the same day as the inauguration of Ukraine’s president. ___ 10:10 a.m. President Donald Trump is attacking a witness in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry while she is testifying before lawmakers. Trump tweets that “everywhere” that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch went “turned bad.' Noting her postings in the foreign service, Trump says: “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Trump says he has the “absolute right” to appoint ambassadors. Yovanovitch is a career foreign service officer with a solid reputation. She testified Friday that she was the victim of “a campaign of disinformation” that used “unofficial back channels” leading to her removal from Ukraine. ___ 9:45 a.m. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has told Congress that attacks from corrupt interests have created a crisis at the State Dept. Yovanovitch is testifying openly before the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. She told lawmakers that she was the victim of “a campaign of disinformation” that used “unofficial back channels” leading to her removal from Ukraine. She says it “continues to amaze” her that Americans partnered with “Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules” in pushing for her removal. Yovanovitch is also sounding alarm that senior State Department officials did not defend her from attacks from the president’s allies, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. She is telling lawmakers about a “crisis in the State Department.” She says: “The State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage.” ___ 9:35 a.m. The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee has read aloud a memo circulated by the White House that summarizes the first conversation between President Donald Trump and his newly elected Ukrainian counterpart. The first conversation took place in April after the election of Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It consists largely of pleasantries and words of congratulations. The White House made a record of the conversation public at the start of the House impeachment hearing on Friday. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, read the document aloud to suggest that there was nothing untoward in the conversation. Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, said Trump should also 'release the thousands of other records that he has instructed the State Department not to release.” ___ 9:30 a.m. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “smeared and cast aside” by President Donald Trump because she was considered an obstacle to his personal and political agenda. Opening the second public House impeachment hearing, Schiff said the question isn’t whether Trump could recall Yovanovitch but “why would he want to?” Yovanovitch testified behind closed doors last month that she was told to “watch her back” before she was ousted in May as Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani led a shadow foreign policy. Schiff said pushback at the State Department failed when it became clear that Trump wanted her gone. Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said the hearings were “spectacles” for Democrats to “advance their operation to topple a duly elected president.' ___ 9 a.m. The House has opened a second day of Trump impeachment hearings with Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was suddenly recalled back to the U.S. by President Donald Trump. Yovanovitch is expected to testify about her ouster, which another diplomat has called a “smear” campaign against her by Trump allies. The live public hearings by the House Intelligence Committee are being held to determine whether Trump should be removed from office over his actions toward Ukraine. The investigation centers on Trump’s July 25 phone call when he asked the new Ukraine president for a favor — to investigate Democrats and potential 2020 rival Joe Biden — as the White House was withholding military aid to the Eastern European nation. Yovanovitch and others have described Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as leading what one called an “irregular channel” outside the diplomatic mainstream of U.S.-Ukraine relations. __ 8:35 a.m. The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine has arrived on Capitol Hill to testify in the Trump impeachment inquiry. Marie Yovanovitch is the witness for the second day of public hearings. She’s expected to tell lawmakers about her sudden ouster as President Donald Trump recalled the career ambassador back to the United States. Other diplomats testifying in the investigation have defended Yovanovitch, saying she was the target of “smear” campaign by the president’s allies. She has served both Democratic and Republican presidents. The rare impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. Democrats say it amounts to bribery, as the president withheld military aid to Ukraine while he pushed the country to investigate rival Democrats, including Joe Biden. Trump calls the probe a hoax and says he did nothing wrong. __ 12:15 a.m. The House will hear from a singular witness Friday in the Trump impeachment hearings: Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was targeted by the president’s allies in a “smear” campaign now central to the probe. The career diplomat, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, is expected to relay her striking story of being suddenly recalled by Donald Trump and told to “watch my back.” It was all part of a swiftly developing series of events that sounded alarms about the White House’s shadow foreign policy. Friday is the second day of public hearings to consider removing America’s 45th president. Democrats and Republicans are hardening their messages to voters as they try to sway voter opinion amid a deeply polarized public. The House will hear from a singular witness Friday in the Trump impeachment hearings: Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was targeted by the president’s allies in a “smear” campaign now central to the inquiry.

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  • A jury found Roger Stone guilty Friday of obstruction, giving false statements to Congress and tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came on the second day of jury deliberations. Stone had denied any wrongdoing and framed the charges as politically motivated. Update 12:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Jurors found Stone guilty Friday of all seven counts against him, including one charge of obstruction, one charge of witness tampering and five charges of making false statements connected to his pursuit stolen emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman set a February 6 sentencing date for Stone, Fox News reported. Until then, Berman allowed Stone to be released on his own recognizance. Stone, who did not take the stand during his trial, is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The president slammed the jury's verdict Friday, questioning in a tweet whether Stone fell victim to 'a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country.' Original report: Jury deliberations in the case against Roger Stone, a political consultant and confidant of President Donald Trump, extended into a second day Friday after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether he lied to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. Jurors asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson two questions Thursday during their six hours of deliberations, Reuters reported. The questions were about what was considered testimony in the case and a request for a clarification of the charges, according to the Courthouse News Service. Authorities arrested Stone in January on charges brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who headed the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone was charged with obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said Stone lied to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment and scrutiny in its quest for emails hacked by Russian officials and disseminated by WikiLeaks, according to The Washington Post. Attorneys for Stone claimed he never intentionally deceived Congress and that he was simply wrong in his testimony after committee members unexpectedly peppered him with WikiLeaks-related questions. 'There was nothing illegal about the campaign being interested in information that WikiLeaks was going to be putting out,' defense attorney Bruce S. Rogow said, according to the Post. 'This is what happens in a campaign. … It happens in every campaign.' In testimony, several witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about the more than 19,000 emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to WikiLeaks. Former campaign CEO Steve Bannon reluctantly testified last week and told jurors Trump's campaign saw Stone as an 'access point' to WikiLeaks. He said Stone boasted about his ties to the anti-secrecy group and its founder, Julian Assange. Bannon said campaign officials tried to use Stone to get advanced word about hacked emails damaging to Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rick Gates, who served as a campaign aide for Trump, told jurors Stone asked him in June 2016 for the contact information of Trump's son-in-law and then-senior campaign adviser, Jared Kushner. Stone wanted to 'debrief' him on developments about the hacked emails, Gates said. Stone has proclaimed his innocence and accused Mueller's team of targeting him because of his politics. He could face up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A newborn’s body was found on a pile of rocks on the side of the road Tuesday night, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  The infant was found lying in the fetal position with the umbilical cord still attached in freezing temperatures, News12 reported. Investigators are interviewing the child’s mother. Charges have not been filed and there have been no arrests, WPVI reported. Her identity has not been released. 
  • Roger Stone was one of the key figures of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian election meddling, accused fo trying to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race, NBC News reported. Stone was found guilty of all charges he faced including making false statements to Congress and obstruction of justice. Stone's lawyers said that any misstatements their client made to lawmakers were unintentional, the Washington Post reported shortly after his arrest. Who is Roger Stone? Stone was born in 1952 and was raised in Lewisboro, New York. His mother was a newspaper writer and his father was a well digger. Stone started his conservative leanings when a neighbor gave him a book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” written by Barry Goldwater. It was given to him before he turned 13. Shortly after, he started working on the mayoral campaign for William F. Buckley Jr. in New York on weekends in 1965, The New Yorker uncovered in an article published in 2008.  He attended George Washington University but didn’t graduate because he got into politics, working with Republican candidates for more than 40 years, according to The New Yorker. >> Read more trending news  He was only 19 when Watergate happened, and he, under the name Jason Rainier, made contributions to Pete McCloskey, who was challenging President Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Stone, as Rainier, made the contributions through the Young Socialist Alliance and then released the receipt to a newspaper to show that McCloskey was a left-wing candidate, according to The New Yorker. Stone also hired another person to work in  George McGovern’s Democratic presidential campaign. Both events were uncovered during the Watergate hearings in 1973. He lost a job on the staff of Republican Bob Dole because of the hearings and started the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which backed Republicans Chuck Grassley in Iowa and Dan Quayle in Indiana. Stone also worked twice on the Republican presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan -- once in 1976, when Reagan didn’t win, and again in 1980, when he did -- then as political director for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, The New Yorker reported. After Reagan took office, Stone stayed in the private sector, creating a political consulting and lobbying firm that went under different names, including Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater.  The firm worked for corporations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to lobby former co-workers in the Reagan campaign who held jobs in the administration. It also served clients like Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, The New Yorker found. Focusing more on political campaigns as a solo entity instead of lobbying as part of a group, Stone worked as a senior consultant for the successful campaign of George H.W. Bush and worked three campaigns for Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. He also ran unsuccessful campaigns for Dole’s 1996 quest for president. He was brought in when the 2000 presidential recount started in Florida. He played the political game on radio stations in southern Florida, saying that the recount was Al Gore’s left-wing power grab, The New Yorker reported. His efforts, along with other Republican assets, empowered George W. Bush’s Republican supporters to protest the second recount. Stone wanted, and got, the recount in Miami shut down in what became the “Brooks Brothers riot,” The Washington Post and The New Yorker reported. Stone also worked on  the younger Bush’s re-election campaign. It is believed documents obtained by CBS News that showed that Bush got out of military service for Vietnam were actually fake and that Stone was the person who created the documents, The New Yorker reported. Stone was one of President Donald Trump’s panel of long-time advisors, The Washington Post reported. He was connected to Trump when the now-president floated the idea of running in 2000.  Then, Trump said, “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” who “always takes credit for things he never did,” according to The New Yorker. Despite the harsh words then-private sector member Trump had for Stone, he used Stone for his campaign not once, but twice, teaming up in 2011 when Trump toyed with, but eventually decided against a presidential run. They went their different ways in August 2015, the Times reported.  But who pulled the plug on Stone’s tenure on the Trump campaign? Stone said he resigned and Trump’s campaign officials said he had been fired, The New York Times reported. Trump said of the firing, “I hardly ever spoke to the guy; he was just there. He played no role of any kind,” the Times reported in 2015. But Stone was listed on Federal Election Commission filings as being on the campaign payroll and he used Twitter to defend Trump during the campaign, according to the Times. What is his connection to Trump? Stone has been scrutinized for having ties to WikiLeaks by using an associate as an intermediary between himself and people associated with WikiLeaks, CNN reported. Stone spoke about having “back channel communications” with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, during the campaign. Stone later said the “back channel” was really a New York radio host, Randy Credico, who allegedly shared only information gleaned from interviews with Assange, CNN reported. Stone also predicted releases of information by WikiLeaks in the final days of the campaign between Trump and his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, CNN reported.  Stone said in a column for Breitbart, the website run by former Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon, that it wasn’t the Russians who hacked the servers containing the emails leaked by WikiLeaks, but it was actually a hacker who went by the name Guccifer 2.0.  >>Read: Russian hackers indicted: Who is Guccifer 2.0? Here are 15 things to know Despite Stone’s assertions in the column, some have linked Guccifer 2.0 to Russian web services, Foreign Policy reported.  In July 2016, the Times reported that intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the email leaks and that Guccifer 2.0 was in reality an agent of the Russian military intelligence service, or GRU. Mueller’s team is investigating whether there were other connections between Stone and WikiLeaks. That connection could come in the form of Jerome Corsi, another associate of Stone’s who said this week that he expects to be indicted by Mueller for “giving false information to the special counsel or to one of the other grand jury,” CNN reported. If Corsi’s prediction comes true, he could face charges from perjury to making false claims and even obstruction of justice, all related to false statements he made about his alleged connection between WikiLeaks and Stone, CNN reported. Stone, however, said he was truthful in previous testimony before a congressional panel. >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Here’s what the DOJ says happened “My attorneys have fully reviewed all my written communications with Dr. Corsi,” Stone wrote in a statement to CNN. “When those aren’t viewed out of context they prove everything I have said under oath regarding my interaction with Dr. Corsi is true.” Stone went on to write, “I stand by my statement to the House Intelligence Committee and can prove it is truthful if need be. I have passed two polygraph tests administered and analyzed by two of the nation's leading experts to prove I have (been) truthful.” >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Military officials accused of hacking DNC, stealing voter info Corsi said Stone warned that there would be trouble for Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta after Corsi published an article for InfoWars. After Stone’s statement, WikiLeaks released thousands of hacked emails from Podesta, CNN reported.  >>Read: WikiLeaks emails: FBI investigates, Podesta claims he was targeted by Russian hackers Stone tweeted “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” six weeks before WikiLeaks published the emails, The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks source was 'not the Russian government' Stone said he did not tell Trump that WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails and denied working with Russia, CNN reported. But Stone did say in a recent opinion piece for The Daily Caller, that he emailed Bannon during the campaign, CNN reported. Stone, in the column, clarified that the information he shared with Bannon was publicly available. Stone said the statements he made during the campaign were exaggerations or tips only and that he didn’t know details of WikiLeaks’ plans before the document drops, the Post reported.
  • The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is testifying Friday in the second public hearing in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending news  Marie Yovanovitch will appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to answers questions about her time as ambassador in Ukraine and how she believed she was driven out of that position by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer. The hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. ET, will be broadcast live on CSPAN, CNN, Fox News and other cable news channels. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, (D-California), and the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, (R-California), will question Yovanovitch in 45-minute segments each then committee members will have five minutes each to question Yovanovitch. Watch the live stream of Friday’s hearing here Live updates Republicans begin asking questions 12:32 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Nunes asks Yovanovitch if she was present for the July 26 call between Trump and Zelensky, she answers no. He asks if she was present or had talked to other White House officials concerning Ukraine. She says she had not. Nunes then recognizes Rep. Elise Stefanik to ask questions. Stefanik attempts to ask a question but Schiff cuts her off, saying she has not been recognized. Nunes and Schiff argue about who can yield time to a committee member. Schiff says she cannot ask questions at this time and Nunes then yields to Steve Castor, the counsel for the Republicans. The hearing has resumed 12:22 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The hearing has resumed and Republicans are asking questions. In a break 10:45 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The hearing has been suspended for a short recess for House members to vote.  Trump tweets, Yovanovitch defends herself  10:30 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff read a tweet from Trump this morning disparaging Yovanovitch’s service. Trump said that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Schiff asks if she wants to address the tweet. Yovanovitch answered, “I don’t think I have such powers,” but went on to say that her work “demonstrably made things better, both for the US and for the countries I’ve served in.” Fearing a tweet 10:24 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Goldman asks Yovanovitch if she was given a vote of support from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She said she was not. He asked if she knew why not. She said the department feared that the president would post a tweet contradicting any support. ‘Devastated' by Trump's Ukraine call 10:15 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch said she was “shocked” and “devastated” by the White House memo on Trump’s call with Zelensky. The transcript included the phrase that Yovanovitch is “bad news.” “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said the color drained from my face,” Yovanovitch told Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York who is the counsel for the Democrats. She said Trump’s comment that she was “going to go through some things,” in his call with Zelensky, “felt like a vague threat.” ‘Big hit for morale’ 10 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff asked Yovanovitch how her recall was received by colleagues in the State Department. Yovanovitch said, 'Well, it's been a big hit for morale, both at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and also more broadly in the State Department.' She also that it’s fair to say that her firing affected morale of other ambassadors. Yovanovitch's opening statement 9:33 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch is giving her opening statement, talking about the sometime dangers of foreign service. She opened her statement by recounting her family’s history. They fled the Soviet Union. She says she has served in several “hardship” posts as a diplomat.  She talked about her work in Ukraine. 'Not all Ukrainians embraced our anti-corruption work. Thus, perhaps, it was not surprising, that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador. How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?' She says she never tried to work against Trump or for Clinton. She said she has never met Hunter Biden but did know former Vice President Joe Biden. Nunes’ turn 9:20 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Rep. Nunes is speaking now. He says five of the members of the Intelligence Committee voted to impeach Trump before he ever made the July 26 phone call. He complains that the Democrats met secretly with the whistleblower and that Republicans have been threatened if they try to find out the person’s name and release it. He also said Democrats went after nude photos of Trump. He is reading the just-released transcript into the record. The hearing has begun 9:10 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff is giving his opening statement. He is praising Yovanovitch’s qualifications and her anti-corruption work in Ukraine. He's asking why Trump wanted to recall Yovanovitch from her post. Phone call transcript released 9:05 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The White House has released the transcript of the first phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That phone call took place in April. This is not the phone call the whistleblower reported on. People are getting to their seats 9 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: House Intelligence Committee members, the press and spectators are coming into the room for the start of the hearing. $3 million in donations 8:55 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced on Thursday that the Trump campaign raised more than $3 million on Wednesday during the first public impeachment hearings. A case of bribery? 8:47 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, accused Trump of bribery. Pelosi pointed out at her weekly press conference that bribery is “in the Constitution” as a reason for impeaching a president. Yovanovitch has arrived 8:38 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch has arrived at Capitol Hill with her attorneys and is entering the building. One public hearing and two in private8:35 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: While Yovanovitch will testify in public Friday, David Holmes will appear before the committee afterward in a closed-door session. Holmes is a State Department employee who claims to have overheard a phone conversation about Ukraine between Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Trump. On Saturday, Mark Sandy, an office of Management and Budget official, will testify before the committee in private. Sandy will be the first OMB official to agree to testify before the committee. How the hearing will go 8:15 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The hearing will be conducted in the same way as Wednesday’s hearing with William Taylor and George Kent was conducted. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, and the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-California, will question Taylor and Kent in 45-minute segments each. Those 45 minutes can be delegated to the staff lawyers or other committee members. After the extended 45-minute periods, the committee will go back to its usual format of five-minute rounds of questions for committee members. Let’s get started 8 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Good morning and welcome to live updates from the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry. The hearing begins in an hour, at 9 a.m. ET. Live updates coming 6 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Live updates of Marie Yovanovitch's testimony will begin at 8 a.m. ET. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET [Summary]
  • A brake fluid leak on certain Nissan cars and SUVs could lead to risk of fire prompting the automaker to recall about 394,000 vehicles in the United States. >> Read more trending news  An antilock brake actuator pump can leak onto a circuit board, causing electrical shorts and fires. Because of the risk, Nissan recommends owners park the vehicles outside and away from buildings if the antilock brake light is on for more than 10 seconds.  The recall covers 2015 to 2018 Nissan Murano SUVs, 2016 to 2018 Maxima sedans and 2017 to 2019 Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the second recall for some of the same vehicles. In 2018, Nissan dealers inspected parts but did not replace the pumps if fluid wasn’t leaking. Dealers will now replace pumps on all of the vehicles. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • An Arkansas paramedic is charged with felony theft after authorities allege she cut a 1.7-carat diamond ring off a dead patient’s finger last month and pawned it for $45. Lisa Darlene Glaze, 50, of Hot Springs Village, is charged with theft by receiving and misdemeanor transfer of stolen property to a pawn shop, according to Garland County court records. Arrested Monday, she has since been released on $4,500 bond. >> Read more trending news  The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs reported that Glaze, a paramedic at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, was one of the paramedics who attended to Gloria Farrar Robinson on Oct. 16 when the 72-year-old Whie Hall woman suffered a medical emergency. A probable cause affidavit obtained by the newspaper stated Robinson was taken to CHI St. Vincent, where she later died. After Robinson died, her personal effects were given to her husband, identified in her obituary as Leonard Robinson, and her sister, Alesia Massey. Massey asked Glaze about three of Robinson’s rings that were missing. Glaze “did not answer her and walked away,” according to the affidavit. Robinson’s husband and sister went to Fuller Hale South Funeral Home in Pine Bluff two days later to make funeral arrangements, at which time they were given a bag with two of the missing rings, the Sentinel-Record reported. A 1.7-carat diamond, gold solitaire ring was still missing. The ring, which was adorned with a marquise-cut diamond, had been cut off Robinson’s finger, according to the affidavit. On Oct. 24, eight days after Robinson died, Glaze went to Hot Springs Classic Guns and Loan with a marquise-cut, solitaire diamond ring with a gold band. She sold the ring, which the pawnshop worker noted had a cut in the band, for $45, the court documents allege. Glaze used her driver’s license for identification during the transaction, the Sentinel-Record reported. Five days after the sale, a Montgomery County investigator went to the pawnshop and took photos of the ring, sending the images to Robinson’s husband and sister. Both identified the ring as belonging to the deceased woman, the affidavit said. The pawnshop employee who bought the ring identified Glaze in a photo as the woman who sold the piece of jewelry, the Sentinel-Record reported. Massey, Robinson’s sister, retrieved the ring from the pawnshop and had it appraised. The ring was determined to be worth nearly $8,000. Robinson’s son, Ben Ellis, castigated Glaze in a Facebook post Wednesday, calling her an expletive before questioning her care of his dying mother. “You stole my mother’s rings off her hands after she died?” Ellis wrote. “Did you let my mother die so you could steal her jewelry?” A woman named Diane McAlister offered Ellis her condolences. “Gloria was a wonderful, hardworking person. She respected everyone,” McAlister wrote. “I hope this person is prosecuted to the highest degree.” According to her obituary, Robinson worked as a payroll officer at Southeast Arkansas College for more than 20 years. Glaze has been placed on administrative leave with pay by the hospital, which issued a statement to the Sentinel-Record about the case. “CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs places a priority on the safety and well-being of our patients and our healing ministry is committed to their security while in our care,” the statement read. The hospital is continuing to cooperate with the investigation, officials said. If convicted, Glaze faces up to 10 years in prison on the felony theft charge and up to a year in county jail for the charge of selling stolen property to the pawnshop, the newspaper said.