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Whistleblower lawyers acknowledge client had 'contact' with presidential candidates
The attorneys representing the whistleblower at the center of Democrats' impeachment inquiry acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that their client "has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties" -- but insisted the contact involved the politicians' roles as "elected officials – not as candidates." Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj asserted in their statement that the whistleblower "has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party" -- leaving open the possibility that the whistleblower advised a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate prior to their run for office.
The lawyers' disclosure came shortly after the Washington Examiner reported that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower worked “or had some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic presidential candidates, citing three sources familiar with Atkinson’s interview with lawmakers on Friday. Click here for more on our top story.
In other developments in the Trump impeachment inquiry: President Trump on Wednesday told reporters that he would cooperate with a formal impeachment inquiry if there is a House vote on the investigation and if Democrats commit to rules he believes are fair. Trump also said Republicans must get a "fair shake."
Former Vice President Joe Biden for the first time called for the impeachment of President Trump over the Ukrainian controversy. According to a new Fox News poll released Wednesday, just over half of voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office. A new high of 51 percent wants Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether.
And in an interview on "Hannity," Trump's son Eric noted that former President Barack Obama has been conspicuously silent regarding the link between Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. "He's the only guy who's hiding," Eric Trump said of Obama. "I mean, Joe Biden was his vice president. Where is Obama? What does he think about this rampant corruption?"
Turkey says ground forces advancing in Syria, at least seven civilians among the first deaths reported
Turkish ground forces pressed their advance against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Thursday, Turkey's Defense Ministry said, launching airstrikes and unleashing artillery shelling on Syrian towns and villages the length of its border.. The latest development comes as at least seven civilians and three members of the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces were among the first reported deaths Wednesday after Turkey announced that its ground forces invaded northeastern Syria to fight against Kurdish forces.
The ground offensive was part of a wave of initial attacks in the region after President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw American troops from the area. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the mission was to "neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes." After Erdogan announced the offensive, Trump called the operation "a bad idea." Later Wednesday, he said he didn't want to be involved in "endless, senseless wars."
The president told reporters Wednesday that he would do "far more than sanctions" against Turkey if the country didn't act in the most "humane way as possible," and that he hoped Erdogan would act rationally. When asked what would happen if Erdogan wiped out the Kurds, Trump threatened to "wipe out" Turkey's economy, saying he'd done it once before. Click here for more on this story.
Matt Lauer rape accuser thanks supporters, calls Lauer letter 'victim blaming'
A former NBC News employee whose rape allegation against Matt Lauer went public for the first time Wednesday posted a Twitter message later in the day, thanking those who supported her decision to come forward with her story. Brooke Nevils, 35, who claims Lauer raped her in a hotel room at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, also excoriated Lauer in a letter to NBC News, calling Lauer's written denial of her allegations "a case study in victim blaming." (Click here to read Lauer's letter.)
Lauer, who was fired from NBC News for sexual misconduct in 2017, is accused of sex crimes reported in graphic detail in journalist Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill.” Lauer in a letter provided to Fox News by his lawyer called the rape allegations false and said the sex was consensual.
US-China trade talks may last only one day as tensions flare
The latest trade talks between the United States and China may have cooled before they even started. Originally set for Thursday and Friday, the talks may only last one day, Fox Business has learned. The delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu, will depart for China on Thursday at the conclusion of the talks. It is unclear why talks were shortened so close to the start. However, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere issued this statement: “We are not aware of a change in the Vice Premier’s travel plans at this time."
PG&E begins second wave of California planned power outages to head off wildfire risk
The largest utility company in California began its second wave of planned power outages to head off wildfire danger from downed power lines Wednesday evening, according to a report. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. delayed the outages planned for noon local time Wednesday in parts of Northern California until after 7 p.m. Around 234,000 customers were expected to lose power in the second wave, Sacramento's KCRA-TV reported.
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Nationals eliminate Dodgers 7-3 on Kendrick's grand slam in 10th inning.
US official charged with leaking secrets to journalists.
'South Park' fires F-bomb in response to China ban.
THE LATEST FROM FOX BUSINESS
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US to issue licenses for supply of non-sensitive goods to Huawei.
#TheFlashback: CLICK HERE to find out what happened on "This Day in History."
SOME PARTING WORDS
Sean Hannity explains that the White House refuses to cooperate with House Democrats' formal impeachment inquiry because it does not want to legitimize an illegitimate investigation.
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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing on Friday morning.