The Filoli Estate, Host to Biden and Xi, Has Hollywood History

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The meeting took place at a giant 20th-century estate built by a family that made its fortune in the gold rush.

Source: The Filoli Estate, Host to Biden and Xi, Has Hollywood History

Mike Pence Drops Out of 2024 Presidential Race

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The former vice president said he would end his bid in a surprise announcement at a gathering of Jewish Republican donors. “It’s become clear to me that this is not my time,” he said.

Source: Mike Pence Drops Out of 2024 Presidential Race

Gunman in Maine Mass Shooting Had Paranoid Beliefs, Officials Say

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The man was found dead on Friday night, ending a two-day manhunt. The police said he had legally purchased several guns, including in recent days.

Source: Gunman in Maine Mass Shooting Had Paranoid Beliefs, Officials Say

Biden nominee for Israel ambassador Jack Lew advances in Senate committee, headed to floor vote

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced President Biden's nominee pick for ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, on Wednesday, despite mounting Republican opposition. 

In a 12-9 vote, committee members voted to advance Lew during a closed business meeting. His nomination now heads to a full floor vote. Sen. Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., indicated last week Democrats would move to quickly confirm him as war rages on in Israel.

Every Republican on the committee, except Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., opposed Lew's passage. Every Democrat voted in favor.


"I think it's important in the middle of a war to have an ambassador. I think it's important to have a representative from the United States," Paul told Fox News. "I met with him privately. I think he's a thoughtful individual and I think he will do a good job."

Republicans began voicing opposition to Lew in the days leading up to his hearing last week over his past work on Iran sanctions.

In 2018, a Senate report by the investigative subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that Lew, during his tenure as secretary to the Treasury under the Obama administration, "granted a specific license that authorized a conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of U.S. dollars using the U.S. financial system."

In response, Lew said during the hearing: "I want to be clear, Iran is a threat to regional stability and to Israel's existence. If confirmed, I will uphold President Biden's commitment to deny Iran a nuclear weapon." 

The report found that the administration tried to convert $5.7 billion from U.S. banks to Iranian assets. It noted that the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control "encouraged two U.S. correspondent banks to convert the funds."


In January 2016, then-President Barack Obama announced a $400 million cash transfer to Iran that was part of a larger installment of a $1.7 billion settlement, for which Lew faced scrutiny. The settlement was part of a long-standing disagreement over an arms deal that was signed before the 1979 Iranian revolution, signifying the end of the nation's historical monarchy.

Lew — who also served during the Clinton administration as special assistant to the president’s office — faced scrutiny for the transfer. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that the payment was conducted using a combination of Swiss and other foreign currencies, then transported to Iran on unidentified cargo planes.

Senators during the hearing cited these reports in their questioning last week.

"During Obama’s administration, Mr. Lew was working directly under the table to get Iran back into the financial system," ranking member Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said during the closed business meeting Wednesday. "As a result I will vote today to support Israel and vote no on Mr. Lew. It should be someone the Israelis will have trust in, and this committee will have trust in. I don’t have trust in him at this time."


Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Fox News Digital last week Lew is an Iran "sympathizer."

"I know my Democratic colleagues contend that we should confirm Jack Lew properly to show our support for Israel, but I would turn that around. We should defeat Jack Lew's nomination to show that our nation has a new policy towards Iran." Cotton said.

Lew's vote on the Senate floor could happen as early as next week. 

Fox News' Aishah Hasnie and Kelly Phares contributed to this report. 

Source: Biden nominee for Israel ambassador Jack Lew advances in Senate committee, headed to floor vote

California's Newsom has surprise meeting in Beijing with China's Xi , gets torched for climate 'fearmongering'

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Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom had a surprise meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday – a trip blasted online for its apparent focus on climate change and fentanyl, as relations between the United States and the powerful Asian nation have become tense of late.

"I’m here in expectation, as you suggest, of turning the page, of renewing our friendship and reengaging (on) foundational and fundamental issues that will determine our collective faith in the future," Newsom said in brief opening remarks ahead of his meeting with Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, earlier in the day, according to The Associated Press. 

Though Newsom, who again sparked speculation of a potential presidential run with his trip to Israel last week, was in China to promote cooperation in addressing climate change, Chinese officials took the opportunity in welcome speeches ahead of the closed-door meetings to talk about U.S.-China relations. Wang is preparing to visit the U.S. on Thursday. 

Newsom and Xi discussed ways to "accelerate our progress on climate in meaningful and substantive ways," the California governor said at a news conference, but did not mention more specifics. Newsom said they also talked about fentanyl, a synthetic drug and leading killer of young people in the U.S., and China’s role in "combating" the transnational shipping of precursor chemicals. Yet, Republican members of Congress have charged Beijing is fueling the flow of the chemicals cartels have pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border. 


According to China's state broadcaster CCTV, Xi told Newsom, "I hope your visit will enhance mutual understanding between the two sides and play a positive role in expanding cooperation between China and California and promoting the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. relations."

"Divorce is not an option," the Office of the California Governor wrote on X, sharing photos of Newsom's Beijing visit. "The only way we can solve the climate crisis is to continue our long-standing cooperation with China. As two of the world’s largest economies, the work we do together is felt in countless communities on both sides of the Pacific."

"Despite major differences, we share our humanity – our desire to feel protected, connected and respected is universal – and that humanity is what should drive us to work together to stop the greatest existential threat our planet has ever known," the post continued. "Governor @GavinNewsom made it clear to Chinese leaders that California will remain a stable, strong, and reliable partner, particularly on low-carbon, green growth."

Newsom said he raised human rights issues with Wang, and the two also discussed Taiwan, a red-line issue for Beijing. China claims the self-ruled island as part of its own territory.

"I expressed my support for the One-China policy ... as well as our desire not to see independence," Newsom said, referring to the official U.S. policy that recognizes the Communist Party as the ruling government of China. Officially, the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan but is a big unofficial ally.

Critics quickly slammed Newsom's trip online. 

"Gavin Newsom will travel to China to talk climate change with communists, but he won't meet with California's fossil fuel workers who have lost their jobs due to his policies," Daniel Turner, founder of nonprofit Power The Future representing energy workers pushing back on "radical green groups and the ideologues who fund them," wrote to his more than 82,000 X followers.


"Gavin Newsom flew to China on a plane powered by fossil fuels, then drove an electric vehicle powered by fossil fuels, all while fear-mongering about climate change," Turner added. 

Former Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, who served as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote, "Governor Newsom ought to know that China isn’t a trusted partner and shouldn’t be an example for us to follow." 

RNC Research wrote on X, "Newsom is currently meeting with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. Biden has been saying for more than a year that he will meet with Xi ‘soon.’"

Xi may attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next month and meet with President Biden, although China has not formally confirmed his attendance, according to the AP. 

Wang, the head of the Communist Party’s office of foreign affairs, said he knows Newsom's trip attracted plenty of critics but that he views the trip positively. "But I think time and facts will certainly prove that your visit to China is in line with California people’s wishes and in line with the American people’s interests and the expectations of the global society," Wang said. 

Newsom also met Wednesday with Vice President Han Zheng, who greeted him with a wide smile and called him an "old friend." Han is a past member of the Politburo Standing Committee, an elite group of leaders within the party.


"The China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and the sub-national cooperation is an indispensable part to facilitate the sound and steady growth of China-U.S. relations," Han said. "I’m sure your weeklong trip will inject positive energy to the development of the China-U.S. relationship."

The governor met as well with the head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, a Cabinet-level agency responsible for economic policies. They signed a memorandum on deepening cooperation in environmental issues

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: California's Newsom has surprise meeting in Beijing with China's Xi , gets torched for climate 'fearmongering'

Soccer league ends season early, blames local Dem officials for ignoring crime-riddled homeless camp

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A youth soccer league in the Seattle area is calling it quits for the season due to an expanding homeless encampment riddled with crime – a situation that is being blamed on Democrat leaders and elected officials in the area.

Valor Soccer – an athletic system that works to "provide quality and affordable soccer programming" to kids in King County – is canceling the remainder of its fall season, with the head of the youth program pointing to shootings and drug overdoses at the homeless encampment as the reason why.

Dean Aldridge, the CEO of Valor Soccer, told the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based non-partisan organization, that the decision was made after an individual drove across the soccer filed at North Green River Park and did donuts, resulting in more than $100,000 in damage.

"We're a nonprofit – we don't have enough money to recoup these kind of losses," Aldridge told the think tank.


"I don't know how you recover from something like this," he told reporters from the site of the field, nearly 23 miles from the heart of Seattle. "These are our most economically challenged kids. … What human being does this?"

Referring to the damages as a "massive, extraordinary financial loss," Aldridge said he was left with no choice but to cancel the remainder of the season amid widespread concern about the encampment from members and parents of the youth soccer league.

Attempting to figure out who was responsible for vandalizing the fields, Aldridge and Discovery Institute journalist Jonathan Choe ventured into the local encampment to speak with those who are living there.

Though they were not able to pinpoint a specific suspect, one individual inside the encampment told them she believed it was probably someone from inside the growing group who drove over the field.

"Gangs are moving in," Aldridge said. "This is what we've been dealing with ever since COVID."

Choe took footage of the encampment, which revealed new shacks being constructed and also showed individuals who had overdosed passed out on the ground.


Aldridge, who did not specifically blame the homeless for the incident that took place, insisted that the growing encampment is inviting more criminal activity and lawlessness to the area.

"Lawless individuals just know that this is a free zone to do whatever you want to do," he said. "Come down here, shoot your guns, dump your garbage…"

In his comments about the matter, Aldridge insisted that the Democrat-led city is working to prioritize the needs of the homeless over the kids hoping to take part in the soccer program and other extracurricular activities. Aldridge specifically took aim at Dow Constantine, a Democrat who has served as King County Executive since 2009.

"Leaders lead," Aldridge said. "I think Dow needs to get off his ass. … I have not heard from Dow, I have not heard from his office."

"If his kids were down here playing or his grandchildren were down here playing, I'm sure it would be cleaned up," Aldridge added.

Constantine, according to Choe, has known about the problem since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly four years ago and has only allowed crews into the encampment for trash removal.


When Choe reached out to Constantine's office for a comment about the situation impacting the community, a spokesperson named Chase Gallagher responded, "We decline to participate in your project."

When reached for comment, Kristin Elia, a spokesperson for Constantine, told Fox News Digital that King County has been "planning for the initial restoration of the encampment site" with various partners.

"King County has been allocating funding and resources and has been planning for the initial restoration of the encampment site with partners. This phase of the plan is in process now, and implementation will be completed over the next four weeks, focusing on improving public safety through the removal of unauthorized vehicles and debris along Green River Road and ensuring safety within the public right-of-way," Elia said. "Additionally, the installation of barriers, fencing, and signage will be completed. After implementation, the King County Sheriff’s Office will patrol and enforce the maintenance of the restoration of the site. King County will continue to work with local partners to explore housing options to support those who remain unhoused in the area."

Because of the lack of urgency by King County and nearby municipalities like Kent and Auburn to deal with the situation, Aldridge said he is looking to take the youth soccer league to another area.

"King County won't enforce the laws, Kent won't enforce the laws, Auburn won't enforce the laws," Aldridge said. "Nobody's taking ownership."

"There's nothing humane about this," he added.

Source: Soccer league ends season early, blames local Dem officials for ignoring crime-riddled homeless camp