Tag Archives: Conduct’

New York governor admits to ‘insensitive’ conduct amid calls for sexual harassment investigation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged for the first time Sunday that some of his behaviour with women had been “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation,” and said he would cooperate with a sexual harassment investigation led by the state’s attorney general.

In a statement released amid mounting criticism from within his own party, the Democrat maintained he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone. But he said he had teased people and made jokes about their personal lives in an attempt to be “playful.”

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said.

He made the comments after New York Attorney General Letitia James demanded Cuomo grant her the authority to investigate claims he sexually harassed at least two women who worked for him.

Cuomo’s legal counsel said the governor would back a plan to appoint an outside lawyer as a special independent deputy attorney general.

Democrats statewide abandoning Cuomo

Top Democrats statewide appeared to be abandoning Cuomo in large numbers as he tried to retain some say over who would investigate his workplace conduct.

James, a Democrat who at times has been allied with Cuomo but is independently elected, appeared to emerge as a consensus choice to lead a probe.

Over several hours Sunday, she and other leading party officials rejected two proposals by the governor that they said could potentially have limited the independence of the investigation.


New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference in New York City in August 2020. (Kathy Willens/The Associated Press)

Under his first plan, announced Saturday evening, a retired federal judge picked by Cuomo, Barbara Jones, would have reviewed his workplace behaviour. In the second proposal, announced Sunday morning in an attempt to appease legislative leaders, Cuomo asked James and the state’s chief appeals court judge, Janet DiFiore, to jointly appoint a lawyer to investigate the claims and issue a public report.

James said neither plan went far enough.

“I do not accept the governor’s proposal,” she said. “The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral. While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”


Many of the biggest names in New York politics lined up quickly behind James.

The state legislature’s two top leaders, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, both said they wanted her to handle the investigation. New York’s two U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and and Kirsten Gillibrand, both said an independent investigation was essential.

“These allegations are serious and deeply concerning. As requested by Attorney General James, the matter should be referred to her office so that she can conduct a transparent, independent and thorough investigation with subpoena power,” Gillibrand said.

2 former aides allege harassment

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said ,”There should be an independent review looking into these allegations.” She said that’s something President Joe Biden supports “and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible.”

The calls for an investigation into Cuomo’s workplace behaviour intensified after a second former employee of his administration went public Saturday with claims she had been harassed.

Charlotte Bennett, a low-level aide in the governor’s administration until November, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she ever had sex with older men, and made other comments she interpreted as gauging her interest in an affair.


Her accusation came days after another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, elaborated on harassment allegations she first made in December. Boylan said Cuomo subjected her to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments about her appearance.

Cuomo, 63, said in a statement Saturday he had intended to be a mentor for Bennett, who is 25. He has denied Boylan’s allegations.

The furor over the sexual harassment allegations comes amid a new round of criticism over his leadership style and actions his administration took to protect his reputation as an early leader in the nation’s coronavirus pandemic.


Lindsey Boylan attends an event in New York City in June 2019. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women’s Forum of New York)

Cuomo had won praise as a strong hand at the helm during last spring’s crisis of rising case counts and overflowing morgues. His book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, was published in October.

But in recent weeks his administration was forced to revise its count of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes following criticism that it had undercounted the fatalities to blunt accusations that some of his administration’s policies had made the situation in the homes worse.

James fuelled some of that criticism by issuing a report that raised questions about whether the Cuomo administration had undercounted deaths.


Cuomo was also criticized after a state assembly member went public with a story of being politically threatened by Cuomo over comments he made to a newspaper about the governor’s coronavirus leadership. Cuomo said his comments were being mischaracterized.

Now, his support is eroding faster.

“Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter Sunday. “There must be an independent investigation — not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.”

A group of more than a dozen Democratic women in the state assembly said in a statement: “The Governor’s proposal to appoint someone who is not independently elected, has no subpoena authority, and no prosecutorial authority is inadequate.”

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Ubisoft: No Price Increases For AAA Games (This Year), Better Conduct

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Ubisoft has pledged to keep the price of its upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games aligned with the current $ 59.99 structure we’ve had since the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launched back in 2005 and 2006. The company’s promise stands in contrast to 2K, which recently announced higher prices for next-generation games and now offers the ability to buy a title for both Xbox One and Xbox Series X in a two-package deal for $ 99.99.

“For the Christmas games, we plan to come [out] with the same price as the previous generation of consoles,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said on a conference call. “That’s what we’re focused on at the moment.”

When attendees asked for additional information, like whether this would also apply to the upcoming Far Cry 6, or if the deal would hold through 2021, Guillemot demurred. “For the $ 60 price, we are concentrating on the Christmas releases. Those games will launch at $ 60.”

Meanwhile…

Normally I don’t fuse disparate story topics together, but there’s no way to currently discuss Ubisoft without also discussing the torrent of allegations currently unleashed against the company. In the same call in which he discussed game pricing, Guillemot also declared the company was “committed to implementing profound changes across the company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”

A number of former and current UbiSoft employees came forward in late June alleging consistent abusive behavior as well as sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, Ubisoft fired its PR director, Stone Chin, for failure “to uphold the company’s code of conduct over the course of my career at the company.” Ubisoft co-founder Maxime Béland was fired for allegedly choking a female employee at a work party. Another powerful Ubisoft employee, Tommy François, has been placed on disciplinary leave pending an investigation into his alleged misconduct.

Kotaku has more details on the allegations and investigations if you’re curious, but they’re directly pertinent to Ubisoft’s long-term future and the short-term launch schedule for its various titles. A number of the individuals implicated in the allegations sit at the top of the company. Ubisoft, it should be noted, doesn’t have the best track record with women or female representation in general. The company pushed back against the idea of having a woman star in an Assassin’s Creed game on a number of occasions. Back in 2014, Ubisoft developers claimed doing so would have doubled the amount of work and that the issue wasn’t relevant. Now we know that multiple high-ranking executives pushed back against the idea of a female lead because “Women don’t sell.

Sarah Kerrigan, Bayonetta, Lara Croft, and Ellie, from the Last of Us 2. LoU2 is one of the fastest-selling, highest-earning PlayStation 4 games of all time. So…who wants to tell him?

In any event, Ubisoft may have decided it didn’t need to take fire for both its toxic culture and its decision to raise prices simultaneously, or the company may simply be acting cautiously in the COVID-19 pandemic and not wanting to rock the boat by raising prices. This move implies we’ll have some companies offering $ 69.99 price points, some at $ 59.99, and some using their own bundles like 2K. We don’t normally get this much experimentation in the gaming market with pricing strategies, so this should actually be rather interesting.

Feature image from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. While Eivor is canonically female with a gender-swapped option for players, much of the art thus far has featured the male version of the character. If Guillemot is serious about changing the culture at Ubisoft, I can think of a few really basic ways to start. 

Now Read:

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U.S. House embroiled in dispute on how to conduct government business in a pandemic

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday will vote on a measure temporarily allowing members to vote from outside the Capitol so they can work while practising physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, the chamber’s Democratic leadership said.

Congress has argued for weeks over whether and how to allow members to cast ballots from outside Washington to reduce the risks of travelling and gathering during a public health crisis that has killed more than 82,000 Americans and caused economic turmoil.

The Supreme Court has already adapted, breaking with precedent to begin hearing arguments on high-profile cases by telephone. Meanwhile, the House has not met in regular session since March, although large numbers of House lawmakers have gathered in the Capitol twice to vote on coronavirus relief bills.

In April, the House postponed a vote to set up remote proxy voting and virtual committee work after Republicans protested. Instead, a bipartisan panel was set up to study the matter.

The committee failed to agree, and Democrats, who have the majority in the House, have decided to push ahead anyway, saying they accommodated some Republican concerns.

“Further delay is not an option,” House majority leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and other Democrats said in a statement Wednesday.

Republicans denounced the planned voting changes as a “power grab.”

The resolution would allow members to vote from outside the Capitol by asking another member to vote for them. Committees could do their work virtually, but the online platforms they use must be approved by the House’s chief administrative officer.

House contains multitudes

Republicans said the changes being debated on Friday run counter to precedent and the U.S. Constitution.

“Any change to centuries-old rules of the House should only be done in a bipartisan way that achieves consensus,” top House Republican Kevin McCarthy of California said in a statement. “This proposal fails that critical test and would forever alter our democratic institution for the worse.”


In this file photo from Jan. 3, 2019, the House of Representatives chamber is seen on the first day of the 116th Congress. The House contains 435 voting members, more than a third of whom are seniors and at heightened risk if they contract COVID-19, according to health experts. (J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

The Senate, with 100 members, returned to session last week and has been practising physical distancing measures during votes. It has also held partly virtual hearings in which witnesses and some members appear remotely, such as Tuesday’s appearance by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health-care experts before the chamber’s health committee.

While many senators attending in person wore masks, such as Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia, it wasn’t a unanimous practice.


A small number of congressional members have contracted the virus so far, with concerns also in the White House after Vice-President Mike Pence’s press secretary and a valet who has been in the Oval Office tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

The House is more than four times larger than the Senate in terms of the number of members. The average age in the House is 58, but more than 150 members were born in 1955 or earlier, with 13 members celebrating a birthday above 80 years old this year.

Those over the age of 65 are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control.

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Call for coaching codes of conduct after harassment allegations at UVic

Post-secondary institutions in British Columbia are being urged to create coaching codes of conduct after verbal abuse complaints were made against a rowing coach at the University of Victoria.

The school began developing a code following the allegations. But like many other colleges and universities in B.C., it responds to complaints using a campus-wide discrimination and harassment policy that doesn’t include language that is specific to sports.

Joanna Waterman, the mother of one of three rowers who complained about coach Barney Williams, said an adjudicator hired by the school found his behaviour didn’t breach the harassment policy but “may not meet a coach’s code of conduct” or “safe sport guidelines.”

“Your policy allows for a coach to lock our daughter in a small room … and aggressively berate and humiliate her until she was so scared she cried and bore her nails into her palms, drawing blood, to try to withstand the trauma,” Waterman wrote in a letter to the university’s president.

“Your policy allowed for him to publicly humiliate, fat shame and torment her about her mental health.”

The Canadian Press has not seen the adjudicator’s report. The complainants declined to share it after the university warned they may face disciplinary action if they breach confidentiality. They also say they fear compromising a separate, ongoing investigation by Rowing Canada.

The Canadian Press has previously reported allegations that Williams yelled at Waterman’s daughter Lily Copeland in a locked room until she cried and dug her nails into her hands, shouted at her in front of others, criticized her weight and made demeaning comments about her anxiety disorder.

Williams, who remains head coach of the women’s team, said this week that he still cannot comment on the allegations due to confidentiality.

He has previously said he regards coaching as a privilege and responsibility, and is committed to continued professional growth to help student athletes become the best version of themselves.

Several rowers coached by Williams, including four current or former members of the University of Victoria women’s team, have defended him as a dedicated and inspiring leader.

Athletics director Clint Hamilton said he expects the code of conduct will be in place by the fall and it will clearly state expectations for coaches and align with safe sport principles, which are widely recognized guidelines to prevent and respond to abuse.

Portrayed by some as ‘hiding the truth’

A university spokesman said he could not comment on the adjudicator’s report because the provincial privacy law, collective agreements and internal policies bar it from discussing confidential matters.

“These legal constraints continue to apply even if others attempt to characterize portions of confidential reports to support their point of view,” said Paul Marck.

The school’s limited ability to provide information publicly has been inaccurately portrayed by some as hiding the truth or supporting an abusive coaching culture, which is not the case, he added.

Of the 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C., 14 have competitive sports programs. Seven lack a coaching code of conduct. But even among the seven that have such a code, most don’t use it to judge complaints and instead rely on general policies that apply to all employees.

Paul Melia, president of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, said a code is important because over time certain behaviours become normalized within the culture of sports. A strong code clearly defines forms of mistreatment, sets penalties for violations and helps change the culture, he said.

“Workplace codes may be more general and not take into account some of the specific kinds of circumstances that might arise in sport,” he said.

The seven institutions that have coaching codes are Simon Fraser University, Langara College, Capilano University, College of the Rockies, Camosun College, Okanagan College and Vancouver Island University.

However, the way the codes are applied varies. Coaches at Okanagan are judged by the code if an athlete files a complaint, while coaches at Camosun are judged against workplace policies as well as standards set by their governing athletic associations.

At Vancouver Island University, athletes can raise issues about coaches to the athletics director, which are then judged against the code, but complaints about abuse, harassment or sexual misconduct are pursued under policies that aren’t sports-specific.

Similarly, students at the College of the Rockies can contact student affairs leadership about coaches but formal complaints are pursued under campus-wide policies.

Simon Fraser, Langara and Capilano did not respond when asked whether their codes are used to judge complaints. But all have broader policies on their websites where students experiencing mistreatment are directed.

Nearly all the schools that have codes are smaller institutions that belong to the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association, which mandated members to align with the federal government’s Safe Sport for All initiatives established last year.

The initiatives led by previous sports minister Kirsty Duncan include a confidential help line to provide advice on reporting abuse. Critics have argued it needs to be paired with an independent investigative body, since athletes are typically referred back to their sports organization.

Selkirk College, like the University of Victoria, says it’s working on a code.

The province’s largest university, the University of British Columbia, has a code for volunteer and seasonal coaches but not staff coaches, who instead must adhere to a respectful-environment statement for all employees.

The Advanced Education Ministry said it cannot direct schools to establish codes of conduct.

“It is outside the ministry’s legislative mandate to oversee the internal development of institutional policy and administrative processes,” it said, adding that by law the university or college president is responsible for staff conduct issues.

Coaches covered by provincial law

The national governing body for university sports, U Sports, also has not handed down any mandates on safe sports or codes of conduct. Spokesman John Bower said coaches are university employees and are covered by provincial law, labour policies and collective agreements in some cases.

“U Sports does promote safe sport while respecting the jurisdiction of our member institutions,” he said.

Doug White, a retired rowing coach who has led teams at the University of Victoria and at the national level, said he was disappointed by the school’s handling of complaints against Williams. He added it was “bizarre” that it did not have a coaching code of conduct.

“From my perspective, the university should be a leader in this field,” he said. “They should be leading, developing a system that would be free of abuse.”

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Dallas Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery for ‘unprofessional conduct’

The Dallas Stars on Tuesday dismissed second-year head coach Jim Montgomery due to “unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.”

Nill said he became aware Sunday of an act by Montgomery and that the decision to relieve the coach of his duties came after an internal investigation that included discussions with the team’s general counsel. While not going into detail, Nill said it was not a criminal act, and had no connection to present or past players.

Nill, who hired Montgomery, called the incident a “total surprise.”

Assistant coach Rick Bowness, who was brought aboard a month after Montgomery’s hiring in May 2018, has been named interim coach.

“The Dallas Stars expect all of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behaviour while working for and representing our organization,” Nill said in a news release.

Dallas is fourth in the Central Division with a 17-11-3 record and holds the top wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference after a 1-7-1 start to the season.

Joining Bowness’s staff is Derek Laxdal, who was serving as head coach of the Texas Stars, Dallas’s American Hockey League affiliate in Cedar Park. Texas has also promoted assistant Neil Graham to head coach.

Montgomery departs Dallas with a 60-43-10 regular-season mark. He guided the Stars to their first Stanley Cup playoff berth in three seasons last spring, and watched the team lose Game 7 of a second-round series to the eventual Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

‘We will not tolerate abusive behaviour’: Bettman

Before his hiring in Dallas, Montgomery was 125-57-26 the previous five seasons at the University of Denver, including a national title in 2016-17. As a player, he was part of a national championship at Maine in 1993.

On Monday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league would work swiftly to make changes to better deal with personnel conduct issues in the wake of incidents that surfaced in recent weeks.

“Our message is unequivocal: We will not tolerate abusive behaviour of any kind,” Bettman told reporters at the end of the first day of the board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif.

WATCH | Gary Bettman discusses Bill Peters incident:

The NHL commissioner discussed the league’s plans to combat inappropriate conduct by team officials. 1:00

Montgomery’s firing is not related to that kind of misbehaviour, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not elaborated on the reason for Montgomery’s dismissal.

Bettman also made it clear there would be zero tolerance from the league moving forward.

On Nov. 29, Bill Peters resigned as Calgary Flames head coach amid allegations of racial slurs and physical abuse of players in previous jobs.

A few days earlier, former NHL player Akim Aliu alleged Peters directed racial slurs toward him while they were both employed by the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League in the 2009-10 season.

WATCH: Akim Aliu sees big changes coming to NHL

Former NHL forward Akim Aliu issues brief statement after holding a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly. 0:35

Blackhawks investigate assistant coach Crawford

“We don’t like surprises,” Bettman said. “The Bill Peters situation was a complete surprise.”

Head coach Mike Babcock was also accused of verbal abuse after he was fired recently by the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Last week, Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford was put on leave while the team investigates allegations of physical abuse made against him by two other former players.

Bowness, 64, has spent more than 40 years in the NHL as a player and coach.

The Halifax native has been a head coach in Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, Phoenix (now Arizona) and with the New York Islanders, and compiled a record of 123-289-51. His last head coaching stint lasted 20 games with the Coyotes in 2003-04.

In 2015, Bowness reached the 2,000-game plateau as a head coach and assistant/associate coach in Tampa Bay, where he passed the legendary Scotty Bowman for most games coached in the NHL.

Dallas hosts New Jersey on Tuesday night. The Devils fired head coach John Hynes on Dec. 3 and are 0-2-1 under interim coach Alain Nasreddine.

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Trump’s conduct meets definition of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’: legal experts

Four law school professors gave lessons on American history and presidential politics before the House judiciary committee Wednesday, with all but one arguing that President Donald Trump’s conduct with Ukraine meets the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanours” required in the U.S. Constitution for impeachable offences.

The judiciary committee heard from legal experts to determine whether Trump’s actions involving Ukraine, including a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, meet the tests for impeachment and possible removal from office.

A 300-page report compiled by Democrats on the House intelligence committee laid out evidence of Trump’s efforts to seek foreign intervention in the U.S. election.

The session Wednesday with legal scholars was delving into possible impeachable offences, but the panel, led by chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, quickly revealed the sharply partisan divisions on the committee.

“President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election,” said Nadler in his opening statement.

“He demanded it for the 2020 election. In both cases, he got caught. And in both cases, he did everything in his power to prevent the American people from learning the truth about his conduct.”

“If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the [upcoming] election for his personal political gain,” he added.

WATCH: Prof. Noah Feldman explains how Trump is obstructing the hearings

Constitutional law professor Noah Feldman says U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to put himself above the law, making it an impeachable offence. 1:31

Republican witness Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said the Democrats are bringing a “slipshod impeachment” case against the president based on second-hand information. Still, Turley didn’t excuse the president’s behaviour.

He called Trump’s call with Ukraine “anything but ‘perfect,” as the president claims. “A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record.”

Turley said that moving ahead with impeachment would set a “dangerous precedent” for curtailing the actions of future presidents.

The remaining three witnesses, all called by Democrats, said there was a case to be made for impeachment.

Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill argued: “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning.”

If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning.– Michael Gerhardt, witness

Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman said “the president’s conduct described by the testimony embodies the [constitution’s] framers’ concern that a sitting president would corruptly abuse the powers of office to distort the outcome of a presidential election in his favour,”

Pamela Karlan, of Stanford University law school, said Trump abused his power by demanding foreign involvement in a U.S. election.

“What has happened in the case today is something I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the constitution,” said Karlan.

Article II, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that the president and other officers of government “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours.” 

White House declined to take part

Democrats leading the effort said they may look beyond Trump’s relations with Ukraine as they draw up articles of impeachment in the coming days, to include his earlier efforts to impede former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of his campaign’s relations with Russia.

A judiciary committee vote is expected next week. The full House could vote by Christmas. Then the matter would move to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial in 2020.

“If you want to know what’s really driving this — it’s called the clock and the calendar,” said ranking Republican committee member Doug Collins, in an opening statement dismissive of the hearing.


U.S. House judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler gives his introductory remarks at Wednesday’s hearing. (Saul Loeb/Reuters)

The White House, which declined an invitation to participate in Wednesday’s session, has stymied efforts by Democrats in various House committees to question administration officials or obtain documents. Some have appeared after being issued subpoenas, while others have defied the subpoenas, including Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

“In this situation, the full-scale obstruction of those subpoenas I think torpedoes separation of powers, and therefore your only recourse is to in a sense protect your institutional prerogatives, and that would include impeachment,” argued Gerhardt.

Possible grounds for impeachment are focused on whether Trump abused his office as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals, as has been alleged Trump did. At the time, Trump was withholding $ 400 million US in military aid, jeopardizing key support as Ukraine faces an aggressive Russia at its border.

The report did not render a judgment on whether Trump’s actions stemming from a July 25 phone call with Zelensky rose to the constitutional level of “high crimes and misdemeanours” warranting impeachment. That is for the full House to decide. But its findings involving Trump’s efforts to seek foreign intervention in the American election process provide the basis for a House vote on impeachment and a Senate trial carrying the penalty of removal from office.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never intended to pressure Ukraine when he asked for a “favour” — investigations of Joe Biden, whose son served on a Ukraine energy board, and a probe of a discredited theory involving the cyberintrusions of the Democratic National Committee. They say the military aid the White House was withholding was not being used as leverage and that the aid was ultimately released.

The Democrats have countered that the aid was only released when it was apparent that Congress would investigate.

Most of the legal scholars said that it didn’t matter that the aid was eventually disbursed.

“Soliciting itself is the impeachable offence,” said Karlan.

Trump comments ‘struck a kind of horror’

Feldman agreed, drawing an analogy to President Richard Nixon not being successful in his coverup of the Watergate break-in. Nixon nonetheless had committed an impeachable offence, he said.

When reminded that Trump claimed at a July event two days before the Zelenksy call that Article 2 of the constitution gave him “the right to do whatever I want as president,” Feldman said those comments “struck a kind of horror in me.”

Even Turley agreed the president’s view was misguided.

But, Turley argued, Trump has every right to go to outside courts to rule on whether the subpoenas are valid.

Turley also said he didn’t believe the evidence against Trump is strong enough to meet the threshold of an impeachable offence. He says the president’s conduct doesn’t rise to any reasonable interpretation of crimes such as bribery, and especially not obstruction.

WATCH: Prof. Jonathan Turley explains why he doesn’t think the evidence is strong enough to impeach 

Testifying at the impeachment hearing, Prof. Jonathan Turley said the case against U.S. President Donald Trump lacks clear and convincing evidence. 2:04

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a government whistleblower’s complaint, the intelligence committee report relies heavily on testimony from current and former U.S. officials who defied White House orders not to appear.

The inquiry found Trump “solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his re-election,” House intelligence chair Adam Schiff wrote in the report’s preface.

In doing so, the president “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security,” the report said.

Along with revelations from earlier testimony, the report included previously unreleased cellphone records raising fresh questions about Giuliani’s interactions with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget as well as the top Republican on the intelligence panel, Devin Nunes of California. Nunes declined to comment. 

Trump, who has called the impeachment inquiry “unpatriotic,” said Wednesday in London at the NATO summit that he didn’t know why Giuliani was speaking with the OMB.

Trump encouraged reporters to ask Giuliani about the calls, but claimed they are “no big deal.”

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Leafs star Auston Matthews regrets ‘distraction’ of disorderly conduct charge

Moments after Auston Matthews delivered a 38-second statement where the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star said he regrets if any of his actions are a distraction to the team, John Tavares was asked if that’s exactly what’s happening.

“Well, we’ve got a lot of people here today,” said the veteran centre. “But we’re focused on the ice.”

The media throng assembled at the Leafs’ practice facility had other ideas Wednesday, less than 24 hours after news broke that Matthews is facing a charge of disorderly conduct and disruptive behaviour stemming from an alleged May incident in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Having dozens of reporters and cameras on hand for the morning skate wouldn’t raise eyebrows in the playoffs, but this was ahead of an exhibition game in late September against a skeleton Montreal Canadiens’ roster.

Any controversy involving the Leafs is big news in Toronto — Matthews made the front page of the local daily newspapers Wednesday — and the added detail that the team’s best player has been charged days before many observers expected him to be named captain has sparked even more intrigue.

One of the first players off the ice Wednesday, Matthews briefly went into the locker room and emerged after a member of the Leafs’ public relations staff said the 22-year-old centre wouldn’t be taking any questions.

“It’s not something that I think any of us really wish we were talking about today. Unfortunately, it’s the situation we’re in,” said Matthews, still sporting his equipment. “I regret any of my actions that would ever put a distraction on the team or distress any individual.

“I take a lot of pride in preparing myself for the season and representing the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as I can. Unfortunately due to the situation, I’m afraid I can’t really make any other comments.”

WATCH: Matthews charged with disorderly conduct:

Hearing in Arizona today over incident with security guard. 2:27

Tavares, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and defenceman Morgan Rielly all said they first learned of the allegation Tuesday. It’s unclear if anyone in the organization knew about the charge before this week.

“You’re always disappointed,” Babcock said. “As the Toronto Maple Leafs, we really pride ourselves on doing things right — on the ice, off the ice — in treating people.

“It’s an unfortunate situation.”

Rielly said the team will rally around Matthews.

“It’s tough,” he said. “He’s taking it very seriously. We understand that these issues are serious and it’s not something that we take lightly.”

Court date set for Oct. 22

A pre-trial conference was held in Arizona on Wednesday. The City of Scottsdale’s website lists the next court date as Oct. 22.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined a request via email for comment when asked about the allegation. The player’s agent and Phoenix-based lawyer also didn’t respond to separate requests for comment.

A police report obtained from the Scottsdale Police Department details the complaint filed by a female security guard employed by a local condo building where she said Matthews is a resident. She said she was sitting in her locked car when a group of men, including Matthews, allegedly tried to get inside on May 26.

She said she confronted the group, who she believed to be intoxicated, and during that interaction Matthews withdrew from the conversation and dropped his pants and grabbed his butt cheeks.

The security guard said Matthews, then 21 years old, kept his underwear on.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Matthews was not arrested.

“Anything that goes bad, what you do is you take it and you get better as an organization,” Babcock said. “We’ve got a close family inside and we’re going to look after Auston and we’re going to look after our actions.”

The coach added that he spoke to Matthews, who was expected to play against Montreal, on Wednesday morning to make sure the fourth-year pro was OK.

“I’m here for our players,” Babcock added. “I’m here to help them become better men and better people and better players.”

Rielly was wrongly accused of uttering a homophobic slur on the ice during a game last season, and said the attention controversial situations garner in hockey-crazed markets can be difficult to handle.

“You just try not to read about it,” Rielly said. “We know Auston, what kind of person he is and how he acts on a day-to-day basis. This doesn’t change things for his teammates.”

Candidate for Leafs captain

Matthews has been considered one of the leading candidates to be the named Leafs’ captain, a role that’s been vacant since Dion Phaneuf was traded to the Ottawa Senators in February 2016.

Tavares and Rielly are also possibilities for the job — it’s anyone’s guess what the allegation means for Matthews’ case to wear the ‘C’ — but they said his position within the team hierarchy is secure.

It was hard not to notice, however, the captain-like poise both showed Wednesday morning under difficult circumstances.

“It’s easy to cast judgment and want to make assumptions, but I think you just let the process carry out,” Tavares said. “We have belief in (Matthews) as a player and what he brings to our locker room.”

“He’s been a leader since Day 1 (when) he walked in this room,” Rielly said. “We’re going to support him.”

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Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews facing disorderly conduct charge in Arizona

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews is facing a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident last May in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Matthews, 22, has not been arrested in relation to the May 26 incident. He has a pretrial conference scheduled for Wednesday morning in Scottsdale at 11:30 a.m. ET, though he is not required to appear in court.

The team released a statement Tuesday saying it is aware of the complaint.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs are aware of the complaint of disturbing the peace against forward Auston Matthews,” the statement reads. “Auston is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities but neither he nor the Club will comment any further out of respect for the process involved.”

According to the police report, a female security guard at a condo complex in Scottsdale made the complaint after she said Matthews and a group of males tried to open her vehicle as she sat inside doing paperwork at 2 a.m. 

The complainant said she got out her car and confronted Matthews, who she said appeared to be intoxicated. She said Matthews said he thought it would be funny to see how she would respond.

The report states that, as Matthews walked away, he dropped his pants, bent over and grabbed his buttocks, though the complainant said he appeared to keep his underwear on.

The report says surveillance video shows a male subject walking toward the complex elevators with his pants around his ankles.

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World Curling Tour considering conduct policy after 'extremely drunk' curlers ejected from bonspiel

CALGARY — In the wake of four curlers being ejected from a bonspiel in Red Deer, Alta., over the weekend, the World Curling Tour says it's now considering a Code of Conduct policy.

The curling foursome of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby was kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic for "unacceptable conduct" that included being "extremely drunk." They were kicked out of the event by organizers on Saturday after breaking brooms, damaging equipment in the locker room and swearing. 

Now the head of operations for the WCT says they are going through an internal review to look at what happened in Red Deer. He says they don't currently have any policies around this sort of incident, something they are now looking at. 

"This is very uncommon. Very rarely do we deal with incidents like this," Gerry Geurts said. "This went into a direction that was beyond having a few drinks after a game."


Geurts says he was first alerted to the unfolding situation in Red Deer when he noticed the team had forfeited a game.

"That was kind of surprising", he said.

Geurts says he was soon inundated with emails from concerned fans and coaches about the behaviour of the curlers.

"We posted a statement about it immediately on our WCT social media channels."


Geurts says the WCT is now awaiting an official report of what happened to be filed by the organizing committee of the Red Deer Curling Classic.

Red Deer Curling Club responds

Wade Thurber says he's been bombarded by media phone calls from across Canada and internationally asking what happened during the event. 

Thurber is the club's facility manager and says the Red Deer Curling Classic has existed for 20 years. This year's event featured 56 teams — 28 men's and 28 women's teams from around the world. 

Right now, Thurber says the organizing committee is just trying to get through the event, which wraps up on Monday. 

"I had no idea when I started this event I'd be dealing with this," Thurber said. 

The committee will spend the next couple of weeks looking over comments and feedback from fans, curlers and coaches about what took place before filing an official report to the WCT, Thurber says.

Ryan Fry was part of the gold-medal winning curling team that represented Canada at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. (Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

"We will meet after the fact and discuss what action we're going to take here in Red Deer with these four curlers," Thurber said. 

The "unacceptable behaviour" — as Thurber describes it — took place Saturday. The team lost 10-5 against a team skipped by Kody Hartung. Jamie Koe was not on the ice, so the team was playing with three curlers. The teams shook hands after seven ends. 

"They went out to curl and they were extremely drunk and breaking brooms and swearing and just unacceptable behaviour that nobody wants to watch or hear or listen to and it was just 'enough was enough,'" Thurber said. 

There was also a small hole in the dry wall in one of the locker rooms. 

Thurber says the players have been apologetic — including Fry, who has offered to pay for the damages.

Players apologetic after incident

Fry, who is normally a third on Team Brad Jacobs, was serving as a spare with Koe's team at the event. He lives in Calgary, while the rest of the team curls out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 

He says a bad lapse in judgment affected the experience for others.

"I would like to sincerely apologize to the fans, participants and organizers of the Red Deer Curling Classic," Fry said.

Skip Brad Jacobs says he's "very disappointed" with what's unfolded and that the team has been in contact with Fry. 

"We in no way support that type of behaviour, whether it's displayed on or off the ice. It's absolutely unacceptable. We've shared that with Ryan [Fry]. Really at this point, we're just taking the necessary steps to handle it internally and that's really where we're at." Jacobs said.

Fry was part of the 2014 Olympic gold-medal winning curling team for Canada. He's played in 10 Briers, winning the national title and silver at the world championship in 2013.

"I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport. My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing — the committee was right to disqualify us from play." 

"I allowed myself to lose control and I offended people with my actions. I wish nothing more than to apologize to everyone individually," Fry said.  


Fry has since returned to the Red Deer Curling Club to meet with the members there to apologize. He also issued apologies to everyone affected. 

On Monday, Jamie Koe and Chris Schille took to Twitter to also post apology statements.


"Due to a lapse in judgment on Saturday, we contributed to an unpleasant experience for others," Koe said. "Although I removed myself from the last game before it started, the actions from the team led to our disqualification."

Schille says they took their fun a little too far.


"In the time since I have talked with other staff and board members to apologize, and to reiterate that the decision they made was the right one given the position they were put in," Schille posted on Twitter.


 

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Turkish, Saudi officials to conduct 'inspection' at consulate where journalist disappeared

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to conduct a joint "inspection" on Monday of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish authorities said.

The announcement from an official at Turkey's Foreign Ministry comes as international concern continues to grow over the writer, who vanished on a visit to the consulate on Oct. 2. American lawmakers have threatened tough punitive action against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain jointly called for a "credible investigation" into Khashoggi's disappearance.

A joint Saudi-Turkish team began arriving Monday afternoon to the consulate in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighbourhood as journalists filmed and shot photographs of their arrival.

It's unclear what kind of search the officials will conduct and if it will involve forensics, especially given the length of time passed since Khashoggi disappeared.

As if to drive the point home, a cleaning crew with mops, trash bags and cartons of milk walked in past journalists waiting outside the consulate on Monday.

Cleaning personnel enter Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Turkey says an "inspection" of the consulate is expected to take place later on Monday, nearly two weeks after Saudi journalist after Jamal Khashoggi disappeared there. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom has called such allegations "baseless," but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

The search is an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations. Saudi Arabia may have agreed to the search in order to appease its Western allies and the international community.

Turkish officials say they fear that Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who had been in living self-imposed exile in the United States, was killed and dismembered after he entered the consulate. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Press)

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Twitter late Sunday that "Canada strongly supports our allies on this important issue." An official from her office said Freeland had spoken to her counterparts in the U.S., U.K. and Germany about the issue in recent days.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered the kingdom's public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case, a Saudi official told Reuters on Monday. 

'Rogue killers' possible, Trump suggests

U.S. President Donald Trump has said Saudi Arabia could face "severe punishment" if it was proven it was involved in Khashoggi's disappearance. Writing on Twitter on Monday, Trump said he had spoken with King Salman, "who denies any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi.

"It sounded to me like maybe there could have been rogue killers. Who knows?" Trump told reporters later on Monday outside the White House. He offered no evidence about why he thought rogue killers might be involved.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia warned that if it "receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations," said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Late Sunday, King Salman spoke by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Khashoggi. Turkey said Erdogan "stressed the forming of a joint working group to probe the case." Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said King Salman thanked Erdogan "for welcoming the kingdom's proposal" for forming the working group.

Prince Mohammed, King Salman's son, has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of the upcoming investment conference in Riyadh called the Future Investment Initiative.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends last year's Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. A number of business leaders and media outlet have backed out of this year's event, in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

The Saudi stock exchange, only months earlier viewed as a darling of frontier investors, plunged as much as seven per cent at one point Sunday before closing down over four per cent. Concerns appeared to spread Monday to Japan's SoftBank, which has invested tens of billions of dollars of Saudi government funds. SoftBank was down over seven per cent in trading on Tokyo's stock exchange.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving. Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince.

With files from CBC News and Reuters

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