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CBS internal report finds former CEO Les Moonves obstructed probe: NY Times

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Leslie Moonves, who resigned as the top executive of CBS Corp in September amid a wave of claims of sexual misconduct, destroyed evidence and misled an internal investigation, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing a draft of an internal report.

The lawyers hired by CBS (CBS.N) to investigate the claims against Moonves concluded the company has justification to deny paying his $120 million severance package, the newspaper reported.

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The newspaper, citing the draft of a report prepared for the company’s board, said lawyers who conducted the inquiry found that Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators in a bid to save his reputation and his severance deal.

CBS in September said it would pay $120 million to Moonves if an internal investigation into allegations of harassment failed to provide grounds for his dismissal.

The CBS board retained two law firms, Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling, to conduct the investigation, in part to determine whether the allegations against Moonves would have constituted grounds for his dismissal, and thus forfeiture of his severance.

According to the Times, which said it reviewed a draft report compiled in November, the investigators wrote that they had substantiated numerous accusations of sexual wrongdoing, some previously undisclosed, against Moonves.

A CBS spokesman, Dana McClintock, said the company had no comment on the Times article.

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The Times quoted Moonves’ lawyer, Andrew Levander, as saying that his client “denies having any non-consensual sexual relation” and “cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”

Levander could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

The lawyers who conducted the inquiry also wrote that they had spoken with Moonves on four occasions and found him to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct,” the Times said.

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“Based on the facts developed to date, we believe that the board would have multiple bases upon which to conclude that the company was entitled to terminate Moonves for cause,” the Times quoted the report as saying.

The 59-page report is expected to be presented to the CBS board ahead of its annual meeting next week, and could be modified before its presentation to the full board, the Times said.

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Moonves, who turned CBS from an aging radio and TV broadcaster into a successful provider of shows to digital platforms and was a major figure at the broadcast network and media company for more than two decades, stepped down as chairman, chief executive officer and president of CBS in September amid a wave of accusations that he subjected women to sexual assault and harassment.

Moonves called the allegations “untrue.”

Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler

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America could be on the verge of a huge shift to the left — here’s what you can expect

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A new socialist movement is cohering in the US, thanks in large part to the popular class politics of Bernie Sanders. But as that movement grows and progresses, it is bound to run into dangerous obstacles and thorny contradictions. The new US socialist movement is without a single "line" or monolithic political position. That's a strength of the movement, since none of us has all the answers. Still, many people in the movement, ourselves included, feel strongly about certain approaches to strategy. One approach we feel strongly about is what we call "the democratic road to socialism," or the idea that we need to make good use of the democratic structures and processes available to us (and to improve and expand them) in order to advance our cause.A country like the United States has both a well-developed capitalist state, beholden to the capitalist class and armed to the teeth, and mechanisms for democratic participation in that state that allow people to exercise some measure of control over their representatives. Even though their choices are limited, their representatives are bought off by the rich, and the capitalist class holds the entire system hostage with the threat of devastating economic retaliation if things don't go their way, the system does have some basic democratic elements that its citizens largely affirm and occasionally participate in.This is a tricky situation to navigate. If the democratic capitalist state were less developed, it might be possible to convince people to simply storm the gates, tear up the old rules, and start fresh in a socialist society. This is what socialists tried to do in Russia in 1917: the state was weak and after centuries of autocratic rule it didn't have much legitimacy in the eyes of most Russians, so revolutionaries could get popular support for scrapping it and starting over.
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White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney caught on tape saying US is ‘desperate’

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was caught on tape admitting that, despite President Donald Trump's policy preferences, the United States is "desperate" for more immigrants, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post.

He further undermined the administration's claims of its economic prowess, admitting that immigration is necessary for sustained economic growth.

"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," Mulvaney said, according to the post, stressing that it should be legal. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

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Hawaii holds woman over missing children amid suspicious deaths and ‘doomsday cult’ links

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A 46-year-old American woman with reported links to a doomsday cult and to at least three people whose deaths are being investigated has been arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two children.

Lori Vallow was arrested Thursday on the island of Kauai and charged with felony desertion of the children, 7-year-old Joshua Vallow, who is autistic, and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, police said in a statement.

According to US media reports, the children, who have different fathers, were last seen on September 23, 2019.

Their disappearance was reported in November by the boy's grandparents, who live in Louisiana and had heard nothing from the children for an extended period.

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