Michael Cohen asserts Trump urged him to lie utilizing ‘code’ languageMy partner Tom McCarthy has the most recent on the Trump-Russia investigations.Michael Cohen, Trump’s previous legal counselor/fixer, discharged an open letter recapping his declaration to the extraordinary insight and two congressional committees.”Trump and his [White House] consultants urged Cohen to lie and state all Moscow Tower venture contacts finished as of January 31, 2017,” when in reality the tasks were alive something like a half year later, the letter said.”Trump did as such utilizing ‘code’ language – telling Cohen amid different discussions that there was ‘no plot, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia’ after the beginning of the battle,” it added.Trump has proclaimed himself vindicated of all charges of bad behavior since the discharge a month ago by the lawyer general, William Barr, of a letter abridging the discoveries of Mueller’s examination of Russian decision altering and potential block of equity by Trump.
This article titled “Trump arrives at US-Mexico border and repeats ’emergency’ claim – as it happened” was written by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco (now) and Erin Durkin in New York (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 6th April 2019 00.04 UTC
We’re wrapping things up over here on the best coast.
My colleague Julian Borger has written about a new report that the Trump administration is planning to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization here.
Here’s a rundown of the other big stories in politics today:
- Elizabeth Warren called for an end to the filibuster
- Twenty states moved to block Trump’s diversion of funding for a border wall
- Joe Biden appeared at a union event where he made light of concerns about touching women without their consent
- A lawyer for Donald Trump argued that Congress’s request for Trump’s tax returns “will not succeed”
- Trump visited the US-Mexico border in California, where he stated that the country is “full”
- Michael Cohen alleged that Trump encouraged him to lie
Have a great weekend!
My colleagues Jon Swaine and David Smith have another report on the legal issues of Stephen Moore:
A court official accompanied by four police officers had to break into the home of Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve board, after he repeatedly failed to pay debts to his ex-wife.
The group forced its way into Moore’s house in Virginia in May 2013, to begin the process of selling the property in order to raise $330,000 Moore owed after his divorce, according to court filings.
When the court official telephoned Moore to ask where he wanted the new key to his home to be left, Moore “was very argumentative” and “denied that we were in his house”, she said in a June 2013 motion.
Read the rest here.
Governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee just signed a bill raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 in Washington state.
The law applies to e-cigarettes and vape products in addition to cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products, according to the local NBC affiliate.
Similar bills have caught on around the country, amid rising concern about teen vaping. The state legislatures in Maryland, Illinois and New York have all passed bills to raise the smoking age to 21, but are awaiting approval by their governors.
Ever since Robert Mueller delivered his report on the special counsel’s investigation into Trump and Russia, reporters, Democrats and the public have been chomping at the bit to see what’s in it.
Indeed, according to Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn, 198 Freedom of Information Act requests were filed related to the Mueller investigation between 22 March, when the report was delivered to the Justice department, and 29 March.
This tidbit comes from a legal filing from the DOJ, which is arguing that it is not “practicable” for it to expedite a FOIA request for the Mueller report ahead of Attorney General William Barr’s planned release of the report in “mid-April”.
Michael Cohen alleges Trump encouraged him to lie using ‘code’ language
My colleague Tom McCarthy has the latest on the Trump-Russia investigations.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer/fixer, released a public letter recapping his testimony to the special counsel and two congressional committees.
“Trump and his [White House] advisors encouraged Cohen to lie and say all Moscow Tower project contacts ended as of January 31, 2017,” when in fact the projects were alive at least six months later, the letter said.
“Trump did so using ‘code’ language – telling Cohen during various conversations that there was ‘no collusion, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia’ after the start of the campaign,” it added.
Trump has declared himself vindicated of all charges of wrongdoing since the release last month by the attorney general, William Barr, of a letter summarizing the findings of Mueller’s investigation of Russian election tampering and potential obstruction of justice by Trump.
Read the rest of the report here.
During his visit to the border, Trump criticized the Flores settlement, which he incorrectly stated was named after the judge.
The settlement is actually named after Jenny Flores, a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador whose 1985 detention by US immigration enforcement (then known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service) was the subject of a class-action lawsuit. Flores was being held in a facility with adult men and women, and was regularly strip-searched. Human rights attorneys sued on her and other minors’ behalf.
The case eventually went to the Supreme Court and, in 1997, resulted in a consent decree – now known as the Flores settlement – which governs the treatment of minors held in federal immigration custody. The rules have been challenged and adjusted by various administrations and courts.
Among the rules: children cannot be kept in custody for more than 20 days.
This requirement formed part of the legal underpinning for last year’s family separation crisis at the border. When the Trump administration declared “zero tolerance” for unauthorized border crossings, family units were broken apart so that parents could be criminally prosecuted. The children, who could not be legally detained under the Flores ruling, were treated as if they were unaccompanied minors, and separated from their detained parents.
Trump also has attempted to draw a comparison between people seeking asylum in the US and the recently completed special counsel’s investigation, according to the AP.
He said: “I look at some of these asylum people. They’re gang members. They’re not afraid of anything … It’s a scam, it’s a hoax. I know about hoaxes. I just went through a hoax.”
Earlier today, California governor Gavin Newsom issued a sharp rebuke to Trump’s comments suggesting that the US “get rid of the whole asylum system”.
“Since our founding, this country has been a place of refuge – a safe haven for people fleeing tyranny, oppression and violence,” Newsom said in a statement. “His words show a total disregard of the Constitution, our justice system, and what it means to be an American.”
Newsom plans to travel to El Salvador this weekend to meet with officials and NGOs about the causes of migration.
Hello everyone, this is Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco taking over the live blog for the rest of your Friday afternoon.
Donald Trump is here in California today, visiting the border with Mexico. Trump delivered remarks at a recently replaced two-mile section of border barrier in Calexico that is decidedly not, the AP points out, newly built border “wall”.
In addition to claiming that the country is “full”, Trump said that his administration is “letting people know this is an absolute emergency”.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Southern Border Communities Coalition calls the visit “trite political theater to extract more funds to fulfill his obsession with building deadly walls”.
- Donald Trump headed for Calexico, California to visit the US-Mexico border, saying before he departed that he backed off his threat to close the border because Mexico “has been absolutely terrific” about apprehending migrants, but threatening again to slap tariffs on Mexican cars. Trump also abruptly withdrew his nomination to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying he was looking for someone “tougher.”
- Twenty states filed a motion seeking to block Donald Trump from diverting federal funds to build a border wall.
- Former vice president Joe Biden, at his first public appearance since allegations by women that he touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, made light of the controversy, hugging a union leader and cracking that he had permission to do so. He later told reporters he was sorry he did not better understand the impact of his behavior, but not sorry for his intentions, which were never disrespectful.
- Democratic presidential candidates including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar and Tim Ryan addressed Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. The field largely said they would sign a bill to create a commission to study reparations for slavery.
While in California, Donald Trump plans to have dinner tonight at his golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, the Washington Post reports.
He’ll be joined by his son Eric Trump, city council members and dozens of supporters.
Senator Cory Booker is the latest presidential candidate to speak to the National Action Network.
Donald Trump is speaking at a roundtable on immigration and border security in Calexico, California.
To potential immigrants, Trump said: “Our country is full,” according to Bloomberg News.
“We have a system that’s full. It’s just full,” Trump also said. “We have to say, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t take you.’”
Trump lawyer responds to congressional request for tax returns
A lawyer for Donald Trump is fighting a Congressional request for his tax returns, saying it is “misguided” and “will not succeed,” per the New York Times.
They sent a letter to the Treasury Department formally opposing the request, saying the committee has no legitimate purpose for obtaining them.
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, which advocates for hostages, has reversed plans to give an award to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo due to his handling of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, AFP reports.
“In addition to advocating for the safe return of American hostages abroad, the protection of free speech and promotion of journalists’ safety is a key pillar of our foundation and this award would have been in conflict with that key principle,” the foundation, named for a journalist killed in Syria, said in a statement.
Indicted California Rep. Duncan Hunter is among those greeting Donald Trump at the southern border, per a pool report.
Trump tweeted video of his arrival.
A source tells CNN Donald Trump is willing to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to block a House Democratic request for his tax returns.
“This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it,” the official said.
House Ways and Means Committee chair formally requested the returns this week from the IRS, using a provision of law that allows the head of that committee to obtain any citizen’s taxes.
California has filed its 50th lawsuit against the Trump administration. This one targets the feds’ withholding of data on the weakening of car emission standards, CNBC reports.
The United States has cancelled the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, according to NPR.
Protesters are flying a large “Baby Trump” balloon ahead of his arrival at the US-Mexico border in Calexico, California, KGTV reports.
Supporters also gathered to welcome Trump.
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who announced his presidential campaign yesterday, promises an “urban Marshall plan” in his National Action Network speech, according to the Atlantic.
Donald Trump fulminating again against the press, after saying he wouldn’t attend the White House Correspondents Dinner.
White House adviser Stephen Miller may be behind Donald Trump’s decision to nix the nomination of Ron Vitiello to head ICE, the Washington Post reports.
“This is part of an increasingly desperate effort by Stephen to throw people under the bus when the policies he has advocated are not effective,” one senior official told the paper. “Stephen wants to put Attila the Hun as director of ICE.”
Trump said today he decided to withdraw the nomination because he wants someone “tougher.”
After Donald Trump dismissed her as a young bartender, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she’s “proud to be a bartender.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong that. There’s nothing wrong with working retail…There is nothing wrong with preparing that your neighbors will eat,” she said in her remarks at the National Action Network, according to video posted by ABC News. “There is nothing wrong with being a working person in the United States of America.”
Donald Trump has traveled to the California town of Calexico to view a section of border barrier, which he describes as a new wall his administration is building.
But as the Associated Press notes, the fence that Trump is touring is a two-mile section that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier, rather than new wall. Trump has not completed any new mileage of wall or fence anywhere on the border since taking office.
Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand tells the National Action Network convention that the conversation about reparations for slavery is “long overdue,” Newsday reports. Like other contenders who have spoken at the event, she said she would sign a bill to create a commission to study the issue.
Former CIA operative, author and activist Valerie Plame said Friday she is considering a 2020 run for an open U.S. congressional seat in New Mexico, the Associated Press reports:
Plame told The Associated Press she is spending time with residents and will make a decision soon. The seat is currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who is stepping down to run for U.S. Senate.
“Right now, I am going around and meeting with people,” said Plame, a Democrat. “I have a lot to learn and I would like another opportunity to serve my country.”
Plame had previously told media outlets she was considering the U.S. House seat or a bid for the U.S. Senate but told The AP on Friday she as looking at the House to “continue Ben Ray’s legacy.”
Plame became a national figure after her identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 in an effort to discredit her then-husband Joe Wilson.
The Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the US Census has been rejected by a third federal judge, NPR reports.
U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Maryland ruled the move was unlawful, the same conclusion reached by judges in New York and California.
The question 2020 census would ask, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” Opponents say it will scare immigrants away from filling out the form, leading to an inaccurate count.
The Supreme Court rejected a request by gun rights groups seeking to block a ban on bump stocks.
The ban went into effect on April 3 and the high court declined to place it on hold, the Hill reports.
Meanwhile, the Hill also reports that Donald Trump will speak at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in Indianapolis on April 26.
Former US Rep. Anthony Weiner has been ordered to register as a sex offender.
A judge ruled he’ll be designated a level 1 sex offender after completing a prison sentence for sexting an underage girl, the New York Post reports. It’s the level deemed at the lowest risk of committing further crimes.
The former Congressman’s serial sexting habit has had an outsized impact on US politics, in addition to tanking his own run for mayor of New York. The investigation into Weiner led to investigators finding emails belonging to his now-estranged wife, which prompted the FBI to reopen the probe of Hillary Clinton just before the 2016 election.
White House Correspondents Association president Oliver Knox responds to Donald Trump’s announcement that he won’t attend the group’s annual dinner and will hold a rival rally: “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present, and future.”
Donald Trump, in apparent response to former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech to the electrical workers’ union, claims the workers support him.
Former vice president Joe Biden, answering questions about his ideological orientation, declared, “I’m an Obama-Biden Democrat, and I’m proud of it.”
Biden says his views are in line with the mainstream of the party, despite the recent attention paid to leftist insurgents. Essentially, he’s a traditional liberal, he said.
“I wish I had been labeled in Delaware the seven times I ran as a moderate. I was never labeled as a moderate,” Biden told reporters, according to footage aired on CNN.
The definition of progressive, Biden said, seems to be shifting – now, it’s “are you a socialist?” Which he is not.
“The vast majority of the members of the Democratic party are still basically liberal to moderate Democrats in the traditional sense,” he said, asking to be defined by his views on race, women’s rights, gay rights and civil liberties. “I’ll stack my record on those things against anyone who has ever run.”
Most of the candidates who successfully defeated Republicans have been from his wing of the party, Biden said.
“Show me the really left, left, left wingers who beat a Republican,” he said. “So the idea the Democratic party is kinda stood on its head, I don’t get.”
Biden made clear he is all but certain to launch a presidential bid, saying he was avoiding make it explicit on the advice of lawyers to avoid triggering fundraising rules. He said he hopes to be the last in the field to announce.
Joe Biden faced questions about complaints from women who say he touched them in a way that made them uncomfortable.
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand more,” he told reporters when asked about requests that he apologize, according to footage aired on CNN. “I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I’ve never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or a woman.”
Biden answered questions after appearing at a union event where he joked about the allegations, hugging the union president and noting that he had permission to hug him. The comment has already been criticized as tone deaf but Biden said he was sincere.
“I literally think it is incumbent upon me and I think everybody else to make sure that if you embrace someone, if you touch someone, it’s with their consent – regardless of your intentions, if you’re trying to bring solace, if you’re trying trying to welcome them,” Biden said.
He said he wasn’t surprised to see Donald Trump post a video mocking him about the allegations. “It doesn’t surprise me. He doesn’t have time to do his job. But look, everybody knows how Donald Trump is,” he said.
Biden said the criticism from some women will change the way he interacts with people on the campaign trail. “I think it’s going to have to change,” he said.
Attorney General William Barr will testify before Congress on Tuesday, the Hill reports.
He’ll be there to testify about the Justice Department’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, but is likely to face questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, which he faces increasing pressure to release.
The hearing is set for the House Appropriations Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, according to the Hill.
Joe Biden has been spotted in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania with a camera crew, CNN reports. It could be a sign he’s preparing for a presidential campaign launch.
A new poll finds that most voters say uncomfortable touching allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden should not disqualify him from being president.
In the Hill-HarrisX poll, 56% said Biden’s conduct should not be viewed as disqualifying, while 23% said it should be and 21% were unsure.
Joe Biden jokes about touching complaints
Former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off his appearance at a union event with a crack about the criticism of his touchy tendencies.
He came on stage and hugged IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson, BuzzFeed reports. “I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie,” he said.
This is Biden’s first public event since several women said he has touched them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable.
Putting his arm around a young boy in footage aired on CNN, Biden also said, “By the way, he gave me permission to touch him.”
In addition to her proposal to end the filibuster, Senator Elizabeth Warren in her remarks at the National Action Network is touting her plan for universal childcare – highlighting the disproportionate impact lack of child care access has on women of color while recounting her own struggles, according to several reporters covering the speech.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, appearing on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, defended his latest controversial fundraising moves as he mulls a presidential bid.
Senator Bernie Sanders, like other Democratic hopefuls, has told Rev. Al Sharpton he would sign a bill to study reparations, and attacked Donald Trump as a racist. More highlights of his speech from reporters covering the National Action Network convention:
Next up is Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is making a pitch today for abolishing the filibuster.
Senator Kamala Harris, speaking at the National Action Network, vowed to sign a bill to create a commission to study reparations for slavery, Newsday reports. She also touted her plan to increase pay for teachers.
Harris also called for doubling the size of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and was greeted with a standing ovation, per reporter Celeste Katz.
Governor John Hickenlooper also said he would sign the reparations bill, though it apparently took some prodding.
Donald Trump lies all the time because “it’s fun,” his former communications director Anthony Scaramucci said this morning.
“He does it because he thinks it’s fun. And he also does it because he likes the fact that you guys are talking about it,” Scaramucci told CNN. “He’s figured out that there’s a very large group of people inside of our population that when he does it and the media talks about it, they laugh.”
Scaramucci said he has urged Trump not to “tell these fables,” but he has lied habitually since his days in real estate and “finds it amusing.”
Here’s the motion filed today to block the Trump Administration’s attempt to divert $1.6 billion in federal funds to build a border wall.
The states filed a lawsuit in January to challenge Trump’s emergency declaration, which he is using to get federal money for a wall without congressional approval. The new motion, filed in the Northern District of California, asks for an immediate injunction to stop Trump from using $1.6 billion in funding that Congress intended for state and local law enforcement agencies.
More from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James:
In the motion, the coalition asserts that with his unlawful executive actions President Trump has disregarded the will of Congress and separation of powers principles engrained in the U.S. Constitution. The Trump Administration is attempting to ultimately divert up to $6.7 billion in funding through the Department of Treasury’s Forfeiture Fund, the Department of Defense’s counterdrug account, and military construction projects through its declaration of an emergency. These unlawful actions pose significant harm to the states, who have relied on Treasury Forfeiture Funds to purchase needed law enforcement equipment, staffing, and support of ongoing operations. In addition, any diversion of funds and resources toward the construction of a border wall will cause environmental harm to New Mexico and other border states.
The coalition also argues that the Trump Administration’s actions to divert funding:
- Lack statutory authority because the federal government cannot satisfy the criteria it relies on for diversion of the funds and resources;
- Violate the U.S. Constitution’s bedrock separation of powers principles by attempting to usurp Congress’s appropriation powers;
- Disregard the National Environmental Policy Act by proceeding with construction plans in New Mexico without preparing the required environmental impact statement; and
- Pose imminent environmental harm to environmentally sensitive areas on the border of New Mexico where construction of the border wall is imminent.
After Democrats formally requested his tax returns from the IRS, Donald Trump said the decision on whether to release them is “up to whoever handles it.”
“From what I understand, the law’s 100% on my side,” said Trump, who has refused to release his taxes, claiming once again that “I’m under audit.”
There is no known law prohibiting the release of a president’s tax returns if he is under audit. It’s IRS policy to audit all returns filed by a sitting president, but past presidents have nonetheless released theirs.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal formally requested Trump’s taxes Wednesday, under a law that allows the head of that committee to obtain the returns of any citizen.
Donald Trump said he withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitiello to head Immigrations and Customs Enforcement because he wants someone who will be “tougher” on immigrants.
“We’re going in a different direction,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House.
“Ron’s a good man,” he said. “We want to go in a tougher direction.”
Donald Trump claims to be a “very good messenger” for criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden’s handsy behavior, despite a slew of accusations of sexual assault against Trump.
Trump has pinned at the top of his Twitter feed a doctored video mocking Biden over statement by several women that he touched them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable.
“I think I’m a very good messenger, and people got a kick out of it,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Friday. “You’ve got to sort of smile a little bit.”
Trump went on to say he doesn’t see Biden’s candidacy as a threat.
“I think he’s only a threat to himself. I just don’t see him as a threat. He’s been there a long time. His record’s not good,” Trump said, adding of the Democratic presidential candidates, “I’d be happy with any of them, to be honest.”
Biden is scheduled to speak later this morning at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, his first public event since the allegations emerged.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is “confident” there will be a third summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Pompeo told CBS This Morning he hoped the next summit would happen “soon.” A recent meeting between the two leaders in Hanoi collapsed without a deal on the North Korean nuclear program.
“We didn’t get as far as the world is demanding,” Pompeo said, but added Trump and Kim gained a “deeper understanding of each other.”
Donald Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner and will hold a rival rally the night of the event, he said Friday.
“The dinner is so boring, and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
Trump has also skipped the dinner in past years. This year’s event is scheduled for April 27. The association this year decided to skip having a comedian as its main speaker for the first time, instead inviting historian Ron Chernow.
Trump says he hasn’t decided where to host the rally but it will be “big.”
“Everybody wants it. It will be a big one. But the correspondents’ dinner is too negative. I like positive things,” he said.
Donald Trump explains reversal on closing US-Mexico border
Donald Trump explained his decision to back off his threat to close the US-Mexico border, as he departs for a trip to California to view sections of border barrier.
Trump said Mexico had cooperated by apprehending migrants at its own southern border, but also threatened 25% tariffs on imports of cars from Mexico.
“I may shut it down at some point, but I’d rather do tariffs,” Trump said outside the White House.
“Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days. They’re apprehending everybody,” he said, claiming that Mexico had taken 1,400 people into custody at its southern border on Thursday.
If Mexico continues with the aggressive arrests, he said, “everything will be fine.” If not, he said the US would impose 25% tariffs.
“If they apprehend people at their southern border…that’s a big homerun. We can handle it from there,” he said.
States move to block funds for border wall
Twenty states have filed a motion to block Donald Trump’s diversion of federal money for a border wall, New York Attorney General Letitia James said.
The motion challenges Trump’s use of a national emergency to get money to build the border wall without Congressional approval.
The news came as Trump departs for a trip to the border.
“This wall is unnecessary, and an abuse of power that will take away resources that could be used to help Americans across our nation,” James said.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke compared Donald Trump’s immigration rhetoric to language used in Nazi Germany.
At an Iowa town hall Thursday night, O’Rourke said the president “not only describes immigrants as ‘rapists’ and ‘criminals’ but as ‘animals’ and ‘an infestation,’” the Washington Post reported.
“Now, I might expect someone to describe another human being as ‘an infestation’ in the Third Reich. I would not expect it in the United States of America,” he said.
Donald Trump takes issue with an accurate Washington Post report that he has backed off, for now, his threat to close the US-Mexico border.
Donald Trump is already making plans for a tell-all memoir after he leaves office, the Daily Beast reports.
He’s been talking about it since mid-2017 and thinks it will be a bestseller.
Trump has also talked about how the book could be used to settle scores with his enemies in the media, both the Democratic and Republican parties, and within his own administration.
“He sounded excited about it,” one source told the Daily Beast. “He said it would sell better than even The Art of the Deal.”
The White House has withdrawn the nomination of a longtime border official to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Associated Press reports:
The paperwork on Ron Vitiello was sent to members of Congress Thursday, the people said, and the decision was unexpected and met with confusion. Vitiello had been scheduled to travel with President Donald Trump to the border on Friday, but was no longer going, one official said. He will still remain acting director, they said.
One Homeland Security official insisted it was nothing but a paperwork error that had later been corrected. But other, higher-level officials said the move did not appear to be a mistake, even though they were not informed ahead of time.
Vitiello was nominated to lead ICE, the agency tasked with enforcing immigration law in the interior of the U.S., after more than 30 years in law enforcement, starting in 1985 with the U.S. Border Patrol. He was previously Border Patrol chief and deputy commissioner U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the patrol.
Vitiello took over during a time of unprecedented spotlight and scrutiny for the agency. Part of ICE’s mission is to arrest immigrants in the U.S. illegally, which has made it a symbol of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.
He had been acting head since June 2018, nominated in August, had a Senate confirmation hearing in November and his nomination had passed one Senate panel, the people said. But because Homeland Security touches on so many topics, a second committee also had jurisdiction and his nomination was still under discussion there. Some Democrats had concerns, and a union representing some ICE agents had opposed his nomination.
The US created 196,000 new jobs in March, according to the just-released jobs report. It’s a solid figure and an increase from February’s weaker total. Unemployment is unchanged at 3.8%, but wage growth has fallen.
Take a look at our business blog for more.
The mayor’s latest fundraising effort is raising questions at home – a familiar position for de Blasio, who was the subject of federal and state investigations into favor trading with donors. The host of his fundraiser in Boston is Suffolk Construction, the New York Times reports – a firm looking to expand its business in New York.
Meanwhile, lawyer Frank Carone gave the maximum $5,000 to de Blasio’s PAC, the Times reports. At the same time, he was negotiating with the city on behalf of landlords with a record of code violations who got a $173 million deal to sell buildings housing homeless families. The pricetag was $30 million more than an appraiser found the properties were worth, and more than triple the $50 million the city initially estimated.
After the Boston stop, de Blasio plans a swing through Las Vegas this weekend.
Elizabeth Warren to call for eliminating Senate filibuster
Senator Elizabeth Warren is set to call Friday for completely eliminating the filibuster.
It would be a dramatic change to Senate rules, allowing bills to pass with a simple majority rather than requiring 60 votes.
It’s a change pushed by many progressives as the only way to get ambitious liberal legislation passed, though by the same token it would make it easier for conservatives to get their agendas through when Republicans are in control.
Warren will make the call in her remarks at the Rev Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention, according to excerpts of her remarks provided to several news organizations.
She will describe the filibuster as having been used for generations as “a tool to block progress on racial justice”, according to CNN.
“When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We’re done with two sets of rules – one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats,” Warren plans to say. “And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster.”
A host of Democratic presidential candidates are speaking today at the NAN event, which began Wednesday. Today’s lineup also includes Senator Kamala Harris, Governor John Hickenlooper, and Senators Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker.
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