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This notice appeared Friday afternoon on Backpage.com.
This notice appeared Friday afternoon on Backpage.com. (Backpage.com)

Federal law enforcement authorities are in the process of seizing Backpage.com and its affiliated websites.

The websites are being seized as part of an enforcement action by the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service, according to a notice that appeared Friday afternoon on Backpage.com.

The notice didn’t characterize or provide any details on the nature of the enforcement action.

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Rep. Blake Farenthold, the Texas Republican accused of sexual harassment in a suit that led to an $84,000 taxpayer settlement to a former aide, resigned Friday after insisting for months that he would serve out his current term in Congress.

Farenthold’s decision was announced shortly before it became official, on the final day of the two-week congressional spring break.

“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” the Corpus Christi representative wrote.

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The Zelaya siblings from El Salvador huddle together, part of a caravan of Central American migrants traveling in Mexico.
The Zelaya siblings from El Salvador huddle together, part of a caravan of Central American migrants traveling in Mexico. (Felix Marquez / Associated Press)

Once again, President Trump has talked about rapists in Mexico, and left consternation and confusion in his wake.

At a Thursday afternoon event in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Trump called for tighter control of the nation’s southern border and reminded his audience that when he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015 he had called Mexican immigrants “rapists.”

“Everybody said, ‘Oh, he was so tough,’ and I used the word ‘rape,’” Trump recounted. “And yesterday, it came out where, this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that.”

A National Guard unit patrolling at the U.S. border with Mexico in Sasabe, Ariz., in 2007.
A National Guard unit patrolling at the U.S. border with Mexico in Sasabe, Ariz., in 2007. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

The White House said Friday that it would move on with a plan to use 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops to patrol the Southwestern border, whether or not California chooses to go along.

“We’re going to continue to work with California and we’re hopeful that they’ll do the right thing,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

California is the only state among the four along the border that is run by a Democratic governor, Jerry Brown. Sanders said the plan — which has only been outlined loosely — could still take shape with Guard troops from the other three states.

President Trump reached back to some of his most visceral campaign rhetoric against illegal immigration on Thursday as his administration released new figures showing a surge in March in the number of people caught crossing the border unlawfully.

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(Andrew Harnik/AP)

As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt finds himself consumed by scandal and speculation grows that his days in the Cabinet are numbered, President Trump signaled he plans to keep Pruitt around.

It has been a tough week for Pruitt. The EPA chief is under fire for accepting housing from the wife of a top energy lobbyist at far below market rates, giving immense pay raises to a pair of aides against the instructions of the White House, and flying first class around the country and the world at taxpayer expense. His reported taste for sirens and flashing lights, bulletproof cars and soundproof phone booths has also invited ridicule from critics.

But Trump is giving no signal he is prepared to part ways with Pruitt. As is his custom, the president is blaming the media for Pruitt’s troubles. On Friday morning, he took aim at news reports that Trump was contemplating naming Pruitt as attorney general.

(Associated Press / REX / Shutterstock / WWD)

President Trump will skip the White House Correspondents’ Assn.’s annual awards dinner for the second time since taking office, but he apparently will encourage his aides not to follow his lead as they did last year.

"The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year's dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment,” association president Margaret Talev, a reporter for Bloomberg News, said in a statement.

Talev said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would represent the administration at the head table at the April 28 event. The White House did not immediately comment. Presidents occasionally decline their invitations and usually send the vice president in their place but Huckabee’s designation suggests Vice President Mike Pence also will not attend.

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam in November.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam in November. (Mikhail Klimentyev / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Trump administration on Friday announced new sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies and 17 senior government officials for a variety of acts, including what one official called “attacks to subvert Western democracies.”

“Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a news release. 

Mnuchin criticized the Russian government for engaging in “a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities.”

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. President Trump meet on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. President Trump meet on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto forcefully criticized President Trump in a public address Thursday, calling Trump’s recent attacks on Mexico “offensive and unfounded.”

In his strongest rebuke yet of Trump, Peña Nieto said he will not tolerate threats to Mexico’s dignity or sovereignty and said the U.S. president should focus on domestic policy issues instead of lashing out at its southern neighbor. 

Peña Nieto spoke one day after Trump, citing rising crime in Mexico, signed an order to deploy National Guard troops to the southern border. Also this week, Trump has threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop immigrants from reaching the United States.

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(Associated Press)

President Trump said Thursday that he did not know his personal lawyer had made a $130,000 payment days before the 2016 presidential election to a pornographic movie actress who had accused Trump of engaging in a consensual affair.

Asked whether he was aware of the payment to Stormy Daniels, Trump offered a one-word response: “No.” He spoke during an Air Force One flight from an event in West Virginia to Washington.

It was not clear from the brief comments when Trump became aware of the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. He said reporters would have to ask his attorney, Michael Cohen, why Cohen made the payment.