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(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump on Thursday revived a long-debunked claim about massive voter fraud in California, telling an audience in West Virginia that “millions and millions of people” had voted illegally in the state.

"In many places, like California, the same person votes many times,” Trump said. “You probably heard about that. They always like to say 'oh that's a conspiracy theory.' Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people."

Trump first made that accusation shortly after his election, saying that he only lost the popular vote because of illegal voting in California. After his inauguration, the administration set up a commission to look into voter fraud. It was eventually disbanded and did not come up with any evidence to back Trump’s theories.

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

Arrests of people illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico surged in March, the administration announced Thursday, the day after President Trump asked governors to station National Guard troops along the border.

The Border Patrol arrested 37,393 people in March, a 37% increase from February and more than double the number from March of last year, according to statistics released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security.

The numbers remain quite low by historical standards, however, tracking closely with figures from recent years in which the number of people apprehended crossing the border rose sharply in the spring. Overall, illegal border crossings in recent years have been at the lowest level since the early 1970s.

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When administration officials briefed reporters at the White House late Wednesday about President Trump’s renewed assault on illegal immigration, a senior official openly spoke about the political advantage they hope to gain.

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)

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has told Mexican authorities that National Guard troops deployed on the border would not be armed or participate in immigration or customs duties, according to the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

Nielsen’s plan, though still vague, would use state Guard units in support roles, in accordance with U.S. law, resembling the two recent deployments from Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.

Mexico said it has emphasized to the Trump administration that if the deployment comes to resemble a militarization of the border, “it will gravely damage the bilateral relationship.”

Border Patrol agents at work.
Border Patrol agents at work. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration is asking border-state governors to send National Guard units to the Southwestern border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.

“The president is frustrated” over continued illegal immigration, Nielsen said. “He has been very clear that he wants to secure our border.”

National Guard personnel would not be allowed to arrest people crossing the border, but could provide support to the Border Patrol, much as happened in 2006 under the Bush administration, and in 2010 under the Obama administration, Nielsen said. 

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  • Russia
H.R. McMaster meets with President Trump last year.
H.R. McMaster meets with President Trump last year. (Associated Press)

In what is likely one of his last public comments as national security advisor, H.R. McMaster has sharply criticized U.S. inaction in the face of cyber, political and even military threats from Russia.

"For too long, some nations have looked the other way in the face of [Russia’s] threats,” McMaster said Tuesday night in a speech before several Baltic nation presidents visiting Washington. “Russia brazenly, and implausibly, denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs."

McMaster cited, among other examples, the poisoning last month of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain, an attack the United Kingdom blames on Moscow

President Trump called on Tuesday for using the military to guard the border with Mexico until his promised wall is built, highlighting his growing frustration as nationalist allies criticize him for failing to get Congress to fully fund construction.

  • White House
  • Immigration
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

President Trump called U.S. border laws “weak” in a tweet Wednesday and said he would take “strong action” to prevent people from crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Trump falsely wrote that Democrats want “people to pour into our country unchecked.” Democrats have advocated for greater protections for undocumented immigrants, but the party has not advocated repeal of existing laws that limit immigration.

The White House wants Congress to pass laws that make it easier to detain and deport families and children arriving illegally from Central America, stripping away many existing legal protections.

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The Federal Reserve's top official on the West Coast has been chosen to head its powerful New York regional bank, a controversial choice because he helped regulate Wells Fargo & Co. during its fake accounts scandal and is another white male at an institution critics complain sorely lacks diversity.

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  • Immigration
(Associated Press)

President Trump’s threat to Honduras on Tuesday over migrants he claims are headed to the United States marks an about-face after his administration has sought close ties with the Central American nation, and illustrates how his impulsive tweets can send confusing signals to allies.

Trump has been lashing out in recent days against a “Caravan of People from Honduras” coming across “our ‘Weak Laws’ border” with Mexico, as he put it in his latest tweet. In the new broadside, he not only threatened Mexico — warning again of implications for ongoing trade negotiations — but also warned he might cut foreign aid to Honduras.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the caravan of about 1,100 migrants was now resting in southern Mexico and seeking advice on obtaining visas in Mexico, mostly on humanitarian grounds. Most of those involved in the symbolic march were not expected to proceed to the United States.