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1203 posts
  • Immigration
The Justice Department sent letters to 23 states, cities and counties, including California, Los Angeles and Chicago, demanding records showing whether law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal agents on the immigration status of people in their custody. (Jan. 24, 2018)

Returning to a favorite cause for President Trump and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department on Wednesday escalated a struggle with two dozen so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, demanding records proving they are cooperating with immigration enforcement agencies.

The department sent letters to 23 states, cities and counties, including California, Los Angeles and Chicago, demanding records showing whether law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal agents on the immigration status of people in their custody.

If the local jurisdictions don’t comply, the department says it will issue subpoenas or possibly cut off certain federal grant funds.

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As Congress searches for a deal to protect so-called Dreamers from deportation, there are parallels to 2013, when immigration legislation won widespread support in the Senate only to be roundly ignored in the more conservative, Republican-led House.

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In the end, it was neither the self-proclaimed deal-making President Trump nor seasoned congressional leaders who found the path to end the three-day government shutdown.

  • White House
As Pence prayed on the men's side, it was impossible for the female journalists to see above the cameras and microphones held by their male colleagues. (Jan. 24, 2018)

Vice President Mike Pence’s 48-hour visit to Israel stumbled into a public storm Tuesday when female reporters covering his final stop at Jerusalem’s Western Wall were penned behind four rows of their male colleagues.

White House officials told stunned journalists that the arrangement emanated from a request made by the Western Wall rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and followed “Western Wall rules.”

Some women journalists said they could not recall such treatment in the past.

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to confirm Jerome H. Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, allowing him to take over when Janet L. Yellen’s term expires early next month.

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An injured Syrian is carried to safety after a government airstrike on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus on Jan. 2.
An injured Syrian is carried to safety after a government airstrike on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus on Jan. 2. (AFP / Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday vigorously condemned a reported chlorine-gas attack by Syrian government forces on civilians near Damascus, and put the blame squarely on Russia.

"Russia's failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis," Tillerson said to reporters in Paris, where he met with allies to inaugurate a new 29-nation organization dedicated to monitoring and punishing the use of banned chemical weapons.

"Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria," Tillerson said.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week by the special counsel's office investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, a sign that the politically sensitive probe has moved deeper into the White House.

Sessions is the first known member of Trump's Cabinet to be pulled into the probe, which is looking at whether Trump or any of his aides assisted the Russian operation during the election campaign or were involved in obstruction of justice during the transition or early months of the administration.

President Trump stood in the East Room of the White House last February and haltingly addressed what he called “a very, very difficult subject for me” — the hundreds of thousands of immigrants known as Dreamers, who came to this country illegally as children.

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CNN headquarters in Atlanta
CNN headquarters in Atlanta (EPA)

President Trump started his day Tuesday as he often has — with a tweet against “Fake News CNN.” Only this time it came after news that a man with the same complaint had been arrested for calling CNN’s Atlanta headquarters “to gun you all down.”

News of the arrest broke late Monday but the man, identified as Brandon Griesemer of Novi, Mich., was charged in federal district court on Friday after repeated threatening calls to CNN on Jan. 9-10. 

"Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down," the caller said, according to CNN, quoting from a federal affidavit. In another call, the caller threatened, "I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down .... I am coming to kill you.”

  • Congress

President Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations.

They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “Dreamers" and other contentious issues.

The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse.