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President Donald Trump on Friday vetoed a congressional measure that would have blocked his attempt to use a national emergency declaration to obtain funds to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
The president’s action kicked the measure back to Congress, where the House of Representatives is expected to take it up again, likely on March 26, in an effort to override Trump’s veto, a House Democratic leadership aide said on Thursday.
The Democratic-controlled House is not expected to have enough support to override the veto, the first of Trump’s presidency.
I’d like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL. This will help stop Crime, Human Trafficking, and Drugs entering our Country. Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!52.8K5:42 PM – Mar 15, 2019
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that he has instructed his government to assist the family of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in seeking humanitarian visas to visit the convicted drug trafficker in the United States.
During a visit last week to Guzman’s hometown of Badiraguato in Sinaloa state, a lawyer passed Lopez Obrador a letter from Guzman’s mother.
“Like any mother asking me for support for her son,” Lopez Obrador said.
Guzman’s mother asked for legal help and assistance obtaining humanitarian visas for two of Guzman’s sisters to visit him.
Lopez Obrador was in Sinaloa to announce a highway construction project in the area.
He said legal questions would have to be dealt with by Mexico’s Interior Ministry, Attorney General’s Office and judiciary.
A reporter had asked Lopez Obrador about reports that Guzman’s mother asked him to arrange to have the drug lord serve out his sentence in Mexico, but the president did not respond directly.
In an interview with Univision just before Lopez Obrador’s visit, Consuelo Loera, Guzman’s mother, said: “My request is that they let me go see him and that they transfer him here to Mexico.”
U.S. support for such a request would be extremely unlikely considering Guzman has escaped from two prisons.
But on the humanitarian front, Lopez Obrador said: “I gave instructions that they facilitate (soliciting the visas) and that the sisters be able to go to the United States and to help them according to the laws, regulations that country has, so that they can visit him or have communication.”
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, such permission, known as humanitarian parole, is reserved for people with a compelling emergency, but anyone can apply. Those who could be considered eligible should have an “emergent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit” to temporarily entering the U.S.
Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Guzman was convicted Feb. 12 in federal court in New York on multiple drug trafficking and conspiracy charges and likely faces a life sentence.
AIWA! NO!| Rancor and recriminations were the order of the day with allies as well as adversaries turning on each other in one of the most important gatherings of the Munich Security Conference in recent years.
Efforts were supposed to be made, at least among western countries, to find common ground on a range of issues from the Middle East after the end of the Isis caliphate to cyber warfare, Brexit, extremism and climate change.
Instead the US vice president Mike Pence attacked European states for not joining Washington in pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran and failing to fully follow the American line on the Venezuelan crisis.
Repeatedly praising Donald Trump for his allegedly “remarkable” and “extraordinary” qualities which have made “America stronger than ever before”, enabling it to “lead on the world stage again”, Mr Pence derided Nato allies.
His speech was greeted with muted cheering, with Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner clapping enthusiastically, but a significant number of those present staying silent and some of his remarks being greeted with whispered mockery.
The criticism was not just one way.
Angela Merkel warned of the dangers in American isolationism and staunchly defended multilateral institutions under threat from US policy.
The German chancellor defended the Iran deal, condemning Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from it, and questioned his decision to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. Ms Merkel also rebuffed US demands that her government scrap a gas deal with Moscow under which a new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, being built under the Baltic, will bring Russian gas directly to Germany.
She highlighted a statement by a US official that German cars were a security threat to America, to show the attitude to trade held by some in Washington. “We are proud of our cars and so we should be … If it is viewed as a security threat to the United States then we are shocked,” said Ms Merkel, adding that many were manufactured in the US and exported to countries like China.
Warning of attacks on international organisations of the type Mr Trump is in the habit of making, Ms Merkel commented: “We cannot just smash it, we need to cooperate … Now that we see pressure on the classic order we are used to, the question now is, ‘Do we fall apart into pieces of a puzzle and think everyone can solve the question best for himself alone?’”.
It would be wiser, she said, “to put yourself in the others’ shoes … and see whether we can get win-win solutions together”.
Germany is among international powers – along with Britain, France, Russia and China – which signed the nuclear agreement with Tehran. All these countries, as well as the UN Atomic Energy Authority, stress that the deal was working in preventing Iran developing a nuclear arsenal and that Tehran was abiding by its obligations.
European countries have organised a payment mechanism under which businesses and banks would, in theory, be able to trade with Iran without incurring American sanctions. Mike Pence said: “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure. The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining US sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime.”
When Mr Pence went on to accuse Iran of sponsoring terrorism there were some whispered comments among some in the room about Gulf states, which are major purchasers of American arms, funding extremist Islamist groups. There were also sotto voce comments about the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi for which officials close to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, an American ally close to Mr Kushner, have been blamed.
Mr Pence is part of the largest American delegation ever sent to the Munich conference. It includes senior Democrats like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi who are vocal critics of Mr Trump. Mr Biden is expected to criticise current US policy in a number of fields, including foreign policy, when he speaks at a session.
It was not surprising, in this acrimonious atmosphere, to hear the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov round on the west for a catalogue of alleged wrongdoing past and present, from the “illegal bombing of Serbia” and “organising a coup in Kiev” to the “aggressive” stance being taken by western politicians.
British defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who had attacked Russia in a speech at the conference on Friday for its role in a number of conflicts, got a special mention. “If you listen to some people like the minister of war – sorry the minister of defence – of the United Kingdom then you might get an impression that nobody except Nato has the right to be anywhere,” said Mr Lavrov.
McCabe, who briefly ran the FBI after Trump fired James Comey as the bureau’s director, told CBS’s 60 Minutes that meetings took place at the justice department in the days following the firing to discuss whether Trump could be removed under the 25th amendment.
According to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, who appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday to discuss his interview with McCabe, the talks happened in the eight days between Comey’s firing in 2017 and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian election interference and links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
“The highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president,” Pelley said. “They were counting noses. They were not asking cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating this person would be with us, that person would not, and they were counting noses in that effort.”
The deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, offered to wear a wire to record incriminating conversations with Trump, McCabe said, according to Pelley. A justice department official had claimed to the Times that the comment about wearing a wire was made sarcastically, but McCabe told 60 Minutes it was serious.
“It came up more than once, and it was so serious that he took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it,” Pelley said.
Responding to the claims on Twitter, Trump tweeted: “McCabe is a disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our Country. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “Andrew McCabe has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the FBI and our great country.”
In the interview, set to air Sunday, McCabe also said he authorized an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia in the aftermath of the Comey firing. He confirmed reports that the FBI began to investigate whether Trump had obstructed justice, and whether he was knowingly or unknowingly acting as an agent of Russia.
McCabe said he ordered the inquiry to protect the investigation into Russian election interference after meeting Trump, because he feared he would be fired and the investigation would end.
“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage,” he said in a portion of the 60 Minutes interview released Thursday.
“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion. That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision.”
McCabe was fired two days before he was due to retire.
Thisunconstitutional power grab gives Trump vast new powers to undermine our democracy and supercharge his white supremacy. He’ll be more able than ever to escalate attacks on immigrants, communities of color, Muslims and Black and Brown people – RTE
AIWA! NO!|California will “imminently” challenge US President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to obtain funds for a US-Mexico border wall, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said.
“Definitely and imminently,” Mr Becerra told ABC’s This Week program when asked whether and when California would sue the Trump administration in federal court.
Other states controlled by Democrats are expected to join the effort.
“We are prepared, we knew something like this might happen. And with our sister state partners, we are ready to go,” he said.
Mr Trump invoked the emergency powers on Friday under a 1976 law after Congress rebuffed his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall that was a signature 2016 campaign promise.
The move is intended to allow him to redirect money appropriated by Congress for other purposes toward wall construction instead.
The White House says Mr Trump will have access to about $8 billion.
Nearly $1.4 billion was allocated for border fencing under a spending measure approved by Congress last week, and Mr Trump’s emergency declaration is aimed at giving him another $6.7 billion for the wall.
Mr Becerra cited the US president’s own comment on Friday that he “didn’t need to do this” as evidence that the emergency declaration is legally vulnerable.
“It’s become clear that this is not an emergency, not only because no one believes it is but because Donald Trump himself has said it’s not,” he said.
Mr Becerra and California Governor Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, have been expected to sue to block Mr Trump’s move.
Mr Becerra told ABC that California and other states are waiting to learn which federal programs will lose money to determine what kind of harm the states could face from the declaration.
He said California may be harmed by less federal funding for emergency response services, the military and stopping drug trafficking.
“We’re confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm,” Mr Becerra said.
Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit against Mr Trump’s move on Friday, saying it violates the Constitution and would infringe on their property rights.
The legal challenges could at least slow down Mr Trump’s efforts to build the wall but would likely end up at the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court.
Congress never defined a national emergency in the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which has been invoked dozens of times without a single successful legal challenge.
Democrats in Congress have vowed to challenge Mr Trump’s declaration and several Republicans have said they are not certain whether they would support the president.
“I think many of us are concerned about this,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mr Trump could, however, veto any resolution of disapproval from Congress.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told Fox News that Mr Trump’s declaration would allow the administration to build “hundreds of miles” of border wall by September 2020.
“We have 120-odd miles that are already under construction or are already obligated plus the additional funds we have and then we’re going to outlay – we’re going to look at a few hundred miles.”
Mr Trump’s proposed wall and wider immigration policies are likely to be a major campaign issue ahead of the next presidential election in November 2020, where he will seek a second four-year term.