Mexico’s foreign ministry says it will monitor U.S. DACA program developments

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it would monitor the continuity of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program in the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Donald Trump’s bid to abolish it. Mexico will also track the renewal process for current DACA participants and any administrative or legal actions that could result from the Supreme Court ruling, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Trump to release new list of conservative Supreme Court nominees

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday he planned to release a new list of conservative nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court after the high court dealt him a major setback on his hardline immigration policies. Trump said he would release the list by Sept. 1. “Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before,” the Republican president said in a Twitter post.

Trump: U.S. Supreme Court decisions ‘horrible’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Thursday railed against the U. S. Supreme Court’s “horrible” decisions, seemingly referring to recent rulings that gay and transgender workers are protected under federal employment laws and blocking his bid to end legal protections for immigrants known as “Dreamers.” “These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the constitutional amendment allowing citizens to own guns.

U.S. lawmakers offer bill to block Trump from German troop withdrawal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional Democrats introduced legislation on Thursday to block President Donald Trump’s plan to remove 9,500 troops from close ally Germany by prohibiting funding for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Europe without congressional approval. Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senator Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the bill, reflecting concern in Congress from Democrats as well as Trump’s fellow Republicans about the plan to cut troops. Trump said on Monday he would reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany to 25,000, faulting Berlin for failing to meet NATO’s defense spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of the United States on trade. The troop reduction would be a remarkable rebuke to one of the closest U.S. trading partners and could erode faith in a pillar of postwar European security: that U.S. forces would defend alliance members against Russian aggression. Under the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers, the Senate and House of Representatives – not the White House – control government spending. Lawmakers often use their power of the purse to influence policy decisions, such as keeping the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay open by barring spending federal money to close it. The bill would prohibit the use of funds to withdraw or reduce the presence of U.S. armed forces in Europe unless the host government requests it, or the president declares the intent 180 days in advance, justifies the decision, Congress approves it and the secretaries of State and Defense testify about it. “President Trump’s disastrous decision to withdraw thousands of troops from and reduce the total force cap in Germany endangers our national security,” Engel said in a statement. “Our legislation will stop the Administration from carrying out this calamitous policy,” he said.

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Trump bid to end ‘Dreamers’ immigrant program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a President Donald Trump a major setback on his hardline immigration policies, ruling against his bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants, dubbed “Dreamers,” who entered the United States illegally as children. The justices upheld lower court rulings that found that Trump’s 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, was unlawful.

Biden says Trump is ‘surrendering’ to coronavirus, putting lives at risk

DARBY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday accused President Donald Trump of “surrendering” to the coronavirus pandemic and failing to stay prepared for a resurgence that could put a U.S. economic recovery at risk. “American people sacrificed so much to fight this virus… we may lose some the progress we’ve begun to make. All because he’s lost interest,” Biden said. “Now he’s just flat surrendering the fight.” Trump is eager to reopen the economy and resume political campaigning even as coronavirus cases have started to rise again, with record increases reported this week in Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon. The president is planning his first rally since the coronavirus forced people to stay at home three months ago on Saturday in heavily Republican Oklahoma, over the objections of public health officials. “He’s so eager to get back to campaign rallies that he’s putting people at risk,” Biden said in a speech near Philadelphia, his third visit to the key battleground state of Pennsylvania this month. A spokesman for Trump’s campaign, Ken Farnaso, called the speech a “rehash” of “failed attacks” on Trump’s bipartisan approach to fighting the coronavirus. “President Trump and the nation’s governors have partnered up in the greatest public and private sector mobilization effort since [World War Two], while Biden has done nothing but sit on the sidelines fear-mongering and rooting against America’s success,” he said. Biden is seeking to capitalize on a growing lead in national polls and to diminish Trump’s advantage of being seen by voters as best equipped to rebuild the coronavirus-scarred economy. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday showed the Democrat with a 13-percentage-point lead. Still, 43% percent of registered voters said they thought Trump would be a better steward of the economy than Biden, against 38% who said Biden would be better. Commerce Department data on Tuesday showed U.S. retail sales rising by 17.7% last month, the most on record, after two straight months of sharp declines. That rebound is threatened by certain regions seeing a resurgence of the virus. Biden has put forward a plan to reopen the economy including expanded coronavirus testing and protective equipment for people who go back to work, as well as paid sick leave, small-business grants and hiring a workforce to chart the disease’s spread. Before his speech on Wednesday, Biden met with business owners in Pennsylvania struggling to weather the pandemic. Trump won Pennsylvania by less than a percentage point in 2016, an unexpected victory along with wins in Wisconsin and Michigan that propelled him to the presidency.

Ex-security adviser Bolton says Trump sought China’s Xi’s help to win re-election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a series of allegations, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, said on Wednesday that Trump sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win re-election during a closed-door June 2019 meeting. Bolton, who Trump fired in September after 17 months in the White House job, also said that the U.S. president had expressed a willingness to halt criminal investigations to give “personal favors to dictators he liked,” according to an excerpt published in the New York Times. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The accusations are part of a book that the U.S. government on Tuesday sued to block Bolton from publishing, arguing it contained classified information and would compromise national security. Excerpts from “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” were published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Just four months ago, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit Trump on charges brought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached. Bolton’s allegations provide new ammunition to critics just before the Nov. 3 presidential election, including his behind-the-scenes accounts of Trump’s conversations with China’s Xi – which, in one case, broached the topic of the U.S. vote. “Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton wrote, according to excerpts of his book published in the Wall Street Journal. “He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.” Bolton said that Democrats erred in their impeachment inquiry by focusing solely on Ukraine, given what he said were an innumerable number of conversations in which Trump demonstrated “fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency.” “Had they taken the time to inquire more systematically about Trump’s behavior across his entire foreign policy, the impeachment outcome might well have been different,” Bolton writes in the Wall Street Journal. INVADING VENEZUELA In excerpts published in the Washington Post, Bolton writes that Trump said invading Venezuela would be “cool” and that it was “really part of the United States.” The U.S. government has publicly said it does not favor using force to topple Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro. The book also exposed the sometimes dim view that Trump’s advisors have of him. During a 2018 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Bolton says he got a note from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mocking Trump. “He is so full of shit,” the note said, according to a Bolton excerpt in the Washington Post. Although Trump is publicly critical of journalists, Bolton’s book quotes the U.S. president making some of his most alarming remarks to date. In a summer 2019 meeting in New Jersey, Trump allegedly said journalists should be jailed so they have to divulge their sources: “These people should be executed. They are scumbags,” according to another excerpt in the Post.

U.S. Senate Republicans launch police reform bill to rival Democrats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled a new police reform bill on Wednesday as a rival to more sweeping Democratic legislation, as Congress struggled to address racial disparities in law enforcement three weeks after the death of George Floyd. The Republican-led Senate will turn to the bill next week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a news conference, as Democrats in the House of Representatives prepared to advance their own legislation to a floor vote expected by July 4. Senator Tim Scott, the chamber’s only black Republican, who crafted the bill, said the legislation would create greater safety for both suspects and police. “We hear you. We’re listening to your concerns,” he told the news conference. Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25, after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, was the latest in a string of killings of African Americans by U.S. police and it sparked widespread protests and fresh calls for reforms. The Republican and Democratic bills address similar issues. Both make lynching a federal hate crime, encourage the use of body cameras and seek better training standards for police. But it is not clear that Congress will agree on how to act. Democrats claim the Republican plan does not go far enough, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Democratic legislation would go nowhere in his chamber, dismissing it as “typical Democratic overreach.” Unlike the Democratic legislation, the Republican bill would not allow victims of misconduct to sue police, ban police chokeholds outright or create new rules to restrict the use of lethal force. Instead, Republicans rely on the use of federal grant money to encourage police departments to adopt reforms. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an order that would steer federal money to police departments that agree to outside review and limit chokeholds.

Pentagon official who questioned Ukraine aid freeze resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker, who was reported to have questioned the suspension of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, a key element in the inquiry leading to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, resigned on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. McCusker submitted her resignation as deputy undersecretary of defense (comptroller) effective June 26, Esper said in a statement, thanking her for her public service and contributions to the Pentagon’s budgeting and audit processes. Trump last year nominated McCusker to be promoted to undersecretary of defense (comptroller), but withdrew the nomination in March, after the White House ousted several other officials who had testified at his impeachment inquiry. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives in December. Democrats said Trump held back $391 million in security aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as leverage to force Kyiv into interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by smearing Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Trump, who branded the impeachment effort a witch hunt, was acquitted in February after a trial in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans have a majority. Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, said in March that witness testimony and leaked emails between McCusker and the Office of Management and Budget showed that she had repeatedly raised concerns about Trump’s hold on Ukraine security assistance and “sought to ensure that the Administration was in compliance with the law.”

House panel to hold election-security hearing with Facebook, Google, Twitter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top officials from Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter Inc will appear before U.S. lawmakers on Thursday at a hearing on foreign influence and election security, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee announced on Tuesday. The remote hearing will discuss the technology industry’s actions since the 2016 U.S. elections, state-sponsored disinformation efforts, and other related issues as the country moves toward the Nov. 3 presidential contest, the panel said. The hearing will also look at misinformation campaigns amid the novel coronavirus outbreak and recent protests over racism and policing. The witnesses include Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy; Nick Pickles, director of Global Public Policy Strategy and Development at Twitter, and Richard Salgado, director for Law Enforcement and Information Security at Google. The hearing comes as Americans are increasingly skeptical about social media companies’ ability to make the right decisions about what should be allowed on their platforms, and trust the government even less to make those choices. The debate over content moderation has intensified as Twitter and Facebook diverged on how to handle inflammatory posts by President Donald Trump, who in turn has accused social media companies of censorship.