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Mimi Nguyen Ly

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President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy more federal forces to Washington, opposing Mayor Muriel Bowser after she requested the White House remove troops and law enforcement officers from the city.

“The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., [whose] budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts,’ is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment over the last number of nights,” Trump announced on Twitter on Friday.

“If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!” he wrote.

It is unclear what Trump is referring to when he wrote of “different groups of men and women.” Various federal forces were ordered into the city to quell violent activities in the past week.

The threat comes after Bowser on Thursday asked Trump to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city.

The Democratic mayor told reporters during a press conference on Thursday she is fine with the National Guard helping to keep order. But she is examining all legal options to reverse the Trump administration’s deployment of forces from elsewhere.

“We want troops from out of state, out of Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said.

Bowser wrote in a letter to Trump that the curfew for the city had expired 6 a.m. on Thursday, and with that, she ended the state of emergency in Washington related to the demonstrations. To justify her request to remove federal troops and law enforcement, Bowser asserted that the protesters in the city “have been peaceful” and that the Metropolitan Police Department “did not make a single arrest” on Wednesday night.

“I continue to be concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. pose both safety and national security risks,” Bowser also alleged, adding that “the deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing black Americans.”

She also wrote that the “multiplicity of forces,” which include “additional, unidentified units … operating outside of established chains of command” can “breed dangerous confusion.” One such example, Bowser wrote, is when helicopters are being used “in a war-like tactic” to “frighten and disperse peaceful protesters.”

“Adding to the confusion and my concern are the units that lack identifying insignia,” she expressed. She asserted that “unnecessary risks” befall both protesters and officers when the officers can not be clearly identified.

“In fact, we found many years ago that conflict between police and citizens is reduced when law enforcement affiliation is apparent; thus, identifying insignia is mandatory in Washington, D.C.” Bowser wrote.

A National Guard helicopter was seen over crowds on the evening of June 1. According to The Associated Press, the helicopter, normally designated for use in medical evacuations, hovered low enough to create a deafening noise and spray a number of people on the ground with rotor wash. The commanding general of the Washington National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, said in a statement on Wednesday (pdf) that he has directed an investigation into the use of the helicopter.

The district doesn’t have a governor, and as such, Walker reports directly to Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy.

The district doesn’t have a governor, and as such, Walker reports directly to Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy.

Troops Leaving Region

McCarthy and other officials said on Friday that nearly 500 active-duty troops have been ordered to leave the region. The troops include about 350 soldiers from the 91st Military Police Battalion from Fort Drum, New York, about 30 members of the 16th Military Police Brigade from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and about 100 military police from Fort Riley, Kansas.

Another more than 700 active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division’s immediate response battalion departed from the region on Thursday evening and were back at their home base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, overnight.

The active-duty troops were earlier sent to the region to help if needed to stamp out unlawful activities in Washington, amid protests following the death of George Floyd on May 25. The protests in the city had occasionally turned violent, but while the troops were available, they were not used in response to the protests and never went into Washington, AP reported.

A number of other active-duty soldiers remain on alert in the region, prepared to respond if needed. This includes the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, which remains on alert just outside the city.

“The Old Guard still remains in support. It is our intention to try and turn that off as soon as possible. We’ve had four peaceful days in a row, projecting a fifth,” said McCarthy, adding that there have been enough National Guard personnel brought in to provide any needed support for the protests in Washington.

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House, in Washington, on June 1, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

On June 1, around 7 p.m., Trump walked across Lafayette Square from the White House to St. John’s Church and held up a bible. He was accompanied by senior aides, along with Secret Service agents and reporters. The church had been partially damaged due to arson over the weekend.

Trump announced earlier that day that he was sending military personnel and other federal assets to quell violent riots in Washington.

“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he announced at the time, strongly recommending that governors deploy the National Guard in their states.

U.S. Park Police on the day had evacuated protesters at the park around 6:30 p.m., ahead of a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew imposed by Bowser. Police officers used smoke canisters and pepper balls to aid them in dispersing the crowd after protesters became combative and started throwing objects at the officers, according to a USPP statement on June 2.

Police on horseback begin to approach demonstrators who had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, near the White House in Washington on June 1, 2020. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Author: Mimi Nguyen LY

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Threatens to Deploy More Federal Forces to Washington, Opposing Mayor

Just over half of likely voters believe that high-level officials broke the law in trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming president, although not as many believe such officials will face criminal charges, according to a Rasmussen poll on Oct. 18.

The survey of about 1,000 likely voters across the United States, conducted Oct. 9–10, showed that 51 percent think it’s likely that “senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to prevent Trump from becoming president.”

That figure includes 34 percent who say it is “very likely.”

Meanwhile, of the 36 percent who indicated “unlikely,” 22 percent indicated “not at all likely,” according to the poll.

The remaining 13 percent said they were “not sure.”

Voters were also asked the question, “On the basis of investigative findings to date, which 2016 presidential campaign is more likely to have illegally colluded with foreign operatives—Donald Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s?” For this, poll results were evenly divided.

Trump has accused the administration of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, of spying on his campaign. Trump has also hinted that Obama knew about the spying activities. On May 1, Trump’s official YouTube channel uploaded a video montage titled “Obama Knew.”

“President Obama knew Russia was interfering in the 2016 election,” the video’s opening statement says. “But his team just watched it happen.”

The above allegations are part of a broader set of allegations that have collectively come to be known as Spygate.

The FBI investigated the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential elections and into the beginning of Trump’s presidency. The FBI used the information contained in what’s now referred to as the “Steele dossier”—which claimed that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election—to obtain a spying warrant on a Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

The dossier was produced by Fusion GPS and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. It was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Trump’s opponent in the election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Special counsel Robert Mueller took over the FBI investigation in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey the same month. Mueller brought the investigation to a conclusion in late March 2019.

Upon the release of the Mueller report on April 18, Mueller said the investigation had failed to uncover any evidence for the main 103 claims made in the Steele dossier—most notably, that though Russia did attempt to interfere in the election, there was no evidence that Trump or any U.S. citizen knowingly conspired or coordinated with the Russian government ahead of the election.

Trump said that following the conclusion of the Mueller probe, it was “now time to look at the other side.”

Attorney General William Barr testified to Congress on April 10 that he believes the Trump campaign was spied on in 2016. Barr later said he was gathering a team to look into the origins of the FBI’s investigation.

“As I said in my confirmation hearing, I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016. A lot of this has already been investigated, a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General at the department,” Barr said at the time.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, it’s a big deal,” Barr said, later adding, “I think spying did occur. … The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation.”

Trump on May 23 authorized Barr to declassify information or intelligence related to surveillance activities surrounding the 2016 presidential campaigns.

In May, it was confirmed that Barr appointed John Durham, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, to investigate the origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign. The ongoing inquiry has expanded overseas to Italy, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other nations.

“Barr is following the facts where they lead about how the false collusion narrative started,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote on Twitter.

“This effort requires talking to intelligence agencies around the world. That’s why he’s gathering information from our allies, like Australia, Britain, and Italy.

“Democrats are running scared of what Barr’s fact-finding will uncover. That’s why they’re trying to undermine him. But he’ll get to the truth.”

On Oct. 2, Trump suggested for the first time that the ongoing investigations may result in a “major lawsuit.”

“I’ve been looking at that long and hard for a long period of time. How it started, why it started, it should never happen to another president, ever. But I’ve been talking about it from the standpoint of bringing a major lawsuit, and I’ve been talking about it for a long time. We’ve been investigating the corruption having to do with what they did to my people. They destroyed many people,” Trump said.

Petr Svab contributed to this report.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy

Author: Mimi Nguyen Ly

Source: The Epoch Times: More Voters Believe Officials Broke Law Trying to Prevent Trump Presidency: Poll

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is ending the policy known as “catch and release” next week, as announced by Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday, Sept. 23, at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington.

“What we’re doing with Central American families now that’s ending the catch and release process is that if they don’t have a fear or claim, they’re going to be repatriated in a streamline fashion, or if they do have a fear or claim, asked to wait under the Migrant Protection Protocols in Mexico,” he said.

“So they will not be currently held on the U.S. side of the border, even in the family residential centers, because we’re not able right now to complete an immigration proceeding, while in the 21 days we have by court order,” McAleenan added.

In March, Border Patrol began releasing families directly from its custody into the United States, with a notice to appear in court after facilities became overrun, with tens of thousands still on the way to the border, and 811,016 apprehensions at the southern border in fiscal year 2019, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

In May, of the 132,859 migrants apprehended or encountered at the Southwest border, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection noted 90 percent had crossed illegally between ports of entry. Of the May apprehensions, 72 percent were of unaccompanied children and family units.

But McAleenan said more recently, there has been a drop in apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, with total enforcement actions for Central Americans who present at the border down more than 70 percent after President Donald Trump threatened Mexico with 5 percent tariffs if the government didn’t do more to address the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S. southern border.

Trump and a top immigration official had earlier this month said the administration was working on ending the “catch and release.”

Mark Morgan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters on Sept. 18 that the policy shift will be possible through a “network of initiatives and policies by this administration that’s really been supported by several different entities within” the DHS, including his agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

President Donald Trump visits a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa, Calif., on Sept. 18, 2019. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Trump told reporters: “There will be no more catch and release. Nobody coming into the country … And that’s without the Democrats.”

Morgan said there are “two significant things” that are able to enable the practice of “catch and release” to end.

The first, he said, relates to a new internal final rule (IFR) to come out, as a result of a Supreme court decision, to block a nationwide injunction from a federal judge.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar twice tried to issue the injunction on a Trump administration rule that bans migrants from seeking asylum in the United States if they have traveled through another safe country without having sought protection there.

The second factor, according to Morgan, is the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP)—a policy that enables the government to take foreigners who seek to enter the United States from Mexico illegally or without proper documentation and return them to Mexico while their cases go through the U.S. court system.

The system is referred to as “remain in Mexico” and was supported by an appeals court in May—a ruling that lifted another nationwide injunction.

Morgan also hailed the government of Mexico for supporting the Trump administration’s efforts to stem illegal migration, saying the government has provided “unprecedented support,” including 25,000 troops.

Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy

Author: Mimi Nguyen Ly

Source: The Epoch Times: Department of Homeland Security Announces End to ‘Catch and Release’

President Donald Trump announced that a deal has been reached between the United States and Mexico late June 7, after officials from the two countries met for the third day of talks at the U.S. State Department.

“I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” Trump wrote on Twitter late June 7.

Trump wrote that the tariffs that had been scheduled to go into effect on June 10 against Mexico have been indefinitely suspended.

“Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border,” he continued. “This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.”

Trump had threatened to impose import tariffs starting at 5 percent on June 10 if the Mexican government did not agree to do more to tackle an increase in mostly Central American migrants crossing Mexico to enter the United States.

A “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration” released by the State Department late June 7 outlined the details of the deal, saying the United States “will immediately expand the implementation” of a program that returns immigrants who cross the southern border to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated.

Mexico will “offer jobs, healthcare, and education” to those people, “according to its principles,” the agreement stated.

Mexico has also agreed, it said, to take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, starting June 10, especially on its southern border with Guatemala.

And Mexico is taking “decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks,” the State Department said.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in Washington his team had resisted the United States’ requests to send deported Guatemalans to Mexico. He said he was satisfied with the deal, Reuters reported.

“I think it’s a fair balance because they had more drastic measures and proposals at the start and we reached some middle point,” he said.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard exits the U.S. State Department to speak to reporters after a meeting between United States and Mexican officials on immigration and trade in Washington on June 6, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The two countries will continue discussions, to be completed in 90 days, on further steps, according to the declaration.

Recent Events

On June 6, Mexico offered to send up to 6,000 members of its national guard to secure its southern border with Guatemala, in a bid to curb the rising influx of illegal immigrants.

The Mexican Finance Ministry on the same day also said they blocked the bank accounts of 26 people for their alleged involvement in human trafficking. In a statement, the ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said it froze the accounts due to “probable links with human trafficking and illegal aid to migrant caravans.”

The two countries began their meeting on June 5 for discussions led by Vice President Mike Pence in Washington. Pence on the morning of June 6 told reporters that Mexico needs to do more to address the illegal immigration situation, though he noted that the previous talks were positive overall.

“We welcomed the efforts of the Mexican officials to offer solutions to the crisis at our southern border, but we need Mexico to do more,” he said before departing on an Air Force Two.

Swift Change

Trump had indicated on June 4 at a press conference in London that “it’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” and that he was expecting to put tariffs on Mexican goods starting June 10 unless more migrants traveling to the United States-Mexico border from Central America were interdicted by Mexico.

But on June 5, Trump sounded more optimistic the tariffs could be avoided, saying Mexico was starting to take his demands seriously.

“I think they want to do something. They’re sending their top people,” he said during a visit with the Irish prime minister in Ireland.

Those top people were Mexico’s foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, who were set to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House.

Trump had said earlier that Democrats have forced him to take action against Mexico because they aren’t willing to fix the United States’ immigration laws that are fueling the immigration crisis.

“Border arrests for May are at 133,000 because of Mexico & the Democrats in Congress refusing to budge on immigration reform,” he tweeted.

Customs and Border Protection recently released the number of migrants illegally crossing the border in May, showing a 13-year high of 144,278.

“We need to work with Mexico on this problem,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told The Hill.

He said that at any given time, there are 100,000 migrants moving through Mexico to get to the U.S. border.

“This is a very overt movement. It uses commercial bus lines. These are organized criminal organizations that are smuggling humans,” he said. “In Chiapas, there’s about a 150-mile stretch where most of these crossings occur between Guatemala and Mexico. We need them to interdict these folks at the point of origin crossing their border.”

Holly Kellum, Bowen Xiao, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Mimi Nguyen Ly

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Announces United States and Mexico Deal to Address Illegal Immigration, Calls Off Tariffs

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