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President Trump announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making experimental drugs — including those used for treating malaria — available as part of the ongoing effort to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump announced at a White House press briefing that chloroquine, a drug designed for use in malaria, will be made available to test whether it helps patients recover from coronavirus. He said it was one of a number of antiviral therapies to limit the symptoms of the virus that the administration is trying to get to Americans as quickly as possible.

“I have directed the FDA to eliminate rules and bureaucracy so work can proceed rapidly, quickly and fast,” Trump said. “We have to remove every barrier.”

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn explained during the press conference it would be allowed under what’s known “compassionate use” — where doctors can request to use the experimental drug and get permission from the FDA to give to patients. Hahn also said he didn’t want to give “false hope” but said he was hopeful about the treatments.

On chloroquine, Trump said it’s shown “very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.”

Addressing potential safety concerns, Trump noted that it had been used previously in treating malaria, “so we know if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody.”

He also said another drug, remdesivir, would be made available too. He said it would remain to be seen whether it would help combat the crisis.

“And that’s a drug used for other purposes that’s been out and it’s had very good results for other purposes, but it seems to have a very good result having to do with this virus. And that drug also has been approved, or very close to approved in that case, by the FDA.”

“I think it could be a game-changer, and maybe not,” he said.

It’s the latest aggressive move by the administration as it seeks to stop both the spread of the virus, and also curb the economic havoc caused by the closing of much of American daily life as businesses and schools have shuttered to stop infections. Trump described a “relentless effort to defeat the Chinese virus.”

He also renewed his efforts to focus the blame of China, where the outbreak of the virus began. When asked about allegations his administration had been slow in responding to the crisis, he took issue with the premise of the question — pointing to his order to restrict travel from China — and said it could have been contained if only the Chinese government had done more.

“It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started,” Trump said. “And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did.”

During the press conference, Vice President Mike Pence said that the administration has “identified tens of thousands” of ventilators that can be converted to treat coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on young people to consider giving blood “today” to help combat the coronavirus.

Trump also said Thursday the government should take an equity stake in companies that need bailouts because of the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy, saying he has executive authority to curb the impact on businesses.

“There’s a lot of executive power,” he said. “If we don’t have to use it, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Thursday’s press conference comes a day after he announced he was invoking the Defense Production Act, which would streamline production of medical supplies to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic and require businesses to sign contracts or fulfill orders deemed necessary for national defense. He has not yet used the powers invoked in it, however.

Meanwhile, the administration has been working with Congress on a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package to reinvigorate the U.S. economy and to provide relief to businesses and workers who have been hit hardest by the crisis. The administration is considering sending checks directly. He said Thursday the package would be focusing on small businesses, as well as industries such as airlines and cruise lines.

Trump on Wednesday signed the second coronavirus relief bill into law that provides paid sick leave, unemployment help and free testing to Americans.

As of Thursday morning, the U.S. has 9,415 confirmed cases of the virus and 150 deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump announces FDA making anti-malaria drug available to test coronavirus treatment

President Trump took direct aim at former President Barack Obama on Wednesday, blaming the last administration for giving Iran money that he claimed was then used by Tehran to pay for missiles that were aimed at U.S. troops in Iraq.

“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said from the White House, referring to settlement money the U.S. paid to Iran in 2016.

Trump addressed the nation the morning after the Iranian regime launched more than a dozen missiles at bases in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. That was in retaliation for the U.S. strike last week that took out top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

In his remarks, he pointed the finger at the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018. While supporters of the deal claimed it kept Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Trump on Wednesday renewed his assertion that it emboldened Tehran.

“Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash,” he said. “Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted ‘Death to America.’”

He went on to say that Iran went on a “terrorist spree” with that money “and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq.” It was with that money that the missiles fired late Tuesday were funded, he claimed.

Trump has been a constant critic of the Iran deal since, and has focused in particular on the money that was unfrozen or sent to Iran directly.

It’s unclear exactly how the missiles used in the attacks were funded. But other Republicans have connected the Iran settlement money to the attacks, with GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz saying on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Tuesday night, “In a very real sense, the missiles that we saw fired at U.S. servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with.”

The cash payment of $1.7 billion, a settlement of a decades-old dispute between the U.S. and Iran — was paid in cash, with a planeload of $400 million delivered to Tehran on Jan. 17 2016, the same day Iran agreed to release four American prisoners. A remaining $1.3 billion was reportedly paid out within weeks of that first payment.

The $150 billion, meanwhile, refers to the estimated value of Iranian assets that had been frozen abroad in financial institutions as part of international sanctions. That money was unfrozen by all countries as part of the Iran deal. Some fact checkers have disputed that the value is as high as $150 billion, citing Treasury estimates that it could be around $55 billion in liquid assets.

Former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes responded to Trump’s speech on Twitter, accusing the president of “lying relentlessly.”

“Iran didn’t fire a single rocket at U.S. interests in Iraq during the Iran Deal,” he said. “Just look at what Iran has done since Trump pulled out of that Deal. Trump is lying relentlessly and he has made things much more dangerous.”

Since leaving the Iran deal, the Trump administration has reimposed waves of sanctions on Tehran, while the Iranian regime has violated the agreement’s restrictions on stockpiled uranium.

On Wednesday, Trump called for other countries to break away from the deal and secure a new one, arguing that the current deal begins to expire soon and “gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.”

“The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality,” he said. “They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal or JCPOA. And we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”

Some U.S. allies have acknowledged the deal’s current problems, but while still remaining publicly committed to the deal. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, earlier Wednesday, said that the deal “remains the best way of preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, the best way of encouraging the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon.”

“It’s a shell that has currently been voided, but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again,” he told British lawmakers.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump: Iran missiles fired at US were paid for with money released by Obama administration

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the stage Thursday for a potentially bruising fight between the leadership of the two chambers over impeachment, as he tore into Nancy Pelosi for “shoddy work” and said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.

“This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future,” McConnell said on the floor, accusing Democrats of giving in to “temptation” with their impeachment vote while challenging their handling of the articles in the aftermath.

“Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet,” the Senate GOP leader mused.

McConnell’s remarks came the morning after House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

McConnell decried the effort, for which no Republicans voted, as “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.” It taps into long-standing complaints by Republicans that the impeachment has trampled over minority rights in the House, and that Democrats were pursuing an outcome they have preordained before Trump was even sworn into office.

After McConnell spoke, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shot back by dismissing the Republican claim that the impeachment was purely partisan as only Democrats voted for it.

“Forgive me, House Democrats cannot be held responsible for the cravenness of the House Republican Caucus and their blind fealty to the president,” he said.

After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial. Yet in the latest twist, Pelosi has indicated that she may not send over articles of impeachment yet — until she gets reassurances about the Senate process.

“We’ll make a decision… as we go along,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday, adding that “we’ll see what the process will be on the Senate side.”

“We have acted,” Pelosi continued, repeatedly refusing to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. “Now, they’ll understand what their responsibilities are, and we’ll see what that is.”

Pelosi insisted that Republicans would need to run a fair trial if the matter made its way to the Senate, without explaining what exactly she was seeking.

Pelosi sought to clarify in a press conference Thursday morning that her side is just waiting to see what the process will be in the Senate, so they can choose their “managers” for a trial who would essentially serve as prosecutors.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., insisted, in separate remarks, that Democrats are “not playing games” with impeachment and the articles will be transmitted.

Pelosi, though, made clear that she did not intend to name the managers until they understand the “arena” in the Senate. And she fired back at McConnell, suggesting he’s a “rogue leader.”

While the move could be a way of trying to draw some concessions from McConnell, it also stirred speculation that it could be a play to stop a potentially damaging Senate trial altogether, in which the Republican-dominated chamber could call witnesses such as former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Such a scenario, however unlikely, would also leave Trump with an awkward status quo in which he is impeached, but cannot claim exoneration in a Senate trial — where he would be widely expected to win acquittal. However, it also risks dragging impeachment out deep into 2020, just as some polls indicate the public is souring on the process.

McConnell accused Pelosi of suggesting “that House Democrats may be too afraid … to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”

Calling the development “comical,” he said Democrats who stressed the urgency of the process now seem “content to sit on their hands.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was even more fiery, alleging on Twitter, “If House Dems refuse to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial it would be a breathtaking violation of the Constitution, an act of political cowardice, and fundamentally unfair to President @realdonaldTrump.”

Yet, as Pelosi voices concern about a fair trial, McConnell made clear that he wants the Senate to acquit, as a statement against the impeachment articles he decries as constitutionally ungrounded.

“If the Senate blesses this historically low bar, we will invite the impeachment of every future president,” he said Thursday.

McConnell is expected to meet with Schumer but any delay in the House could lead to McConnell refusing to meet with Schumer, giving the excuse that there are no articles for them yet to discuss since they have not been transmitted. Schumer, in his remarks, asked whether McConnell would choose not to call any witnesses for the Senate trial, alluding to speculation that Senate Republicans may move to dismiss the case against Trump immediately.

“Will Leader McConnell, breaking precedent, strongarm his caucus into making this the first Senate impeachment trial of a president in history that heard no — no — witnesses?” Schumer said.

Trump, meanwhile, attacked the “do nothing Democrats” for wanting to “do nothing” with the impeachment articles.

“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” he tweeted. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!”

In his remarks, McConnell said that the Senate’s duty is to rise to the occasion on matters as grave as impeachment and to give the nation some stability.

“The framers built the Senate to provide stability … to keep partisan passions from literally boiling over,” he said. “The Senate exists for moments like this.”

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: McConnell rips Pelosi for impeachment delay, says Dems ‘afraid’ to transmit ‘shoddy’ articles

The United Nations is facing its worst cash crisis in nearly a decade and is warning that it may be unable to pay its bills by the end of the month, while urging member states to pay their contributions to the world body immediately.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to member states this week, saying that as of the end of September, they have only paid 70 percent of budget contributions, compared with 78 percent at this time last year.

“The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors,” a statement by Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Stressing the Charter obligation of Member States, the Secretary-General thanked the Member States who have paid their regular budget assessments, which is now 129, and urged those who have not paid to do so urgently and in full,” the statement said. “This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”

While the U.S. is one of the countries that have not paid its contribution in full, an official from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told Fox News that is in part because of differences in U.S. and U.N. fiscal years.

“To date this year, we have contributed over $600 million to UN peacekeeping operations, and will be providing the vast majority of the $674 million we owe to the 2019 regular budget this fall, as we have in past years,” the official said. “Overall the United States, as the largest contributor to the UN, contributes roughly $10 billion annually in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system.”

The official also said the U.S. has been clear that no single member should pay for more than a quarter of the U.N. budget. (The U.S. currently pays approximately 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget.)

President Trump echoed this sentiment on Wednesday morning, tweeting in reference to reports about the U.N. budget woes: “So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!”

Guterres, meanwhile, says he has requested other measures, including reductions in travel, postponement of spending, and postponing conferences and other meetings.

The U.S. is unlikely to step in to help solve the problem anytime soon. The Trump administration has pushed for a re-evaluation of the U.N. budget and has been skeptical of the U.N.’s alignment with U.S. interests.

A recent State Department report found that the U.N. General Assembly is out of sync with U.S. interests in more than two-thirds of votes taken in 2018.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: UN sounds alarm on cash crisis, warns it may default on bills by month’s end

President Trump on Tuesday dared Congress to impeach him over the Ukraine controversy, posting an image of a deep-red 2016 election map in an implicit suggestion that Democrats are threatening to overturn the will of the voters — as he and his allies try to go on offense over the impeachment probe.

“Try to impeach this,” the image tweeted by the president said.

Democrats moved forward last week with an impeachment inquiry over questions surrounding Trump’s July call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In that call, he urged an investigation involving Joe Biden and his son’s ties to an energy company in the country — specifically, Biden’s successful efforts as vice president to oust a prosecutor who was investigating that company. Democrats claim Biden’s intervention was driven by corruption concerns and that Trump improperly pushed Ukraine’s government to investigate a political opponent, using U.S. aid as a cudgel.

But Trump and top Republicans have been pushing back aggressively, trying to turn the impeachment probe to their advantage by presenting the probe as the latest conspiracy drummed up by Democrats and their media allies unhappy at his 2016 win. Recent fundraising reports from the Trump re-election campaign and related groups indicate the issue is driving a surge in donations.

“They lost the election, now they want to steal this one — don’t let them,” an ad by Trump’s 2020 campaign said.

The image of the 2016 election map is one of a number of politically provocative statements Trump has made within the last week. He has doubled down on his claim that his phone call was “perfect,” branded the whistleblower who submitted a complaint about the call “fake,” and called on House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to resign for his “parody” of Trump’s words at a House hearing.

He also sparked outrage by quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress, who predicted on Fox News that if Trump was impeached, it would cause a “Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our country will never heal.” This drew some criticism from members of his own party, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., calling it “beyond repugnant.”

A Trump impeachment push is highly unlikely to succeed, requiring a two-thirds majority to convict in the Republican-controlled Senate. But the push could have a significant effect one way or another on the 2020 election in the way it rallies the parties’ bases, and the effect it has on independents and moderates.

As polls show support for impeachment creeping up nationally and it becomes a rallying cry for the Democratic Party base, Republicans are banking that the impeachment push will also act as a shot in the arm for their own base, while turning off moderates who care more about kitchen-table issues like health care and immigration.

The Republican National Committee launched a “Stop the Madness” counter-impeachment campaign Monday, targeting House Democrats and vowing to cause havoc going into 2020.

“Our goal is to cause chaos,” RNC spokesman Rick Gorka said. “This is a poison pill. When you couple the impeachment process with the socialist policies being espoused by 2020 Democrats, it’s going to sink their chances at the ballot box, especially with those crucial swing voters and independents across the country.”

There are signs already that the impeachment push is a potential fundraising boon for Trump and his allies. Republican officials said the Trump campaign, along with the RNC, brought in $5 million in the 24 hours after Pelosi’s announcement. National Republican Congressional Committee officials also said its online fundraising soared by 608 percent on the day Pelosi announced the inquiry.

Meanwhile, WinRed — a new GOP fundraising platform targeting small-dollar donations — hauled in just over $30 million in the third fundraising quarter, driven by a surge over the last week.

In an interview with Fox News, WinRed’s President Gerrit Lansing said fundraising numbers spiked after the inquiry was announced.

“It just poured gas on the situation where there is a ton of money being raised in all levels and all campaigns,” Lansing said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump dares Congress, brandishing deep-red 2016 election map: ‘Try to impeach this’

House Judiciary Democrats on Thursday took a big step in their Trump impeachment push as they set the ground rules for a formal committee inquiry — but Republicans laughed it off as a “giant Instagram filter” to hide how divided Democrats truly are on the question.

The committee voted 24-17 to define the rules for future committee impeachment hearings. The committee is not writing articles of impeachment, and nothing is going to the floor of the House right now, but the session still holds political consequences for both sides of the aisle.

IMPEACHMENT FEVER RISES AS DEMS FACE SUMMER-RECESS PRESSURE TO GO AFTER TRUMP

“The resolution before us represents the necessary next step in our investigation of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power,” committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in his opening statement.

The vote allows members to show the impeachment-eager base they are moving forward. But the push has also rattled some Democrats from more moderate districts.

“It’s sucking the air out of all of the good stuff we’re doing,” Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who flipped her seat from Republican control last year, said Wednesday.

But Nadler has sought to clear the air on what his committee is actually doing, amid widespread confusion. Nadler said Thursday the panel is “engaged in an investigation as to whether to launch an impeachment investigation into President Trump.”

Nadler had previously said House Democrats are pursuing an impeachment inquiry, a remark subsequently contradicted by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Hoyer later released a statement saying he had misunderstood the question and that he supports Nadler.

In his opening statement Thursday, Nadler said: “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry, some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature.”

Nadler says the resolution at issue allows him to determine if various hearings are part of any impeachment probe, allows counsel to question witnesses at those hearings, gives the committee access to documents in executive sessions, and gives the president due process. He said that formalizing the inquest “enables us to move more effectively and quickly.”

Broadly speaking, it represents another step by Democrats toward impeachment proceedings in the wake of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. While Mueller’s team drew a blank on evidence that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia in 2016 — the initial basis for the probe — Democrats then turned to other issues including Trump’s finances and alleged obstruction of justice.

But Republicans brushed off the meeting Thursday, arguing that Democrats are all bark but no bite on the subject of impeachment, making a fuss about “a simple procedure issue.” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., compared the Democrats’ move Thursday to a “giant Instagram filter to make you appear that something’s happening that’s not.”

“The difference between formal impeachment proceedings and what we’re doing today is a world apart no matter what the chairman just said,” he said.

TRUMP PROBES ROCKET TO FRONT OF DEM AGENDA, AS PRESIDENT DISMISSES NEW ETHICS COMPLAINT

“All along they thought people were coming along with them and that the public was happy with this and other members of their own party were happy with this but somewhere down the yellow brick road they looked around and said ‘there’s not all of us here, people aren’t following anymore,’” he said.

Collins was referring to an increasingly vocal group of Democrats unhappy at the impeachment focus — fearing it is a politically futile move and is distracting from kitchen-table issues of greater concern to voters.

But in other parts of the country, Democratic activists and left-wing lawmakers are fired up at the idea of ousting the president. Skeptical lawmakers in places like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were peppered with questions during the August recess by angry Democrats demanding they back impeachment.

“You are going to give Donald Trump another four years by doing that. You are helping him. You are helping him get another four years,” Rep. Steven Lynch, D-Mass., told a furious crowd last month, according to Politico.

But Democrats are moving toward that position, even if they are not united — at least 135 House members now support an inquiry, including 17 members of the Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has long expressed her skepticism about impeachment, urging Democrats to zero in on issues such as climate change, health care and the economy instead. Last month she was heckled by unhappy protesters at a dinner in San Francisco.

But asked by Fox News on Monday if she supported Nadler, Pelosi said: “Yes, I do.”

“I think you should characterize it for what it is, it’s a continuation of what we have been doing,” she said. “You know we all work together on these things.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: House Dems move on Trump impeachment, as Republicans mock ‘giant Instagram filter’ hiding disarray

Trump vows to deport ‘millions’ of undocumented immigrants as McConnell plans to force vote on border funding

Republicans are accusing Democrats of not wanting President Trump to get a win as the White House ramps up efforts to address the border crisis; Mike Emanuel reports.

President Trump announced Saturday that a planned mass roundup of illegal immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is being delayed for two weeks, in the hope that a bipartisan solution to the border crisis can be reached.

“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” he tweeted.

“If not, Deportations start!” he added.

The tweet came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, called Trump Friday and urged him to call off the raids, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.

The Washington Post reported Friday that ICE was expected to target 2,000 families in up to 10 cities across the U.S., after Trump had announced earlier this week that ICE will “begin the process of removing millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”

ICE said in a statement Friday that “due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”

However, it said that ICE prioritizes arresting and removing those illegal immigrants “who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”

Despite fierce opposition from local Democratic politicians in targeted cities, Trump had stood by the plan earlier Saturday, saying that “everybody who came into the country illegally will be brought out of the country very legally.”

He also dismissed the Democratic opposition on Saturday, saying they were mostly “high crime” cities.

“Well some cities are going to fight it. But if you notice they’re generally high crime cities, if you look at Chicago they’re fighting it. If you look at other cities they’re fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they’re sanctuary cities,” he said.

It was not immediately clear what form the negotiations would take, but the postponement comes amid an escalating crisis at the border, with more than 140,000 migrants encountered or apprehended at the border in May.

Earlier this month, Trump announced that he had secured a deal with Mexico that would see the U.S. expand its policy of returning asylum applicants to Mexico while claims are processed, instead of applicants being released into the U.S.

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved Trump’s $4.6 billion request for funding to tackle the humanitarian crisis, but only after the inclusion of a provision that blocks money from being diverted to funding for a wall on the border, and after Republicans dropped a request for more detention beds.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump delays planned ICE raids to see if Congress can solve border crisis

President Trump on Friday said that former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan is returning to the administration as a “border czar” — although Homan said that a decision has not yet been made.

“Tom Homan’s coming back, I would say that would be announced next week except I’d rather announce it now,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox and Friends.” “He’s going to be very much involved with the border, that’s what he really wants to be involved with.”

Trump said that Homan, who was acting director of the enforcement agency until June last year and is currently a Fox News contributor, would be a “border czar.” It is unclear what Homan’s exact title and role would be, as a czar is normally an informal term.

“He’ll be a border czar, he’ll be very much involved in the border, he’ll be directly reporting to me, working out of the White House but spending a lot of time at the border,” Trump said. “He’s a good man, he’s a good man.”

Homan later told Fox News that the White House has reached out to him and that there have been discussions — but that he has not made a decision.

Homan has remained a strong supporter of the president’s immigration policies since leaving his post, and has praised Trump’s response to the surge in migrants attempting to enter the U.S. via the southern border.

Most recently, he praised Trump’s deal with Mexico under which the U.S. will drop threatened tariffs in return for Mexico taking tougher action against migrant flows at their southern border, and criticized Democrats for opposing his efforts.

“God help us if another tragedy falls upon us because Democratic leaders in Congress want to play politics with our safety and are blinded by their drive to see our president fail,” he said. “No one should want our president to fail. His success is America’s success.”

Fox News’ Nicole Collins contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Former ICE chief Thomas Homan returning to administration as border czar, Trump says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Saturday hit parts of President Trump’s deal with Mexico on stopping migrant flows after he threatened to slap tariffs on the country — saying that Trump was engaged in “threats and temper tantrums.”

“President Trump undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south,” she said in a statement.

“Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy,” she said

Trump announced Friday that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a deal, after he had previously threatened to slap 5 percent tariffs on all incoming goods from Mexico — a warning that had sparked concern from both Democrats and Republicans about the trade deal negotiated between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

According to a joint declaration issued by the State Department and Mexico late Friday, Mexico will take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.”

The U.S. will also expand its “Remain-in Mexico” policy of returning asylum applicants to Mexico while their claims are processed. The U.S. committed to accelerate asylum claims while Mexico said it will “offer jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles.”

Pelosi said Democrats are “deeply disappointed” by the expansion of “Remain-in Mexico” and said it violates the rights of asylum-seekers, and fails to address the root causes of migration flows from Central America. She also promised that Congress would continue to put pressure on the administration on immigration.

“Congress will continue to hold the Trump Administration accountable for its failures to address the humanitarian situation at our southern border,” she said. “President Trump must stop sabotaging good-faith, constructive, and bipartisan efforts in Congress to address this complex problem in a humane manner that honors and respects our most cherished national values.”

She also called on the administration to “do much more to cooperate in a meaningful way with Mexico in cracking down on smuggling networks.”

“It’s failure to do so thus far is unconscionable and irresponsible,” she said.

Trump on Saturday took a swipe of his own at House Democrats, saying they are getting “nothing done.”

“Nervous Nancy Pelosi & the Democrat House are getting nothing done,” he tweeted. “Perhaps they could lead the way with the USMCA, the spectacular & very popular new Trade Deal that replaces NAFTA, the worst Trade Deal in the history of the U.S.A. Great for our Farmers, Manufacturers & Unions!”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Pelosi hits Trump’s deal with Mexico, accuses him of ‘threats and temper tantrums’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., led the charge Wednesday to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for not handing over documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — declaring the move necessary as the country enters a “constitutional crisis.”

But Nadler took a very different stance on contempt back in 2012, when House Republicans took the same step against then-AG Eric Holder for refusing to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, where DOJ officials tracked thousands of guns smuggled across the border but did nothing to stop them.

“Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG [Eric] Holder in contempt,” Nadler tweeted in 2012.

He joined more than 100 Democrats in walking out over the vote to hold the Obama-era DOJ leader in contempt.

Then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argued House Republicans were more politically motivated in attacking Holder than driven to get to the bottom of the failed operation.

“What is happening here is shameful,” said Pelosi.

After the contempt vote on Wednesday, conservatives pointed to the vintage Nadler tweet as an example of a double standard.

“Ahhh the irony. Political hacks gonna hack,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

“Nadler now says the White House ‘stonewalling’ Congress represents an attack on ‘the essence of our democracy’ – as though stonewalling were some new phenomena,” former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in an op-ed for Fox News. “Where was Nadler’s righteous indignation when the stonewalling came from a Democratic White House?”

Nadler’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Nadler was also accused of hypocrisy last month by GOP critics for his subpoena of the unredacted Mueller report, with critics pointing to video from the Clinton days showing him urging caution regarding the release of details from then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report.

“But now a different political landscape compels the chairman to adopt new standards of fairness, ignore existing law and demand the material he once considered ‘unfair to release,’” Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., said.

Nadler maintained he has been consistent in both cases — calling in 1998 and the present day for the committee to first review the documents, acknowledging in both cases concerns about the release of grand jury materials to the general public.

Democrats aren’t the only ones switching sides on contempt. Republicans who voted for Holder to be held in contempt in 2012 dismissed the vote this week as the Democrats’ latest effort to drag out the Russia controversy in the wake of the Mueller report.

But Republicans argue that the fight over the Fast and the Furious scandal was more substantive.

“The fight with Barr is a political stunt,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said this week. “Real oversight was when House sought documents about #FastandFurious an Eric Holder program that allowed guns to reach drug cartels in Mexico.”

Chaffetz said the Congress should hold fast to its subpoena power, “but they need a winning case (Barr wins this case easily), and a principled backbone of consistency.”

“America should not mistake this charade by the Democrats for a principled stand,” he wrote. “Not when the principles shift with the political fortunes of the Democratic Party.”

The fight over documents in the 2012 controversy seemed to resolve only this week when a settlement was reached between the House and DOJ. According to Politico, both sides said they maintained their disagreements but were dropping their appeals and the underlying lawsuit.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Foxnews: Nadler once called Holder contempt vote ‘shameful,’ now leads charge against Barr

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