The Latest: McConnell says Trump’s border plan suits reality
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump’s proposal to increase border security through physical barriers “suits the reality on the ground” along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Speaking after Trump’s Oval Office address Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican said Trump’s plan “simply builds on earlier legislation” that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats supported in the past.
McConnell blamed the 18-day partial government shutdown on “Democrats’ refusal to negotiate” because of “partisan spite for the president.”
McConnell urged Democrats to “come to the table and help deliver a solution” to reopen the government.
Trump said in his speech that there is a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border, although crossings have fallen in recent years. Trump said illegal immigration strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.
IMMIGRATION-CATCH AND RELEASE
Asylum seekers find it’s catch and can’t release fast enough
SAN DIEGO (AP) — President Donald Trump says he has ended “catch-and-release” for asylum seekers, but in cities on the U.S. border with Mexico it is catch and can’t release fast enough.
Since late October, the U.S. has been releasing families without giving time to arrange travel, which it blames on lack of resources to detain and process cases. Families are often given court dates without having to pass initial screenings by asylum officers.
To avoid putting penniless families on the streets, charities and advocates are scrambling to find temporary shelter, food, clothes and, if necessary, bus and plane tickets. The San Diego Rapid Response Network has served more than 4,000 people since opening in a church in late October, moving five times since then because it ran out of space.
Filing: Manafort accused of lying about sharing poll data
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new court filing says former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about sharing polling data on the 2016 presidential race with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence.
The information is in a redacted court filing Tuesday from Manafort’s lawyers. The Associated Press was able to view the redacted material because it wasn’t properly blacked out.
According to the filing, prosecutors say Manafort lied to investigators about sharing the data with Kiliminik. Manafort allegedly shared the data while he was working on Donald Trump’s Republican campaign.
Kilimnik has denied ties to Russian intelligence.
Both men were indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
Prosecutors say Manafort breached his plea deal by repeatedly lying to them.
VEGETATIVE STATE-BIRTH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Comatose woman who gave birth is a tribal member
PHOENIX (AP) — A female patient in a vegetative state at a Phoenix private care facility who recently gave birth has been identified as a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.
In a statement Tuesday night, tribal officials say the 29-year-old woman has been in vegetative state and coma for more than a decade. They also say she was still in a coma when she gave birth.
The woman’s name was redacted from the tribal statement, and there was no information about the gender or status of the baby.
Tribal chairman Terry Rambler said he was “deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members.”
San Carlos Apache Police Chief Alejandro Benally says Phoenix police “will do all they can to find the perpetrator.”
A spokesman for Hacienda HealthCare says investigators served a search warrant Tuesday to obtain DNA samples from all male staffers.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
AP Exclusive: NC election fraud probed long before 2018 race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina elections investigator spent weeks in 2010 probing whether the man at the center of a current scandal was among a group of local political operatives allegedly buying votes.
The investigation into Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. came nearly a decade before concerns about absentee ballot fraud in rural Bladen County clouded the results of a heated 2018 congressional race.
Marshall Tutor says his office first fielded accusations in 2010 that Dowless was among a group giving voters cash to fill out ballots the way he directed. Tutor retired in March after 15 years as an investigator for the N.C. Board of Elections.
Tutor traveled to Bladen multiple times, but told The Associated Press he was unable to build a criminal case against Dowless at that time.
UNITED STATES-SYRIA-FOREIGN FIGHTERS
Fate of detained IS fighters uncertain as US exits Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Trump administration official says resolving the fate of hundreds of foreign Islamic State fighters captured in Syria is a top priority as the government lays the groundwork with allies to comply with President Donald Trump’s order to pull out American troops.
The official says releasing the fighters, among them Europeans and some U.S. citizens, would be “unacceptable” since they could simply rejoin the remnants of Islamic State fighters in Syria or elsewhere.
The official wasn’t authorized to disclose the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The United States and European nations have been reluctant to take back citizens with ties to the Islamic State group, not wanting the legal challenge of prosecuting them or the potential security risk if they are released.
ATTORNEY GENERAL-EXECUTIVE POWERS
Trump’s AG pick has argued presidents have robust powers
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general once advised that a president didn’t need Congress’ permission to attack Iraq. William Barr also said the U.S. could arrest a foreign dictator and capture suspects abroad without that country’s permission.
That expansive view of presidential power is unsettling for Democrats as the Senate holds a confirmation hearing next week for Barr, who served as AG for President George H.W. Bush.
Democrats fear Barr would be overly deferential to Trump in a position where legal decisions aren’t supposed to be guided by political considerations.
Of particular concern to Democrats is a memo Barr wrote last year criticizing part of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
Barr’s friends defend his opinions as carefully reasoned and say he wouldn’t be a pushover for Trump.
R KELLY DOCUMENTARY-THE LATEST
The Latest: R. Kelly’s attorney denies abuse allegations
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) — An attorney for R. Kelly says abuse allegations made against the R&B star in a recent documentary are false.
In a phone interview Tuesday evening, Kelly’s Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg dismissed the allegations, calling them “another round of stories” being used to “fill reality TV time.”
Earlier Tuesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she was “sickened” after watching the Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which examines a history of abuse allegations against the singer.
Greenberg says it is inappropriate for a state’s attorney to characterize allegations she’d seen on TV, prior to charges or an investigation.
Networks to air Pelosi, Schumer rebuttal to Trump
NEW YORK (AP) — Television networks airing President Donald Trump’s Oval Office speech on his proposed border wall and the partial government shutdown have also committed to airing the Democratic response to the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say they will make the case themselves. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox broadcasting, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and MSNBC all said they would air the rebuttal.
The dueling remarks come in the third week of the shutdown over the president’s insistence that congressional Democrats approve more than $5 billion in spending for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democrats have refused to pay for it.
Trump’s opponents have urged television networks to be aggressive in fact-checking any false statements.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee backs public health care option
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, is proposing a public health insurance option for state residents as a step toward universal health coverage.
In an announcement Tuesday Inslee said he’ll ask the Legislature to consider a plan that would direct the Washington State Health Care Authority to offer public health insurance across the state to anyone in the individual market. Inslee said reimbursement rates would be consistent with federal Medicare plans.
Inslee said there are 14 counties in Washington at risk of losing any access to individual health insurance options.
Washington Insurance Commission Mike Kreidler said the Trump administration has put up “real roadblocks” to health care access.
Supporters of the plan didn’t immediately reveal cost estimates for the proposal, but Inslee said “we need to write another chapter of health care reform.”
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