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Trump: Without ICE, California would be ‘crime nest’

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Maybe Californians would better appreciate the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers if they no longer operated in the Golden State.

That seemed to be President Donald Trump’s message Thursday during a White House meeting.

The president threatened to pull ICE agents out of California, citing state administrators’ unwillingness to help federal authorities in preventing crime.  

Trump said if he followed through with the threat, the state “would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California.

“All I’d have to do is say, ‘ICE and Border Patrol, let California learn,'” the president said.

Trump added that California state officials were doing a “lousy management job,” and criticized them for supposedly harboring “criminals,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals in California and other places,” Trump said.  

FILE - In this May 11, 2017, file photo, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan speaks during a news conference in Washington. California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, he is concerned about open-ended immigration sweeps when he and other officials say the Trump administration should be concentrating on deporting dangerous felons. Homan has repeatedly lambasted California over a new state law that strictly limits the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities when they are booked into jail for other reasons. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director

 (Associated Press)

“If we ever pulled our ICE out and we ever said, ‘Hey, let California learn and let them figure it out for themselves,’ in two months, they’d be begging for us to come back. They would be begging,” he added.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has ratcheted up enforcement of immigration laws — clashing with the liberal policies of California.

Last month, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both California Democrats, sent a joint letter to ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, requesting detailed information on rumored upcoming raids in California, the Sacramento Bee reported.  

“Diverting resources in an effort to punish California and score political points is an abhorrent abuse of power, not to mention a terrible misuse of scarce resources,” the letter read in part.

“We don’t conduct raids,” Homan said during an interview with Fox News. “We conduct targeted enforcement operations. We don’t go into neighborhoods, knocking on a bunch of doors, looking for people that are different than us.”

Trump did not elaborate on his remarks, but his comments made the rounds on social media. Opinion was divided.  

Feinstein tweeted: “The president’s obsession with California is growing more outrageous by the day. His attacks are not only mean-spirited, they’re patently false.”

Fox News’ Todd Starnes tweeted: “Trump says he’s thinking about pulling ICE agents from California. That’s actually a great idea. Let the Democrats take care of all the illegals.”

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.



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Swastika found carved in State Department elevator

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WASHINGTON — A swastika was found carved in an elevator at the State Department, the agency said Tuesday.

The swastika has been removed, and the incident is being investigated, Jalina Porter, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said at a news conference.

Porter said Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish, shared a message with all employees about the incident.

This is a “painful reminder anti-Semitism isn’t a relic of the past,” Porter said. “It’s still a force that we’re dealing with the world, and unfortunately we’re dealing with it close to home. And we will continue to condemn it.”

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and the U.N., Gilad Erdan, said the incident was antisemitic vandalism and urged unity in a fight against antisemitism of any kind.

President Joe Biden signed a law this year addressing anti-Asian hate crimes, which have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, but legislation addressing antisemitic crimes has yet to pass. Several bills about the issue have been introduced.

Andrea Mitchell contributed.

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Biden considering vaccine mandate for all federal employees

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that a Covid vaccine requirement for all federal employees is under consideration.

“That’s under consideration right now, but if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were,” he said, offering no additional detail.

This comes on the heels of new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on indoor mask use in areas with high transmission rates after new data suggested fully vaccinated individuals are not just contracting Covid-19, but could also potentially infect others.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also said the CDC is recommending that all children wear masks when they return to classrooms in the new school year.

This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.

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Justice Department seizes rare, ancient tablet illegally auctioned to Hobby Lobby

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The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it had seized a rare, ancient tablet that was sold to Hobby Lobby through an auction house under false pretenses.

A federal court in Brooklyn, New York, ordered the forfeiture of a rare cuneiform tablet bearing a portion of the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” a historic poem with roots in ancient Mesopotamia. The cuneiform tablet is roughly 3,600 years old and originated in an area that’s now part of Iraq. It’s believed to be one of the earliest pieces of storytelling poetry.

The federal court argued that the tablet was brought into the U.S. illegally and therefore the Museum of the Bible, established by the owners of the Hobby Lobby stores, cannot get back the ancient clay tablet. After the first Gulf War in 1991, thousands of objects were looted, including many cuneiform tablets, from archeological sites in Iraq, prosecutors explained.

In 2013, prosecutors said, an American antiquities dealer bought the tablet, covered with dirt and unreadable, from the family of a London coin dealer. The tablet measures approximately 6 inches by 5 inches and is written in the Akkadian language, prosecutors said. The U.S. dealer, prosecutors said, then sold the tablet with a letter of false provenance, stating the tablet had been inside a box of miscellaneous ancient bronze fragments purchased in an auction in 1981.

The false letter describing its erroneous origins then traveled with the tablet as it was sold several times in different countries, officials said. A later owner provided the false letter to an auction house in London. It was resold several times again before Hobby Lobby bought it in a private sale in 2014. Federal agents seized it from the store’s museum in 2019, and it’s been held by the Department of Homeland Security since.

“This forfeiture represents an important milestone on the path to returning this rare and ancient masterpiece of world literature to its country of origin,” said Jacquelyn Kasulis, the acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn. “This office is committed to combating the black-market sale of cultural property and the smuggling of looted artifacts.”



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