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Trump at CPAC: 2nd Amendment, tax cuts could be repealed if Dems take power



President Trump, in a fiery and freewheeling speech to conservative activists on Friday, implored his base to get off their “ass” and “clobber” Democrats in upcoming elections so they won’t try to repeal the Second Amendment, undo recent tax cuts and install liberal judges.

“If they get in, they will repeal your tax cuts,” Trump said during an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington. “They will put judges in that you wouldn’t believe. They will take away your Second Amendment, which we will never allow to happen.”

Trump, in a speech reminiscent of those during the campaign, ticked off his accomplishments over the last year, including passing tax cuts, moving the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and withdrawing from the Paris climate accords.

The president also used the occasion to address the recent debate over gun control, in the wake of last week’s school shooting massacre in Florida, and call for more armed security in schools. Had teachers been armed in Florida, Trump said, “the teacher would have shot the hell out of [the attacker] before he knew what happened.”

“When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger,” Trump said. “Well-trained gun-adept teachers and coaches should be able to carry concealed firearms.”

He rebuked ex-Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scot Peterson, who was on campus at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during the shooting but did not go inside while it was happening. Before the speech Friday, Trump suggested Peterson is a “coward.”

“You had one guard, he did not turn out to be real good, I will tell you that,” Trump said. “He turned out to be not good. He was not a credit to law enforcement, that I can tell you.”

Trump emphasized his support for NRA but said “we really do have to strengthen up” background checks for gun owners.

He also riled up the crowd by reminiscing about the 2016 election, calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “crooked candidate.” At one point, the crowd broke into “lock her up chants,” like his supporters did during the campaign.

“Boy, have they committed a lot of atrocities, when you look, right?” Trump said of the Democrats.

He emphasized to the crowd the importance of future elections, including the upcoming midterms and 2020 presidential contest, warning the crowd not be complacent. Trump expressed hope Republicans “clobber” Democrats “because everybody gets off their ass, and they work.”

“It is a natural instinct,” the president said. “You just won, and now, you’re happy and complacent. Don’t be complacent.”

Trump said of the upcoming midterms: “We have to get out there, and we have to fight in ’18 like never before.”

Amid a breakdown in negotiations over protecting illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, Trump said Democrats “totally abandoned DACA,” saying they aren’t willing to negotiate on other immigration reforms. He called for a merit-based system and expressed his opposition to the VISA lottery program, saying: “They are not giving us their best people, folks.”

The crowd at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center was packed with college students, many of whom were wearing iconic red “Make America Great Again” hats.

“By the way, you don’t mind if I go off script a little bit,” the president told the audience.

He didn’t hold back criticism of Republicans who haven’t supported his agenda – making reference to Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has been battling cancer and who voted against the Trump plan to repeal ObamaCare.

“I don’t want to be controversial so I won’t use his name,” Trump said of McCain.

The president also ripped into the media, referring to “all those horrible people back there.”

“They are going to support me,” he said. “You know why? Because if somebody else won, their ratings would go down, they would all be out of business.”

Trump acknowledged coming back to address the gathering for sentimental reasons: it was at CPAC where he said he gave his first political speech in 2011 and tested out his message to conservatives ahead of his 2016 presidential run. Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, pleased the president in his introduction by saying Friday’s audience for Trump was the biggest in CPAC history.

“Remember when I first started running because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately, but do you remember, I started running, and people would say are you sure he is a conservative? I think that we’ve proved that I am a conservative,” Trump said.

The three-day convention this year has heavy representation from the Trump administration: Vice President Mike Pence appeared Thursday, as did White House counsel Don McGahn. A number of Cabinet officials also made appearances, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Labor Secretary Alex Costa and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon are speaking Friday.

At the end of the speech, Trump used the speech to announce what he referred to as the “heaviest set of sanctions ever imposed” against the North Korean regime. 

He also paid tribute to Billy Graham, the evangelist and spiritual adviser to multiple past presidents who died this week, saying “we will never forget the historic crowds, the voice, the energy, and the profound faith.”

There were also several light-hearted moments. Early in the speech, the president pointed to a large screen streaming his speech, turned around and pointed to his hair, and joked: “I try like hell to hide the bald spot, folks!”

Like he occasionally did during the campaign, he read the lyrics from the song “The Snake” to argue against allowing dangerous people into the country.

When one protester interrupted his speech, the crowd broke into “USA” chants. “How did he get in here, Matt?” Trump said, referencing Schlapp, the leader of CPAC.

“He was very obnoxious,” the president said of the protester. “It was only one person.”

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

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Five major immigration promises Biden has yet to keep



WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s recent reversal of its plans to raise the refugee cap sparked outrage not only among immigration advocates but from Democrats who accused the president of breaking his promise. Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois said in response to the news on Twitter Friday, “Say it ain’t so, President Joe. This is unacceptable.” Raising the refugee cap is one of at least five promises on immigration made by candidate and President-elect Biden that have not yet been fulfilled as the end of his first 100 days approaches.

Reunite separated migrant families: In the final presidential debate, Biden was asked what he would do to reunite 545 children with their parents after they were separated by the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018. Biden pledged to build a task force to reunite them. While the task force has formed and has pledged to bring back deported parents to reunite with their children, not one of the deported parents has so far been brought back, according to lawyers representing the families. On a call with reporters earlier this month, a senior Department of Homeland Security official said the task force is first working on capturing the “full scope” of those potentially affected by the policy.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, which represents the separated families said, “We are beginning to make progress on trying to repair the damage of the Trump administration’s family separation practice but it will be a long process and the key is ultimately whether the Biden administration sticks with it and provides real meaningful relief for these families.”

End detention of migrant families by Immigration and Customs Enforcement: During his presidential campaign, Biden tweeted “Children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately.” Asked in March whether he agreed, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said “a detention center is not where a family belongs.” Shortly after, in a court filing, the Biden administration said it would be ending the practice of holding migrant parents and children who are seeking asylum in detention. But then ICE walked it back, with a senior official telling NBC News, “We are not ending family detention. We are not closing the family detention centers.”

Though many families have been released without being detained, due to the limited capacity of border processing facilities, two ICE detention centers for families in South Texas continue to hold nearly 500 parents and children daily. By court order, families are not supposed to be detained for more than 20 days unless they are awaiting deportation. After that, they are typically released as they await their day in immigration court.

Raise the refugee cap: As a candidate, Biden promised to raise the limit on refugees resettled in the U.S. annually from the Trump administration’s historic lows to 125,000. Once in office, the Biden administration said that goal would be realized in the 2022 fiscal year, which begins in October, and it would admit 62,500 this fiscal year.

But last week, the Biden administration said it would keep the current level of refugees — 15,000 per fiscal year, set by the Trump administration — at least until it sets a “final, increased” refugee cap on May 15. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that “the challenge is the ability to process” increased numbers of refugees. And other White House officials blamed the high number of immigrants crossing the southern border.

However, the agencies and personnel used to screen refugees overseas are different from those used to process asylum seekers who have crossed into the U.S. The State Department works with the UN to identify refugees around the world to bring to the U.S., while asylum seekers at the border are processed by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and unaccompanied minors who cross the border are cared for by Health and Human Services.

Government contractors remove existing Normandy barriers that separate Mexico and the United States, in preparation for a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. on Sept. 10, 2019.Matt York / AP

Stop border wall construction: At the beginning of his presidency, Biden paused border wall construction and land acquisition until a a 60-day review of Trump’s border wall could be completed. The review tasked those involved to decide where the money set aside for the wall could be redirected. The 60-day mark passed more than 30 days ago without any results.

Last week, as the review continues, a judge agreed to give the government six acres of land in Hidalgo County, Texas, for the purpose of wall construction despite the Justice Department asking the court to wait until its review was complete. The case is one of more than 200 eminent domain cases started under the Trump administration that still continue today.

A spokesperson for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said the review has been delayed because there is so much to sort out. “When the administration took office, funds had been diverted from military construction and other appropriated purposes toward building the wall, and wall construction was being challenged in multiple lawsuits by plaintiffs who alleged that the construction was creating serious environmental and safety issues. Under those circumstances, federal agencies are continuing to develop a plan to submit to the President soon,” the spokesperson said.

Children and workers walk at a tent encampment built to house migrant children near Tornillo, Texas, on June 19, 2018.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

Hold the Trump administration accountable for family separation: As a candidate, Biden called the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant families “criminal.” During the presidential transition he said, “There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible and whether or not the responsibility is criminal and if that has been concluded the [Attorney General] will make that judgment.” But so far, no such review has been launched. In a recent court filing, the Justice Department blocked the release of Trump administration documents that detailed the planning of the “zero tolerance” policy that separated nearly 3,000 migrant families.

The White House declined to comment. DHS and DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Geoff Bennett and Monica Alba contributed.

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British holidaymakers given major boost as EU outlines plans to reopen borders



BRITONS have been handed a major summer holidays boost after EU bosses announced plans to welcome them to the Continent this summer.

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Here’s what the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would do



As he welcomed the guilty verdicts Tuesday against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, President Joe Biden pressed Congress to advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, named for the Black man Chauvin killed while kneeling on his neck.

The bill, approved by the Democratic-led House in March, has yet to receive a vote in the Senate, where 10 Republicans would be needed for passage.

“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago,” Biden said in remarks Tuesday night at the White House. “It shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done.”

A jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter, a development that Biden described as a “step forward” toward addressing systemic racism and police misconduct but “not enough.” Biden that when speaking with Floyd’s family he “assured them we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so I can sign the law as quickly as possible.”

The bill aims to end certain police techniques, including chokeholds and carotid holds, two forms of potentially deadly force. Such practices would be banned at the federal level, and federal funding for local and state police agencies would be conditioned on those agencies outlawing them. The bill also seeks to improve police training and invest in community programs designed to improve policing and promote equitable new policies.

Other provisions in the bill would:

  • Prohibit racial, religious and discriminatory profiling by law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels and mandate training against such discriminatory profiling.

  • Require local and state police agencies to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of body cameras, require all federal uniformed officers to wear body cameras, and require all marked federal police vehicles to use dashboard cameras.

Several Republicans, including Sens. Tim Scott, of South Carolina and Rand Paul, of Kentucky, have offered alternate proposals to address police misconduct. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the sponsor of the George Floyd bill, said after the House moved the legislation in March that she is confident the House and Senate can work toward a compromise.

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