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Democratic chairmen demand Trump admin documents on sanctuary city proposal

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By Alex Moe and Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Three Democratic House committee chairmen said Monday that the Trump administration lacks the legal authority to transfer undocumented migrants to sanctuary cities, and they’re calling on top officials to provide documents related to the plan’s consideration by early May.

“We are deeply troubled by multiple reports, recently confirmed by the President, that the Trump Administration is considering releasing detained immigrants into congressional districts represented by Democrats in a bizarre and unlawful attempt to score political points,” said the lawmakers’ letter to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

The three-page letter is signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Citing a report by The Washington Post, the chairmen wrote, “This proposal was considered at least twice in the last six months, and the president confirmed on April 12, 2019, that the proposal is once again being given “strong considerations.”

The reports are “alarming,” they wrote, adding, “Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons.”

In the letter, the chairmen asked that several documents between last November and mid-April be provided to them by May 3, including emails and other communications between Department of Homeland Security officials and White House officials about the transfer or release of immigration detainees to specific locations in the U.S. They also asked for all DHS documents that discussed policy or legal justifications for such a plan.

Last week, Trump tweeted, “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only….”

The president continued to defend the potential policy over the weekend.

On Saturday he tweeted that Democrats must change the immigration laws. Otherwise, he said, “Sanctuary Cities must immediately ACT to take care of the Illegal Immigrants – and this includes Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds. CHANGE THE LAWS NOW!”

In a separate tweet, Trump wrote, “Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!”



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Tory leadership race tracker: How Boris Johnson and Rory Stewart fared after BBC debate

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TORY leadership candidate Rory Stewart has suffered a massive drop in support following the BBC debate on Tuesday evening – whilst Boris Johnson is looking more popular than ever.

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Hope Hicks testifies before House committee behind closed doors

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former aide Hope Hicks arrived on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to testify behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats planned to focus their questions on what they say are five crimes of obstruction of justice established by the Mueller Report against Trump, as well as campaign finance violations involved with alleged election-year hush money payments.

Her appearance marks the first time a former Trump aide has come in to answer questions before that panel as part of Democrats’ obstruction of justice investigation. A transcript of the interview will be released, though it may not appear for several days.

Other issues Democrats plan to question Hicks about include Trump’s conduct and attitude towards former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s reaction when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, among others.

In a letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Tuesday evening, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone asserted that Hicks was not legally required to provide testimony regarding her time working in the White House.

“Ms. Hicks is absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress with respect to matters occurring during her service as a senior adviser to the President,” he wrote.

Nadler dismissed those claims. “I reject that assertion” regarding blanket executive privilege, he said in a response released late Tuesday night, adding that after the panel poses questions to her, “we will address privilege and other objections on a question by question basis.”

Hicks’s testimony comes after the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena last month for her appearance. She previously served as White House communications director and the White House director of strategic communications after a stint as a senior aide on Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The White House directed Hicks and another former White House aide earlier this month not to hand over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee related to their time at the White House.

Mike Memoli contributed.



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Commons erupts in fury as SNP's Ian Blackford brands Boris Johnson 'racist'

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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford sparked fury in the House of Commons after he branded former foreign secretary Boris Johnson “racist”.

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