Sessions cites Bible to defend immigration policies resulting in family separations

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in defending the Trump administration’s immigration policies — especially those that result in the separation of families — directing his remarks in particular to “church friends.”

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.”

The Catholic Church and other religious leaders have voiced strong criticism of policies resulting in family separations and recent moves Sessions has made to restrict asylum.

On Wednesday, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the administration, declaring that separating mothers and children at the US border is “immoral.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the organization, said in a statement, “Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

Sessions said Thursday that recent criticisms are “not fair, not logical and some are contrary to plain law.”

“It’s not as if we just want to see if we can be mean to children. That’s not what this is about,” he said, saying he’s thought about this issue for years.

God told Nehemiah to build a wall when he got back to Jerusalem, Sessions said, once again referencing the Bible.

“That’s the first thing he told him to do,” Sessions said. “It wasn’t to keep people in. It was to keep bad people out. I don’t think there is a scriptural basis that justifies any idea that we must have open borders in the world today.”

Sessions repeated many of his recent comments that any separation from children is the fault of the parents who choose to bring them into the country illegally, and repeatedly said immigrants should “wait your turn” and try to come to the US legally. He disputed that he’s restricting asylum, saying he is merely restoring his view of what the law always has been.

He was referring to his recent use of a power of the attorney general, a political appointee, to overrule a board of immigration judges in their interpretation of the law. Sessions earlier this week announced a new interpretation of asylum law that reversed an earlier decision in declaring that victims of domestic violence and other crimes and violence are generally not eligible for asylum in the US.

“Noncitizens who cross our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children, are no exception to this principle,” Sessions said. “They are the ones who broke the law. They are the ones who endangered their children with this trek.”

He said the US goes through “extraordinarily lengths” to care for the children.

“I have considered the thoughts of church leaders over that time. And I am sympathetic to them. But I am a law officer. A law officer for a nation-state. A secular nation-state. Not a theocracy. It’s not a church. If we have laws — and I believe we have reasonable immigration laws — they should be enforced,” Sessions said. “My request to our religious leaders and friends who have criticized the carrying out of our laws: I ask them to speak up forcefully, strongly, to urge anyone who would come here to only come lawfully.”

[CNN]

Trump Reportedly Told G7 Leaders Crimea is Part of Russia Because They Speak Russian

A new report suggests that Donald Trump parroted Vladimir Putin last week when he spoke to his fellow world leaders about re-admiting Russia into the G7.

Trump bemoaned Putin’s absence throughout the international gathering, which added to the contentiousness as he spoke with foreign dignitaries in Toronto. Diplomatic sources told Buzzfeed that when when Trump engaged with world leaders over dinner, he spoke of how Crimea is Russian because so many people who live there speak the language.

From the report:

During the dinner, Trump also seemed to question why the G7 leaders were siding with Ukraine. The president told leaders that “Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” the source said.

Russia used to be part of the former G8, but they were expelled over the 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Putin often justifies the intervention campaign by saying Russia had to protect the citizens living in the region.

Trump defended his comments in an interview last night, telling Fox New’s Bret Baier that if Putin was in Quebec, he could’ve asked him to pull Russia out of Syria and Ukraine as a “favor.” Baier reminded Trump why Russia was kicked out of the G8, though POTUS responded that Putin didn’t respect Barack Obama‘s leadership, even though the former president led the charge for Putin’s expulsion.

[Mediaite]

GOP Chairwoman Accused of Threatening Republicans Who Don’t Support Trump

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was accused of threatening Republicans who don’t support Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda over an ominous message she posted on social media yesterday.

On Wednesday evening, McDaniel took to Twitter to warn people of the dangers of opposing the president. “Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake,” McDaniel wrote.

Following her post, social media users quickly criticized McDaniel’s tone as threatening.

“What in the actual hell…is this a threat, Ronna?” replied Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s daughter and co-host of ABC’s The View.

Walter Michael Shaub Jr., the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, added: “That sounds like a threat.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes only had one word to say: “Gross.”

McDaniel’s message was posted the day after South Carolina’s Rep. Mark Sanford lost his primary. After being an outspoken critic of Trump, the president tweeted support for his opponent shortly before the polls closed.

“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA [make American great again]. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

[Newsweek]

Trump Dodges When Confronted on Kim’s Brutality: ‘A Lot of Other People’ Have Done Bad Things Too

President Donald Trump sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier for a one-on-one interview aboard Air Force One.

During the interview, the president praised “President for Life” Xi Jinping and pointed out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump also said he and the North Korean despot “understand each other.”

POTUS’s praise of Kim prompted Baier to ask why he would say such nice things about a “killer.”

“You were asked in the press conference a number of different times and in different ways about human rights and that you that call this relationship ‘really good’ and that he was ‘very talented person.’” Baier said.

Baier then continued on, “You call people sometimes killers. He is a killer. He’s executing people.”

Trump dodged trying to say North Korea was a “tough country” with “tough people.”

“You take it over from your father––I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that,” Trump claimed, continuing to praise Kim. “So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.”

Baier then pressed further, adding, “He has still done some really bad things.”

“Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things,” Trump said, dodging again. “I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

It is also not the first time Trump has dodged questions from Fox News about cozying up to a killer. In February 2017, Trump sat down for a pre-Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reillywhere he was asked about how he could be so friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putindespite the fact that he, too, has blood on his hands.

Trump dodged back then too, telling O’Reilly: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

[Mediaite]

‘Insulting and ridiculous and ludicrous!’ Mike Pompeo blows up at reporter for asking basic question on Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday exploded at an unidentified reporter who asked him a very basic question about verifying the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

Via Congressional Quarterly foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, a reporter questioning Pompeo about talks with North Korea asked him how he could make sure the country had committed to allowing inspectors in to verify denuclearization when there was nothing about verifying disarmament in the joint statement signed by both countries.

“I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous,” Pompeo angrily responded. “I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this.”

The Trump administration has insisted that it wants North Korea to commit to the “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. However, in the joint statement signed by the U.S. and North Korea, it only says that the country is committed to “working toward complete denuclearization.”

This distinction is important because it would give North Korea a loophole to argue that it does not need to allow inspectors into its facilities. What’s more, it could give North Korea the right to rebuild its nuclear weapons program even if it did actually go through with dismantling it.

[Raw Story]

Trump blasts media as America’s ‘biggest enemy’ for North Korea coverage

President Trump posted a series of tweets about his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as he arrived back in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning, including blasting the media as “our country’s biggest enemy” for its coverage of the historic summit.

“So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea,” the president wrote. “500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out.”

He continued: “Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”

While Trump’s meeting with Kim was historic, many critics say it fell short of expectations and the optimism the president had about the summit.

The two leaders signed a vague four-point statement in which North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to work toward “complete denuclearization” but the promise came without a timetable or mention of any verification of the North’s progress.

The joint statement was also less specific than the agreement North Korea signed at the so-called six-party talks in 2005. Then, Pyongyang promised to abandon all nuclear weapons, to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to international inspections.

Many say the summit, instead, gave more legitimacy to Kim as he stood as an equal alongside a U.S. president and posed for photos. Trump said he was “honored” to be there and described Kim, a despotic adversary, as a “talented” leader who could be trusted.

Past American presidents have refused face-to-face meetings with North Korea’s leadership over fears of legitimizing a totalitarian state that has admitted to state-sponsored kidnapping and sent thousands of its citizens to forced labor camps.

In Trump’s series of tweets after he landed at 6:10 a.m., he applauded his efforts and claimed North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat” and everyone could “sleep well tonight.”

Trump has long disparaged members of the media as “fake news” and on multiple occasions called the press an “enemy of the American people.”

[USA Today]

Trump: ‘We save a fortune by not doing war games’

President Trump on Wednesday touted his decision to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea, insisting that the move is well worth it to preserve what he called “good faith” negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.

“We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

The tweet came shortly after the president returned to Washington from Singapore, where he had held summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and signed a short document reaffirming Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization in exchange for unspecified security guarantees by the U.S.

Trump also announced on Tuesday that the U.S. would cease its joint military drills with South Korea — an apparent concession to Pyongyang, which has repeatedly claimed that the drills are merely a pretext for a strike on the North.

The South Koreans said early Tuesday that they would seek clarification on the president’s remarks, suggesting that they were not aware that Trump planned to offer to give up the drills in his summit with Kim. U.S. military forces in Korea also said they had not received new directions on the exercises.

Questions have been raised about the agreement signed by Trump and Kim on Tuesday, which offers virtually nothing in the way of specifics on how the North plans to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Instead, it commits Pyongyang to denuclearization, a promise the North has made — and broken — many times in the past.

[The Hill]

Reality

Several problems. First, Trump greatly increased military spending.
Second, “war games” is Putin’s language.
Third, Trump got this idea directly from Putin himself.

Trump embraces pro-Confederate anti-immigrant Senate nominee Corey Stewart

Trump tweeted about another GOP primary in a way that is sure to give Republicans heartburn.

While national Republicans are likely to distance themselves from Corey Stewart — the GOP nominee in Virginia’s Senate race who has embraced Confederate symbols and neo-Nazi figures — Trump congratulated Stewart on his win.

“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”

Trump’s praise of Stewart is far different from other Republicans, who lament the fact that Stewart won and have condemned Stewart’s embrace of Confederate symbols.

“I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate,” Bill Bolling, a Republican and former lieutenant governor of Virginia, tweetedTuesday night. “This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.”

[Mic]

President hits back at Robert De Niro after ‘F–k Trump’ jab

President Trump hit back at “Punchy” Robert De Niro on Twitter on Tuesday, two days after the “Raging Bull” star unleashed a torrent of obscenities at the commander-in-chief at the Tony Awards.

“Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to [sic] many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be ‘punch-drunk,’” Trump tweeted at 4:53 p.m.

”I guess he doesn’t realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country. Wake up Punchy!”

The “Godfather” star was bleeped at the Tony Awards when he dropped a series of F-bombs about Trump while introducing Bruce Springsteen.

“First, I wanna say, ‘F–k Trump,’” De Niro said. “It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump,’ it’s ‘F–k Trump.’”

The crowd at New York’s Radio City Music Hall cheered his remarks, though he was later criticized for stooping to Trump’s name-calling level.

A day later, De Niro apologized — not to Trump but on America’s behalf to Justin Trudeau, whom Trump insulted as “very dishonest & weak” after the Canadian prime minister threw shade on the president’s trade policies.

“I just want to make a note of apology for the idiotic behavior of my president,” De Niro said in Toronto on Monday for the groundbreaking of the Canadian Nobu restaurant, where he was dining with celebrity chef and business partner Nobu Matsuhisa, The Globe and Mail reported.

“It’s a disgrace. And I apologize to Justin Trudeau and the other people at the G7. It’s disgusting.”

De Niro is a seven-time Academy Award nominee, and won Oscars for playing Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II” and Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull.”

In 2009, he was among the five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, presented by then-President Obama.

[Page Six]

Trump campaign manager repeats call for Acosta’s credentials be suspended: ‘An absolute disgrace’

President Trump‘s 2020 campaign manager is repeating his call for Jim Acosta’s press credentials to be suspended, saying CNN’s chief White House correspondent is “an absolute disgrace” for interrupting a signing ceremony during the summit between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.

“Jim @Acosta should immediately have his press credentials suspended. He is an absolute disgrace!” wrote Brad Parscale to his 100,000 Twitter followers on Tuesday afternoon.

report from the conservative Daily Wire apparently sparked Parscale’s ire. It said that Acosta shouted questions during the ceremony in Singapore, where Trump and Kim signed a general agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in exchange for unspecified “security measures” from the United States.

“Mr. President, did we agree to denuclearize?” Acosta asked as Trump was signing a document.

”Starting that process very quickly, very, very quickly. Absolutely,” Trump replied.

Acosta followed up with another question, asking, “Did you talk about Otto Warmbier, sir?”

Warmbier was a college student who was imprisoned by North Korea and died shortly after he returned to the U.S. last year

Acosta on Tuesday mocked a Fox News report critical of him for asking the questions during the ceremony.

“Democracy… drink it in people,” he tweeted.

Parscale also called for Acosta’s credentials to be suspended earlier this year.

“Maybe it is time for Jim Acosta to get a suspension for breaking protocol. He continues to embarrass himself and @CNN. Pull his credentials for each incident,” he tweeted on April 2 after Acosta shouted questions at the president during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

Acosta responded to Parscale at the time on Twitter.

“Just doing my job,” he tweeted. “Which is protected by the First Amendment of The Constitution. You might want to give it a read.”

Acosta, who regularly tangles with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during the daily press briefing, was promoted to chief White House correspondent by CNN back in January.

[The Hill]

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