Jeff Sessions strays from prepared remarks to praise ‘Anglo-American heritage’ of sheriffs

Update

Jeff Sessions was using a legal technical term “Anglo-American” law, which is a reference to the legal tradition of common law that the American sheriff’s system shares with England.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions strayed from his prepared remarks to comment on the “Anglo-American” historical origins of the sheriff.

Sessions spoke Monday to a the National Sheriffs Association, which represents about 20,000 law enforcement officials across the U.S., but video recordings show an apparent improvisation from the prepared remarks distributed ahead of time to reporters, according to Splinter News.

“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” Sessions said. “We must never erode this historic office.”

The remarks quickly raised eyebrows on social media, where commenters perceived the reference as racist in light of the attorney general’s racially problematic history.

The sheriff indeed originated in medieval England, and the name derives from Anglo-Saxon words for the guardian, or reeve, of a county, or shire.

English colonists brought the tradition to America and elected their own sheriffs in the 1600s, and various right-wing fringe movements promote the legal fallacy that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the United States.

[RawStory]

Media

Trump chief of staff John Kelly suggests some Dreamers ‘too lazy’ and ‘too afraid’ to sign up for DACA

Some immigrants may have been “too afraid” or “too lazy” to sign up for the Obama-era program that offered protection from deportation, White House chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday as he defended President Donald Trump’s proposal aimed at breaking the impasse on immigration.

In remarks to reporters, Kelly described Trump’s plan, which would provide a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people — more than Democrats had sought. He noted extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “beyond what anyone could have imagined.”

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said.

“The difference between (690,000) and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” Kelly said.

Kelly spoke as lawmakers have deadlocked in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal on protecting from deportation recipients of the program, known as “Dreamers.”

Barring a last-minute agreement — which seems unlikely — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said his chamber will begin considering the issue, a debate that GOP leaders expect to start next week.

Kelly said Trump would likely reject an effort to pass a short-term extension for the program, which is set to expire on March 5.

But he also noted the March 5 deadline may not have immediate impact. He said immigrants currently protected won’t be priorities for deportation as long as they do not commit crimes.

Kelly said lawmakers need a deadline to force action.

“What makes them act is pressure,” he said.

Kelly in remarks to reporters later Tuesday seemed to double down on his earlier comments about those eligible for DACA, saying “some of them just should’ve probably gotten off the couch and signed up.”

But Kelly added, “But that doesn’t really matter now because President Trump has given them the status,” referring to Trump’s proposal.

In exchange for making citizenship a possibility, Trump wants $25 billion for border security, including money to build parts of his coveted wall along the U.S.-Mexico boundary. He also wants to curb legal immigration, restricting the relatives that legal immigrants could sponsor for citizenship and ending a lottery that distributes visas to people from diverse places like Africa.

“I can’t imagine men and women of good will who begged this president to solve the problem of DACA” would oppose Trump’s proposal, said Kelly, using the program’s acronym. He added, “Right now, the champion of all people who are DACA is Donald Trump.”

A court ruling earlier this month also has blunted the deadline. A federal judge has indefinitely blocked Trump from terminating DACA’s protections for the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. The program shields them from deportation and gives them the right to hold jobs.

Still, many lawmakers are uneasy about what might happen to the Dreamers after March 5, and Democrats — and Trump himself — are using that uncertainty as leverage to help force a deal. Kelly’s remarks seemed aimed at easing worries that major deportations of Dreamers could begin right away — a scenario that could be damaging to members of both parties.

“They are not a priority for deportation,” Kelly said of Dreamers who’ve not accumulated criminal records.

[NBC News]

Trump called intel analyst a ‘pretty Korean lady’ — and asked why she wasn’t negotiating with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump’s latest outburst about immigrants from “sh*thole” African countries is far from his first time making racist statements.

In fact, sources tell NBC News that Trump made a career U.S. intelligence officer uncomfortable last year when he grilled her on her Korean heritage and demanded to know why she wasn’t being used to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

According to NBC News, Trump first asked the officer where she was from after she had finished delivering an intelligence briefing. She replied that she originally hailed from New York City, but Trump pushed her by asking where “your people” originally came from.

At that point, she admitted that both of her parents were from Korea — at which point Trump turned to an adviser and asked them why the “pretty Korean lady” wasn’t being used as an asset to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear arsenal.

“The officials who told NBC News of the fall exchange between Trump and the intelligence briefer in the Oval Office in the fall said the president likely meant no harm with his inquiry, but it raised concern of a lack of cultural sensitivity and decorum,” NBC notes, while also adding that a source close to the president claims that his advisers regularly try to get him to stop talking about people’s race — but to no avail.

[Raw Story]

Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as ‘shithole’ nations

President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News.

Trump’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post, which said the group of nations referred to also included El Salvador.

The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.

According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. Thursday’s meeting came one day after Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.

A source familiar with Thursday’s meeting told NBC News the president was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system — a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday, as part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

It’s not the first time reports have surfaced of Trump speaking unfavorably about immigrants, and Haitians in particular. The New York Times reported in December that Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS,” during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

According to the Times, Trump also targeted Nigerian immigrants during that meeting, complaining that once they came the United States they would never “go back to their huts.” The White House vigorously denied the claims in the story at the time.

[NBC News]

Trump said Haitian immigrants ‘all have AIDS’

The White House strongly pushed back on a report that President Donald Trump spoke about immigrants in a dismissive and demeaning fashion during a June meeting with top administration officials.

The denial came in response to explosive reporting from the New York Times, which wrote that, according to two unnamed officials, Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement blasting the paper and denying that Trump had made the comments.

“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” Sanders said.

The report said the Oval Office meeting during the summer included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and senior officials, including White House adviser Stephen Miller, who the Times said had provided Trump with a list of how many immigrants received visas to enter the United States in 2017.

he Times report said Kelly and Tillerson tried to respond by saying many of the visas were for short-term travelers, but that as Trump continued, Kelly and Miller “turned their ire” against Tillerson, who threw his arms up and retorted that perhaps he should stop issuing visas altogether.

The Times said its report was the product of more than three dozen interviews. The explosive and disparaging remarks about immigrants attributed to the president were sourced to a pair of unnamed officials, one who the Times said was present in the meeting, and another who was briefed about the comments by a second attendee. But the Times says several other participants told them they “did not recall” the President using those words.

[CNN]

Trump Scolds the Wrong Theresa May After Criticism Over Him Sharing Anti-Muslim Videos

The President of the United States, who shared a racist far-right group’s unverified anti-Muslim videos, responded to criticism from the office of Prime Minister Theresa May––who felt that the President of the United States should NOT be sharing a racist far-right group’s unverified anti-Muslim videos––by saying that she should not “focus on me” and focus on radical Islam instead, but in doing so he TAGGED THE WRONG THERESA MAY.

The account he linked to does not belong to the British prime minister, it belongs to another woman named Theresa who’s about to get a lot of angry and confused tweets.

Theresa May’s account is @theresa_may.

[Mediaite]

Reality

There’s no evidence of extremist takeover of areas in Europe or the United States. This is a myth pushed by Fox News that has no basis in reality.

Update

The President deleted the tweet and corrected it.

White House’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders says ‘Pocahontas’ is not a racial slur

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday denied that President Donald Trump was using a racial slur in referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as “Pocahontas.”

Trump used the term again Monday to describe Warren, during a White House event for Native American military veterans.

Asked why Trump would choose to use a phrase that many people find offensive, Sanders said that “what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.” She added that seeing Trump’s use of “Pocahontas” as a racial slur was a “ridiculous response,” because it was not.

“I don’t believe that it is appropriate for [the president] to make a racial slur, or anybody else,” Sanders said, but “I don’t think that it is [a racial slur] and I certainly don’t think that was the president’s intent.”

Warren is one of Trump’s most outspoken critics in the Senate, and for years, Trump has relished referring to her as “Pocahontas,” a reference to Warren’s claim that her family has Native American heritage.

At the White House on Monday, Trump told the veterans, who were “code talkers” in World War II, “You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” As soon as Trump said it, the room fell silent.

Sanders, however, claimed that Trump’s respect for the veterans was reflected more in his actions than necessarily in his words.

“The president certainly finds an extreme amount of value and respect for these individuals. He’s constantly showing ways to honor those individuals,” she said.

Warren, however, was less forgiving. Responding to Trump’s remarks on MSNBC, the Massachusetts Democrat said it is “deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur.”

Later Monday, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the remark was unfortunate.

“In this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy,” Begaye said in a statement.

While the Navajo Nation appreciated the honor and recognition bestowed upon its “code talkers,” Begaye said, it does not want to be a part of this “ongoing feud” between the senator and the president.

 

At a Navajo veterans’ event, Trump makes racist ‘Pocahontas’ crack

President Donald Trump, during an event at the White House honoring Navajo code talkers Monday, referenced his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Pocahontas,” a label he has long used about the Massachusetts Democrat.

“I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time … longer than you — they call her Pocahontas!”

He then turned to one of the code talkers behind him, put his left hand on the man’s shoulder and said: “But you know what, I like you. You are special people.”

Trump did not name Warren.

The comment, met with silence from event attendees, revives an insult the President has long thrust upon Warren but restated during a high-profile meeting with the Native American war heroes.

“It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur. Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is going to shut me up with it. It hasn’t worked out in the past, it isn’t going to work out in the future,” Warren told MSNBC shortly after Trump’s remark.

Pocahontas was a historical figure from the 17th Century and using her name in an intentionally disparaging way insults native peoples and degrades their cultures. The largest Native American advocacy group has said that is why it has condemned the President’s usage in this manner.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the use of “Pocahontas” was not a racial slur and that it “certainly was not the President’s intent” to use a racial slur.

“I don’t believe that it is appropriate” to use a racial slur, Sanders said during her daily briefing, but added that she didn’t think Trump’s comment was such a slur.

Sanders then targeted Warren, saying that “the most offensive thing” was Warren claiming to be Native American.

“I think Sen. Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career, and I don’t understand why no one is asking about that question and why that isn’t constantly covered,” Sanders said.

The National Congress of American Indians — the largest and oldest group representing Native Americans — has condemned Trump’s use of “Pocahontas” to deride Warren, noting that the famed Native American was a real person whose historic significance is still important to her tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia.

“We cannot and will not stand silent when our Native ancestors, cultures and histories are used in a derogatory manner for political gain,” Jacqueline Pata, the group’s executive director, said earlier this year after Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” at a speech before the National Rifle Association.

Conservatives have previously criticized Warren for claiming that she is part Native American, and the senator’s heritage became an issue during her Senate campaigns.

Trump has seized on the attacks and has regularly called Warren “Pocahontas.” The attack dates back to his 2016 campaign.

“Pocahontas is at it again,” he tweeted in June 2016. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth. Hope she is V.P. choice.”

He added, “Crooked Hillary is wheeling out one of the least productive senators in the U.S. Senate, goofy Elizabeth Warren, who lied on heritage.”

And earlier this month, he added, “Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.”

He has also used the nickname privately.

Sources told CNN earlier this year that during a meeting with senators at the White House, Trump taunted Democrats by saying “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.”

Trump has routinely given his political opponents nicknames, but the slight against Warren is one of his most culturally insensitive.

Warren says she is, in fact, part Native American, citing “family stories” passed down through generations of her family.

“I am very proud of my heritage,” Warren told NPR in 2012. “These are my family stories.

This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mammaw and my pappaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it.”

The legitimacy of Warren’s heritage has been widely debated and Scott Brown, her 2012 Senate campaign opponent, has even suggested Warren take a DNA test to prove her heritage.

Harvard Law School in the 1990s touted Warren, then a professor in Cambridge, as being “Native American.” They singled her out, Warren later acknowledged, because she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory.

Critics seized on the listing, saying that she received preferential treatment for questionable Native American heritage. Warren contends that her career was never furthered because of her Native American genealogy.

[CNN]

Media

After border agent is killed and partner injured in Texas, Trump renews call for wall

Authorities were searching southwest Texas for suspects or witnesses after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner injured Sunday while on patrol in the state’s Big Bend area, officials said.

Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were “responding to activity” near Interstate 10 in Van Horn, Tex., when both were seriously injured, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Martinez’s partner called for help. Other agents arrived, provided medical care and took them to a hospital.

Martinez died of his injuries; his partner, who was not identified, remained in the hospital in serious condition, officials said.

Martinez, a 36-year-old from El Paso, had been a border agent since August 2013.

Jeannette Harper of the FBI’s El Paso field office told the San Antonio Express-News that authorities were still gathering evidence. She said reports that the agents were shot were not true, but that a full account of what happened wouldn’t be released until Monday.

“They were not fired upon,” Harper said.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to offer any further details about what happened.

But a National Border Patrol Council labor union official said Martinez may have been killed in a rock attack.

Art Del Cueto, the union’s vice president, said he has heard from other Border Patrol agents that Martinez and his partner were believed to be responding to an electronic sensor that had been activated.

Del Cueto said he was told that Martinez and his partner apparently did not sustain bullet or stab wounds — so he suspects the pair may have been attacked with rocks, which are commonly thrown at agents working in that area.

“It’s heartbreaking; it’s truly heartbreaking,” he told The Washington Post on Monday in a phone interview.

President Trump appeared to connect Martinez’s death to border security and plugged his plans for a border wall Sunday night on Twitter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, without explanation, that Martinez and his partner were “attacked” and also linked the incident to security on the border with Mexico.

“This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them,” Cruz tweeted. “I remain fully committed to working with the Border Patrol to provide them with all the resources they need to safeguard our nation.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“Our prayers are with the families of this Border Patrol Agent who was killed & the other who was injured in this attack in Texas,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our resources must be increased to prevent these attacks in the future.”

The FBI in El Paso is leading an investigation into the incident, along with the Culberson County Sheriff’s Department and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The acting secretary of homeland security, Elaine Duke, said in a statement that she learned of Martinez’s death Sunday morning, and offered her agency’s full support to “determine the cause of this tragic event.”

“On behalf of the quarter of a million front line officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition,” Duke said.

The area where the agents were injured is a dusty stretch of highway about 100 miles east of El Paso.

It is part of Customs and Border Protection’s vast Big Bend Sector, which covers 135,000 square miles in Texas and Oklahoma and 510 miles of river border. The sector’s Van Horn Station, near where Martinez died, covers 15 miles of the Mexico border.

The Big Bend Sector accounted for 1 percent of the roughly 61,000 apprehensions Border Patrol agents made along Texas’s southwest border between fall 2016 and spring 2017, as the Associated Press reported.

Local media photos from the scene showed Border Patrol trucks and about a dozen other unmarked vehicles parked along the side of the road, and a group of law enforcement agents huddled together.

Thirty-eight Customs and Border Protection agents have died in the line of duty since 2003, according to the agency’s memorial page.

Before Martinez, the only other agent to die in 2017 was Isaac Morales, who was stabbed in a bar parking lot in El Paso. Three agents died in 2016, two of them in car accidents, one of a heart attack while on bike patrol.

[Washington Post]

Reality

Trump had jumped to conclusions without available evidence, fanning the flames of racism by blaming Mexicans when we don’t know what happened yet.

For example, in Culberson County, where the two officers were injured, the local sheriff painted a different picture, suggesting to the Dallas Morning News that investigators are considering the possibility that the agents fell into the culvert in a nighttime accident.

“The evidence is not obvious as to what happened out there,” Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told the paper.

Trump Wonders Why Japan, ‘A Country Of Samurai Warriors,’ Didn’t Shoot Down Missiles

Donald Trump’s trip to Asia has demonstrated at least one firm fact about his foreign policy: He’s not afraid to make his point using stereotypes.

On Sunday, the president expressed surprise that Japan didn’t shoot down North Korean missiles that flew over the country in late August.

The missiles ended up landing in the Pacific Ocean, but Trump is reportedly bewildered by how officials responded to the potential crisis.

Trump said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, according to sources who spokes to the Kyodo News Agency.

Perhaps the president meant the comment as a compliment to one part of Japan’s cultural heritage, but it’s similar to calling England “a country of knights in shining armor,” Mongolia “a country of huns on horseback” or Switzerland “a land of clockmakers that have knives with many accessories.”

According to the Kyodo News Agency, officials from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces explained that they didn’t try to intercept the missiles because experts who had monitored the rockets from launch determined they would not land on Japanese territory.

In addition, the missiles were flying at a speed and altitude that would have made destroying them in flight very difficult, the Japan Times noted, adding that any failure to intercept would have embarrassed Japan while encouraging North Korea.

Shooting down the missiles might also have been interpreted by North Korea as an act of war, further escalating the conflict needlessly, according to an article in Slate.

Of course, Trump has not been shy about making aggressive remarks toward North Korea.

Gizmodo noted that in a speech before the trip, Trump told the troops, “We dominate the sky. We dominate the seas. We dominate the land and space.”

He then added, “Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? It was not pleasant.”

However, Trump has also shown a small dose of humility during his Asia trip.

On Monday, he gave a speech to Japanese dignitaries and conceded he may not have been completely prepared for the presidency, and that may have negatively affected relations with Japan in the early part of his presidency.

“So my relationship with [Japanese Prime Minister] Shinzo [Abe] got off to quite a rocky start because I never ran for office, and here I am,” Trump said, according to Raw Story. “But I never ran, so I wasn’t very experienced. And after I had won, everybody was calling me from all over the world. I never knew we had so many countries.”

[Huffington Post]

Media

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