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Donald Trump US-Mexican 130 Kilometers Border Wall

The Pentagon is shifting $1.5 billion in funds originally targeted for support of the Afghan security forces and other projects to help pay for construction of nearly 80 miles (130 kilometers) of wall at the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said Friday.

Congress was notified of the move Friday. It follows the Pentagon's decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support wall construction. Some lawmakers have been highly critical of the Pentagon shifting money not originally authorized for border security.

The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the border, where Customs and Border Protection personnel are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of Central American families attempting to gain entry. Trump vetoed Congress' attempt to reverse his emergency declaration.

In all, the Pentagon is expected to shift about $6.1 billion to help build a border wall, including about $3.6 billion from military construction projects, some of which will be delayed. The Pentagon has not yet announced which projects will be delayed in order to free up those funds.

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Nancy Pelosi - Donald Trump - USA Politics Headline Today

Democrats call it a "constitutional crisis." But is it? Stunned by the extent of the White House's blanket refusal to comply with oversight by Congress, the Democrats warn that the Trump administration is shattering historic norms and testing the nation's system of checks and balances in new and alarming ways.

It's not just the House's fight with the Justice Department over the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. The standoff involves President Donald Trump's unwillingness to engage with dozens of Capitol Hill probes of his tax returns, potential business conflicts and the running of the administration — from security clearances for his family to actions he's taken on his own on immigration.

It's a confrontation that's only expected to deepen now that Mueller's work is finished and the investigation focus shifts to Capitol Hill.

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U.S. Seizes North Korean Cargo Ship

The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.

The "Wise Honest," North Korea's second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. It's now in the process of being moved to American Samoa, Justice Department officials said.

Officials made the announcement hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble. The public disclosure that the vessel is now in U.S. custody may further inflame tensions, though U.S. officials said the timing of their complaint was not a response to the missile launch.

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Joe Biden - US Today Headline Stories

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Wednesday held the first of two high-dollar fundraisers in Los Angeles, which he opened to the press in a bid to counter criticism he is relying too heavily on the often closed-door events.

The former vice president’s first Los Angeles event was held at the home of Cynthia Telles, a UCLA School of Medicine faculty member and a board member of Kaiser Permanente, which runs the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. A later fundraiser was due to be attended by Hollywood power broker and film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Responding to potential concerns by voters in Democratic nominating primaries about big-money donations to his campaign, and who exactly is donating, Biden will provide limited media access to all of his fundraising events.

“It’s reflective of Joe Biden’s long-standing commitment to transparency,” a Biden campaign representative said in an email.

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Nicolas Maduro and Mike Pence - Venezuela News

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has harshly rebuked US Vice President Mike Pence for attempting to entice members of the Venezuelan military to turn against the legitimately-elected government in Caracas.

Maduro said on Wednesday that the US vice president’s recent offer of new incentives to Venezuela’s military potential defectors disrespected the “honor” and “dignity” of the country’s armed forces.

“Yesterday, Mike Pence declared that the soldier who betrays the country and goes for the side of the gringos... they will reward him; [that is] a lack of respect for honor, morals, and the dignity of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces,” the Venezuelan president said, using a derogatory term for Americans.

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Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr - USA NEWS

The Russia probe plunged Washington into turmoil Wednesday as Donald Trump’s son reportedly was ordered to testify before a Senate panel and the White House refused to release material on investigations into the president.

A day after the top Republican in Congress called the Russia probe “case closed,” Trump’s conflict with his Democratic opponents escalated to new heights as a House panel voted to hold the nation’s Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over key documents.

Following a day of drama that included Trump asserting executive privilege for the first time in his presidency, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee took the surprise step of issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. to testify as part of its investigation into Russian election interference, U.S. media reported.

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Hong Kong New Extradition Law

A proposed new extradition law in Hong Kong could extend China’s “coercive reach” into the financial hub and create serious risks for U.S. national security and economic interests there, a U.S. congressional commission said.

Various groups in Hong Kong, including democracy activists, have objected to the proposed legislation, which would allow case-by-case extraditions from the city to countries without formal extradition agreements, including mainland China.

“The extradition bill could pose significant risks to U.S. national security and economic interests in the territory,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a report released on Wednesday.

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Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell - US Politics

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER Mitch McConnell on Tuesday urged his Democratic colleagues to move on after the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's two-year Russia investigation, declaring "case closed."

In a speech from the Senate floor, the Kentucky Republican said Mueller became a "secular saint" for Democrats "destined to rescue the country from the inconvenient truth" that President Donald Trump was elected. McConnell mocked Democrats for "working through the five stages of grief" since last month's release of the 448-page redacted report.

"There's this outrage industrial complex that spans from Capitol press conferences to cable news," McConnell said Tuesday. "They're grieving that the national crisis they spent two years wishing for didn't materialize. But for the rest of the country, this is good news."

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Joe Biden - US Politics

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the Trump administration’s removal of protections from deportation for young immigrants and the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border are part of the “battle for the soul of the country” that spurred his White House bid.

Biden, making his first visit as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to heavily Latino Nevada, said President Donald Trump uses immigration “to demonize people.”

“It isn’t who we are. We’re better than that,” Biden said as he kicked off a rally in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson in front of about 200 people.

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William Barr - Headlines Today

A House committee is poised to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress — the opening salvo in what could be a lengthy, acrimonious court battle between House Democrats and President Donald Trump's administration over special counsel Robert Mueller's report .

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler scheduled a Wednesday vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, citing the Justice Department's failure to provide the full text of Mueller's report by the Monday morning deadline. Nadler, D-N.Y., said Barr's failure to comply with a subpoena left them with "no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings."

The movement to hold Barr in contempt reflects the deepening rift between Democrats and Barr, whom they accuse of spinning the results of Mueller's investigation to Trump's benefit. Barr, in a memo summarizing Mueller's investigation, said there was insufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice — a conclusion Democrats fiercely dispute.

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William Pelham Barr - William P Barr - USA News Today

Congressional Democrats moved closer on Monday to citing Attorney General William Barr for contempt of Congress over his failure to hand over an unredacted version of the Mueller report, escalating a showdown with the White House.

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee issued a report citing Barr, an appointee of President Donald Trump, for contempt of Congress after the expiration at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) of a second deadline to produce the full report.

Barr missed an initial deadline last week from the committee, which wants to see the entire report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“Attorney General Barr failed to comply with the committee’s request for these documents and thereby has hindered the committee’s constitutional, oversight and legislative functions,” the committee’s contempt report said.

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George W. Bush - USA NEWS

George W. Bush's tenure as commander in chief began with one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history. After a tense election night, it became apparent that the race between Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore would be decided by Florida's electoral votes. Bush appeared to have won by the skin of his teeth, but a series of recounts uncovered a voting debacle in which the fate of the election appeared to rest on the interpretation of a "hanging chad."

That is, until the Supreme Court halted a subsequent recount and granted Bush the seat in the Oval Office. Though Bush likely would have claimed Florida anyway if the limited recount had been completed in its entirety, Gore managed to win the popular vote. The controversial election set the tone for a presidency in which Bush could not seem to catch a break.

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US Aircraft Carrier - News Headline

A White House decision to dispatch an aircraft carrier and other military resources to send a message to Iran followed "clear indications" that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region, a defense official told the Associated Press.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said that the Pentagon approved the deployments and that U.S. forces at sea and on land were thought to be the potential targets. The official declined to be more specific.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.

Bolton said the move was in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." He didn't provide details, but said the U.S. wants to send a message that "unrelenting force" will meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of its allies.

"The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces," he said.

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Donald Trump USA Headlines News Today

The Trump administration has revised training guidelines for asylum officers in ways that could make it harder for migrants seeking refuge in the United States to pass an initial screening. The revisions to a lesson plan used by hundreds of asylum officers suggest the Trump administration is finding new ways to narrow who can access asylum as bolder policy proposals with that same goal have been blocked by federals courts, said former government officials and immigration experts who reviewed the internal plan that was shared with Reuters. The changes could potentially lead to more denials and deportations before migrants’ full cases can be heard, they said.

Jessica Collins, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversees asylum applications, said the agency periodically updates its training documents and that it processes all claims on a case-by-case basis. The lesson plan has been revised in 2006, 2014 and February 2017. The new version, dated April 30, goes into effect this month, USCIS said.

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Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump - Russia News - USA Politics News

Donald Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t seeking to “get involved” in the crisis in Venezuela, despite assertions by the American president’s top national security advisers that the Kremlin is offering critical support to Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

“He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday, following a call with the Russian leader earlier in the day. “And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid -- right now people are starving, they have no water, they have no food.”

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Corruption News Today

Anger over brazen corruption and weariness over the political status quo are widespread among the Panamanian electorate ahead of Sunday's vote to pick a successor to President Juan Carlos Varela, on whose watch Latin America's fastest growing economy cooled off significantly.

In what has been perhaps the shortest and least colorful campaign since Panama's transition to democracy three decades ago, most election talk has focused on government malfeasance following the massive leak of law firm documents in the Panama Papers and a regionwide scandal involving bribes paid by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

The Odebrecht case "is particularly relevant in Panama in light of the Panama Papers," said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, alluding to the fact that many of the shell companies that became public through the leak from a Panamanian law firm were used to funnel bribes from the Brazilian company.

"Corruption becomes an even more important issue in the context of the country's recent sluggish economic performance," he continued. "Many Panamanians are fed up with the political class and have been disappointed by successive administrations."

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Donald Trump - USA Headlines Story Now

The Trump administration is considering reversing long-standing policy to make it easier to deport U.S. legal permanent residents who have used public benefits, part of an effort to restrict immigration by low-income people. A Department of Justice draft regulation, seen by Reuters, dramatically expands the category of people who could be subject to deportation on the grounds that they use benefits.

Currently, those legal permanent residents who are declared to be a "public charge," or primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, can be deported - but in practice, this is very rare.

The draft regulation would use a more expansive definition to include some immigrants who have used an array of public benefits, including cash welfare, food stamps, housing aid, or Medicaid.

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