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Toobin goes off on Dershowitz for ‘carrying water’ for Trump

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 21:40
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin lambasted Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday for "carrying water" for President Trump.Toobin's comments come after Trump cited ...
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Los Angeles mayor headed to Iowa

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:35
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) will stoke speculation that he is considering running for president in 2020 when he makes several stops across Iowa next month.Garcetti will travel to the Quad Cities in April to...
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House releases omnibus spending bill

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:14
The House is poised to vote on a bipartisan $1.3 trillion omnibus as soon as Thursday, less than 24 hours after GOP leaders unveil...
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Saccone concedes Pennsylvania House special election to Lamb

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 19:42
Republican candidate Rick Saccone has officially conceded the Pennsylvania House special election to Democrat Conor Lamb more than a week after it took place, ...
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Russia leak raises questions about staff undermining Trump

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 17:02
A furor erupted at the White House on Wednesday over a damaging leak that revealed President Trump defied his aides' advice during a congratulatory phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.The White House r...
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FEC probing Nunes for possible campaign violations

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 17:00
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is investigating possible campaign finance violations by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).In a le...
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Reuniting a Mother and Child Torn Apart by ICE

American Civil Liberties Union - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 16:30
An ACLU lawsuit helped one family, but ICE’s practice of separating children from their parents continues.

Last week I visited our client Ms. L, a Congolese mother whose 7-year-old daughter was taken away from her by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials shortly after she entered the United States last year.

She was now at a shelter for formerly detained immigrants in Chicago, awaiting reunification with her daughter, whom she had not seen in over four months.

Ms. L, whose name we are withholding to preserve her privacy, showed me several photographs of her beautiful little girl. In one, the little girl was sitting on a staircase next to a woman, both of them grinning into the camera.  I asked who the woman was, and Ms. L looked at me with surprise.

“It’s me,” she said.

The smiling woman in the photo didn’t look anything like the distraught, gaunt woman with the empty stare whom I first met at a San Diego detention facility in February. It was taken a few months ago, before ICE took her daughter away.  Because of her distress, Ms. L hadn’t slept or eaten well in weeks.

Ms. L and daughter fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in grave danger, and when they reached the United States on Nov.1, they immediately asked for political asylum.

They were taken into custody together. But four days later, Ms. L said ICE officials handcuffed her, put a restraint around her waist and ankles and took her daughter away. Ms. L was locked up in the Otay Mesa Detention Center near San Diego. Her daughter was taken to Chicago and put in a facility for “unaccompanied” immigrant minors.    

The two would still be on opposite sides of the country if we hadn’t filed a lawsuit on Feb. 26. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, announced in December that it was considering separating children from their parents when they came to the United States to deter others from coming. Evidence suggests it had already begun doing so.

Learn more about the case

According to organizations that monitor detention facilities and provide services to asylum-seekers, there are hundreds of other children who have been separated from their parents. On March 9, the ACLU filed a motion expanding our lawsuit on behalf of Ms. L. into a nationwide class action suit on behalf of the hundreds of other unnamed families who have been torn apart.

Ms. L and her daughter were given no explanation for the separation, had no lawyers and knew no one in the United States. Days after our lawsuit, and the media coverage and outrage that followed, the government abruptly released Ms. L.

Concerned citizens across the country began contacting the ACLU asking what they could do to help. Among them was a couple in San Marcos, a suburb of San Diego, who heard about Ms. L and her daughter on NPR and offered to take her in. The couple had no connection to the Congo. She is a retired nurse, and her husband had been a banker.

Ms. L speaks Lingala and a little bit of Spanish. This couple spoke neither, but pantomimed their way through five days together.

Ms. L and her daughter are Catholic and a church had helped them flee the Congo.  So, on the evening of March 13, the night before she was to fly to Chicago, where she would eventually be reunited with her daughter, the couple and Ms. L sat down to dinner, held hands and said grace.

The government agency in charge of “unaccompanied” immigrant minors, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, had said it would take at least a week to release the daughter.

“I thank God if I can be with her in a week,” Ms. L said.

The next morning, Ms. L boarded a flight for Chicago. Once there, she went to a shelter for immigrants newly released from immigration detention where the staff welcomed her with open arms. They introduced her to a couple of other residents — there are 12 living there – and showed Ms. L her room. One of the shelter volunteers had left a basket with a card and a stuffed animal for Ms. L’s daughter. The staff asked her if there was anything she needed. She said simply that she needed her daughter.

On Thursday, in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, people gathered to protest ICE’s practice of separating families. It was during the protest that I received a message saying that Ms. L would likely be reunited with her daughter the following day, Friday, March 16.

At 9 p.m., on March 16, Ms. L’s daughter walked through the door. Mother and daughter fell into each other’s arms and lay on the floor sobbing. Ms. L said something to her daughter in Lingala and pointed at me and the daughter came and hugged me. It is a moment I will never forget.

We were able to reunite Ms. L and her daughter, but there are hundreds of other children in the United States who are still separated from their parents in immigration detention. Our hope is that we can reunite them all and that ICE will stop the practice so no other family must endure what Ms. L and her daughter went through. 

Tell Homeland Security to stop separating children from their families

McCabe oversaw criminal probe into Sessions over testimony on Russian contacts: report

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 16:18
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe oversaw a federal investigation last year into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fully forthcoming in his testimony to Congress about his contacts with Russian officials,...
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Charlotte Pence says she bought John Oliver's Marlon Bundo book

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 13:15
Charlotte Pence says she's among those picking up a copy of John Oliver's sold-out spoof of her children's book about the vice president's family's pet rabbit."I have bought his book," said the author of "Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of...
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National Academies’ Report Finds, Once Again, That Abortion Is Safe

American Civil Liberties Union - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:00
The science hasn’t stopped state legislators from erecting unconstitutional barriers for patients seeking an abortion.

On Monday, the state of Mississippi banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It is the most extreme abortion ban in the country today, despite stiff competition. Fortunately, this baldly unconstitutional law was almost immediately blocked in court, but it’s worth reflecting on the faulty science — that is, the lies — underlying this latest outrage.

Mississippi lawmakers enacted this draconian ban in part based on what they claim are the “significant physical and psychological risks” that abortion poses to patients. That’s nonsense, according to an independent, comprehensive review of the science on abortion released just last week.

Based on a rigorous analysis of the full body of evidence on abortion, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine confirm what many reproductive health, rights, and justices advocates have been saying for decades: Abortion care in the United States is highly safe and effective, and the procedure can be safely provided in a variety of healthcare settings by a range of trained healthcare professionals.

The new study bolsters the ACLU’s position in numerous federal and state lawsuits challenging medically unjustified restrictions on abortion. These include challenges to targeted regulations of abortion providers, or “TRAP” laws; mandatory abortion delay laws; biased counseling requirements; and the Food and Drug Administration’s needless restrictions on the abortion pill.

According to the National Academies’ report, abortion care in the United States is extremely safe and rarely involves serious complications. Medication abortion has a particularly low complication rate, similar to other common prescription and over-the-counter medications. The study also confirmed that abortion can be offered safely in an office setting, without special equipment or arrangements, and that advanced practice clinicians — such as nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and physician assistants — can provide medication and aspiration abortion safely and effectively.

In particular, the study gives strong support to recent lawsuits in Maine, Montana, and Hawaii. Together with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Maine, we’re challenging a Maine law that blocks qualified advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs, from providing abortions, despite their rigorous post-graduate training and extensive clinical experience. The law severely restricts access to abortion care in the rural and medically underserved state, forcing some patients to travel more than six hours for care that they could safely get from an experienced APRN in their own community. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU of Montana are challenging a similar law in Montana.

A third case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii on behalf of a Hawaii doctor and several professional healthcare associations challenges federal restrictions on where a patient can fill a prescription for the abortion pill. As the National Academies’ report emphasizes, the abortion pill is a safe and effective method of ending an early pregnancy. But the FDA’s restrictions on this medication often add insurmountable hurdles to a patient’s ability to actually receive this care — for no medical reason.

Leading medical authorities, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have concluded that the restrictions we’re challenging in all three of these cases are medically unfounded. The National Academies’ study reinforces those conclusions.

The report also finds that medically unjustified restrictions on abortion can actually harm patients’ health and well-being. They interfere with the ability of healthcare providers to provide care in accordance with their patients’ needs and their own medical judgment. They can delay patients’ care, which increases costs and the potential for complications. Some restrictions prevent qualified clinicians from providing abortion care at all, which forces patients seeking to end a pregnancy to travel further — imposing additional delays.

And, according to the report, more than 15 states force clinicians to provide medically inaccurate information to patients, like that abortion increases the risk of depression or breast cancer. Such claims, the report confirms, are false.

The Supreme Court has held that states cannot burden patient access to abortion without a valid health justification. Laws restricting qualified clinicians from providing abortion care or limiting where patients can fill a prescription for the abortion pill simply cannot survive that constitutional test. They do nothing to protect patients’ health, only serving to push abortion care out of reach. And the notion that a law banning a patient from ending her pregnancy after 15 weeks — and forcing her to remain pregnant and give birth against her will — is based on science would be laughable if it weren’t so upsetting.

We look forward to the day when lawmakers stop trampling on people’s rights and bodies in the name of false science. Until then, we’ll continue to reveal these lies for what they are in court.

CNN: Trump, Kelly furious after leak that Trump was not to congratulate Putin

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 10:16
President Trump and his chief of staff John Kelly are reportedly furious that details of the president's national security briefing materials telling him not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin were leaked to...
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GOP lawmaker: 'We might need to build a wall between California and Arizona'

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:21
Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) proposed building a border wall between California and Arizona to protect the state."As we look in Arizona, we often look into the dangers of the southern border," McSally said during...
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University of Wisconsin campus proposes elimination of majors such as English, history

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:55
The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point is reportedly discussing a plan to eliminate 13 majors including English, philosophy, history and Spanish.The campus - one of 11 campuses in the University of Wisconsin...
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Trump is right: The special counsel should never have been appointed

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 07:00
Congress should appoint a nonpartisan commission to investigate Russian influence on our elections.
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Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg

The Hill - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 06:00
Mark Zuckerberg is drawing intense scrutiny from lawmakers demanding that the Facebook founder testify to Congress about the Cambridge Analytica controversy.Facebook's data practices are under the microscope like n...
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Stormy Daniels lawyer holds up Michael Cohen poster during heated interview: 'Where is this guy?'

The Hill - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 22:32
Lawyers for Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen got into a heated exchange on CNN Tuesday night, with the adult-film star's lawyer at one point pulling out a poster of Cohen and asking "Where is this guy?"...
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Holocaust denier wins GOP nomination in heavily Democratic seat

The Hill - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 20:57
Republican candidate Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier who has been disavowed by his own party, will be the GOP's nominee in a suburban Chicago congressional district after he ran in ...
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Trump faces backlash after congratulating Putin on election win

The Hill - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 17:19
President Trump is coming under intense criticism for declining to press Russian President Vladimir Putin about the fairness of Russia's presidential election and the poisoning of a former Russian double agent living in E...
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Fox News contributor quits, slams network as 'propaganda machine' for Trump

The Hill - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:39
A Fox News contributor has quit the network, blasting the channel as a "propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration" in an email announcing his departure.Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters...
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DeVos battles lawmakers in contentious hearing

The Hill - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:23
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos struggled to answer tough questions in a congressional hearing Tuesday, resulting in numerous tense back-and-forths with Democrats and a few quiet rebukes from Republican committee members.Democrats accu...
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