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Trump announces new Mexican tariffs in response to migrants
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a surprise announcement that could compromise a major trade deal, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.
He said the percentage will gradually increase — up to 25% — "until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied."
The decision showed the administration going to new lengths, and looking for new levers, to pressure Mexico to take action — even if those risk upending other policy priorities, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal that is the cornerstone of Trump's legislative agenda and beneficial to his reelection effort.
Trump made the announcement by tweet after telling reporters earlier Thursday that he was planning "a major statement" that would be his "biggest" so far on the border.
"On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied," he wrote.
Trump erupts after special counsel says he's not exoneratedAdvertisement
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump angrily assailed special counsel Robert Mueller's motives on Thursday, a day after Mueller bluntly rebuffed Trump's repeated claims that the Russia investigation had cleared him of obstructing justice.
The president also offered mixed messages on Russia's efforts to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. Early in the day, Trump tweeted he had "nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected." That was the first time he seemed to acknowledge that Russia tried to help his campaign. Then on the White House South Lawn, Trump told reporters: "Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all."
Mueller's report said Russia interfered in the election in hopes of getting Trump elected, but his findings and intelligence officials have stopped short of saying the efforts contributed to Trump's victory.
Trump's 20-minute eruption underscored that he remains deeply distressed over the probe that has shadowed his presidency for nearly two years, even after Mueller announced his resignation and the closure of his office. Democrats are mulling the possibility of impeachment proceedings.
Trump insisted that he's been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Clinton as president. But that's not what Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. When asked last year in Helsinki whether he wanted Trump to become president, Putin replied: "Yes, I did."
To impeach or not? Pelosi balances competing calls
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still isn't ready to impeach President Donald Trump.
Even after special counsel Robert Mueller essentially called on Congress to pick up where his investigation left off, Pelosi isn't budging. Scores of her Democratic lawmakers do want to start impeachment proceedings. Outside groups say it's time. But Pelosi is carrying on as she has since taking the speaker's gavel in January, promising the House will methodically pursue its investigations of Trump — wherever they lead.
This is Pelosi's balancing act: toggling between mounting pressure from other Democrats and her own political instincts. She's sticking with her plans for a more measured, "ironclad" investigation that makes it clear to Americans the choices ahead. It's uncharted territory for the speaker, and this Congress, with both high risks and possible rewards ahead of the 2020 election.
Trump declared his own challenge on Thursday . He called impeachment a "dirty, filthy, disgusting word" and said courts would never allow it.
"Many constituents want to impeach the president," Pelosi acknowledged shortly after Mueller's remarks Wednesday. "But we want to do what is right and what gets results."
Louisiana's Democratic governor signs abortion ban into law
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Democratic governor signed a ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy Thursday, a move that puts him squarely in line with the leaders of other conservative Southern states while provoking anger from members of his own party.
With his signature, Gov. John Bel Edwards made Louisiana the fifth state to enact a law prohibiting abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, joining Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia. Alabama's gone further, outlawing virtually all abortions .
Louisiana's law doesn't contain exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest.
The bill's signing, however, won't limit the state's three abortion clinics anytime soon. Louisiana's law takes effect only if the law in neighbouring Mississippi, which was recently blocked by a judge , is upheld by a federal appeals court.
Edwards, a Catholic running for reelection this year, didn't hold a public bill signing or issue a statement about it, instead announcing his action through his office. He had repeatedly said he intended to sign the measure, citing his faith and saying his views match those of the people in his conservative, religious state.
Police were told deal was in works with Jussie Smollett
CHICAGO (AP) — New documents on the Jussie Smollett case released Thursday show that prosecutors told Chicago police detectives that a possible deal with the "Empire" actor was in the works a month before charges against him were dropped.
The approximately 460-pages of new documents show detectives investigating Smollett's claim he was the victim of a hate crime were told by Cook County prosecutors a deal with Smollett could include a $10,000 fine and community service. The detectives did not pass the information to superiors.
"They didn't pass it on because they didn't know it (the case) was going to be handled the way it was," said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Smollett was charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he'd been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Police contend the black and openly gay actor staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity. Prosecutors dropped charges on March 26 without Smollett admitting guilt.
Then Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed outrage over the prosecutors' decision.
Tiananmen veterans look back on movement's mistakes, passion
BEIJING (AP) — Wu'er Kaixi was among the most outspoken of the student leaders during the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, famously reproaching then-Premier Li Peng at a meeting broadcast on national television.
Three decades on, he's more circumspect but remains just as harsh a critic of the Communist regime and just as committed to bringing democracy to China.
While many former leaders and participants in the protests have moved on, embracing lives and careers that have little direct relation to the movement, others remain wedded to the cause, either by vocation, through survivors' guilt or because their actions permanently put them on the wrong side of the authorities. They remain determined to keep the memories alive eve as China's rulers seek to sandblast the protests and the military's bloody crackdown from history.
"Sometimes remembrance is one of the most humble forms of resistance," Wu'er Kaixi said in an interview in Taiwan, where he now lives with his wife and children.
While Wu'er Kaixi, 51, escaped abroad after the June 4 crackdown after finding himself at No. 2 on the government's most-wanted list, then-graduate student Pu Zhiqiang remained in China despite his role in the protests as a high-profile advocate of speech and press freedoms. Looking at old photos of his younger self, Pu reflects on the motivations of the protesters that were mostly pure, if somewhat naive.
Military judge frees Navy SEAL in advance of murder trial
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed from custody Thursday after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors.
The unexpected move drew gasps in a San Diego courtroom after lawyers for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher presented evidence to get the case dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.
The judge has not ruled yet on whether to throw out the case or remove prosecutors for launching an unusual effort to track emails sent to defence lawyers and a journalist to find the source of news leaks in the politically charged case. That hearing continues Friday.
The judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, said he was freeing Gallagher as a remedy for prosecutors interfering with his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Gallagher's wife, Andrea, who has led a campaign to free her husband, put her hands to her face and burst into tears.
R. Kelly charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors charged R&B singer R. Kelly on Thursday with 11 new sex-related counts involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage, including counts that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, making them the most serious he faces.
Cook County prosecutors charged the Grammy award-winning singer with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim who was at least age 13 and under 17 at the time.
The four aggravated criminal sexual assault counts carry maximum terms of 30 years in prison. Kelly is due in court to hear the new charges next Thursday.
Kelly was already facing 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women over roughly a 10-year period that started in the late 1990s. Three of the women were minors when the alleged abuse occurred.
The new charges pertain to a single victim, identified in the court filing by the initials "J.P." Prosecutors didn't specify in the filing if she is the same person as one of the original four accusers who was also identified as "J.P."
Oregon, awash in marijuana, takes steps to curb production
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is awash in pot, glutted with so much legal weed that if growing were to stop today, it could take more than six years by one estimate to smoke or eat it all.
Now, the state is looking to curb production.
Five years after voters legalized recreational marijuana, lawmakers are moving to give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission more leeway to deny new pot-growing licenses based on supply and demand.
The bill, which passed the Senate and is now before the House, is aimed not just at reducing the huge surplus but at preventing diversion of unsold legal marijuana into the black market and forestalling a crackdown by federal prosecutors.
"The harsh reality is we have too much product on the market," said Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who intends to sign the bill if it wins final passage as expected.
Fans in Toronto gather hours before start of NBA Finals
TORONTO (AP) — Fans in Toronto are ready and eager for their city to play host to its first NBA Finals game.
Crowds began building outside Jurassic Park — the square outside Scotiabank Arena — shortly after sunrise Thursday, or about 15 hours before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Raptors and the Golden State Warriors.
Former Toronto star Chris Bosh, who is working with Canadian broadcaster TSN for the series, also arrived there Thursday morning to greet and chat with some fans.
Officials say more than 5,000 fans will be in the square for the game, watching on big screens. Other similar watch parties are planned around the city for those not lucky enough to grab a ticket to watch inside the arena.