Day 645: This "Bomb" stuff.
1/ Trump is considering an executive order to close the southern border to Central Americans and deny them the opportunity to seek asylum, similar to 2017’s “travel ban.” The proposed order has not been finalized, but would put in place new rules that would disqualify migrants from claiming asylum who cross the border in between ports of entry. Current U.S. law allows foreign nationals fleeing persecution to apply for asylum once they reach American soil. (San Francisco Chronicle / ABC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
📌 The Re-Up: Day 8. Trump executive order suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days while a new system is put in place to tighten vetting for those from predominantly Muslim countries and give preference to religious minorities. Trump said that the goal is to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists” and that priority for admission would be given to Christians. (Washington Post)
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide additional U.S. troops on the U.S.-Mexcio border. The Pentagon sent about 2,000 troops to the border earlier this year. (Wall Street Journal)
2/ FBI agents arrested Cesar Sayoc Jr., a registered Republican voter, in connection with the 13 suspected mail bombs sent to Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, George Soros, Cory Booker, John Brennan, Robert De Niro and other critics of Trump. Agents also seized his white van, which had most of its windows covered in pro-Trump stickers, including Trump standing on a tank in front of fireworks and an American flag, crosshairs over the faces of Clinton, Michael Moore and Obama, and a “CNN Sucks” sticker. Authorities said they were looking at “right-wing paraphernalia” found at the scene. In 2002, Sayoc was arrested for allegedly making a threat to throw, place, project or discharge a destructive device. (CNBC / Miami Herald / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)
Jeff Sessions: “I don’t know” why the Sayoc targeted Democrats, adding that it “appears to be partisan but that will be determined by the facts as the case goes forward.” Sayoc was charged with five counts, including illegal mailing of explosives and making threats against former presidents. (CNN / Reuters / Associated Press)
Two more suspicious packages, addressed to Sen. Cory Booker and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were intercepted. Booker’s package was addressed to his office in Camden, NJ, while Clapper’s was addressed to CNN’s New York offices. Law enforcement officials are treating the bombs as a matter of domestic terrorism. (CNN / CNBC / NBC News)
3/ Trump tweets that ‘this “Bomb” stuff’ is hurting Republicans in the midterms because the “news [is] not talking [about] politics.” Trump’s allies have suggested – without evidence – that the packages are the work of liberals to undercut Republicans ahead of the November election. A few hours after his tweet, Trump said these “terrorizing acts are despicable” and “the bottom line is that Americans must unify.” (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian)
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
4/ FBI Director Chris Wray: “These are not hoax devices.” Wray confirmed that 13 improvised explosive devices were sent, each with roughly 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, wiring, and potential explosive material. (CNN / Talking Points Memo)
George Papadopoulos is considering withdrawing from a cooperation agreement he entered into with Robert Mueller. The former Trump-campaign adviser said he believes he has been “set up” by the government and that his plea deal was the result of inadequate counsel. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a foreign professor. (Politico)
Papadopoulos requested immunity to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Legal experts believe the former Trump-campaign adviser is worried that his testimony could implicate him in a crime. (The Atlantic)
Trump spent $10,000 in charity money on a portrait of himself because no one else wanted it. During a 2014 auction benefiting the Unicorn Foundation at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Florida, Trump opened the bidding on the portrait with a $10,000 bid. Nobody else bid. Trump billed the Donald J. Trump Foundation for the cost. (New York Post)
The Trump administration admitted that it failed to account for at least 14 migrant children who were separated from their families at the southern border. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement told a federal court that it separated 2,668 children from their parents instead of 2,654. The latest HHS filing said it “recently completed another review of case management records to ensure that its characterization of certain children in ORR care remain accurate.” (The Hill / Politico)
National security adviser John Bolton said Putin has been invited to visit Washington, D.C., early next year. It would be Putin’s first visit to the White House since September 2005. (Politico)
Trump complained that Twitter reduced his follower count, accusing the company of “total bias.” Trump did not provide evidence to support his claim, but added that “a few weeks ago [Twitter] was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp!” (Politico)
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