1/ Trump threatened to impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods unless the country stops all “illegal migrants coming through Mexico,” linking his immigration policy to trade. The tariffs would begin on June 10th and “gradually increase” to 10% on July 1st, followed by an additional 5% each month for the next three months. Tariffs would remain at 25% “if the crisis persists.” The National Foreign Trade Council called the move “a colossal blunder,” as U.S. companies pay the import penalties and pass some costs along to consumers. The White House defended the legality of the move, saying Trump was acting under the powers granted to him by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president broad power to take action to address any “unusual or extraordinary threat.” (Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian / Reuters)
2/ Republicans warned Trump that imposing tariffs on all Mexican imports could upend the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and undermine the economy. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley called the move “a misuse of presidential tariff authority and contrary to congressional intent,” adding that implementing the tariffs would “seriously jeopardize passage” of the USMCA. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, blamed Congress for refusing to deal with problems at the border, saying if they “were stepping up and doing more the president wouldn’t have to continue to look for ways to stop this problem on his own.” (Politico / Washington Post)
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups are considering suing the White House over Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico. The tariff threat was reportedly “hurried out the door” in order to appease Trump, who did not consult business groups or federal agencies in advance. A 5% tariff on imported goods from Mexico would result in a potential tax increase on American businesses and consumers by about $17 billion. That would eclipse $86 billion if the tariffs reach Trump’s cap of 25%. (CNBC / NBC News / U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
3/ Trump’s Treasury secretary and top trade advisor both opposed the plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. Steve Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer have stressed the importance of enacting USMCA, meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, and argued that the tariffs could derail ratification of the deal in Congress. “Lighthizer is not happy,” an unnamed administration official said. The tariff strategy was spearheaded by White House adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hawk, after Trump was “riled up” by conservative radio commentary about the recent surge in border crossings. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC)
4/ The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions at a Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection. The IG found “standing room only conditions” at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center with “approximately 750 and 900 detainees.” The facility has a maximum capacity of 125 migrants. (CNN)
- About half of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children held in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities have been there beyond the legally allowed time limits. Federal law and court orders require that children in Border Patrol custody be transferred within 72 hours after being apprehended. Some unaccompanied children are spending more than a week in Border Patrol stations and processing centers and children 12 or younger have been in custody for an average of six days. (Washington Post)
5/ Trump is considering a proposal to enact restrictions on asylum claims that would deny Central American migrants from entering the U.S. The draft proposal would prevent migrants from seeking asylum if they lived in another country after leaving their home country and coming to the U.S., which would impact thousand of migrants who have been waiting on the other side of the border after traveling through Mexico. (Politico)
6/ Attorney General William Barr disagreed with Robert Mueller’s “legal analysis,” saying it “did not reflect the views” of the Justice Department, which is why he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “applied what we thought was the right law” instead. In Barr’s written testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, he wrote that “we accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion.” Barr also said he was surprised that Mueller “did not reach a conclusion” as to whether Trump had obstructed justice, despite Mueller stating in his report and at yesterday’s press conference that “charging the president with a crime was […] not an option we could consider,” because Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. Mueller also noted yesterday that the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” Barr went on to claim that Mueller’s report shows “no evidence of a conspiracy […and…] this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus.” (CBS News / Talking Points Memo / New York Magazine)
- A federal grand jury used in the Mueller investigation remains interested in Roger Stone after Andrew Miller, who worked for Stone in 2016, testified last week. (CNN)
7/ House Republicans blocked the $19.1 billion disaster aid package for a third time. The long-delayed bill, which has Trump’s support, was blocked by Tennessee Rep. John Rose. Rose called the legislation “another act of irresponsible big government.” (Washington Post)
8/ North Korea executed its former top nuclear envoy to the U.S. and four other foreign ministry officials by firing squad after negotiations stalled between Kim Jong Un and Trump. The February summit collapsed after Trump called off the talks. Kim Hyok Chol, who led the working-level negotiations, was executed in March along with four other officials. (Reuters / Bloomberg / NBC News)
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