WASHINGTON (The Hill) — A new NBC News poll shows President Biden’s job approval rating has dipped to another low, with just 39 percent of Americans approving of the job he’s doing and 56 percent disapproving.
Americans are dinging the president on inflation, the economy and border security, as they have been for much of his presidency. Only 37 percent of Americans view Biden in a positive light, according to the poll, which shows his favorability rating hovers around the same percentage currently as former President Trump’s.
Biden appears to have lost ground once again after making some gains. Earlier this month, 42 percent of Americans approved of Biden’s job in a Washington Post-ABC News poll, which was up 5 percentage points from a previous poll in February.
In the NBC News poll, 59 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, where the president has consistently earned the best marks.
But only 33 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, and only 23 percent approve of his handling of inflation and the cost of living, two issues that are likely to be among the most important at the ballot box in November.
Gas prices have surged to record highs this year, topping an average national price of $4.47 per gallon, while prices at grocery stores have also seen steep increases. Last week, reports of a shortage of baby formula triggered another round of anguish among American families.
About 41 percent of Americans say they are “somewhat satisfied” with their current financial situation, according to the poll, with 16 percent saying they are very dissatisfied with their financial situation.
Americans rank cost of living, the economy, voting rights and abortion in that order as the top four issues facing the nation.
The poll was conducted from May 5 to May 7 and then May 9 to May 10 among 1,000 respondents. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
The Hill’s Brad Dress contributed to the contents of this report.
WASHINGTON- A leaked email obtained exclusively by Project Veritas from the Department of Homeland Security documents efforts by the Biden administration to hasten asylum requests amid the growing Afghanistan crisis.
“The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice (DOJ) are proposing changes to the current regulations relating to certain protection claims raised by individuals subject to expedited removal who are found to have a credible fear of expedition and torture,” the email, written by USCIS director Ur M. Jaddou states.
“These proposed changes are designed to accelerate the adjudication process for individuals in expedited removal proceedings who are seeking asylum, witholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture,” the email continues. They are also designed to reduce the significant backlog in asylum claims pending with DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.”
The explosive developments came Wednesday as Joe Biden defended his administration’s execution of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying that he doesn’t think the crisis represented a failure on his administration’s part.
“I don’t think it was a failure,” Biden said in an interview with ABC News.
“When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government getting into a plane and taking off and going to another country,” he added. “When you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, that was — you know I’m not — that’s what happened. That’s simply what happened.”
Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Biden’s handling of the Afghan crisis.
A bipartisan letter drafted by 47 senators and sent to the White House on Monday called out Biden on the possible impact of his recent decision on endangered Afghan women.
“We strongly urge you to create a humanitarian parole category specifically for women leaders, activists, human rights defenders, judges, parliamentarians, journalists, and members of the Female Tactical Platoon of the Afghan Special Security Forces and to streamline the paperwork process to facilitate referrals to allow for fast, humane, and efficient relocation to the United States,” the letter stated.
Sen. Tom Carper, (D)-Del., said in a statement that the withdrawal of U.S. troops “should have been carefully planned to prevent violence and instability.”
“We must act swiftly to protect Americans and our Afghan allies and partners on the ground,” he said. “We cannot abandon those who fought by our side who now face mortal danger from the Taliban’s takeover. We have a moral obligation to act immediately to protect their lives and a national security imperative to ensure that Afghan soil does not again become a source of terrorist attacks on our allies and our homeland.”
WASHINGTON — Roger Stone pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges of obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential election.
Stone, a longtime adviser and confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested early Friday morning after a grand jury for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted him on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, one count of witness tampering and five counts of making false statements.
Looking somber, the usually outspoken Stone was uncharacteristically quiet throughout his appearance and spoke only when spoken to by the judge overseeing the hearing.
Released Friday on a $250,000 signature bond, Stone responded, “Yes, Your Honor,” as U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson asked if he would agree to the conditions of his release.
Restricted to traveling only to his home in Florida, Stone was instructed to refrain from contacting any potential witnesses in the case and his passport has been seized.
Shortly after the hearing Stone was whisked away in a black SUV, but smiled and waved to supporters gathered outside the courthouse, many holding signs reading “Free Stone Jail Hillary” and “Free Stone Fire Mueller”.
During an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” Stone denied any wrongdoing and claimed the charges levied against him were politically motivated.
“All I did was take publicly available information and try to hype it to get it as much attention as possible, because I had a tip, the information was politically significant and that it would come in October,” Stone said of his promoting leaked DNC documents made available to the public by Wikileaks. “That’s what I engaged in. It’s called politics and they haven’t criminalized it, at least not yet.”
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Stone could face up to 24 to 30 months in prison if convicted.
Another status hearing in Stone’s case is scheduled for Friday, February 1.
WASHINGTON (ABC) — President Donald Trump said Friday he is considering declaring a national emergency to help pay for his long-desired border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president, when asked by ABC News’ senior national correspondent Terry Moran during a press conference, acknowledged that he would consider declaring a national emergency to help get funds to build the wall “for the security of our country”.
Trump did not elaborate on the details of such a process.
Earlier Friday, multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussion told ABC News that options could include reprogramming funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere – a move which would circumvent Congress.
Sources tell ABC News the discussions are still on the “working level” adding that there’s a range of legal mechanisms that are being considered before such a decision is announced.
The discussions have intensified as the president is now 14 days into a partial government shutdown, facing newly empowered House Democrats who are refusing to budge issue of wall funding. “We are not doing a wall,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, calling the proposed structure an “immorality.”
The administration is holding meetings Friday, through the weekend and into next week, to continue discussions on next steps, according to officials.
It was not immediately clear who would be part of those meetings.
On Friday, the president said he had had a “productive” and “very, very good meeting” after talks with top Democrats and other congressional leaders at the White House in an effort to end the partial government shutdown now heading into the third week. Just minutes earlier, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters outside the White House that Trump told lawmakers in their nearly hour and a half meeting that he is prepared to keep the government closed “for a very long period of time, months or even years.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the meeting “contentious.”
One administration official described the current executive action under consideration as clearing the way for the construction of roughly 115 miles of new border wall strictly on land owned by DoD, which would make up roughly 5 percent of the more than 2,000-mile border.
There is also a good chance the president would face legal challenges.
This is not the first time the president has suggested using the military to build the wall, nor is it the first time he has suggested the situation amounts to a national emergency.
In December he tweeted he could use the military to build the wall if Democrats didn’t work with him.
Dec 11 tweet: “If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall.
That same day he told Congressional leaders in the oval office “this is a national emergency.”
A previous DOD statement has mentioned the use of the Title 10 U.S. code as a way in which the military could construct a wall.
The relevant section of that code reads: “In the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense…may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
However, sources insist such a declaration would only be a partial solution and wouldn’t result in Trump compromising with Democrats on their series of funding bills aimed at ending the current government shutdown that includes no money allocated for a wall.
Some experts say the strategy may face an uphill battle.
“I don’t think that this is a real possibility given the restrictions already in place on how money can and cannot be used,” Todd Harrison a defense budget expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies told ABC News. “It is against the law to use money for purposes other than it was appropriated without getting prior approval from Congress. I don’t think declaring a national emergency would make a difference in this case, so I don’t think their theory holds much water. Moreover, the president is likely to meet stiff resistance from defense hawks within his own party if he tries to use billions of dollars of military funding for something other than military purposes.”
A House Democratic aide said it would be “completely unacceptable” for Trump to use national emergency authority to try and build the wall using military funds, and that Democrats would likely challenge the administration’s actions in court.
“If President Trump tries to use such thin legal authority to build his wall, Democrats will challenge him in court,” said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for House Appropriations chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. “The president’s authority in this area is intended for wars and genuine national emergencies. Asserting this authority to build a wasteful wall is legally dubious and would likely invite a court challenge.”
A senior congressional official told ABC News that Pentagon lawyers informed Congress in 2018 that the president didn’t have the legal authority to use military money to build the wall. However, those conversations did not include discussions of declaring a national emergency, the official said.
A former member of the president’s inner circle believes the move is possible.
“The President has some limited authority to direct the Department of Defense to build portions of the barrier along the southern border,” Tom Bossert, Trump’s former Homeland Security adviser and current ABC News contributor said. “Depending on what approach he takes, every option available to him comes with some structural constraints and will be met with congressional opposition and legal action — even the very rare emergency authority that has garnered debate this week. Unless Congress acts, there is seemingly a significant limit to the amount of wall Department of Defense could build.”
The White House did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment for this story.
A Department of Defense spokesperson said: “The Department of Defense is reviewing available authorities and funding mechanisms to identify options to enable border barrier construction.”
Washington, D.C. — Thousands of American children entrusted to foster care have gone missing according to records published last month.
Based on a review of federal records by investigative reporters Eric Rasmussen and Erin Smith, more than 60,000 foster children in the United States are now unaccounted for and have simply been labeled as “whereabouts unknown”.
According to the report, child welfare agencies throughout the country have closed the cases of at least 61,000 foster children listed as “missing”, not counting an additional 53,000 children who are listed as “runaways.”
Further, the review found:
– Arizona and New Jersey allow child welfare workers to close a case if the child has been missing for at least six months.
– Illinois closed the case of a missing 9-year-old foster child in 2016. State officials said the case was closed after six months with court approval. Illinois said it opened a new investigation nearly a year later and found the child, who is now in foster care.
– Georgia eliminated its policy in 2016 that allowed the state to close the cases of children who are missing for a prolonged period. But officials there now admit to WSB that more than 50 cases of missing foster kids have been closed since that policy was eliminated.
– Many states have policies for what to do when a missing foster child returns to state care, but a vast number don’t specifically address what steps to take when a child remains missing.
– For years, Massachusetts DCF has been telling the feds it hasn’t closed a single case of a foster kid who’s missing, but researchers, child advocates and a review by 25 Investigates found otherwise.
Massachusetts DCF has confirmed it closes the cases on more than 800 foster children from its system every year when children in foster care turn 18, although the agency admits it does not track how many of those kids were missing at the time they were discharged.
Elisabeth Jackson, executive director of Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Boston, says many of the children reported missing are victims of sex trafficking.
“She was trafficked,” Jackson said of one 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing from foster care in New York. “She was being put in a prostitution ring and she didn’t even know it.”
A new federal law now requires all states to report missing foster kids to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C. area. But even now, the center admits that does not always occur.
“There are agencies out there that have been known to close these cases,” said Bob Lowery, vice president of the center’s missing children’s division, “And then, therefore, no one’s looking.”
New York, N.Y. (ABC News) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, is likely to cooperate with federal investigators, as his lawyers are expected to leave the case, ABC News reported Wednesday.
To date, Cohen has been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, but a source representing this matter has disclosed to ABC News that they are not expected to represent him going forward. Ryan declined to comment.
A source familiar with the matter tells ABC News that among the reasons for Cohen’s change in counsel is a fee dispute.
No replacement counsel has been identified as of this time.
Cohen, who has been under criminal investigation for months, which is separate from the special counsel case, has been rushing to meet U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Kimba Wood’s Friday deadline to complete a privilege review of over 3.7 million documents seized in the April 9 raids of Cohen’s New York properties and law office.
Representatives from the Southern District of New York declined to comment.
Cohen, who is under federal investigation now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.
Two sources who are familiar with a warrant in the case told ABC News in April that federal agents were hunting for records tied to Cohen’s personal business dealings and secret deals with Trump’s alleged mistresses, media organizations and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cohen’s attorney at the time of the raids released a terse statement shortly after the April raids arguing that the seized documents included “the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”
“These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities,” Stephen Ryan said.
Two days after the raids, Cohen told ABC News: “I just want my stuff back.”
President Trump also lashed out in a tweet, writing, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”
He told reporters at the White House that the move against his longtime personal attorney, which he likened to a break-in, was a “disgraceful situation.”
“It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on all we stand for,” the president said during a meeting with senior military leadership at the White House. “That is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.”
Cohen then went to federal court in Manhattan arguing that his attorneys should be given a first look at the materials seized in the raids for items potentially covered by attorney-client privilege before federal prosecutors could examine the haul.
Judge Wood subsequently appointed former federal judge Barbara Jones to act as a “special master” to conduct an impartial review of the materials and to referee any disputes between Cohen and the government.
Trump and the Trump Organization intervened in the case and were also granted access to review the materials for potentially privileged items.
Jones reported last week that of the first 300,000 items reviewed, she had determined that just 162 of them were covered by attorney-client privilege. She rejected three items that Cohen, Trump or the Trump organization had designated as privileged.
Judge Wood has given Cohen’s attorneys until Friday to complete the review of the remaining documents. Any remaining items to be reviewed would be turned over to a team of federal prosecutors unconnected to the case to complete the examination of the documents.
ABC News’ James Hill, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders and Kyra Phillips contributed to this report.
Jerusalem, — The Trump administration officially opened a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, recognizing the holy city as the “true capital of Israel.”
“For many years, we have failed to acknowledge the obvious, plain reality that the [Israeli] capital is Jerusalem. At my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel,” Trump said in a video address just moments before daughter his daughter Ivanka officially unveiled the embassy.
“The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of peace,” Trump added. “We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace.”
Shortly after the unveiling of the facility, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed how “deeply grateful” he and the Israeli people are to President Trump and the people of the United States who supported the decision to place the facility within Jerusalem city limits.
“President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,” Netanyahu said, taking a moment to publicly recall a moment from his childhood when he was warned not to run too close to the Jerusalem border. “My mother said you can’t go any farther, that was near the border. There was sniper fire. That was then—this is now. Today the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today the United States Embassy opened here. What a difference.”
Netanyahu went on to declare Monday a “great day for Israel,” and for the U.S.-Israel bond.
“We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” Netanyahu said.
As America and Israel celebrated, however, clashes near the border with protestors who were opposed to the relocation left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded.
Palestinian officials have criticized the Trump administration for its decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he has cut ties with the U.S., declaring it no longer fit and too one-sided to mediate peace between Israel and Palestine.
The Trump has rebuffed Palestinian’s criticism, saying that the embassy move should be viewed as a first step toward brokering peace.