ENGLISH ONLY: Trump considering doing away with “Press 2 for Spanish,” says report

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is considering doing away with the telephone prompt that asks callers to “press two for Spanish” says a published report, and doing so may save American taxpayers billions of dollars.

“The government must stop placing this onerous and costly translation and interpretation burden on Americans, and President [Donald] Trump has the ability to do so on a speedy basis via a new executive order,” Stephen Guschov, executive director of ProEnglish, an organization which advocates for English as the United States’ official language, told The Washington Times.

The prompt, which callers reach when requesting services and official documents from the U.S. government, was put in place by then-president Bill Clinton in the year 2000.

Clinton “required federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English efficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them,” according to the description provided at LEP.gov, a website created to facilitate the program..

Guschov says the Trump administration held meetings with his organization on the matter late last year. “The 2018 meetings were productive, informative and helpful,” he told the Times.

According to public records, the Office of Management and Budget allocated $2 billion annually to cover the costs of the service during President George W. Bush’s first term. That equates to $30 billion in costs since the program was established.

A Rasmussen poll in August 2018 showed Americans overwhelmingly favor efforts to declare English as the nation’s official language.

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CLOSING IN: Package bombs contain ‘treasure trove’ of evidence, say officials

WASHINGTON – Investigators working around the clock to identify the culprit behind a series of package bombs sent to an array of high-profile Democrats this week say the devices themselves contain a ‘treasure trove’ of evidence that they’re certain will lead them their sender.

“There’s DNA that can be recovered from the device,” Ryan Morris, founder of Tripwire Operation Group, a company that provides explosives training to law enforcement and military officials, told Fox News Thursday.

“If there is a human involved, there is a high probability you’re going to get somewhere investigative,” Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service told The Associated Press. “There will be no stone left unturned.”

James Fitzgerald, a retired FBI profiler and forensic linguist who, in 1996, helped catch “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, agrees.

“The linguist in me noticed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the last name is spelled missing a ‘c’ and John Brennan’s name is spelled missing an ‘n’ and that kind of surprised me and I have a feeling that was done on purpose to make this look like somebody who doesn’t really know who these people are and that it wasn’t an honest mistake. If he had this much anger and vitriol against these people, you would think he would know how to spell their names,” Fitzgerald told Fox News.

Fitzgerald also added that additional evidence may present itself to lend clues to the would-be bomber’s identity.

“There may be some sort of a letter or social media aspect or videotape, or something equivalent to that comes in the mail, a DVD or whatever that claims responsibility for this, but we’re too early, this person had a point they had to make with these devices and quite frankly they’ve made it.”

Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor in the George W Bush administration, told CBS News on Thursday that the bombs were “not a standard recipe”.

“He didn’t go on the internet and just pull down the standard Al Qaeda recipe which we’ve seen before, so he’s left his own signature, there’s something unique about the way this has been put together which will be very helpful for investigators,” said Thompson, who added that the suspect’s sloppiness will certainly play into law enforcement’s hands.

“This is somebody who has made plenty of mistakes – the wrong address to Eric Holder, misspelling John Brennan’s name, John Brennan doesn’t work at CNN, he works at NBC, so this is somebody who has made plenty of mistakes along the way. All the outside packages are identical – six stamps, two tiers, printed labels. This is somebody who has likely left a lot of clues.”

Packages containing explosive devices were sent this week to the homes and offices of former presidents Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Democratic Senator Debbie Wasserman- Schultz, billionaire business tycoon George Soros and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Fortunately, none of the devices received exploded and no one was hurt in either instance.

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BATTLE FOR THE BORDER: Judge rejects bid to block California ‘sanctuary’ laws

SACRAMENTO, CA (Politico) — A federal judge on Thursday rejected the bulk of a Trump administration demand to block three California sanctuary laws, allowing the state to keep in place its most significant legislative measures aimed at countering President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Sacramento-based U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez rejected, for now, the Justice Department’s drive to halt a California law that limits the kinds of immigration-related information state and local law enforcement can share with federal officials. The judge also declined DOJ’s request to block another law guaranteeing California officials certain information about local and privately run jails that hold immigration detainees in the Golden State.

While the ruling is a setback for the Trump administration’s attempt to enforce immigration laws in states where leaders favor more liberal policies, Mendez did block parts of one of the disputed California laws, including provisions that banned private employers from voluntarily cooperating with immigration officials and from re-verifying the legal work status of employees.

Mendez, an appointee of President George W. Bush, took a narrow view of state and local governments’ obligations to allow their employees to assist federal immigration officials. He said California had broad authority to limit use of its resources for immigration enforcement.

“Refusing to help is not the same as impeding,” wrote Mendez. “Federal objectives will always be furthered if states offer to assist federal efforts. A state’s decision not to assist in those activities will always make the federal object more difficult to attain than it would be otherwise. Standing aside does not equate to standing in the way.”

Justice Department lawyers argued that a 1996 federal law prevents California from blocking disclosure of information helpful to immigration authorities, such as prisoners’ expected release dates and their home addresses. But Mendez said that law covers only records “strictly pertaining to immigration status” and not a broader set of data.

Mendez’s decision denied a preliminary injunction against the most significant provisions the Justice Department challenged in a suit filed with fanfare last March. The ruling doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the federal government could prevail in more aspects of the suit in the future, but it leaves the administration without much of the immediate relief it wanted.

A Justice Department spokesman had no immediate comment on the decision.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office defended the laws, hailed the ruling.

“The right of states to determine how to provide public safety and general welfare to their people continues to stand strong,” Becerra said in a statement.

The author of the law limiting information-sharing with federal officials, California state Sen. Kevin De Léon, tied the judge’s decision to the outcry over Trump’s move to separate some immigrant parents from their children.

“Today, a federal judge made clear what I’ve known all along, that SB 54, the California Values Act is constitutional and does not conflict with federal law,” De Léon said. “California is under no obligation to assist Trump tear apart families. We cannot stop his mean-spirited immigration policies, but we don’t have to help him, and we won’t.”

Mendez said he hoped his ruling would be seen as a legal one, not a political one, and he said “piecemeal opinions” from judge will not resolve hot-button immigration debates.

“This Order hopefully will not be viewed through a political lens and this Court expresses no views on the soundness of the policies or statutes involved in this lawsuit. There is no place for politics in our judicial system and this one opinion will neither define nor solve the complicated immigration issues currently facing our Nation,” wrote the judge, who added that he ruled “without concern for any possible political consequences.”

The judge closed his opinion with a strong exhortation to Congress and the White House to enact legislation addressing the most contentious disputes relating to immigration policy.

“This Court joins the ever-growing chorus of Federal Judges in urging our elected officials to set aside the partisan and polarizing politics dominating the current immigration debate and work in a cooperative and bi-partisan fashion toward drafting and passing legislation that addresses this critical political issue,” Mendez wrote. “Our Nation deserves it. Our Constitution demands it.”

Politico’s Christopher Cadelago contributed to this report.

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BREAKING: FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH DEAD AT 92

HOUSTON, TX — Former First Lady Barbara Bush, wife of 41st President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush has died according to a family spokesperson.

She was 92.

Bush, who was also mother to 43rd President George W. Bush, held the distinction of being one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a president, the other being Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.

According to the family spokesperson, Mrs. Bush passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family.

The Bush’s wed in 1945, had six children together. The pair were married longer than any other presidential couple in American history.

In addition to their 5 living children together (daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush died of leukemia at the age of three), the pair shared seven grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren.

During her time as First Lady, Mrs. Bush selected literacy, which she was passionate about, as her project of choice. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy still carries on today in her honor with its stated goal being to empower families through education and knowledge.

A statement released by George W. Bush on his mother’s passing Tuesday evening reads: “My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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‘MORALLY UNFIT’: Former FBI chief James Comey strikes out at Donald Trump in scathing new interview

McLEAN, Va. — Former FBI chief James Comey is swinging back hard against his former boss, President Donald Trump.

In a newly published interview with USA Today, Comey, who was fired by Trump in 2017 for his alleged mishandling of the Clinton email case, calls the 45th president “morally unfit” to hold office.

“I actually believe he’s morally unfit to be president,” Comey told USA Today during an interview at his home in the Virginia suburbs, adding he views Trump as “someone who is able to see moral equivalence in (white nationalist protests in) Charlottesville or to speak and treat women like they’re pieces of meat and to lie constantly and who appears to lack an external moral framework of religion, philosophy or history.”

Further, Comey went on to claim that it wouldn’t surprise him if Trump had been compromised by Russian interests.

“It’s hard to explain some things without at least leaving your mind open to that being a possibility,” said Comey, who also served under former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

“There’s a non-zero possibility that the Russians have some, some sway over him that is rooted in his personal experience,” said Comey, adding, “I don’t know whether that’s the business about the activity in a Moscow hotel room or finances or something else,” referencing now infamous allegations of Trump’s alleged interactions with Russian prostitutes in 2013.

Accusations that Trump had rendezvoused with Russian prostitutes in 2013 stemmed from a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent at on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Trump has steadfastly denied the allegations and referred to them as part of an ongoing “witch hunt” to bring down his presidency.

Comey went on to say that his suspicions that Trump may have been compromised by Russian interests were piqued by the president’s reluctance to criticize Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“At least in my experience, he won’t criticize Vladimir Putin even in private,” said Comey. “I can understand why a president…might not want to criticize publicly another leader” in the interests of forging a good relationship. “But privately? Sitting with the person in charge of countering the Russian threat in the United States? Privately not being willing to do that? That always struck me.”

Comey’s comments come as works to promote a new book on his time with Trump, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” a book the RNC has called a “work of fiction”.

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to respond to some of the allegations in Comey’s book, calling Comey a disgruntled criminal who wrote the book as a form of retaliation.

“Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” Trump tweeted.

The Republican National Committee has launched a new website, lyincomey.com in an effort to combat many of the allegations in Comey’s book. In it, they call the former FBI chief out on an array of alleged inconsistencies and half-truths they say he’s been caught up in.

Comey, when asked about the allegations in the website, says he believes his credibility speaks for itself.

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BASHED BY BUSH: Former president George W. Bush slams Trump, says America should ‘welcome’ illegals

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Former president George W. Bush on Thursday blasted the Trump administration and said of illegal immigrants that we should not only welcome them but thank them for their efforts.

“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that,” Bush said according to a report published by the Associated Press (https://tinyurl.com/y8wvwnfa). “We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”

“America’s their home,” Bush continued, criticizing current president Donald Trump’s approach toward DACA recipients, adding that we should be grateful that they are willing to do the “jobs that Americans won’t do.”

Speaking at a summit in Abu Dhabi, the embattled 43rd president also said there is “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“Whether [Russia] affected the outcome is another question,” Bush said, taking another jab at Trump. “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”

“He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’” Bush said of Russian president Vladimir Putin. “He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose?’”

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder,” he added of the Russian leader. “The reason he does is because … the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves [are] to regain Soviet hegemony. … That’s why NATO is very important.”

Bush went on to say Thursday that America’s immigration system is “broken” and that he had “tried, but unsuccessfully” to correct the problem during his 8 years as president.

This isn’t the first time that the former president has attacked Trump in such a public way. In 2017 Bush came under fire for comments in which he suggested Trump had promoted bigotry and falsehoods to the detriment of the country.

“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said while speaking at a seminar in New York (https://tinyurl.com/y728fx2d). “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism. Forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”

Supporters of President Trump called Bush out at the time over previous statements he made during the Barack Obama administration that he did not feel it “appropriate” for former presidents to criticize the work of a sitting one. When asked during Obama’s tenure in office whether or not he agreed with some of the administration’s then policies, Bush said it wasn’t his place to comment.

Calls to the White House for statement on Bush’s comments were not immediately returned.

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BUSH VS TRUMP: W emerges to criticize POTUS; Calls sitting president a tyrant, bully

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Former president George W. Bush has emerged from relative seclusion to give current president Donald Trump a verbal lashing on his handling of the Oval Office.

Bush, during a speech at the George W. Bush Institute on Thursday, indirectly accused Trump of everything from endorsing white supremacy to elitism.

“Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. … This means that people from every race, religion, ethnicity can be full and equally American,” he told attendees at the event in New York City. “It means that bigotry and white supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed.”

“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush added. “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”

While the former president did not mention Trump by name, he made it clear exactly who his comments were directed toward.

“We cannot wish globalism away,” Bush continued, adding that the United States must sustain “wise and sustained global engagement” if the country is to be saved. “We’ve seen a return of isolationist sentiments forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.”

From there, the 43rd president went on to accuse the current leader of the free world of being a naive bigot and a liar.

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, and forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “Bigotry seems emboldened, our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” he said. “There are some signs that support for democracy itself has waned especially for the young.”

In one of his most scathing comments, Bush essentially called Trump out to be nothing more than a tyrant in disguise.

“No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies,” he said. “Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.”

Citing the rise of “bullying and prejudice” in today’s political climate, Bush said the country lacked a positive political role model and then lamented against the ongoing allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

“The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other,” he said, adding that while Russian interference will not succeed, “foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated.”

The two-term president, who’s remained primarily in the shadows since leaving office, urged the American people to “step up” the fight in what he said he sees as a dangerous time for the United States. “We need to recall and recover our own identity,” he urged.

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