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California governor pulls National Guard troops from US-Mexico border over Trump's 'fear mongering'
Gov. Gavin Newsom is withdrawing hundreds of California National Guard troops from the border in a rebuke to President Donald Trump.
The Democratic governor plans to sign an executive order Monday ending a special border deployment that Trump requested and Newsom's predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, approved in April.
Newsom's office announced the plan to sign the order in advance of the new governor's State of the State speech, which is scheduled for Tuesday.
According to excerpts from his prepared remarks, Newsom intends to criticize the president's "fear mongering" about immigration despite border crossings being at their lowest point in decades.
"The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," Newsom plans to say. "California will not be part of this political theater."
In his State of the Union speech earlier this month, Trump blamed illegal immigration for straining the country's economy and resources. Trump also said it has increased crime, despite evidence that immigrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born Americans.
The Pentagon last week announced that it would send 3,750 troops to the border in coming months, where they are expected to install 150 miles of concertina wire and aid Customs and Border Protection, according to the Pentagon.
"The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well being of all Americans," Trump said. "We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens."
Brown, who is also a Democrat, insisted when he approved the deployment that California National Guard soldiers and airmen would not assist immigration enforcement.
Brown renewed the deployment order in September over objections from Democratic lawmakers who protested the Trump's administration's policy that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents.
Newsom plans redirect 110 National Guard personnel to help prevent and suppress wildfires in preparation for the next fire season, according to his office.
The rest of the 360 currently deployed at the border will be assigned to anti-drug operations. Some will stay at the border at points of entry to screen for illegal drugs.
The troops on the special border assignment were gathering intelligence to intercept street drugs and man cameras at and near ports of entry, Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers told state lawmakers at an Assembly hearing last week.
"They are doing solely counter-narcotics operations," he said.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, pressed him on whether the mission differed significantly from border assignments ordered by previous presidents. Beevers said it did not.
"It hasn't changed at all," he said.
The general said National Guard soldiers and airmen had not used force in any way since the call-up. He said they helped seize $292.4 million worth of street drugs, such as methamphetamine and fentanyl, at border points of entry.
He also said their presence freed up 350 border patrol officers for other tasks.
Despite the limited scope of the assignment, court filings reported by the Voice of San Diego describe at least two instances in which National Guard troops assisted immigration arrests by alerting federal border patrol agents about people crossing illegally.
The order ending the assignment is Newsom's latest show of opposition to the Republican president, whom he frequently criticizes. In a Friday tweet noting Trump's proposed border wall is unpopular in California, Newsom said the wall would be "nothing more than a monument of stupidity."
©2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’ — Mattis hits back at Trump for calling him the 'world's most overrated general'
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.
"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.
"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.
A Navy doomsday aircraft that would play a vital communication role in the event of a nuclear war had one of its four engines replaced this month after it struck a bird at a Maryland air station.