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ATLANTA (AP) — A woman charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet plans to plead guilty, a federal official confirmed Thursday.

Online court records show a change of plea hearing is scheduled Tuesday for former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner. U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Ian Prior confirmed by email that Winner plans to plead guilty.

The docket shows a plea agreement was filed Thursday, but it isn’t publicly accessible.

Winner previously pleaded not guilty and has been in custody since her arrest.

Defense attorneys didn’t immediately respond Thursday afternoon to an email seeking comment.

Winner is a former Air Force linguist who speaks Arabic and Farsi and had a top-secret security clearance. She worked for the national security contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon in Georgia when she was charged in June 2017 with copying a classified U.S. report and mailing it to an unidentified news organization.

Authorities have not publicly described the document Winner is charged with leaking, nor have they identified the news organization that received it. But the Justice Department announced Winner’s arrest on the same day online news outlet The Intercept reported it had obtained a classified National Security Agency report suggesting Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier before last year’s presidential election.

The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner is charged with leaking.

Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told The Associated Press by phone Thursday that she understood her daughter planned to plead guilty, but didn’t have any other details.

Winner’s mother said she believes her daughter has been willing to accept responsibility for her actions. But she said she continues to believe the charge against her daughter is unfair.

“Regardless of what she did or didn’t do, I don’t think she’s a traitor to her country,” the mother said.

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A Washington, D.C. federal judge on Friday refused Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss a money laundering count against him, in yet another legal setback for the former Trump campaign chairman.

Manafort, who was jailed last week to await two federal criminal trials after his bail was revoked for alleged witness tampering, has repeatedly sought to throw out the charges and suppress the evidence against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s Friday ruling marks his latest failure to convince her to do so.

This bit of legal wrangling involves Manafort’s alleged money laundering, which Mueller’s team contends “promote[d]” his failure to comply with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) for lobbying he did on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Manafort’s attorneys contended that it is a crime only to fail to register as a foreign agent under FARA, not to act as one. Therefore, they argued, channeling proceeds he earned from his overseas lobbying work was irrelevant to the alleged violation at hand.

Not so, the judge ruled.

“While defendant is correct that FARA does not prohibit being a foreign agent, undertaking activities on behalf of a foreign client, or ‘acting’ as a foreign agent per se, it is illegal to act as an undisclosed foreign agent,” she wrote in her decision.

Jackson also pointed out that language in the 2001 Patriot Act specifically allows for individuals who violate FARA to be prosecuted for money laundering offenses.

“These laws are not just about paperwork,” her ruling concludes. “Their object is to ensure that no person acts to advance the interests of a foreign government or principal within the United States unless the public has been properly notified of his or her allegiance.”

In the D.C. trial, scheduled to start in mid-September, Manafort faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and failure to disclose his foreign lobbying. Manafort also faces charges of making false statements on tax returns, failure to report foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud in a separate trial in Virginia set for late July. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to both indictments.

Read Jackson’s full ruling below.

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to protect hundreds of thousands of children living in subsidized housing from potential exposure to lead paint and lead poisoning, according to a pair of recent federal reports.

The reports describe a hodgepodge reporting system within HUD, as well as disjointed communication between the federal agency and the local housing authorities it oversees. Cases of children poisoned by lead are not always identified and followed up on in a timely manner. And documentation of lead-based paint inspections and efforts to remove hazards are often missing, incomplete or not routed to the right place, according to the reports by the HUD Office of Inspector General and U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Experts say these shortcomings in HUD’s oversight systems have existed for years with little to no consequence to government officials — but potentially devastating ones for vulnerable children.

The audits come as housing authorities in Southern Illinois and New York City face federal accusations of failing to inspect for lead-based paint and to remove it or clean it up where it’s found, while falsely telling HUD they had done so.

The inspector general, HUD’s internal watchdog, concluded that HUD failed to ensure that the nation’s 3,800 public housing authorities properly identified and eliminated lead hazards, “thus increasing the potential of exposing children to lead poisoning due to unsafe living conditions.”

Of the roughly 7,000 public housing developments nationwide, lead paint inspections were submitted for fewer than half of them, or about 2,700, as of February, the report states. A spokesman for the HUD inspector general was unable to account for the status of the other 4,000; complexes built after 1978 are exempt.

The other report by GAO, a congressional watchdog, also faulted HUD for failing to hold housing authorities accountable “consistently and in a timely manner” and for relying too heavily on the honor system.

The GAO report also takes HUD to task for awarding lead mitigation grants without taking steps to ensure that the money went to the most at-risk communities. Though HUD is required to report annually to Congress on its lead efforts, its last report was submitted in 1997, the GAO found.

Lead poisoning, even at low levels, can lead to lifelong physical and developmental delays for young children. The government banned the use of lead paint in residential homes in 1978. Many older homes still contain lead paint, but the risk increases with deterioration of the paint, which can chip off into pieces or dust particles that children can ingest.

HUD ensures compliance, in part, by requiring that housing authorities annually self-certify that they are following lead safety rules.

In November 2017, HUD filed a fraud complaint against two former directors of the Alexander County Housing Authority, based in Cairo, Illinois, alleging that they did not provide adequate ongoing monitoring and mitigation of lead paint hazards.

The pending complaint, which seeks more than $1 million in fines, is the first of its kind for the federal agency.

The GAO investigators noted similar inquiries involving two other housing authorities, but does not name them.

In 2016, HUD and the East Chicago Housing Authority began moving about 1,000 residents from a housing complex that was built in a neighborhood heavily contaminated by lead and arsenic in that northern Indiana city.

Though contaminated soil, and not decades-old paint, caused the alarming rates of lead poisoning among children, the problem should have been caught years earlier, experts say.

Then last week, New York City agreed to spend $1.2 billion over five years to settle a federal complaint that alleged the city’s housing authority improperly certified compliance with HUD lead safety regulations, among other failings.

New York City itself found last November that the housing authority failed to conduct mandatory lead-based paint inspections for four years. The housing authority’s chairwoman resigned this spring in the wake of those allegations.

Emily Benfer, a distinguished visiting scholar and senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy, said the reports from the GAO and the inspector general should be a “call to action.”

“The reports are very consistent with what we’ve seen on the ground between the Alexander County Housing Authority, the East Chicago Housing Authority and the New York City Housing Authority,” she said. “This indicates there could be a number of housing authorities that have falsely certified, and that HUD has not investigated.”

Housing authorities also manage voucher rental programs, and the GAO report says more should be done to protect children living in private homes for which a federal subsidy, commonly known as Section 8, helps pay the rent.

The GAO report explains that HUD requires inspectors to test samples of paint chips and surface dust using a specialized device in public housing developments known to have lead-based paint. But HUD only requires a visual assessment in private apartments. The report recommended that HUD ask Congress to standardize the inspection protocols to better protect children.

In a response to the congressional watchdog’s findings, HUD agreed with many of the recommendations to improve monitoring. Some of those efforts are well underway, the agency noted in the report, while others need to be studied further to determine cost. Overall, HUD wrote that its ongoing efforts to reduce the exposure of lead-based paint in subsidized housing “have contributed significantly to the national reduction in children’s blood lead levels.”

Responding to the inspector general’s report, HUD noted that it had revised its rules in January 2017 to require housing authorities to lower the blood-lead level at which a home assessment is required, bringing it in line with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HUD also said it increased oversight and training.

HUD spokesman Jereon Brown declined to comment in further detail, referring a reporter to the agency’s responses in the reports.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia said Friday that the U.S. and its allies have relied on fabricated evidence to accuse the Syrian government of launching chemical attacks against civilians.

Russia’s foreign and defense ministries also charged the international chemical weapons watchdog with failing to objectively investigate the alleged chemical attacks and with being subject to political control.

Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the chief of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection unit, said investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had failed to visit the sites of alleged use of sarin and chlorine, and trusted evidence produced by activists, which he described as rigged. Syria has rejected the accusations of chemical attacks.

“The U.S., Britain, France and their allies have misled international community … relying on fabrications to accuse Syria of violating the chemical weapons ban with Russian assistance,” Kirillov said at a briefing.

Kirillov alleged that the White Helmets first responders working in rebel-controlled areas had doctored samples and used explosive devices to make craters that looked like those left by bombs. In the images presented by activists, they worked at the site of the alleged use of sarin without protective gear, which would have been impossible if the nerve agent had indeed been used there, he added.

Kirillov scoffed at the images of massive gas canisters activists said were dropped by government helicopters in the purported chemical attack on the town of Douma just outside Damascus on April 7. “Surprisingly, the 100-kilogram canisters left tableware and furniture undamaged, and even a bed on which the canister fell was intact, signaling that the canister was dragged into the room, as indicated by signs left on the floor,” he said.

The alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma triggered a punitive missile strike by the U.S., Britain and France that Russia has condemned as a violation of international law.

The OPCW’s fact-finding team is not mandated to apportion blame. A joint UN-OPCW team that was tasked with determining blame for such attacks no longer exists after Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government, last year vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend its mandate.

Kirillov criticized the OPCW for turning a blind eye to the discovery of rebel stockpiles that contained over 40 metric tons of chlorine and other toxic chemicals.

He noted that a rebel chemical lab found in Douma after the town was taken over by Syrian government forces contained components used in the production of mustard gas. A canister with chlorine — similar to those used in the purported attack in April — was also found at the same lab, he added.

The Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, who spoke at the same briefing, said that the chemical lab featured components made in Western Europe.

Kirillov charged that last week’s report by the OPCW’s fact-finding mission in Syria — concluding that sarin and chlorine were likely used in attacks near Latamneh, in the province of Hama, in March 2017 — also relied on fabricated evidence. He said images intended to prove that a bomb containing sarin was used in the attack showed fragments of a conventional munition, and samples appeared to have been doctored.

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Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is keeping odd company these days, based on tweets showing him hanging out with comedian Tom Arnold, an ardent Trump critic who is working on a show centered around hunting for the mythical Trump “pee tape.”

According to a Thursday NBC report, Arnold said that they met regarding the new  show, “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.” Arnold did not reveal if Cohen would provide him with any information for the show, but said, “This dude has all the tapes — this dude has everything.”

Arnold continued, alluding to Cohen’s weariness as New York prosecutors bear down on him and his future looks increasingly grim: “I say to Michael, ‘Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together, and he’s so tired he’s like, ‘OK,’ and his wife is like, ‘OK, f*** Trump,'” he told NBC, laughing.

It’s been reported that Cohen is feeling forsaken by Trump as the investigation gets more serious. “Michael Cohen showed up and worked diligently above and beyond and sacrificed and Donald Trump is like I don’t even know who he is. You think Michael doesn’t notice that?” Arnold said to NBC.

Arnold later apologized for making light of Cohen’s situation and the power Trump still has over him.

“I owe Michael Cohen an apology because I made light of something that’s very serious for him,” he told a Vanity Fair reporter. “Michael Cohen knows more than any living human how serious and dangerous it is for America and the world right now because of how incompetent the president is. He knows the truth about everything and has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now.”

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Could Trump-fueled infighting cost New York City Republicans their only seat in Congress?

That’s the question looming over Tuesday’s bloody, hard-fought GOP primary race between incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and his predecessor, convicted felon and former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY).

Grimm held the NY-11 district seat until 2015, when he was imprisoned for federal tax fraud. Donovan sailed in with a special election victory to save face for the party. Now Grimm wants the seat back.

Donovan, the former Staten Island district attorney, is the establishment pick, scoring endorsements from most of the Empire State’s GOP old guard, the National Republican Congressional Committee, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), and, most critically, President Trump. But Grimm remains popular in the heavily ethnic white, GOP-leaning district that takes in all of Staten Island and a stretch of south Brooklyn. And in spite of Trump’s endorsement of Donovan, Grimm has campaigned hard as the true Trumpian candidate.

Thanks to Grimm’s surprisingly strong standing with a chunk of the district’s Republicans, the state’s arcane election laws and the race’s uncertain Trump factor, Grimm has a good shot at pulling the whole thing off. But New York Republicans fear that his significant baggage could imperil their hold on a seat that Donovan should be able to win in the fall.

“If Dan Donovan wins the primary, he keeps his job,” New York GOP strategist Susan del Percio told TPM.

“If Grimm wins, it’ll be a tough fight and yes, the Republicans can lose that seat,” del Percio, who worked for Grimm in his 2010 primary campaign and never worked with Donovan, continued. “You have a vulnerable, deeply flawed candidate who is a convicted felon. That’s something you can raise a lot of money against and really go after to increase turnout this election cycle.”

Another New York Republican consultant, who asked to remain anonymous because of his ties to both GOP candidates, said Democratic frontrunner Max Rose “has a chance” in the general, especially because Trump’s endorsement for Donovan came so late in the race.

“If Donovan loses, it signals Trump can’t boost support for the only Republican in his entire home city of New York” the consultant said.

The few public polls of the race have Grimm ahead. An April Democratic Congressional Committee poll had Grimm ahead by 10 points, while an early June NY1-Siena poll had Grimm winning 47 to 37. The Donovan campaign disputes those numbers, saying their internal polls show their man in the lead.

Back when Grimm first floated his campaign in September, it was seen as something of a stunt.

After all, the conservative firebrand was best remembered for two events: his on-camera threat to break a NY1 reporter in half “like a boy,” and his 2014 felony criminal trial for fraud, tax evasion and perjury.

Donovan’s camp shrugged the challenge off, pointing to Grimm’s less-than-hard-right voting record in Congress and criminal record. They set about securing mainstream endorsements and raising funds.

Grimm, meanwhile, hit the campaign trail hard, turning out for parades, knocking on doors and snapping photos with white-haired grandmothers. He brought Trump allies including Michael Caputo and Anthony Scaramucci into the fold, and gave frequent press interviews casting himself as the strongest champion of the #MAGA agenda.

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK – MAY 28: Former Republican congressman and convicted felon Michael Grimm campaigns for his old seat. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Donovan I think was overconfident for a long, long time,” Gerry O’Brien, a 40-year veteran of New York GOP politics who left the party during the 2016 election, told TPM.

O’Brien said the Donovan campaign made a “strategic blunder” by telegraphing their central attack on Grimm’s voting record months before the election, when “regular voters were paying less than zero attention.”

All the strategists TPM spoke to voiced similar concerns: Donovan was a lackluster retail campaigner while Grimm excelled at it; Donovan squandered his financial advantage on dull direct mail buys; Donovan didn’t take Grimm seriously until late in the race.

The national GOP has been worried about the race for some time. The NRCC added Donovan to their “Primary Patriots” program, providing additional fundraising and organizing assistance. While the NY1 poll was still being conducted, the president came out with a two-tweet endorsement for the incumbent warning what might happen if Grimm wins the nomination.

“Remember Alabama,” Trump implored, citing the disastrous campaign of far-right Senate candidate Roy Moore, who lost to Democrat Doug Jones following allegations that Moore once groped multiple teenage girls.

The Grimm campaign claims Trump was hoodwinked into supporting Donovan, noting that his first tweet claimed the congressman supported the tax cut bill that Donovan actually voted against.

“Donovan has abandoned a district that voted overwhelmingly for Trump,” Ryan Girdusky, a strategist providing support to Grimm’s primary campaign, told TPM. “Michael Grimm will be their advocate in Congress.”

Grimm has made his own mistakes. One notable misstep involved New York’s arcane election rules, which allow candidates to file signatures with the Board of Elections to appear on multiple party ballot lines. A Grimm campaign operative messed with the signatures Donovan’s team submitted, trying to keep him off the Reform Party ballot.

But he was caught, and the BOE not only kept Donovan on the Reform Party line but referred the incident to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

There were other allegations of dirty tricks. Donovan accused Grimm of filing an ethics complaint against him, claiming that Donovan helped his partner’s son secure preferential treatment after a 2015 heroin arrest. (Grimm denies making the complaint, while Donovan denies intervening).

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK – MAY 28: Republican congressman Dan Donovan marches with his family in Staten Island’s 100th Memorial Day Parade. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

At a primary debate last week, Grimm charged that Donovan even sought to secure a presidential pardon on his behalf in order to keep him out of the primary race. Donovan acknowledged discussing the prospect of a pardon while riding on Air Force One with Trump last summer, but said he only did so as a favor to a longtime friend in Staten Island politics who’s now backing Grimm, former Rep. Guy Molinari (R-NY).

Donovan’s team counters that this is just another bogus accusation made by a campaign thrown into disarray by Trump’s endorsement, which upended the dynamics of the race.

“Grimm’s entire campaign was built around President Trump, who urged voters not to vote for him and said literally no one is better to represent him than Donovan,” Donovan spokeswoman Jessica Proud scoffed on a call with TPM.

With the primary just days away, Grimm is continuing to make Donovan’s electability argument for him.

Grimm caught flak in the conservative New York Post this week for downplaying an audio recording of distraught immigrant children separated from their parents by the Trump administration. Grimm told reporters, “You’re going to hear the same exact things as a mother leaves to go to work and has to leave her child at day care.”

The GOP strategist who requested anonymity said Grimm was “basically writing a Democratic campaign ad” with his comments.”

Rose, the leading Democratic candidate and a decorated U.S. Army veteran, has pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and scored endorsements from the likes of the DCCC, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and the Service Employees International Union.

Kevin Elkins, Rose’s campaign manager, told TPM they’re “feeling pretty confident” about the race regardless of their opponent, but said they’d prefer to face off against Grimm because they would relish defeating him “once and for all.”

As Elkins pointed out, the peculiarities of New York’s ballot system means “this could go thirty different ways.”

Candidates are permitted to remain on multiple party lines even after losing a major-party primary. So either Grimm or Donovan could lose the Republican primary and stay on the November ballot on a minority-party line, peeling votes away from their rival.

O’Brien, the former GOP strategist, predicted Tuesday’s results will be closer than polls have shown, citing Trump’s support and Donovan’s last-minute assault of TV advertising.

“Whether that’s enough, I don’t know,” he said. “The Republican Party has jumped off the cliff in a very enthusiastic display of suicide over the last year or two. It would not be uncharacteristic for them to have gone all in on this and still throw another congressional seat away.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects’ movements by collecting information about where they’ve used their cellphones.

The justices’ 5-4 decision Friday is a victory for privacy in the digital age. Police collection of cellphone tower information has become an important tool in criminal investigations.

The outcome marks a big change in how police can obtain phone records. Authorities can go to the phone company and obtain information about the numbers dialed from a home telephone without presenting a warrant.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four liberals.

Roberts said the court’s decision is limited to cellphone tracking information and does not affect other business records, including those held by banks.

He also wrote that police still can respond to an emergency and obtain records without a warrant.

Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Kennedy wrote that the court’s “new and uncharted course will inhibit law enforcement” and “keep defendants and judges guessing for years to come.”

The court ruled in the case of Timothy Carpenter, who was sentenced to 116 years in prison for his role in a string of robberies of Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Michigan and Ohio. Cell tower records that investigators got without a warrant bolstered the case against Carpenter.

Investigators obtained the cell tower records with a court order that requires a lower standard than the “probable cause” needed to obtain a warrant. “Probable cause” requires strong evidence that a person has committed a crime.

The judge at Carpenter’s trial refused to suppress the records, finding no warrant was needed, and a federal appeals court agreed. The Trump administration said the lower court decisions should be upheld.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Carpenter, said a warrant would provide protection against unjustified government snooping.

The administration relied in part on a 1979 Supreme Court decision that treated phone records differently than the conversation in a phone call, for which a warrant generally is required.

In a case involving a single home telephone, the court said then that people had no expectation of privacy in the records of calls made and kept by the phone company.

That case came to the court before the digital age, and the law on which prosecutors relied to obtain an order for Carpenter’s records dates from 1986, when few people had cellphones.

The Supreme Court in recent years has acknowledged technology’s effects on privacy. In 2014, the court held unanimously that police must generally get a warrant to search the cellphones of people they arrest. Other items people carry with them may be looked at without a warrant, after an arrest.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions finds it “painful” that more than 600 members of his church denomination have filed a complaint against him over his “zero tolerance” arrest policy for immigrants caught crossing the border. But, he said, he knows he has a lot of “critics.”

During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday, Sessions said he tries to address “legitimate” concerns, but that it was his duty to “ensure within my realm that the laws are faithfully carried out in our country.” He didn’t specify whether he thought the concerns laid out in the church law complaint — alleging child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and false use of scripture — were legitimate.

It is painful,” he said. “I have critics from a lot of different areas. I think our church people are really concerned about children – that’s what I’m hearing. I feel it. I think there’s a legitimate concern there and I’m pleased to work with the President to address those concerns.”

He also suggested that if Methodist clergy and laity are concerned about “laws” they should go to Congress.

On Monday, more than 600 Methodists filed a formal complaint with Sessions’ two home churches in Alabama and Virginia and the district superintendents for those regions, alleging that Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy does not align with values outlined for members of the Methodist church in the denomination’s “Book of Discipline.” While formal church complaints rarely spur any type of disciplinary retaliation, the most dramatic result could be expulsion from the Methodist church. 

Other protestant and evangelical denominations have spoken out about “zero tolerance,” Sessions’ misuse of a Bible verse to fortify the policy and the separation of immigrant children from their parents as a result of the illegal immigration crackdown.

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President Donald Trump has fully embraced a far-right conspiracy theory that the images and audio of devastated children distraught after being ripped from their parents arms are fake.

In a tweet Friday morning, President Donald Trump called the media coverage of traumatized immigrant children and parents “phony stories of sadness and grief,” orchestrated by Democrats for political gain. Then, in an unhinged twist, he defended the validity of the images because they existed during the Obama administration, but his predecessor “did nothing about it!”

Earlier this week, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said during an interview on Fox News that the crying children recently separated from their families were “actors.” She warned the President to not “buy” the show.

He seems to have listened.

Trump’s tweet comes just days after Trump appeared to believe the stories of grief-stricken families, signing an executive order Wednesday that called for the detainment of families together, but sought to abolish a federal protection that limits how long a child can be held in detention.

Republicans, at Trump’s behest, are scrambling to piece together an immigration plan to address the issue of family separation, which was created by his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Apparently peeved on Friday morning, Trump told GOP lawmakers to “stop wasting their time on immigration” because Democrats have indicated they won’t support Republican immigration bills. In the Senate, Republicans would need at least 10 Democrats to jump onboard for a bill to move to the House.

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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade argued Friday morning that the compassion owed migrant children separated from their parents is limited, since they’re “not our kids.”

“We can’t let everybody in that wants to be here. These are not, like it or not, these aren’t our kids,” he said on Fox and Friends. “Show them compassion. But it’s not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country and now people are saying that they are more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well.”

President Donald Trump echoed the tenor of his favorite show later in the morning, tweeting “We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants,” going a bridge further and claiming baselessly that the heartbreaking images and audio of distraught children have been fabricated by Democrats.

Kilmeade addressed the backlash he received for the comments during his radio show later on Friday. “Meanwhile, I’m just realizing doing the show there’s some things getting some traction out there about something I said this morning about kids not being important, or unimportant,” he said. “All kids are important, all kids are special. What I’m just trying to say in this country when they come in, that as the President of the United States, you can only do so much for so many and that’s why we give so many aids to other countries.”

He also tweeted:

Watch below:

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