Book: Trump raged against refugees from Somalia in private meeting

Washington (CNN)In the first few months of his administration, President Donald Trump asked then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke why he could not ban refugees from “f*****g Somalia” in a bout of rage at his Bedminster golf club. In October 2017, weeks after Trump complained to Elaine Duke, the then-acting Homeland Security secretary received a call from White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller who insisted that Duke “shut off refugee flows from 11 countries the administration had identified as high-risk,” particularly Somalia, according to the book. Duke refused. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. Over the course of Trump’s presidency, the administration has chipped away at the refugee ceiling — the number of refugees …

Giuliani’s case rests on two Ukrainians with checkered pasts and suspect motives

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN)There are two Ukrainians at the heart of US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s allegations against former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Both headed Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office — Viktor Shokin between 2015 and 2016, and Yuriy Lutsenko between 2016 and 2019. Asked by CNN this week whether he knew of Lutsenko’s visit, Petro Poroshenko, who was Ukraine’s President at the time, said: “I would never have any information about that.” CNN has obtained a document — translated into English — that Lutsenko prepared for the January meeting. It’s unclear whether the document was actually given to Giuliani’s team. Giuliani’s office has not responded to CNN’s multiple requests for confirmation. But like the …

The New American Gothic by Criselda Vasquez (Oil on Canvas 72 x 48)

In this oil on canvas painting by Criselda Vasquez, she uses her parents to reinterpret and contemporize the iconic 1930 painting by Grant Wood, American Gothic. Completed in 2017 and measuring 72 inches tall and 48 inches wide, Vasquez adds: As the American-born daughter of two Mexican immigrants, I illustrate their plight and the plight of many in my community with my art. I want to expose the heart-breaking pain of what a Mexican immigrant’s family goes through. I focus on bringing my family’s world into the light and out of the shadows. My paintings are best described as visual comments on the hidden daily reality of the Mexican-American experience. These portraits and still lifes reveal my family in their …

Pompeo blames Iran for drone attacks on Saudi oil field

Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday. “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” Pompeo tweeted, referencing Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” Pompeo continued, providing no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, rejected the accusation that Iran was behind the attack. “Such blind accusations and inappropriate comments in a diplomatic context …

Democratic cattle call ignites New Hampshire primary

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN)The Democratic field has flocked to New Hampshire as the first-in-the-nation primary that may be even more pivotal than usual grabs the spotlight for the first time in the 2020 campaign. New Hampshire’s primary could also provide a hope of redemption for Joe Biden should he underperform in the Iowa caucuses. But front-runners mustn’t lose, so it’s possible the former vice president may be face a win or bust scenario here. If he stumbles, the state could usher alternative moderates like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker or Pete Buttigieg into contention. As fall approaches, the dominant theme of the primary is already clear: Candidates are learning at town halls, ice cream socials and in their selfie lines that …

NRA rips San Francisco Board of Supervisors after being labeled a ‘domestic terrorist organization’

(CNN)The National Rifle Association on Wednesday ripped the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for declaring the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization,” calling the vote “worthless and disgusting.” The resolution is a largely symbolic one. It calls for the city and county to “take every reasonable step to limit” San Francisco’s “financial and contractual relationships” with vendors who do business with the NRA. But the resolution does not, for example, carry the law enforcement implications of designation as a foreign terrorist organization. Despite the rise in cases that law enforcement describes as domestic terror-related, there is no federal charge for “domestic terrorism.” The US doesn’t have a domestic terrorism law and no government agency designates domestic groups as being terrorist organizations. …

Where Trump’s ’emergency power’ on foreign business comes from

(CNN)President Donald Trump is threatening to use his broad executive authority in a new and unprecedented way in his escalating trade war with China, arguing he can order companies to start doing business elsewhere. One key thing to know is that the emergency powers he wants to use evolved from the need for the President to act with decisive authority during war, specifically World War I. The Great Depression prompted the expansion of emergency powers to include economic emergencies, according to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service. (This piece uses many facts from that analysis, which is worth reading.) These powers were used throughout the Cold War until the 1970s, when, according to CRS, Congress basically realized the US …

What Anthony Scaramucci gets dead wrong in his turn against Donald Trump

(CNN)Anthony Scaramucci is done with Donald Trump. THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE! In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe! In a tweet shortly after that CNN interview, Scaramucci wrote this:

Nigel Farage attacks Harry and Meghan, jokes about ‘overweight’ Queen Mother

Exclusive: Brexit party leader labels Duke of Sussex terrifying while disparaging Queen Mother in Sydney CPAC speech Nigel Farage has derided the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their irrelevant social justice and environmental campaigns while abusing Prince Charles and describing the late Queen Mother as an overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker, in an incendiary speech to an Australian rightwing political conference. Farages speech to Sydneys Conservative Political Action Conference from which media were barred ranged across his views on Brexit, media bias and the United Nations, but he reserved his fiercest condemnation for members of the royal family, including princes Charles and Harry, and the Queen Mother. The Brexit party leader was laudatory about the Queen an amazing, awe-inspiring woman, …

Trump backs ‘red flag’ gun laws. What do they actually do?

Washington (CNN)In the aftermath of this weekend’s mass shootings that killed at least 31 people, attention turned to what could be done to prevent something like thisfrom happening again. The President did not elaborate further on what he meant in Monday’s speech, so it is not clear if he was proposing a federal red flag law, endorsing an expansion of red flag laws across more states or simply advocating for better enforcement of the laws currently on the books. At this point, red flag laws exist only at the state level, and only 17 states plus Washington, DC, have passed such laws. The number of states with red flag laws increased after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, where proponents said such …

Charming but dishonest and duplicitous: Europe’s verdict on Boris Johnson

As the Brexit deadline looms, Europe remains wary of the poker player behind the clown mask He is clever, cultivated, charming; witty, self-deprecating, wildly entertaining and oh so terribly British. Also dissembling, dishonest, dark, duplicitous, and a danger to his country and to Boris Johnson settles into his new role, vowing, do or die, to take the UK out of the EU without a deal in 90 days unless the 27 nations ditch an accord that took two years to negotiate, European politicians and commentators are both fascinated and appalled. Like many people, I was easily charmed by his demeanour, his self-confidence, his intelligence, said Han ten Broeke, a former Dutch MP specialising in EU affairs. Hes a pleasure to …

Readers’ guide to the second Democratic debate

(CNN)Tonight, round two of the first Democratic debates gets underway, with another slate of 10 candidates facing off in Miami. “The fact of the matter is when I was vice president I was able to put together an overwhelming bipartisan support — Democrats and Republicans — to provide significant amounts of money in direct return for these countries dealing with the corrupt police systems, dealing with their school systems, dealing with the opportunities,” Biden said in May. He also says he would invest smarter in border security but is against President Donald Trump’s border wall. Climate change Biden recently issued a policy proposal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 through executive action. His plan includes holding fossil fuel companies accountable, …