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Newsom slams Trump’s border policies, says California won’t be party to ‘political theater’

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Newsom slams Trump's border policies, says California won't be party to 'political theater'

Gavin Newsom strongly rebuked President Trump and his border-security policies on Tuesday, using his first State of the State address as California governor to declare that he won’t participate in “political theater” over immigration and the proposed border wall.

A week after Trump’s State of the Union address, and less than 24 hours after the California governor said he’d withdraw most of the state’s National Guard troops on the Mexico border, Newsom ratcheted up his opposition to the White House’s hard-line policies on immigration and argued in defense of “the California Dream.”

“We must stand up for those that are maligned,” Newsom said, referring to the state’s immigrant population. He said the rhetoric coming from the White House was “fundamentally at odds” with the values of Californians.”

“California will not be part of this political theater.”

BORDER WALL TALKS BREAK DOWN AHEAD OF SECOND POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Newsom, who served as lieutenant governor under former Gov. Jerry Brown, has taken up the mantle of his predecessor when it comes to opposing the agenda of the Trump administration.

On Monday, Newsom announced that he’d withdraw National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border in California. Instead of participating in immigration enforcement, Newsom said he plans to put those troops “on a mission to the real threat that faces Californians.”

A third of the troops will help combat forest fires, while the remainder will focus on shutting down illegal marijuana growing facilities in the north of the state and stopping criminal smuggling.

Brown agreed in April to deploy up to 400 troops to the border in response to a request from the Trump administration to four border states. Brown made it clear then that California troops couldn’t aid in immigration enforcement, but Newsom said there’s been a “gray area” in their duties.

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin of the California National Guard said the troops have not participated in immigration detention but some are conducting camera surveillance that could inadvertently aid in immigration enforcement.

The drawdown of California’s troops will begin immediately but may not be completed until March 31, when the state’s current agreement with the federal government is set to end.

CALIFORNIA GOV. NEWSOM CALLS TRUMP INCOMPETENT IN INAUGURAL SPEECH; VOWS TO FIGHT WH POLICIES

Newsom made clear during his campaign that he did not support the use of California Guard troops at the border. He took action about a month into his governorship because he wanted to responsibly review the issue, he said.

He initially wanted to pull all of California’s troops back but said he was convinced by Guard officials that good work is being done related to combating drug trafficking.

If the Trump administration does not agree to Newsom’s new terms “we’ll bring the rest back,” he said.

Newsom’s move came on the heels of a decision by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, also a Democrat, to pull back her state’s troops from the border.

Texas and Arizona still have troops in place there.

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Newsom’s speech on Tuesday came only hours after Trump said he was “not happy” with the tentative deal congressional negotiators have worked out on border security; they face a Friday deadline to avert a second government shutdown.

A committee negotiating new border security measures tentatively agreed Monday night to dedicate $1.4 billion to Trump’s border wall, far less than his $5.7 billion ask. The emerging deal drops Democratic demands to seriously limit detention of immigrants illegally in the U.S.

The agreement also calls for 55 miles of metal slats or other types of new fencing, as opposed to a concrete wall. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The pact includes money for other border security measures, including advanced screening at border entry points and customs officers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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AG William Barr speaks about Mueller report ahead of its release — live blog

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AG William Barr speaks about Mueller report ahead of its release -- live blog

Attorney General William Barr will lead a press conference Thursday ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

Barr is expected to be joined by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The release of the redacted report is expected later Thursday morning.

The decision to hold a press conference ahead of the report’s release sparked controversy among Democrats who claimed it was a move to shape the narrative surrounding the report. Some Democrats demanded Barr that cancel the press conference.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling on the attorney general to testify.

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” they said. “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”

Follow Fox News’ live blog below. Mobile users click here.

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Barnes & Noble offers free Mueller report download

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Barnes & Noble offers free Mueller report download

Barnes & Noble is offering curious readers a chance to view special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation as soon as Attorney General William Barr drops the 400-page document early Thursday.

In a tweet, the bookselling company instructed followers how to easily download the materials.

“Be the first to read THE MUELLER REPORT for free! Pre-order today and it will be delivered to your NOOK Library upon expected release,” Barnes & Noble wrote Wednesday in a tweet, which has been shared nearly 500 times.

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

Users who don’t have the NOOK Library can download the NOOK reading app to read a PDF or “direct replica” of the report on their smartphones.

“The Mueller Report as released by the U.S. Department of Justice, Barr redactions and all, and it is essential reading for all Americans on both sides of the aisle,” a description of the Mueller report on NOOK reads, in part. “After almost two long years, the wait is over for one of the most important investigations in the history of American politics.”

Dozens of people thanked Barnes & Noble for giving them an easy way to read the lengthy report.

The Justice Department is expected to release a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign Thursday morning.

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP POPULARITY HOLDING STEADY AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY RELEASE

Barr scheduled a 9:30 a.m. news conference to present his interpretation of the report’s findings, before providing redacted copies to Congress and the public. The news conference, first announced by President Trump during a radio interview, provoked immediate criticism from congressional Democrats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump blasts Russia probe as ‘hoax’ and ‘harassment’ ahead of Mueller report release

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Trump blasts Russia probe as ‘hoax’ and ‘harassment’ ahead of Mueller report release

President Trump sought to get out ahead of Thursday’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report by branding the Russia investigation anew as “the greatest political hoax of all time.”

The president issued his condemnations via tweet shortly before Attorney General Bill Barr was set to hold a press conference, and then issue a redacted version of the Russia report.

“The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” Trump tweeted.

IN MUELLER  REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

He soon followed with: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

The tweets mark the first rhetorical shots of the day by the White House in a broader battle between Republicans and Democrats to frame the report before it is made public.

Barr is scheduled to hold his press conference at 9:30 a.m. with Deputy Rod Rosenstein, where he is expected to address the redactions to the document, interactions with White House officials about the report and executive privilege.

The decision to hold a press conference before the report is published sparked furious pushback from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., issuing a joint statement calling it “indefensible.”

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP POPULARITY HOLDING STEADY AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY RELEASE

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” they said. “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”

Barr angered Democrats with his decision last month to issue a four-page summary of the report, in which he said Mueller had concluded there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign. The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Democrats had demanded Barr release the entire unredacted report to Congress, and expressed frustration at what they have considered a delay from the administration — likely exacerbated by Trump’s frequent declarations that he had been exonerated by the report, and Barr’s intention to review the beginnings of the investigation.

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Congressional Democrats have signaled that the release will be just the beginning of a showdown with the administration over the extent of report redactions, as well as further questions about whether the president obstructed justice during the Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News on Wednesday that the president’s lawyers have been working on a counter-report in anticipation of any obstruction of justice claims in the report.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Bill Mears, Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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