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Trump asylum policy gets temporary reprieve from Court of Appeals

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Trump asylum policy gets temporary reprieve from Court of Appeals

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – The U.S. government can continue at least temporarily to send asylum seekers back to Mexico after President Donald Trump scored a rare ruling in his favor on Friday from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

FILE PHOTO: Central American asylum seekers exit the Chaparral border crossing gate after being sent back to Mexico by the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The asylum program was set to be shut down at 8 p.m. EDT (midnight GMT) by an order issued on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, but the Trump administration had asked for the Court of Appeals in San Francisco to intervene.

The Court of Appeals issued a two-paragraph order saying the lower court injunction was temporarily stayed while the parties prepare to submit arguments next week on the government’s request for a longer stay that would remain in place for the months-long appeals process.

The government told the Court of Appeals in papers filed late Thursday that the United States faced “a humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border and needed to the policy to deal with surging number of refugees.

Seeborg had ruled on Monday the policy was contrary to U.S. immigration law and ordered a nationwide injunction to halt the program, but delayed implementation of his order to allow the government to appeal.

“This is an interim step while the court considers the government’s stay request,” said a statement from Judy Rabinovitz, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who represented plaintiffs in the case and who opposed the stay.

Since January, the administration has sent more than 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Central America, back to Mexico to wait the months or years it can take to process claims through an overloaded immigration system.

Although it is appealing and the lower court order had yet to take effect, Reuters reporters confirmed that the Trump administration was allowing some asylum seekers from Mexico to return to the United States.

Trump has bristled at limits on his administration’s ability to detain asylum seekers while they fight deportation, and the administration was in the midst of expanding the program when Seeborg blocked it.

The 9th Circuit Court has been a frequent target for Trump’s criticisms of the judicial system, which has blocked his immigration policies on numerous occasions.

After Seeborg ruled on Monday, Trump tweeted: “A 9th Circuit Judge just ruled that Mexico is too dangerous for migrants. So unfair to the U.S. OUT OF CONTROL!”

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Tom Brown

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Supreme Court to take up LGBT job discrimination cases

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Supreme Court to take up LGBT job discrimination cases

The Supreme Court will decide whether the main federal civil rights law that prohibits employment discrimination applies to LGBT people.

The justices say Monday they will hear cases involving people who claim they were fired because of their sexual orientation. Another case involves a funeral home employee who was fired after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman.

The cases will be argued in the fall, with decisions likely by June 2020 in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

The issue is whether Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, protects LGBT people from job discrimination. Title VII does not specifically mention sexual orientation or transgender status, but federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York have ruled recently that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati has extended similar protections for transgender people.

The big question is whether the Supreme Court, with a strengthened conservative majority, will do the same.

The Obama administration had supported treating LGBT discrimination claims as sex discrimination, but the Trump administration has changed course. The Trump Justice Department has argued that Title VII was not intended to provide protections to gay or transgender workers. The administration also separately withdrew Obama-era guidance to educators to treat claims of transgender students as sex discrimination.

President Donald Trump has appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The justices will take up three cases in the fall.

In one, the federal appeals court in New York ruled in favor of a gay skydiving instructor who claimed he was fired because of his sexual orientation. The second case is from Georgia, where the federal appeals court ruled against a gay employee of Clayton County, in the Atlanta suburbs.

The third case comes from Michigan, where a funeral home fired a transgender woman. The appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that the firing constituted sex discrimination under federal law.

The funeral home argues in part that Congress was not thinking about transgender people when it included sex discrimination in Title VII.

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Kellyanne Conway: Trump can’t be impeached by an investigation Democrats started

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Kellyanne Conway: Trump can't be impeached by an investigation Democrats started

As thousands gathered on the White House lawn for the annual Easter egg roll on Monday morning, Kellyanne Conway criticized House Democrats latest impeachment push, calling it “a ridiculous proposition.”

News broke on Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., plans to hold a private conference call with fellow Democrats to discuss the possibility of impeaching President Trump.

The issue was raised again after a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released last week, which Dems argue provides evidence to the contrary of Attorney General William Barr’s summary that the investigation found no evidence that President Trump obstructed justice.

However, Conway pushed back.

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“You can’t impeach a Republican president for something the Democrats started, which is this ridiculous investigation that has cost us $25 million, over 2500 subpoenas,” Conway told “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt on Monday morning.

“The special counsel provides a report to the attorney general who, in concert with the deputy attorney general and office of legal counsel, decided there was no obstructive conduct. They could not bring obstruction charges – they made that decision,” she continued.

“I’m sure if director Mueller and his team could have brought those very clear charges they would have.”

She added that many in the media are now trying to “save face” after fiercely believing and predicting Mueller’s investigation would uncover collusion between Trump and Russia, which would have supplemented their arguments in 2016 that Trump “lied and stole the election.”

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As the 2020 election approaches, Conway also commented on the wide array of Democrats entering the race and reminded viewers that candidates need to run on real issues.

“Simple math,” she said. “One, 19, 50, anything times zero, simple multiplication … 19 are running, but if your message is zero it’s a big zero.”

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

President Trump never said he wanted to “get rid” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and instead cooperated fully with his investigation, according to one of the president’s former attorneys.

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.

But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.

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“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.

“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry — number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.

“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”

Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.

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“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we’ll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”

Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president’s attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.

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“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.

“I just don’t believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”

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