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U.S. lawmakers to hold border security talks in bid to avert shutdown

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U.S. lawmakers to hold border security talks in bid to avert shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top four Democratic and Republican negotiators in the U.S. Congress on border security funding plan to meet on Monday in a bid to reach an elusive deal by a Friday deadline to avert another partial government shutdown.

FILE PHOTO: A prototype for U.S. President Donald Trump’s border wall is seen through the border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes/File Photo

The talks were scheduled to resume in Washington hours before Republican President Donald Trump plans a rally in the Texas border city of El Paso where he is expected to promote his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

An anti-wall protest will greet the Republican president, led by hometown Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who in November lost a close election for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas to Republican Ted Cruz and now is considering seeking his party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

In Washington, the lawmakers hope to reach an agreement on Monday to allow time for the legislation to pass the House of Representatives and Senate and get signed by Trump by Friday, when funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and several other federal agencies expires.

Negotiations broke down during the weekend over funding for immigrant detention beds and physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat, and the panel’s top Republican, U.S. Representative Kay Granger, will attend the meeting with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican, and the panel’s senior Democrat Patrick Leahy, according to congressional aides. They were tentatively set to meet at 3:30 p.m. (2030 GMT).

Trump’s December demand for $5.7 billion to help construct a border wall triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without the president getting wall funding. Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to find a compromise on government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to avert another shutdown on Feb. 15.

The disagreement over border barriers and making detention facilities able to hold more immigrants to be deported are at the heart of the dispute between Trump and congressional Democrats. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has sought to crack down on illegal and legal immigration.

Trump made a border wall one of his central campaign promises in 2016, saying it is needed to curb illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other crimes. Democrats, who took control of the House last month from Trump’s fellow Republicans, oppose a wall, calling it ineffective, expensive and immoral.

Some negotiators last week held out the option of passing another stopgap funding bill to avert a shutdown and allow more time to reach a border deal. But one House aide said the goal of Monday’s meeting was to revitalize the negotiations for funding for the remainder of the fiscal year and not to discuss another short-term spending bill.

Democrats are opposed to the Trump administration expanding its capacity to hold more people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for eventual deportation. Republicans want to increase the number of beds in detention facilities to enable holding more people to speed up and expand deportations. A sticking point in the talks has been a Democratic demand for funding fewer detention beds.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Will Dunham

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Top Congressional Democrats call for Mueller to testify publicly

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Top Congressional Democrats call for Mueller to testify publicly

Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives at his office in Washington, U.S., April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday called on Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify publicly about his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized Attorney General William Barr for writing what they called a “slanted” summary letter and for planning a press conference before the expected release of the report detailing the probe’s findings on Thursday.

“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,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.

(This story has been refiled to correct the sequence of events of press conference and report.)

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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Left will continue to ‘believe in Russia collusion’ even after Mueller report release, Byron York says

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Left will continue to 'believe in Russia collusion' even after Mueller report release, Byron York says

The Russia collusion narrative is unlikely to go away even after the Robert Mueller report is released later today, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York predicts.

“A lot of Democrats have invested the last two years of their life in believing that there was collusion between Russia to fix the 2016 election. Don’t think they gonna give it up just because of this,” York told “Fox and Friends”.

“A lot of Democrats have invested the last two years of their life in believing that there was collusion between Russia to fix the 2016 election. Don’t think they gonna give it up just because of this.”

— Byron York

The prediction comes as Washington, D.C. is bracing for the release of the Mueller report that according to Attorney General William Barr didn’t establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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

York pointed out that after Barr outlined the report’s conclusions in a letter and quoted Mueller stating that the evidence didn’t establish a conspiracy or coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, many Democrats began doubling-down on the collusion charges.

“Immediately people on the left said maybe he couldn’t prove a criminal conspiracy but maybe there was some other sort of conspiracy. Or maybe he couldn’t prove to beyond a reasonable doubt but maybe there is evidence that the rest of us can believe,” York said.

“I really think we have already seen and they already tipped their hands that they are going to continue to believe in collusion.”

“I really think we have already seen and they already tipped their hands that they are going to continue to believe in collusion.”

— Byron York

On the obstruction of justice charges, York says those opposing President Trump will have even more to talk about after the report release as Mueller himself didn’t reach a conclusion about obstruction charges.

“If the Barr summary is pretty accurate, Mueller did not reach a conclusion about obstruction. That’s a question right there. He is a prosecutor. He has all the evidence. Why didn’t he reach some sort of conclusion?” he said.

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

“There will be a lot of ammunition, we know that already for Trump’s critics who say that firing James Comey or the Lester Holt interview or something else was proof of obstruction right there in front of our eyes. So I don’t think that argument is going to go away at all.”

Lastly, even if the Mueller report doesn’t find wrongdoing by Trump, it’s unlikely to end the talk of impeachment by Democrats even as the 2020 election nears.

“If you believed in impeachment before the Mueller report, why would you stop believing in it now?,” York said, pointing that there’s a conflict within the Democratic Party on how to proceed with this.

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“You have a lot of the leadership like Nancy Pelosi wanting to move on, these are the more senior people wanting to move on, wanting to focus on the legislative agenda,” he continued.

“But you are going to have the investigative committees, the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee investigating this stuff all the way until the next election.”

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Fox Nation takes you behind the scenes of Bernie Sander’s Fox News town hall

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Bernie Sanders' plans will cost $20G per taxpayer, blow hole in budget, nonpartisan group's president says

2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,  told voters and Fox News viewers why they should vote him into the White House in a special town hall event Monday night.

Sanders spent an hour answering questions from potential voters and Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, before thanking the audience and viewers.

WATCH: FOX NATION’S BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT BERNIE SANDERS’ TOWN HALL

The senator defended his wealth, outlined his health care plan, and critiqued President Trump in what was the most watched town hall event so-far this election season.

But that wasn’t the whole story…

HOW BERNIE WENT FROM SOCIALIST GADFLY TO FRONTRUNNER

Fox Nation took a behind the scenes look at Monday’s Town Hall as Fox News crews worked tirelessly setting up the event and reaching out to the local community about the important issues that Sanders needed to address.

The crew even dealt with a weather situation that threatened the event.

“Due to the weather conditions in the area they’re worried about a power cut from the local utility,” Roger Germinder, Coordinator Operations and Engineering for Fox News revealed in the Fox Nation special.

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To see how the Town Hall was put together, how the anchors prepared and more go to FoxNation.com.

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