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Developing Story

Last updated on September 11, 2017, at 4:41 a.m. ET

Posted on September 5, 2017, at 7:52 a.m. ET

Live Updates: Russia Investigation And North Korea Loom As Trump Surprises With Democrats

Trump is scrapping DACA and Congress is back from its summer break. Here's what's going on in Washington this week.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday

Here's the latest:

  • Donald Trump Jr. told Senate investigators Thursday that he did not collude with Russia during the campaign, insisting that his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer was primarily about adoptions.
  • The Trump administration and congressional Democrats agreed to a deal Wednesday that would avoid shutting down the government over the debt ceiling.
  • Earlier in the week, the Trump administration said it was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program will end in six months, giving Congress time for a potential legislative fix that would protect young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation.
  • President Trump spoke in North Dakota on Wednesday to discuss his tax reform plans, tweeted that if Congress doesn't pass a fix for DACA, "I will revisit this issue!"
  • North Korea conducted it's sixth nuclear test on Sunday, its most powerful to date. Monday, Trump and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in "agreed to maximize pressure on North Korea using all means at their disposal."


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Trump has nominated 42 US attorneys so far, and only one is a woman

Pool / Getty Images

On Friday, the White House announced President Trump’s sixth wave of US attorney nominees. The latest batch brought the total number of nominees for the nation’s top federal prosecutor jobs up to 42.

Of that group, one nominee — Jessie Liu, nominated to lead the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC — is a woman. The rest are men.

The numbers stand in contrast to the US attorneys that President Obama nominated after he took office in 2009. Of Obama’s first 42 nominees, 12 were women.

“It’s a slap in the face,” said Joyce Vance, a former US attorney in Alabama who was one of Obama’s early nominees in 2009, of Trump’s decision to nominate predominantly men. “It’s a statement that this is not a priority.”

Vance said that in not elevating women to these positions, the administration was starting a chain reaction that would keep women lawyers out of leadership posts in the future.

“US attorneys often become judges, partners in big law firms, even senators, and restricting women from advancing by excluding them from the US attorney positions is really a giant step backwards,” Vance said.

Other former government lawyers have criticized the numbers on social media since they were announced. Mary Carney, a former Justice Department attorney, called the situation was “infuriating.”

Read more here. —Zoe Tillman

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Steve Bannon suggests firing James Comey was the "biggest mistake in modern political history"

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Steve Bannon, who ran the final stage of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and served until last month as his chief strategist in the White House, is speaking more openly now about what he considers to be the significant errors the president and his team have made since the election.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday night, Bannon pointed to two mistakes in particular: the decision after the election to work with establishment Republicans and the decision to fire then FBI director James Comey after Trump took office.

"In the 48 hours after we won, there's a fundamental decision that was made," Bannon told Rose. "You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment."

Read more here.

—Matt Berman

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Trump criticizes Senate Republicans, yet again, in tweets on healthcare, filibuster rule, and tax reform

In a set of early morning tweets sandwiched between warnings about the size of Hurricane Irma and praise for the Coast Guard, the president took Senate Republicans to task once again for their inability to pass legislation.

"Republicans, sorry, but I've been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn't happen!" he tweeted, referring to the failed effort to end the Affordable Care Act.

He then went on to claim the senate's filibuster rule was keeping the GOP from passing "even great" legislation, calling it a "Death Wish."

...never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control - will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes. It is a Repub Death Wish!

Trump has tweeted often about the filibuster rule since the failed Republican vote on healthcare, though the rule was not the reason for the repeal's defeat and did not play a major role in the legislative fight.

A tool used by both Republicans and Democrats in the past, the filibuster allows a minority party to block votes on bills that could otherwise pass with a simple 51 majority, by requiring a supermajority vote of 60 to end floor debate. Four years ago, when President Obama and Congress revised the rule, Trump tweeted that Thomas Jefferson had written the more than 200 year old rule and that Harry Reid and the president had "killed it."

The president rounded out his criticism Friday by urging Republicans to focus on tax reform right away, "ASAP," stating it's needed "now more than ever."

Earlier this week he'd tweeted, incorrectly, that the US is the most-taxed country in the world. In a ranking of more than 30 industrialized nations' taxation compared with GDP, the US is near the bottom.

Republicans must start the Tax Reform/Tax Cut legislation ASAP. Don't wait until the end of September. Needed now more than ever. Hurry!

-- Cora Lewis

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Betsy DeVos still hasn't said anything about Trump's decision to end DACA

Mike Theiler / Reuters

Tens of thousands of American high school and college students and teachers were thrown into a lurch this week when President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has yet to say a word about the move to end the program, which protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation, or what it means for the nation's education system — which includes tens of thousands of undocumented high school and college students and as many as 20,000 undocumented teachers.

An Education Department spokesperson did not respond to six requests sent over multiple days from BuzzFeed News for comment from DeVos.

Read more here.

—Molly Hensley-Clancy

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The DNC begins cybersecurity effort to try to make sure 2016 doesn't happen again

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

On his second day at Democratic National Committee, sitting in a meeting at the party’s headquarters south of Capitol Hill, Raffi Krikorian looked around the room and realized he was the only technology staffer at the table.

For the DNC’s new chief technology officer — now six weeks into his first job in politics after working at Silicon Valley companies like Uber and Twitter — that’s what had to change to prevent the kind of hacks that upended last year’s presidential election.

He wants the technology team everywhere. (“My end goal is how do we get to a world where there is no one reporting to the CTO anymore.”) He wants a steady, endless trickle of education about cybersecurity. (“It has to be part of on-boarding. It has to be part of every conversation, every time we have a meeting.”) He wants regular phishing email drills, for the party’s lowest-level staffers up to the chair. (“There's literally a simulated phishing attack on the DNC right now. We started about an hour ago.”)

It’s about a “culture change inside the building” — to “get everyone’s guard up” and create an instinctive, daily cybersecurity reflex. “If you see something say something,” Krikorian said in an interview. “Our electronic landscape is not a friendly landscape.”

Read more here. —Ruby Cramer

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Ninth Circuit sides with challengers fighting to keep grandparents exempt from Trump's travel ban

Zach Gibson / Getty Images

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that grandparents and other family members are not subject to President Trump's travel and refugee bans.

Likewise, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld US District Judge Derrick Watson's decision that exempted would-be refugees who have received formal assurances of support from resettlement agencies from the refugee ban.

The three-judge panel issued the decision less than two weeks after hearing arguments on the questions in Seattle in late August.

"The Government does not meaningfully argue how grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in- law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States can be considered to have 'no connection' to or 'lack any bona fide relationship' with persons in the United States," the court held in an unsigned opinion.

Read more here.

—Chris Geidner

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Donald Trump Jr. insists before Senate investigators that Russia meeting was "primarily focused" on adoptions

Richard Drew / AP

Donald Trump Jr. faced Senate investigators in private on Thursday as part of congressional investigations into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and potential connections to his father’s campaign.

The interview with staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is probing Russian election interference, took place more than two months after news broke of a June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the now-president’s son, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign-chairman Paul Manafort.

“The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out not to be about what had been represented,” Trump Jr. said in a prepared statement to investigators, which was provided to BuzzFeed News. “The meeting was instead primarily focused on Russian adoptions, which is exactly what I said over a year later in my statement of July 8, 2017.”

At the same time, however, Trump Jr. acknowledged that he took the meeting because he was told that “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia” were available from Russian sources and would be “very useful” to the Trump campaign.

Read more here.

—Chris Geidner and Emma Loop

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Some Democrats say they’re freaked out their leadership is working with Trump

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump meets with, from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Democrats have been bashing President Trump's every move since long before he stepped into the Oval Office. But this week something strange happened: Democratic leadership cut a sweeping deal with the president, spoke openly about their phone conversations with him, and made multiple visits to the White House.

Although most Democrats in Washington are still celebrating that Trump sided with their leadership Wednesday on a deal to fund the government, provide hurricane relief funds, and raise the debt ceiling, the new — and seemingly sudden — productive relationship with the president is making some Democratic lawmakers and activists uncomfortable.

Some Democrats in Congress — along with groups within the "resistance," the liberal base that's organized against Trump — are openly worried about the specifics of the funding deal. They believe that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should have pushed for an immediate fix to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which temporarily protected 800,000 young immigrants from deportation — that the Trump administration rescinded this week.

“It is very dangerous to go from declaring Trump the defender of white supremacy to laughing and giggling with him in the Oval Office while not standing up for such a vulnerable population as the DREAMers. It’s very dangerous, plus do you really think you’ve made — this man is a serial liar, and a fraud, and anybody who’s dealt with him knows this, so why would you want to put your credibility on the line by reaching this kind of agreement?” Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois told BuzzFeed News. “You don’t dance with the devil like that.”

Read more here.

—Tarini Parti and Lissandra Villa

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Trump dodged a question on a "contained, deterred North Korea"

At a press conference Thursday with the emir of Kuwait, Jaber al-ahmad al-sabah, President Trump refused to answer a question on whether he would accept a "nuclearized but contained and deterred North Korea."

"We're going to see what it is," he said. "I'm not negotiating with you. Maybe we'll have a chance to negotiate with somebody else, but I don't put my negotiations on the table... But I can tell you that North Korea's behaving badly, and it's got to stop."

Earlier, the president said military action remained an option when it comes to deterring the nuclear threat from the increasingly militant country, but that "nothing's inevitable."

"It would be great if something else could be worked out," he said.

Later in the conference, the president said he would be willing to mediate relations between the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, if asked.

In June, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the UN-backed government of Yemen, and a leader of eastern Libya, all severed relations with Qatar over its ties with Iran and alleged support for Islamist extremist groups.

"If I can help mediate between Qatar and, in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so, and I think you'd have a deal worked out very quickly," he said.

-- Cora Lewis

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Trump tells DREAMers they have "nothing to worry about"

For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!

Two days after rescinding DACA, Trump attempted to assure those on DACA status that they have "nothing to worry about" for six months — the time the administration has given Congress for a potential legislative fix to Obama's 2012 memorandum.

Nearly 800,000 current DACA beneficiaries will not be impacted before March 5, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday. Their fate after that is unclear.

However, no new initial request or associated applications filed after Tuesday would be accepted, DHS said. Immigration officials said they would continue to adjudicate pending renewal requests and those filed before Oct. 5.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump had indicated that he would be willing to sign a version of the DREAM Act, legislation that would provide protections for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children. Pelosi said that said she brought up a need to reassure people who had been covered by DACA to Trump on Thursday. Soon after the phone call, the president tweeted this message.

Trump's decision to end the program that provides temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children has sparked protests by immigration activists and DACA supporters across the country.

Obama called the decision "cruel."

With their legal status in the air, the decision has left DREAMers feeling uncertain about their future in the country and vulnerable to deportation.

"I feel like my entire life is now in jeopardy," Gabriel Sanchez, a 21-year-old DREAMer in Oklahoma, told BuzzFeed News. "I’m about to finish college and am trying to plan what's next and I don't know if I can even be here at this time next year."

— Tasneem Nashrulla

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15 States and DC hit Trump with a new lawsuit over ending DACA

Fifteen states and Washington, DC, teamed up in federal court on Wednesday to sue the Trump administration over the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States.

A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general are arguing that the administration rescinded the Obama-era directive that established the DACA program in 2012 with minimal guidance and without giving the public an opportunity to comment, and said that doing so violates federal law. They also argue that Trump was unconstitutionally motivated by prejudice against people of Mexican origin in deciding to end the program.

The state officials want a federal judge to stop the administration from ending DACA, and also to block the government from using personal information provided by applicants to locate or deport them or their families.

Read more here.

—Dominic Holden and Zoe Tillman

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US colleges say they'll fight for DREAMers after Trump's DACA decision

Kyle Grillot / Reuters

As the president of LaGuardia Community College, Gail Mellow spent years encouraging the hundreds of undocumented students on her school’s Queens campus to sign up for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. With DACA, she promised them, they’d be able to live their lives “in the sunlight.” They could become nurses, have internships, and work so they could pay their tuition.

Then President Trump announced Tuesday that he would end DACA in six months, leaving Mellow and her students, she said, “devastated and in shock.”

“I feel that I have put these students in harm’s way by promising them they would be safe,” she said. “I can’t tell you how painful this is — how it’s kept me up at night. I feel personally responsible for every LaGuardia student who is harmed by the rescinding of DACA.”

College leaders across the country said they feel a responsibility to do more than condemn Trump’s decision to end DACA, which provided protection from deportation to young immigrants brought to the US as children. They would do everything within their power to fight the end of the program, they said, and to shield the undocumented students that lived, studied, and worked on their campuses.

Read more here.

—Molly Hensley-Clancy

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President Trump and the Democrats have cut a deal to avoid a government shutdown for now

President Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress announced that they made a deal at the White House Wednesday to pass relief aid for Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and pass a three-month bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

"We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred -- very important -- always we’ll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it," Trump said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also announced the deal in a joint press release after the meeting, which also included House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The deal would keep the government from defaulting on its debt or shutting down until December 15, when Congress would have to act again. Neither Ryan nor McConnell's offices immediately responded to a request for comment, though Republicans are reportedly furious about the deal.

"In the meeting, the President and Congressional leadership agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together," Schumer and Pelosi said in their statement, "Both sides have every intention of avoiding default in December and look forward to working together on the many issues before us."

Hurricane Harvey relief funding passed the House overwhelmingly earlier Wednesday, but still needs to go through the Senate.

Read more here.

—Lissandra Villa Huerta

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Paul Ryan calls Democrats' debt ceiling proposal "ridiculous"

Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday lambasted Democrats for calling for a short-term debt ceiling increase tied to aid to Hurricane Harvey funding, saying it could “put in jeopardy” Congress’ ability to provide aid to victims of both Harvey and Hurricane Irma, which is set to hit Florida this weekend.

“I think that’s ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics on the debt at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need,” Ryan said.

He also said that any kind of legislation to help DREAMers would likely come as part of a broader immigration package that addressed border security, a longtime Republican priority.

“It is only reasonable and fitting that we also address the root cause of the problem, which is borders that are not sufficiently controlled, while we address this very real and very human problem that is right in front of us,” he said Wednesday.

Ryan, who previously promised that he would not try to pass any immigration legislation that did not have the support of a majority of the House Republican conference, said any legislation on DREAMers would be worked on with the president, and would have Trump’s support.

“I’m very confident that members will support it,” he said.

- Alexis Levinson

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Democrats say they'll keep bringing up legislation to protect DREAMers until it passes

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

House and Senate Democrats held a joint press conference on Wednesday, calling on Republicans to pass legislation to protect DREAMers in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA and threatened to keep attaching it to other major pieces of legislation until it becomes law.

"If a clean DREAM Act does not come to the floor in September, we're prepared to attach it to other items this fall until it passes," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the press conference.

Democrats argued that so-called “clean legislation” — a bill that would address DACA without including other issues, such as border security funding — could pass both the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Democrats have been highly and almost unanimously critical of Trump's decision to end the Obama-era program that provided protections for young, undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children from being deported.

Addressing DACA could be a major headache for Republicans, giving their already-packed fall agenda. On Tuesday night, just hours after his administration announced its intent to wind-down the program, Trump tweeted that he would "revisit" DACA if Congress couldn't find a legislative solution.

— Lissandra Villa

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In calls with UK and Australian leaders, Trump solidifies support on efforts to reduce tensions with North Korea

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Both Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia said they would continue to work closely with the United States to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, following its most recent nuclear test on Sunday, according to the White House.

Trump and May agreed on a call Tuesday that the "latest reckless act only strengthens the world’s determination to confront the growing North Korean threat," while the president reiterated that "now is not the time to talk" and made clear that "all options remain open to defend the United States and its allies against North Korean aggression."

Speaking with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia Wednesday for more than 30 minutes, both leaders "condemned North Korea’s belligerent actions and confirmed that their two countries will intensify joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea," according to the White House.

In a press conference Wednesday, Turnbull said it was a "good call, very warm discussion, very constructive," and that he and the president discussed both economic sanctions and the important role that China plays in deescalating tensions.

"A conflict would be catastrophic, everyone understands that," Turnbull said.

-- Cora Lewis

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Trump wrongly claims –again – that the US is highest taxed nation in the world

President Trump is heading to North Dakota Wednesday to discuss his tax reform plans and tweeted about his upcoming trip saying that the United States is "the highest taxed nation in the world." This is not true.

Will be going to North Dakota today to discuss tax reform and tax cuts. We are the highest taxed nation in the world - that will change.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the US lands towards the bottom of a ranking of 33 other industrialized nations' tax rates as a portion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

OECD / Via

Official OECD data on tax as a portion of GDP, with USA highlighted in red

OECD / Via

Trump may have been referring to the US’s corporate tax rate, something he did on the campaign trail. That number is high on paper, topping out at 39%, but in practice is almost never paid in full.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, when other typical deductions and credits are taken into account, the US ranks behind Argentina, Japan, and the United Kingdom in terms of corporate taxation.

-- James Ball and Cora Lewis

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Trump leaves the door open for additional action on DACA

Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!

President Trump on Tuesday tweeted that he will revisit the issue of DACA if Congress can't pass an alternative in the roughly six months it will take to wind the current program down.

Trump made good on his campaign promise Tuesday when Attorney General Jeff sessions announced plans to phase out the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The program offered deportation protection to about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children. That group was left grappling with the prospect of being deported — many of them to home countries they have little recollection of — if Congress does not replace DACA.

Trump did not elaborate on how he would revisit the issue, but he has criticized DACA as executive branch overreach by Obama.

Meanwhile, thousands of DACA supporters gathered at rallies across the US Tuesday to protest the decision to end the program, which Trump defended earlier in the day as "the right solution."

—Jason Wells

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Jeff Sessions talked about “terrorism” during his DACA announcement and people had a lot to say about it

Susan Walsh / AP

When US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Tuesday, he didn't merely argue that former President Obama's immigration policy was legally flawed.

Sessions, among a menu of reasons, claimed failing to crack down on undocumented immigrants increases the risk of crime and terrorism.

Critics quickly scorched Sessions for linking undocumented immigrants with bomb-plotting terrorists in the same speech, saying that data don’t support his claim, and that Sessions’ reasoning reveals ill motives behind cancelling a program that protected some young immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.

"There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws," Sessions said from behind a lectern at the Department of Justice. "Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and even terrorism."

But Frank Sharry, executive director of immigration reform group America's Voice, shot back on a press call that Sessions' comments were “a distortion and a lie that is regularly spewed by talk radio.”

"That was right out of the nativist playbook,” he said.

Read more here.

—Dominic Holden

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Scrapping DACA could cost the economy $215 billion

Susan Walsh / AP

Reversing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could cost the economy $215 billion in lost GDP and cost the federal government $60 billion in lost revenue over ten years, according to the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.

Ike Brannon, a visiting fellow at Cato, wrote in a recent blog post: "It is important to note that these estimates are conservative, as DACA recipients will likely end up being more productive than their current salaries indicate, as they complete their degrees and gain experience in the workplace. Nor does this analysis factor in the enforcement cost of physically deporting recipients should the program be eliminated, which we believe would be significant."

California, New York and Florida would bear the greatest costs, according to the Cato Institute's analysis.

Read more here.

—Venessa Wong

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DREAMers worry the information they filed with the government will be used against them after DACA ends

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

When he applied for a program that would protect him from deportation and let him work legally, Manny gave the federal government all of his personal information: his fingerprints, his address, and the names of family members.

Now, with the Trump administration’s announcement that it will shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months, Manny is worried about how the information he divulged so trustingly will be used against him.

“They said they’re not going to do that but the administration doesn’t always follow through with a lot of what it says,” Manny told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t want to live with that sense of fear, thinking my mom is in danger.”

Read more here.

—Adolfo Flores

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Trump defends his decision to end DACA

Evan Vucci / AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens as President Trump speaks during a meeting on tax reform.

Facing widespread backlash over the decision to phase out DACA on Tuesday, President Trump told reporters he's confident it's the "right solution."

In announcing plans to phase out deportation protections for roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, Trump also left open the door for Congress to come up with a legislative replacement for the Obama-era program as DACA winds down in the coming months.

"I have a great heart for these folks we're talking about — a great love for them, and people think in terms of children, but they're really young adults," Trump told reporters while at a White House meeting on tax reform. "I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. And i can tell you, speaking to members of Congress, they want to be able to do something and do it right.

"And really we have no choice, we have to be able to do something, and I think it's going to work out very well. And longterm, it's going to be the right solution."

—Jason Wells

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Obama calls Trump's plan to phase out DACA "cruel"

Susan Walsh / AP

Former President Obama with former Vice President Joe Biden and Diana Calderon, a student who has benefited from DACA, in 2015.

Former President Obama on Tuesday slammed plans to phase out deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children "wrong," "self-defeating," and ultimately, "cruel."

"To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong," Obama wrote in a Facebook post hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. "It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel."

In June 2012, Obama used executive action to provide temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children. There are an estimated 800,000 DACA beneficiaries who are commonly referred to as "DREAMers."

Read more here.

—Talal Ansari

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Lawyers for a DREAMer are already taking action in court to challenge Trump’s reversal of DACA

Matt York / AP

Immigrant rights lawyers opened the first legal front against the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, hours after it was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.

In a court filing Tuesday afternoon, attorneys asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to allow them to amend an existing lawsuit filed on behalf of a Mexican-born man — who came to the United States when he was seven years old and received work authorization under DACA — to address Tuesday’s policy change.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Martín Batalla Vidal, said they planned to raise two claims against the administration’s decision to end DACA: First, that officials failed to offer a “reasoned explanation” for the move, in violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act, and, second, that the decision was unconstitutionally “motivated by anti-Mexican and anti-Latino animus.”

“This administration has no interest in trying to find a compassionate solution,” Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a press call Tuesday afternoon.

Read more here.

—Zoe Tillman and Dominic Holden

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Mexico "deeply regrets" Trump's DACA decision

Mexico on Tuesday said it “deeply regrets” the Trump administration’s decision to phase out DACA.

The Foreign Relations Department also said a statement that Mexico will provide legal services for any of its citizens affected by the decision.

While acknowledging that the US has the right to set whatever immigration policy it sees fit, “in the current situation, the Mexican government has a moral imperative to act,” the statement added.

Mexico also said it would welcome any so-called DREAMers back with "open arms."

—Jason Wells

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Trump releases statement on rescinding DACA, says "time for Congress to act"

Susan Walsh / AP

The White House released a statement from President Trump on its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:

As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.

The legislative branch, not the executive branch, writes these laws – this is the bedrock of our Constitutional system, which I took a solemn oath to preserve, protect, and defend.

In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, social security numbers, and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36. The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their twenties. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.

In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just do these things by myself” – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic.

Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.

There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.

The temporary implementation of DACA by the Obama Administration, after Congress repeatedly rejected this amnesty-first approach, also helped spur a humanitarian crisis – the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.

Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans.

Therefore, in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption. While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today. Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration. This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.

Our enforcement priorities remain unchanged. We are focused on criminals, security threats, recent border-crossers, visa overstays, and repeat violators. I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.

The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.

Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first. We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved. We must reform our green card system, which now favors low-skilled immigration and puts immense strain on U.S. taxpayers. We must base future immigration on merit – we want those coming into the country to be able to support themselves financially, to contribute to our economy, and to love our country and the values it stands for. Under a merit-based system, citizens will enjoy higher employment, rising wages, and a stronger middle class. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue have introduced the RAISE Act, which would establish this merit-based system and produce lasting gains for the American People.

I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to finally address all of these issues in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.

As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful Democratic process – while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve. We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans.

Above all else, we must remember that young Americans have dreams too. Being in government means setting priorities. Our first and highest priority in advancing immigration reform must be to improve jobs, wages and security for American workers and their families.

It is now time for Congress to act!

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AG Sessions announced Tuesday that the DACA program will be rescinded

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would end the program that gives some young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation.

The Department of Homeland Security said it would shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months — what officials called an “orderly wind down” — with the intent of giving Congress time for a potential legislative fix.

“This Administration’s decision to terminate DACA was not taken lightly,” Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, said in a statement. “The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program’s Constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws.”

In a letter to Duke on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Obama’s executive action to enforce DACA was “an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”

Follow the latest here.

–Zoe Tillman and Adrian Carasquillo

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Trump is ready to get the week started, he even tweeted his excitement Monday night

He followed that up on Tuesday morning with tweets on DACA and South Korea

Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!

I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.

–Jessica Simeone

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The estimated power of North Korea's latest nuclear test may have to be revised upwards, Japan says

Kcna Kcna / Reuters

Japan's defense minister said on Tuesday that his government's original estimate of the power of North Korea's most recent nuclear test may have to be revised upwards.

Following a cabinet meeting, Itsunori Onedera said that he had heard that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization — the international organization tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests — could determine that the magnitude of the tremor caused by Sunday's test was larger than originally thought. It may be raised from a magnitude 5.8 tremor, to a 5.9 or 6.0.

Onedera said that, if this were the case, the Japanese Defense Ministry's estimate of the projected destructive capabilities and force of the North's bomb would also have to be revised upwards, and would undoubtedly surpass the power of those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War, NHK reported.

Read more here.

–Francis Whittaker and Tasneem Nashrulla

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Trump reportedly could end DACA on Tuesday but there are still unanswered questions

Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump will announce on Tuesday his decision about the program that gives some young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation.

On Sunday night several outlets reported — first Politico and then several other news organizations including the Associated Press — that Trump is expected to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months, giving Congress time for a potential legislative fix. BuzzFeed News has not been able to independently confirm Trump's decision.

And on Monday evening, The Justice Department said Attorney General Jeff Sessions would hold a briefing "related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program" at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, and that he would not take questions from reporters after. Trump has one public event on Tuesday — a photo-op with aides and members of Congress meeting about changing the tax code.

The media reports about Trump's decision leave open a lot of questions about what would actually happen to the program, and how the details for existing DACA recipients would play out.

Read the full story here.

–Zoe Tillman and Adrian Carrasquillo

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Why does Trump always shoot the hostages?

Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump, cornered, weakened, and apparently unable to get his hands on the usual levers of presidential powers, has adopted pretty much the worst possible strategy for someone trying to wield the power of the most powerful job in the world: He’s shooting the hostages.

Trump can’t seem to get the hard stuff associated with the presidency done. He hasn’t been able to mount a legislative agenda or give federal employees (besides ICE agents and the occasional EPA regulator) the foggiest idea of what he wants them to do. Congress is beyond his control and doesn’t fear him: They slapped him in the face on Russia, and when his allies “burned the ships” to pass a health care bill, his confused conquistadors didn’t make it out.

His remaining political leverage has come largely from the policies left to him as hostages by President Barack Obama: the Paris Climate accord; the Iran nuclear deal; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and, most of all, DACA and the nearly 800,000 sympathetic young Americans it allows to live normal, and sometimes extraordinary, lives.

Read more on this here.

–Ben Smith

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How DACA became an orphan in Trump's White House

Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

On a Friday in the summer of 2012, in the midst of his reelection campaign, former President Barack Obama spoke of "young people who studied in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they're friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one — on paper."

With those words, Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allowed undocumented youth brought to the country as children (known as DREAMers) to stay in the country for two-year periods and receive work authorization.

At the time, Obama's move was seen by Republicans as political posturing to juice the Latino vote in November. But immigrant activists were excited, having spent months leveraging Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's legislative approach to his own DREAMer fix as a means of putting pressure on the White House.

Now, five years later, President Donald Trump looks set to kill that program.

Read the full story here.

–Adrian Carrasquillo

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Republican party autopsy author goes off on GOP as Trump’s DACA decision nears

Pool / Getty Images

As President Donald Trump nears a decision on what to do with undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, Republicans will again face immigration policy issues with the immigration status of thousands with next year's mid-term elections in the mix.

Trump on Tuesday is expected to reveal what he will do with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, an Obama-era initiative that protects those immigrants from deportation. Politico, citing two unidentified sources, reported late Sunday that the White House is expected to end DACA but leave a window for the GOP-controlled Congress to take up the issue. (BuzzFeed News has not confirmed that, though.)

Just four years ago, building stronger relationships with Hispanic voters was among the key recommendations from the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project — better known as the “autopsy” following the party’s loss in the 2012 presidential election.

Read the full story here.

–Henry J. Gomez

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Powerful explosion detected in North Korea in possible nuclear weapons test

Kcna / Reuters

A powerful tremor — a suspected nuclear weapons test — was detected early Sunday in North Korea hours after the country's leadership claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb.

The US Geological Survey recorded a 6.3 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 0.0 kilometers, a strong indicator the event was a nuclear test conducted by Kim Jong Un's military.

North Korea said it detonated a thermonuclear device Sunday, in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, and called it a "perfect success" of "unprecedented" strength.

Minutes after the tremor was detected, South Korea's government said it believed North Korea had conducted a nuclear test, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Read the full story here.

–Salvador Hernandez, Alicia Melville-Smith, Megha Rajagopalan, and Talal Ansari

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.