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October 17, 2019

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) always knew he'd have to make the most of his time in Congress.

Cummings, the leader of the House Oversight Committee, died Thursday at 68 due to "complications concerning longstanding health challenges." He'd represented Baltimore in Congress for the past 23 years, and from his first day on the job, used it to call for finding "common ground" between opposing parties in the chamber.

After he earned his seat in a special election to replace retiring Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Cummings made a short floor speech recalling his time in the Maryland House of Delegates. "Our world would be a much better world, a much better place, if we would only concentrate on the things we have in common," Cummings recalled "often" saying in his previous position. He then relayed how his time in Congress would be centered on "a mission and a vision to empower people," and read a poem by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays to explain how he'd spend the short "minute" of his life.

Watch the whole speech, along with Cummings' first C-SPAN interview, below. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 1, 2019

Mad about the number of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States, President Trump came up with a plan this spring that he was sure would solve the problem: shut down the entire 2,000-mile southern border.

More than a dozen White House and administration officials told The New York Times all about this wild idea, which came up during a meeting in March with high-ranking officials like then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and Stephen Miller, his hardliner immigration adviser, were also present.

Not only did Trump want the border shut down, the officials told the Times, but he wanted it done by noon the next day. Thinking about the number of tourists who would get stranded and goods unable to cross over from the U.S. to Mexico, they knew this was a terrible idea, but that was par for the course — the officials told the Times Trump had already talked about electrifying the wall, putting alligators and snakes in a trench in front of the wall, and shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down.

Trump was filled with rage, the officials said, cursing and saying, "You are making me look like an idiot! I ran on this. It's my issue." After the meeting, Trump agreed to give them a week to close the border down, and finally, after promises were quickly made to do something about the number of border crossings and asylum requests, he decided the border could stay open, the Times reports.

By that point, Miller was in Trump's ear, saying now was the right time to do a purge and get rid of Homeland Security officials who had too much empathy for asylum seekers and told Trump when his ideas broke the law, the officials told the Times. Read more about the overhaul and the attempts to push back against Trump at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

September 25, 2019

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of the only GOP lawmakers publicly asking questions about President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he's pretty sure he knows why.

"I think it's very natural for people to look at circumstances and see them in the light that's most amenable to their maintaining power, and doing things to preserve that power," Romney said during an appearance Wednesday at The Atlantic Festival.

Earlier in the day, he told reporters the partial transcript of the call is "deeply troubling," and the Senate is "also looking at the testimony of the whistleblower." These comments echoed sentiments he tweeted on Sunday, when Romney said, "If the president asked or pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling to the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out." Catherine Garcia

September 24, 2019

It's (reportedly) happening.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will announce an impeachment inquiry into President Trump during a 5 p.m. press conference Tuesday, a number of Democratic officials tell The Washington Post. It comes after Trump admitted to asking Ukraine's government to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, prompting a wave of House Democrats to voice their support for impeachment.

Speculation that Pelosi, a long holdout when it comes to impeachment, would announce the inquiry has only been growing since even freshman Democrats in tentatively held seats flipped to impeachment's side. And now, after reportedly meeting with Democratic aides and lawmakers, she has reportedly changed her mind.

Pelosi remained mum in an interview at The Atlantic's festival on Tuesday, though she did offer reactions to Trump's announcement that he would release the transcript of his call with Ukraine's Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky. "We have many other, shall we say, candidates for impeachable offense in terms of the Constitution ... but this one is the most understandable by the public," she said, before relaying a cryptic hint of what she had in store for that evening. Watch her teaser below. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 27, 2019

An incoming Harvard freshman says after flying into Boston on Friday, his visa was rejected and he was deported due to social media posts made by his friends.

Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian resident of Lebanon, told The Harvard Crimson that immigration officials at Boston Logan Airport questioned him about his religion and religious practices. One official asked him for his phone and laptop, he said, and five hours later, "she called me into a room, and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the U.S. on my friend list." Ajjawi added that he told the official he never makes political posts on social media, and was not responsible for the views of others.

Eight hours after his arrival at the airport, Ajjawi's visa was canceled and he was put on a flight back to Lebanon. Customs and Border Patrol confirmed with CBS News that Ajjawi was "deemed inadmissible" by the officer. A Harvard spokesperson said the university is "working closely with the student's family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so that he can join his classmates in the coming days." Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2019

Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan wasn't moved by video of a weeping 11-year-old girl, begging for the release of her parents after they were detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Mississippi last week.

"I understand that the girl is upset and I get that," Morgan told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "But her father committed a crime." On Wednesday, ICE raided seven agricultural plants and arrested 680 people. During an interview with a local news station, the girl cried and pleaded with the government to let her parents go. "My dad didn't do nothing," she said. "He's not a criminal."

Morgan, who told Tapper the girl has since been reunited with her mother, said the interview was "done on purpose to show a picture like that," and insisted that the news should instead talk to people whose identities have been stolen by undocumented immigrants. "It is not just a victimless crime that's going on here," he said.

Tapper also asked Morgan why only employees were rounded up on Wednesday and not the people who hired them, and he responded that investigators are still collecting information under a criminal search warrant. Watch the interview below. Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2019

Jimmy Aldaoud has spent nearly his entire life in Detroit.

Yet amid an uptick in ICE raids, the 41-year-old diabetic man was picked up and deported to Iraq, where he says he couldn't get the insulin he needed and was sleeping on the streets. And after three months out of the U.S., Aldaoud died Tuesday, likely because of his inability to obtain insulin, Politico reports.

On Wednesday, a video of Aldaoud was posted on Facebook showing him crouching on the street in Iraq. "I've been in the United States since six months old," he said in the video. "I don’t understand the language... I've been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the street, trying to find something to eat. I've got nothing over here," he added. Aldaoud said in the video it had been two and a half weeks since his deportation, and after three months in Iraq, he died, the ACLU and Aldaoud's family told Politico.

Aldaoud's removal came as the Trump administration moved to deport more than 1,400 Iraqis. That included many people in Aldaoud's community of Chaldean Catholics, a group that has faced persecution and violence in the Middle East. Aldaoud was originally placed in a holy city for Shiites, but the ACLU and his family managed to get him to a small group of Chaldeans in Baghdad, per The Washington Post. Still, the insulin he needed was impossible to find, and as immigration attorney who says he's close to Aldaoud's family wrote on Facebook, Aldaoud's "blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration."

Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 5, 2019

Gun violence is an entirely American problem, and these newspapers know it.

Over the weekend, a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left 21 people dead, and another nine were killed in Dayton, Ohio less than a day later. The shootings instantly became national news and, as many papers across the country made clear with their blunt and moving front pages, just two more examples of an undeniably rampant problem in the U.S.

The Tampa Bay Times, which saw last year's Parkland shooting in its state of Florida, used a bold headline to declare the U.S. is "one nation under fire."

The Boston Globe brutally ran side-by-side images of camo-clad officers patrolling El Paso and bystanders caring for a shooting victim in Dayton, writing that "this is what we've become."

The Dallas Morning News, which saw a likely attempt at a shooting at its federal building in June, meanwhile spelled out what many Americans are probably thinking in the wake of the 250th and 251st mass shootings this year: "Again? Yes, again."

Some papers shared outright calls for action, like how the Austin American-Statesman ran its editorial decrying "American carnage" on the front page.

The Chicago Sun-Times was even more straightforward, putting the headline for its "blame the guns" editorial on its front page as well.

The conservative New York Post, owned by Fox News' Rupert Murdoch, also used its Monday edition to call on Trump to "ban assault weapons." Kathryn Krawczyk

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