Tag Archives: officials

Officials: South Carolina school girl died of natural causes

Officials: South Carolina school girl died of natural causesWALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina authorities said Friday that the death of a fifth grade girl at school last month was due to natural causes and not a fight with another student, which they described as lasting only seconds. But the family of the girl disagreed, saying she was repeatedly antagonized by the other student.



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More Trump firings of senior U.S. immigration officials seen likely

More Trump firings of senior U.S. immigration officials seen likelyTwo days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her departure, a senior administration official said others at DHS were not doing enough to enact Trump’s promised immigration crackdown, a top priority for him since he announced his candidacy for the White House four years ago. DHS acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady offered her resignation to Trump, effective Wednesday, after a 28-year career at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, Nielsen said in a tweet late on Tuesday. Several other DHS officials could be forced out soon, said an official familiar with the matter.



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Top Homeland Security officials ousted amid push for tougher policy

Top Homeland Security officials ousted amid push for tougher policyThe oustings come as ABC News has learned President Trump came far closer to closing the southern border than originally thought.



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Russian officials agree to free 'whale jail' animals

Russian officials agree to  free 'whale jail' animalsRussian officials said Monday they will work towards freeing all orca and beluga whales from a notorious facility in the east of the country, after a visit by US-based marine mammal advocates. Nearly 100 whales captured for sale to aquariums have been kept in small pens for months in what the media has nicknamed a “whale jail” in the Russian Far East, as the campaign to release them gathered strength and went global. Kremlin-backed Far Eastern governor Oleg Kozhemyako on Monday announced that he has “made a decision to free the animals into the wild,” after meeting noted environmentalists and campaigners Jean-Michel Cousteau and Charles Vinick who visited the facility last week.



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More Trump firings of senior U.S. immigration officials seen likely

More Trump firings of senior U.S. immigration officials seen likelyTwo days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her departure, a senior administration official said others at DHS were not doing enough to crack down on immigration, a top priority of Trump’s since the day he announced his candidacy for the White House four years ago. Several DHS officials could be forced out soon, said an official familiar with the matter. Among them were the department’s acting No. 2 official, Claire Grady, the source said, DHS general counsel John Mitnick and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna.



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Hundreds arrested by US immigration officials in one of largest raids in a decade

Hundreds arrested by US immigration officials in one of largest raids in a decadeImmigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested nearly 300 people at a Texas tech company in one of the federal agency’s largest raids in a decade. The mass arrest reflects a push by Donald Trump’s administration to target companies employing people who federal authorities say are not allowed to be in the United States. About 200 law enforcement officials descended Wednesday on CVE Technology Group in Allen, a city about 15 miles northeast of Dallas. The technology repair company was employing people working in the US illegally, according to federal authorities, who did not release details on the approximately 280 people who were taken away on buses. Each will face deportation proceedings.In a statement, ICE said that it began auditing CVE employment documents after receiving tips that the business was knowingly hiring people not authorised to work in the country. Homeland Security Investigations, a division of ICE, began an audit in January of CVE records that confirmed hiring irregularities, according to the statement.“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” ICE agent Katrina Berger said. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”But family members of CVE workers who were arrested say the raid was a heavy-handed tactic against people simply working to provide for their families.Valerie Trevino told the Dallas Morning News that her mother, Graciela Velazquez, moved from Mexico 25 years ago and has worked for the company for years. Ms Trevino said her mom does not have a criminal record.“It’s insane to just get people who are working to make a living,” she said. “They’ve done nothing wrong besides work. My mom’s worked her entire life here. So other than that, I mean what really is her crime?”The Texas raid was the latest in a series of high-profile busts of businesses around the country as part of an immigration crackdown under Mr Trump. Critics say the raids break up hard-working families and make it even harder for businesses to find employees in a tight labour market. ICE frequently touts the raids as major operations to break up criminal enterprises, but rarely releases names of the immigrants arrested, making it difficult to see what comes of their cases.The Associated Press contributed to this report



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Trump office cleared 25 officials originally disqualified over security fears, whistleblower claims

Trump office cleared 25 officials originally disqualified over security fears, whistleblower claimsA White House whistleblower has claimed that at least 25 officials originally denied security clearance later had their rejections overturned during Donald Trump’s presidency.  Tricia Newbold, a White House security adviser who has worked for the executive office of the president for 18 years, made the allegation during an interview with a congressional committee.  She said the reasons why the 25 officials had been initially rejected included foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use and criminality.  Explaining her decision to come forward, Ms Newbold said: “I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security.” Two of those people whose rejections were overturned are “senior White House officials” who remain in their jobs to this day, according to Ms Newbold.  Changes to the security clearance system have been adopted since Donald Trump, the US president, took office in January 2017 Credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg None of the 25 officials were named publicly by Ms Newbold, who gave evidence to the House Oversight and Reform Committee over the weekend. A summary of her comments was circulated to members on the committee on Monday.  Figures on the committee, which is controlled by the Democrats, have said previously they are scrutinising how Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, gained their security clearance. They have denied any wrongdoing.  The White House carries out checks before granting people security clearance to make sure they are not compromised in any way or could cause the president embarrassment.  The system helps ensure that figures who gain access to sensitive classified material are not exposed to potential blackmail from foreign adversaries.  The US president has the power to overturn any initial rejection, as do senior staff in the vetting process.  Ms Newbold said she decided to give evidence because she feared her repeated warnings about how the clearance system was working under Mr Trump were not being heeded.  “I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office,” Ms Newbold said, according to the summary of her comments.  Donald Trump, the US president, in the Oval Office Credit: MANDEL NGAN / AFP During her testimony, Ms Newbold, who has worked in Republican and Democrat administrations, outlined three real but anonymised examples of White House officials whose cases she has concerns about.  The first, a “senior White House official”, had their security clearance initially denied because of fears over foreign influence, business links and personal conduct. The decision was overruled by a more senior official who allegedly failed to address all the disqualifying concerns.  The second, also a “senior White House official”, was going to be rejected for a security clearance by Ms Newbold, who outlined a 14-page summary describing “multiple disqualifiers” including foreign influence. She was allegedly told “do not touch” the case. It was later approved.  The third, a “high-profile official” at the White House’s National Security Council, was denied the clearance by Ms Newbold. She says she was then urged to change her recommendation by a colleague. She refused and the denial was sustained. The official is no longer in the White House.  As well as the examples, Ms Newbold detailed a list of other concerns about how the clearance system has changed under the Trump presidency and how she was treated when raising red flags.  Ms Newbold said that the system of automatic credit checks, which helps ensure proposed employees are not susceptible to blackmail, has been stopped.  A row of US flags for the "Celebration of America" at the White House in June 2018 Credit:  AFP PHOTO / Brendan SMIALOWSKI  She said a senior colleague defended the change by arguing that the FBI does credit checks as part of its screening. But she noted that only applied to totally new White House employees and not those coming from other government agencies.  Ms Newbold also expressed fears that interim clearances – which allow an official to temporarily get access to classified material while waiting for full approval – were being used too much.  She “expressed concern about the amount and sensitivity of classified information that was provided to officials who operated for extended periods of time with interim clearances,” according to the summary circulated to the committee.  Ms Newbold raised concerns about the security of personnel files and the lack of staff to meet demand, saying she has “never seen our office so ill-staffed and with such lack of experience”.  She also expressed frustration with how her complaints were handled, noting she had recently been suspended for 14 days without pay for not following a new policy about scanning certain documents in separate pdf files rather than a single pdf file.  Ms Newbold accepted that Mr Trump had the power to overturn rejections of security clearance but questioned whether the right process was being followed.  “[If] the President wants to override us, he can, but that doesn’t mean at any time that we should alter the way we do business based on what someone may have come out with in the end,” she said.  The White House has not yet commented.



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Gaza officials say Palestinian man killed by Israeli troops

Gaza officials say Palestinian man killed by Israeli troopsGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials said Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man near the perimeter fence with Israel early Saturday, hours before a planned mass rally that is to mark a year of weekly border protests.



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Hamas backs Egypt proposal for calm on Israel border: officials

Hamas backs Egypt proposal for calm on Israel border: officialsThe Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas have backed an Egyptian proposal to foster calm on the Israel border ahead of major expected protests, two Hamas officials said Friday. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli side on the potential agreement. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to gather Saturday for the first anniversary of the often violent protests along the border, which Hamas has strongly backed.



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Trump Accuses FBI Officials Who Investigated Him of Treason

Trump Accuses FBI Officials Who Investigated Him of Treason“They wanted an insurance policy against me,” Trump said Wednesday in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, the president’s first since Attorney General William Barr announced on Sunday that Robert Mueller had found no coordination between his campaign and the Russian government. It was treason.



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