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A federal judge has halted part of an executive order threatening so-called “sanctuary cities” with the loss of federal funds if they do not comply with requests from immigration enforcement agents.

Judge William Orrick granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against section 9(a) of Executive Order 13768, signed Jan. 25, which sought to ensure in part that “jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.”

San Francisco and Santa Clara Country, joined in “friend of the court” briefs by localities across the country, objected to that language in related lawsuits against the federal government. Attorneys for both plaintiffs argued that the executive order violated the principles of federalism.

Orrick jointly took up the cases on April 14, promising a decision on the two governments’ requests for a nationwide injunction “as soon as I can,” according to KPIX.

In his decision Tuesday, noting that the order threatened “hundreds of millions” of federal dollars at the local level, Orrick wrote “The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds.”

A spokesperson for the White House did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment on the injunction. However, in an April 3 campaign email headlined “Sued,” Trump wrote: “Sanctuary cities like Seattle and San Francisco have spent decades breaking our country’s immigration laws — and getting away with it. Not anymore!”

In a statement obtained by NBC, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said the decision was “a win for the neediest people in our nation. Seniors in need of food, foster youth in need of shelter and children who need medical care.”

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera said that “the Trump administration backed down,” according to NBC.

“This is why we have courts — to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don’t understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it.”

Part of the nationwide panic over the executive order came from the lack of any clear definition of “sanctuary city.” The executive order authorized Attorney General Jeff Sessions to designate localities sanctuary cities, though a Justice Department attorney argued to Judge Orrick in mid-April, “There’s no enforcement action on the table.”

Sessions himself, two weeks earlier, had promised to “claw-back” Justice Department grants awarded to governments not in compliance with 8 U.S. Code § 1373, which sets guidelines for information sharing between localities and federal immigration enforcement officials.

Many localities, especially after Trump issued the executive order on Jan. 25, have said that they do not use the term to describe themselves, but nonetheless do not cooperate with ICE’s requests to hold arrestees suspected to be eligible for deportation past when they would have otherwise been released.

In February, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told a group of law enforcement officers that he had “no clue” what the term meant.

Read the injunction order below:

This post has been updated.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took on his next international challenge: retaliating against Canada, whose leaders have apparently “outsmarted” U.S. politicians for years.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced late Monday that Trump’s administration will impose new tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada.

Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that Canada “has made business” for dairy farmers “very difficult” as well.

“We will not stand for this. Watch!” he posted.

“People don’t realize Canada’s been very rough on the United States,” Trump said during a White House roundtable with farmers Tuesday afternoon. “Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful and so do I, I love Canada, but they’ve outsmarted our politicians for many years.”

“Do you fear a trade war with Canada?” a reporter asked.

“No, not at all,” Trump said. “They have a tremendous surplus with the United States. Whenever they have a surplus, I have no fear.”

He went on to claim “virtually every country” has a trade surplus with the United States.

“We have massive trade deficits,” Trump said. “So when we’re the country with the deficits, we have no fear.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that his country’s economic connection to the United States is “not just a one-way relationship,” according to a report by Canadian broadcaster CTV.

“There are millions of good U.S. jobs that depend on smooth flow of goods, services and people back and forth across our border,” he said. “You cannot thicken this border without hurting people on both sides of it.”

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that construction will “100 percent” begin on his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border “soon.”

“The wall’s going to get built, folks. In case anybody has any questions, the wall’s going to get built,” Trump told reporters at a photo opportunity during a roundtable with farmers. “The wall is going to get built.”

Trump said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told him “we definitely, desperately need the wall.”

“And we’re going to have the wall built. I mean, I don’t know what people are talking — I watch these shows, and the pundits in the morning, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “The wall gets built, 100 percent.”

Asked when construction would begin, Trump said: “Soon.”

“We’re already preparing. We’re doing plans, we’re doing specifications, we’re doing a lot of work on the wall,” he said. “The wall is very, very important.”

“In your first term?” a reporter asked.

“Well, it’s certainly going to — yeah, yeah, sure,” Trump said. “We have plenty of time. Got a lot of time.”

With mere days before Friday’s deadline to continue funding the government, the White House is delivering mixed messages on whether President Trump will demand money for a border wall. But lawmakers, including many Republicans, signaled Tuesday that they are navigating around Trump’s about-faces and are close to sealing a deal to keep the lights on.

“We’re moving forward on reaching an agreement on a bipartisan basis to fund the government. Hopefully, we will reach an agreement some time in the next couple of days,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at a press conference Tuesday following a Senate GOP lunch where Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance.

The assurances from McConnell came after the Trump administration seemed to waffle on its desire to get funding for a physical border wall in the government spending legislation currently being negotiated. At a reception Monday evening with conservative journalists, Trump reportedly said he would be willing to wait until the next major government funding deadline, likely in September, to secure appropriations for the wall. However, on Tuesday morning, some of his White House aides walked that back, suggesting that wall funding was still an administration demand for the current bill.

“The wall gets built, 100 percent,” Trump vowed Tuesday. But when pressed by reporters on the timing, the president would only say “soon.”

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, lawmakers took Trump’s apparent shift as a given and are moving forward in their discussions across the aisle with the assumption that the funding bill will contain appropriations for broader border security—including surveillance technology and personnel—as opposed to a physical barrier.

“I think Trump’s backed off the wall,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who had dinner with the president Monday evening. “I got the sense that he’s not going to take this fight too far. He understands border security is important, but he’s not going to overplay his hand.”

Republicans submitted to Democrats on Tuesday a funding plan that does not include border wall appropriations, the Washington Post and NBC News reported.

“I don’t know any more about the shift on the wall than you do. I just know what I’ve heard and read,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of the Appropriations committee, told reporters earlier Tuesday. “But I think it’s an indication that both sides are at the moment when you need to come to a realization that the President has to have some Democrats in the Senate, and maybe even in the House, who will vote for the bill, and the Democrats have some things they would like to see happen with this updated bill that—they don’t happen unless the President will sign it.”

Coming out of the GOP lunch—the first conference-wide meeting among Senate Republicans since the two-week congressional recess—some Republican senators played down that there was any real threat of a government shutdown.

Sen. Rodger Wicker (R-MS) told reporters that there was never a “real chance” that would happen under unified Republican government. “We’re exactly where we want to be in terms of keeping the government open,” he said. “It looks like there are not going to be any hiccups.”

Others were less than satisfied that the budget negotiations are going down to the wire with a shutdown threat looming.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) emerged from the lunch with Pence visibly frustrated. “This is, frankly, professional malpractice,” he told reporters. “We are seven months past last year’s fiscal end. We’re now talking about another week’s delay to figure out how to fund the federal government.”

McConnell withheld any criticisms of Trump when asked about the White House’s involvement in negotiations, instead blaming Democrats for not being able to work with the administration.

Minutes later, at a press conference after lunch with his own Senate conference, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shot back that he made it clear to McConnell that funding for a wall would be unacceptable to Democrats.

“I said, ‘Only you can persuade [Trump] that he shouldn’t do the wall because it will cause a government shutdown.’ And I don’t know if Senator McConnell played a role. If he did, more power to him. If he didn’t, I’m glad it worked out,” Schumer said.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The highest court in the United Methodist Church considered Tuesday whether to invalidate the election of the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, amid a struggle to avoid schism over the Bible and same-sex relationships.

The challenge was filed last year to the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, who is married to another woman. Church law bars clergy appointments of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” a stand that has come under increasing pressure from LGBT Methodists and their supporters as gay rights have made dramatic gains.

The 12.8 million-member denomination, the third-largest faith group in the United States, came close to fracturing last year at its legislative meeting, or General Conference. A commission has been searching for ways to stay united. On the eve of Tuesday’s hearing, Methodist bishops announced a special assembly for February 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri, dedicated exclusively to differences over church law related LGBT people.

The denomination has seen its greatest growth in recent years in Africa and other parts of the world where theologically conservative views prevail on marriage. Overseas Methodists have been standing with U.S. evangelicals to insist the church uphold the ban on clergy in same-sex relationships and discipline those who violate the policy.

The hearing Tuesday, in a hotel conference room in Newark, New Jersey, was closely watched, the subject of prayer and activism from around the church. Spectators lined the hall outside the hearing awaiting a security check to enter. Many wore rainbow-colored stoles and T-shirts that read, “United Methodist Queer Clergy #ComeOut.”

Oliveto sat in the front row surrounded by bishops from the church’s Western Jurisdiction, where she leads a region based in Denver. Across the aisle, the woman who filed the challenge, Dixie Brewster of the Oklahoma-based South Central Jurisdiction, sat with the Rev. Keith Boyette, an attorney who argued her case. Oliveto attended with her wife, her mother and her childhood pastor.

The three-hour discussion before the church Judicial Council largely focused on technical issues of church law, including whether regional jurisdictions alone have the authority to decide whom they can consecrate as bishops. Richard Marsh, who advocated on behalf of the Western Jurisdiction and defended the validity of Oliveto’s election, said throwing out the election results would “violate the structure” of the denomination by giving one region a say in another region’s choice of bishops. Boyette contended that allowing Oliveto’s election to stand would sow “chaos” in the denomination by allowing defiance of church law.

A ruling from the council is expected within a few days. Potential outcomes range from a narrow decision on procedure alone that keeps Oliveto in place to a decision that would void her election.

Oliveto was not required to speak at the hearing, but said after the session she had received “boxes and boxes” of letters, along with emails from people across the church, supporting her. She cried when recounting the messages from young LGBT people who tell her they have “heard from pulpits that they are not welcome,” or have been kicked out of their homes by their parents.

Oliveto said she was thinking about other gay and lesbian Methodist clergy “who have been serving in the silence of closets, in order to be faithful to God’s call.”

“I am not the first gay bishop,” she said, “and I won’t be the last.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Talk radio host and conservative tastemaker Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday lamented what he described as President Donald Trump “caving” on his demands for funding for a border wall.

“I’m not happy to have to pass this on,” Limbaugh said, according to the show’s transcript. “I’m very, very troubled to have to pass this on. And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong, and I hope this is not the case. But it looks like, from here, right here, right now, it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall on the border with Mexico.”

He added: “The Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way.”

Indeed, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has repeatedly said that Democrats would refuse to fund the government before the deadline Friday if the funding bill includes money for a wall.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not explicitly say Tuesday that the President had dropped his demand for wall funding in the stopgap bill, but he repeatedly referred to the next fiscal year, beginning in October.

“The President’s priorities are clear for FY17,” he said during his daily briefing. “There’s a lot of things that we can do in the remaining months up until the end of September for planning and making sure that we get everything that we need — funding that we need for that aspect of things — and then as we go into FY18, we’ll continue to ask for more.”

Fox News reported Tuesday, according to two unnamed sources who attended a meeting of conservative journalists with the President Monday afternoon, that Trump told the group he would be willing to delay funding for the wall until September.

Trey Yingst of the conservative One America News Network tweeted Monday that Trump had said as much during the meeting, and an unnamed White House official confirmed the comment to Bloomberg.

Publicly, Trump has put on a brave face during the turmoil:

“I use the word ‘cave’ guardedly,” Limbaugh added later in the show. “Trump, I’m sure, does not ever think he caves on anything. But outward appearances are what they are. And the bottom line is that if he is willing to withdraw a demand of his for a measly billion dollars for the wall because the Democrats are threatening a shutdown then the Democrats will have just learned that this threat works on Trump, too, not just all the other Republicans.”

H/t Political Wire

Asked Tuesday if former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have broken the law by failing to disclose information on his security clearance application, White House press secretary Sean Spicer dodged.

“That would be a question for him,” Spicer said at the daily press briefing.
“I don’t know what he filled out or what he did or did not do.”

The bipartisan leaders of the House Oversight Committee announced Tuesday that there was “no evidence” that Flynn made the appropriate disclosures about payments he accepted from foreign governments, which he is forbidden from accepting as a former military officer. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said Flynn failed to note the $45,000 he was paid by Russian state media outlet RT to give a speech in Moscow in 2015 on his January 2016 security clearance application.

Spicer argued that Flynn filled out that form during the Obama administration, and brushed aside questions about the White House refusing the committee’s request for any documents “referring or relating to Lieutenant General Flynn’s contacts with foreign nationals.”

Spicer’s argument was three-pronged. One, the Department of Defense also received a request for some of those documents and complied. Two, Flynn’s communications simply amounted to too much information for the White House to sift through. And three, the Trump team wasn’t aware of Flynn’s activities prior to Inauguration Day, though he served as a top campaign adviser and was a named national security adviser for the administration at the time.

“To say we want the national security adviser, whose job it is to talk with foreign counterparts on a daily basis, to document every call he may or may not have made is not a request that is able to be filled,” Spicer said, calling the request “outlandish.”

Journalists pointed out that all of Flynn’s calls were made as a representative of Trump, and that it was the transition team’s responsibility to properly investigate the background of an individual who would have access to the nation’s highest-level intelligence secrets.

“Why wasn’t he more closely vetted during the transition period?” one reporter asked.

“You fill out the forms and do a background check,” Spicer responded. “And they have a security clearance and fill it out and that’s how everyone operates under the same guise.”

As CNN reported, former government officials like Flynn would be asked to re-apply for national security clearances when they return to public service, and would have to detail any payments received by foreign governments.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday fervently denied that funding and the beginning of construction on President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the United States’ border with Mexico will be delayed.

“Yesterday, President Trump reportedly said that he’s going to delay pushing the wall through. Can you just clarify what the status is?” Associated Press reporter Vivian Salama asked Spicer at his daily briefing.

“I think he tweeted about this earlier,” Spicer replied. “His priorities have not changed. There will be a wall built.”

Spicer said that there is “plenty of planning that can be done” in the current fiscal year.

“Our priorities are clear going into FY17, the remainder of budgeting for that, and we’ll continue to ask for more in FY18,” he said, referring to fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

“So it’s delayed for now,” Salama pressed.

“No, I didn’t — no, no, no, no. I never — no one said delayed. No, no,” Spicer said.

White House officials over the weekend signaled uncertainty as to whether Trump would be willing to sign a must-pass spending bill to avert a government shutdown if it did not include funding for his proposed border wall.

The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing an unnamed White House official, that Trump privately told conservative journalists he “was open to delaying funding for wall construction.”

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday morning that funding the wall “can happen later this year and into next year.”

Spicer appeared to remain adamant, however, telling ABC’s Jon Karl that Trump has not backed down.

Trump himself took to Twitter to exhort followers: “Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL.”

“So is the President no longer insisting that there is money for the wall in this current appropriations bill?” Karl asked Spicer during the briefing.

“The President’s priorities are clear for FY17. There’s a lot of things that we can do in the remaining months,” Spicer said again. “And then as we go into FY18 we’ll continue to ask for more.”

“So the President is not insisting that he has money for actual construction of the wall?” Karl asked.

“Look, I’m not going to get — we are still in discussions with the House and Senate leadership. But I think the President’s been very clear that he wants a wall,” Spicer said. “He wants it done as soon as we can do it.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is set to name Randolph Alles as the new director of the Secret Service.

That’s according to an administration official speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak on the record before the formal announcement.

Alles is acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection and previously spent 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The agency has faced a number of high-profile incidents in recent weeks, including a fence jumper last month who spent more than 15 minutes roaming the White House grounds.

Secret Service spokesman Joe Casey declined to comment on the pending announcement and referred comments to the White House.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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