Seattle, Jan 11(AP/UNB) — A Seattle TV station has fired an editor after airing video footage of President Donald Trump's Oval Office address on immigration that appears to be altered.
FOX affiliate Q13 broadcast video from the Tuesday night speech that showed a more orange-toned Trump with his tongue hanging out languidly from his mouth after making a statement.
The video's filtered colors look more saturated and the tongue appears doctored. Mynorthwest.com posted side-by-side videos showing the discrepancies.
Q13 news director Erica Hill said: "This does not meet our editorial standards and we regret if it is seen as portraying the president in a negative light."
Hill also confirmed on Thursday that the station investigated the incident and fired the editor involved.
Trump in his televised address had urged for border wall funding amid the federal government shutdown that's lasted nearly three weeks.
Washington, Jan 11 (AP/UNB) — Members of Congress called for the protection of press freedom around the world Thursday as they honored a U.S.-based Saudi columnist who was killed inside his country's consulate in Turkey in October.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia were among those attending an event at the Capitol marking 100 days since the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Pelosi said Congress is committed to seeing that the people responsible for his killing are held accountable.
"We must honor our moral responsibility to safeguard the lives and liberties of journalists both at home and abroad," she told a room of lawmakers, journalists and activists.
"If we decide that commercial interests should override the statements that we make and the actions that we take then we must admit that we have lost all moral authority," she said.
Khashoggi wrote op-ed columns for The Washington Post that were critical of the government of his native Saudi Arabia and his killing has strained the decades-long ties Saudi Arabia enjoys with the United States. Post Publisher Fred Ryan also was at the event.
Pelosi called on the U.S. to stand up to threats against journalists everywhere and pledged that U.S. lawmakers would work as long as it takes until there is justice for Khashoggi.
As lawmakers have turned up pressure on the U.S. to punish the kingdom, Trump Administration officials have argued Saudi Arabia serves as a bulwark in combating aggression from Iran that threatens the United States.
Khashoggi, 59, entered the consulate Oct. 2 as his fiancée waited outside.
Saudi Arabia denied for weeks that Khashoggi had been killed but later changed its story and ultimately acknowledged the brutal slaying.
The kingdom indicted 11 people over the killing and announced last week that it will seek the death penalty against five of them.
Khashoggi's body, believed to have been dismembered after his killing, has yet to be found.
Washington, Jan 11(AP/UNB) — The Trump administration is considering using billions in unspent disaster relief funds earmarked for areas including hurricane-pounded Puerto Rico and Texas and more than a dozen other states to pay for President Donald Trump's border wall as he weighs signing a national emergency declaration to get it built without Congress.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to comb through its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds that Congress earmarked last year, to see what money could be diverted to the wall as part of a declaration. That's according to a congressional aide and administration official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
It is the latest sign that the administration is laying the groundwork for a possible emergency order as negotiations between Trump and congressional Democrats to reopen the partially shuttered government have ground to a halt. Trump is demanding billions for his wall that Democrats won't give him. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are set to miss paychecks Friday.
Trump on Thursday gave his strongest public indication yet that he is leaning toward an emergency declaration as he traveled to the Texas border to continue to press his case for the wall.
Trump told reporters as he left the White House that he was still holding out hope for a deal, but that if it "doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely."
Todd Semonite, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, was traveling with Trump on Thursday. The Army Corps of Engineers directed questions to the Pentagon, which directed questions to Congress.
Nearly $14 billion in emergency disaster relief funds have been allocated but not yet obligated through contracts for a variety of projects in states including California, Florida and Texas and in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico that have been ravaged by recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, according to the aide familiar with the matter.
The money funds a variety of projects, mostly flood control to prevent future disasters.
A second official with knowledge of the proposal said it would fund construction of about 315 miles (500 kilometers) of border barrier. Right now, barriers blanket about one-third of the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border with Mexico.
Defense Department officials had already been combing data on more than $10 billion in military construction projects to determine how much of it would be available for emergency spending this year.
Officials have estimated that roughly one-quarter to one-third of the money, or $2.5 billion to $3 billion, could be available — less than the $5.7 billion Trump is seeking. The majority has also already been obligated — meaning that it has been spent or a contract has been signed and there would be penalties for cancellation.
Regardless of where the money is found, an emergency declaration would draw immediate legal challenge from Democrats, who have accused Trump of trying to manufacture a crisis at the southern border to justify his wall. Critics have said the move would be an unconstitutional abuse of emergency powers. Trump said Thursday that his lawyers have told him he has the "absolute right."
Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised immediate concerns over shifting funds that have already been approved by Congress for projects in states across the nation.
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he has been hearing from lawmakers in recent days concerned that Army Corps projects in their states could be canceled or postponed.
"If they drag the money out of here," Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, "a lot of members will have problem with it."
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is "a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall."
He said the Army Corps works on dams, levees and other projects across the nation and has an enormous backlog of unfunded needs. "It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy" to divert the money to the border wall, he said.
And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said in a statement that it would be "beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens' lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump's foolish, offensive and hateful wall."
"Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won't fall for it," she said.
Cairo, Jan 10 (AP/UNB) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was holding talks with Egyptian leaders in Cairo on Thursday as he continued a nine-nation Mideast tour aimed at reassuring America's Arab partners that the Trump administration is not walking away from the region.
Amid confusion and concern over plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Pompeo was meeting Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss security and economic cooperation. He was also to deliver a speech on U.S.-Egypt relations and the administration's broader Mideast objectives.
President Donald Trump has boasted of his close relationship with el-Sissi, a former general who has been criticized for his human rights record and democratic shortcomings. The Trump administration has resumed weapons sales to Egypt that has been suspended over human rights concerns, including the jailing of several American citizens on what U.S. officials say are false charges.
Shortly before Pompeo got to Cairo, the State Department released a fact sheet detailing close U.S. cooperation with Egypt that noted some improvements in the country's human rights record. It said Washington welcomed the recent acquittal of employees of American civil society groups who had been "wrongly convicted of improperly operating in Egypt" and said the U.S. supports el-Sissi's pledges "to amend Egyptian law to prevent future miscarriages of justice."
On Wednesday, however, an Egyptian court sentenced a leading activist behind the country's 2011 uprising to 15 years in prison after convicting him of taking part in clashes between protesters and security forces later that year.
The statement went on to laud Egypt for its "vital role" in regional security and stability and lauded el-Sissi for being "a steadfast partner in the anti-terror fight and a courageous voice in denouncing the radical Islamist ideology that fuels it."
Pompeo arrived in Egypt after stops in Jordan and Iraq where he sought to assure leaders that withdrawing from Syria doesn't mean the U.S. is abandoning the fight against the Islamic State group or easing pressure on Iran. From Egypt, Pompeo will travel to the Gulf Arab states of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait to press the case.
Washington, Jan 10 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump walked out of his negotiating meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday — "I said bye-bye," he tweeted— as efforts to end the 19-day partial government shutdown fell into deeper disarray over his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a negotiating session that was over almost as soon as it began, Democrats went to the White House asking Trump to reopen the government. Trump renewed his call for money for his signature campaign promise and was rebuffed. Republicans and Democrats had differing accounts of the brief exchange, but the result was clear: The partial shutdown continued with no end in sight.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will miss paychecks on Friday; a little more than half of them are still working without pay. Other key federal services are suspended, including some food inspections. And as some lawmakers expressed discomfort with the growing toll of the standoff, it was clear Wednesday that the wall was at the center.
Trump revived his threat to attempt to override Congress by declaring a national emergency to unleash Defense Department funding for the wall. He's due to visit the border Thursday to highlight what he declared in an Oval Office speech Tuesday night as a "crisis." Democrats say Trump is manufacturing the emergency to justify a political ploy.
That debate set the tone for Wednesday's sit-down at the White House.
Republicans said Trump posed a direct question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: If he opened the government, would she fund the wall? She said no. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump slammed his hand on the table, said "then we have nothing to discuss" and walked out.
Republicans said Trump, who passed out candy at the start of the meeting, did not raise his voice and there was no table pounding. Pelosi said Trump "stomped" out of the room and was "petulant." Republicans said he was merely firm.
"The president made clear today that he is going to stand firm to achieve his priorities to build a wall — a steel barrier — at the southern border," Vice President Mike Pence told reporters afterward.
Trump had just returned from Capitol Hill, where he urged jittery congressional Republicans to hold firm with him. He suggested a deal for his border wall might be getting closer, but he also said the shutdown would last "whatever it takes."
He discussed the possibility of a sweeping immigration compromise with Democrats to protect some immigrants from deportation but provided no clear strategy or timeline for resolving the standoff, according to senators in the private session. He left the Republican lunch boasting of "a very, very unified party," but GOP senators are publicly uneasy as the standoff ripples across the lives of Americans and interrupts the economy.
Trump insisted at the White House: "I didn't want this fight." But it was his sudden rejection of a bipartisan spending bill late last month that blindsided leaders in Congress, including Republican allies, now seeking a resolution to the shutdown.
The effects are growing. The Food and Drug Administration says it isn't doing routine food inspections because of the partial federal shutdown, but checks of the riskiest foods are expected to resume next week.
The agency said it's working to bring back about 150 employees to inspect more potentially hazardous foods such as cheese, infant formula and produce. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency can't make the case that "a routine inspection of a Nabisco cracker facility" is necessary during the shutdown, however. He said inspections would have ramped up this week for the first time since the holidays, so the lapse in inspections of high-risk foods will not be significant if they resume soon.
Republicans are mindful of the growing toll on ordinary Americans, including disruptions in payments to farmers and trouble for home buyers who are seeking government-backed mortgage loans — "serious stuff," according to Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was among several senators who questioned Trump at the Capitol.
"I addressed the things that are very local to us — it's not just those who don't receive a federal paycheck perhaps on Friday, but there are other consequences," she said, mentioning the inability to certify weight scales for selling fish. The president's response? "He urged unity."
That unity was tested late Wednesday when the House passed a spending bill, 240-188, to reopen one shuttered department, Treasury, to ensure that tax refunds and other financial services continue. Eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting, defying the plea to stick with the White House.
Democrats said before the White House meeting that they would ask Trump to accept an earlier bipartisan bill to reopen the government with money for border security but not the wall. Pelosi warned that the effects of hundreds of thousands of lost paychecks would begin to ripple across the economy.
"The president could end the Trump shutdown and reopen the government today, and he should," Pelosi said.
Ahead of his visit to Capitol Hill, Trump renewed his notice that he might declare a national emergency and try to authorize the wall on his own if Congress won't approve the money he's asking.
"I think we might work a deal, and if we don't, I might go that route," he said.
Republicans are particularly concerned about such a threat, seeing that as an unprecedented claim on the right of Congress to allocate funding except in the direst circumstances.
"I prefer that we get this resolved the old-fashioned way," Thune said.
Trump did not mention the idea of a national emergency declaration Tuesday night. A person familiar with deliberations who was unauthorized to discuss the situation said additional "creative options" were being considered, including shifting money from other accounts or tapping other executive authorities for the wall.
Trump on Wednesday floated ideas for a broader immigration overhaul. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has suggested a compromise that would include wall funding as well as protecting some immigrants — young "Dreamers" and those in Temporary Protective Status, two programs Trump is eliminating — from deportation.