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Latest from Jon Lewis

    The supplies are nice, but the Red Cross does not need blankets, water, or diapers. What they can really use is cash.  'We can turn that into help that's needed immediately,' says Sherry Nicholson, with the Red Cross in Atlanta.  She tells WSB that getting items to the Houston area, and areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey, is difficult. Distributing those supplies is even more difficult, and the tractor-trailers carrying those loads can create blocked roads and trouble for law enforcement.  Besides, she says, anything that is needed can be purchased, and at a lower price by the Red Cross.  Take, for example, someone who arrives at a shelter soaked, with only the clothes they have on.  'A Red Cross worker steps up, wraps a Red Cross blanket around that person,' Nicholson says, 'and can give them a meal, can give them a comfort kit, which contains all those things we take for granted, like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant. All those things we take for granted.'  It costs the Red Cross about $17 to provide that. The recipient gets two blankets; one to line their cot and another to cover themselves.  Through the donations of restaurants, hotel chains and suppliers, the agency can buy what is needed.  They also send supplies to the disaster area, with one of those distribution centers located in our area.  A Red Cross Center located in Union City has sent truckloads of needed items to the Houston area.  Those items, like meals and blankets, have gone out. Cleaning items will go later.  'The mops, the shovels, the brooms, the bleach, as people are able to get back and maybe clean a little bit,' Nicholson says.
  • We have warned you about skimmers. The latest device that crooks use to steal credit card information is called a Shim.   A shim is exactly what you might think. It is a thin, small card, wedged into an ATM or at a gas pump. Once inserted, it steals information.   'It's inserted into the Dip and Wait card slot,' says Dottie Callina of the Better Business Bureau, “in an ATM, at a gas pump or, really, anywhere.'   Unlike skimmers, which can be bulky and very noticeable, shims are almost undetectable.   'Where it is, it intercepts data off your chip,' Callina tells WSB, 'your credit card or debit card chip, the EMV chip, the one that's supposed to protect everybody.'   The BBB is telling people that, if possible, they should use tap and pay, like Apple or Samsung pay, to avoid the scam. In addition, they warn, if the card is not going into the reader smoothly and something appears to be blocking it, there may be a shimmer inside.   The scam has been used in other parts of the United States and in Canada, but has not been repoened in the Atlanta area. Yet.
  • Mistakes were made. A lot of mistakes and, in the end, they led to the murders of two Georgia Corrections officers.  The GBI has completed its investigation into the June 13 shootings of corrections officer Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue and found that some procedures were not followed. That, according to the report, led to the murders by inmates Ricky DuBose and Donnie Russell Rowe.  'The report outlines several security breaches that led to the escape that day,' says Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier.   'The first was a breach in the inmates' search process,' Dozier says. 'We are aware that they were able to take a pen or a toothbrush on that bus that day.'  Dozier says the standard procedure should have included a strip search of the inmates but, instead, only included a pat down.  'They was a breach in the cuffing,' Dozier says. He says the inmates handcuffs should have been double locked, but were not. 'Within minutes after boarding that bus they were able to out of their cuffs, not just them but several others.'  'The inmates were not continuously supervised while on the bus,' Dozier says. 'There were two occasions: once on the grounds of Baldwin (State Prison) and once on the ground of Hancock (State Prison).'  The GBI reports also details how neither officer wore protective clothing. Billue's ballistic vest was found in his car while Monica’s stab vest was found at his home. In addition, the report says neither guard had their gun on them, nor had it secured. The guns were kept either in a box or on a shelf behind the two officers in the front compartment of the bus.  Dozier says, based on what happened, procedures have been changed.  Padlocks that secure the gate between the guards and the inmates will now only release the key when the lock is locked.  The security chief of the prison is now in charge of the inmate bus, instead of one of the corrections guards.  Inmates will, as was the policy, be strip-searched before entering a bus.  The killings of the officers prompted a nationwide manhunt for the escaped inmates. DeBose and Rowe were captured two days after the killings, after trying to carjack a car in central Tennessee.
  • A mother is locked up in the DeKalb County jail, charged in the hot car death of her daughter.  Police say 25-year-old Dijanelle Fowler is charged with second degree murder and second degree cruelty to children in the June death of one-year-old Skylar Fowler.  The girl's body was found inside the car in a parking deck of Emory Hospital.  The investigation into the girl’s death took a month.  “The timeline of her interaction with her child throughout the day,” says DeKalb police Captain Jerry A. Lewis. “Through the process of the investigation we were able to determine that some of the things that were told to us were not true.”  Captain Lewis tells WSB that the biggest discrepancy was the timeline involving how long the girl was in the car.  “The injuries that the child had for the amount of time that she said the child was in the vehicle do not match,” Captain Lewis says.  When the incident happened police went on the theory that the mother was getting her hair done for six hours while the one year old died inside the hot car.  Captain Lewis says there is a father, but that neither the suspect nor the victim lived with him. He has been notified of the girl’s death and the charges.  The charges against the 25-year-old do not include intent, nor do they need to. Captain Lewis says the cruelty charge allows police to also charge her with second degree murder due to negligence.  Surveillance video shows the woman leaving her car and entering the Northlake Tower Festival Shopping Center just after 10:00 the morning of the girl’s death. Fowler then leaves the shopping center at about four that afternoon.
  • He could not get out of jury duty, but to be honest, he really didn't want to.  “It really wasn't getting stuck,” says P. Harris Hines, 'I got my jury summons like everybody else. I always thought it was a pillar of a free society.”   So Hines missed his day job for jury duty. And what does he do? He's the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.   “I considered it an honor and a privilege,” Hines tells WSB. “My wife has done it, and my father some years ago. I'm part of the legal system and always try to be a good citizen.”   Hines was summoned to jury duty in Cobb County, and, even though he did not get chosen for a jury, he did find the experience a good one.   “I always believed, and believe now, that jurors seek to do that which is right according to the law,” Hines says, “and the people I was serving with, I feel good about them serving.”   Hines cannot remember if he has ever been called for jury duty before. The original date of his service was during a busy time for the state Supreme Court, so he asked to be rescheduled and his request was granted.
  • She is tall, slim, wears a bandanna, and she is wanted for two bank robberies.  The FBI and Marietta police are hunting for the woman suspected of pulling off two robberies. The first was at the Wells Fargo bank in Marietta, and the second at a PNC Bank in Sandy Springs.  “The fact that she's hit so close together, time wise, leads us to believe we will see her again,” says Stephen Emmett with the FBI.  The first robbery, at the Wells Fargo, happened on June 16 at the bank on Roswell Street NE. The second was 10 days later, on June 26 at the PNC Bank at 5640 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  Both robberies were pulled off late in the afternoon.  In both cases the robber entered the bank, told an employee that this was a robbery, and walked away with the cash.  There were surveillance cameras at the banks and they took some very clear pictures of the suspect.  “I understand the pictures are innocuous, but make no mistake, a robbery is occurring,” Emmett tells WSB. “Someone, from the photographs, has to know who this person is.”  The individual in both robberies is described as a black female, 25 to 35 years old with a slender to medium build and wearing a bandanna.
  • It's a scam tech could affect anybody buying groceries or just about anything else.   This was at the Kroger on Highway 138 in Conyers. There are two suspects who approached one victim.   “They offered to let her use the employee discount for Kroger,” says Conyers Police Sergeant Kim Lucas, “while they faked completing a transaction at the self check out counter.”   Lucas tells WSB the opportunity for robbery happened when the victim turned away.   “An employee came up to assist them with that, she was talking to the victim, distracting her, and that's when this couple made off with the victims cash in hand,” Lucas says.   Lucas says the employee was not part of the scam, and was simply doing her job by offering to help.   Police do not have any of the reports of similar fifth but, Lucas says, there are, no doubt, more out there.   “Chances are this is not the first time that they've done this,” she says, “ and it won't be the last unless we catch them.”
  • Clergy from around the state are pleading with Georgia Senator Jonny Isakson concerning the current Healthcare bill before the Senate and the future of Medicaid in Georgia.  “Respecting dignity of people,” says John Berry, CEO of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia. “The Healthcare bill that was passed by the House of Representatives does not respect the dignity of human beings in the way they are treated with their health. And the Senate version appears, from a Medicaid perspective, if possible, to be even worse.”  Berry has been with the Society for 11 years and says he's seen everything.  “We have dealt with situations where people have told us ‘I have to choose whether to put food on the table for my children or provide medicines that I need to live a healthy life’,” Berry says.  A letter has been sent to Senator Isakson, signed by more than 100 clergy members, asking him to protect Medicaid.  Archdeacon Carole Maddox, with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, is among those who have signed the letter.  “This is clearly not morally right,” Maddox says. “It is, instead, cruel and destructive.  “It is completely contrary to our call as Christians to care for the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the children,” Maddox says. “I can understand how Christians of good faith can find themselves on both sides of many issues. But healthcare is a no-brainer.”  According to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 19 percent of Georgians receive Medicaid, compared to the national average of 20 percent.  Nearly 2,000,000 people in Georgia receive Medicaid help, many of them children, seniors, the disabled, and veterans. The letter claims that federal Medicaid funding in Georgia would be cut by $4 billion over the next 10 years.  The Society also says that Georgia school districts would face a financial strain under the current bill. It says that Georgia schools received $30 million in Medicaid funds in 2015 to provide service for special education students and pay the schools for nurses and therapists.  The letter to the Senator has been signed by more than 100 clergy from around the state.
  • That notice that you got right now, throw it in the trash.'  Those words, that every Fulton County homeowner wants to hear, come from Commission Vice-Chairman Bob Elis concerning the 2017 tax assessments.  The county commission, in a unanimous vote, approved a measure that corrects the 2017 tax assessments by using the 2016 tax rates.  The decision by the board does not affect commercial properties and homeowners who have made improvements to their homes will also see an increase.  The corrective measure was sponsored by Commissioners Ellis, John Eaves and Liz Hausmann.  'The system is broken,' Hausmann says. 'It's inherently broken.'  Commissioner Emma Darnell says in addition to fixing a problem, the vote also shows that the Fulton County government is willing to listen.  The new tax assessments will be completed within a few weeks and then be sent out to homeowners by August. Those homeowners can still appeal the assessment, if they so choose.   'You can still appeal,' Ellis says, 'but, as for the new digest, you'll probably like it a whole lot better than what you have right now.”
  • Not every jail inmate is a bad guy and not all want to escape. Some try to help their guards.  A Polk County Sheriff's deputy owes his life to a work detail of six inmates who, instead of trying to get away, rendered help to the man until other authorities arrived.  It happen last week. It was a brutally hot and humid day and the officer was watching over a work detail. He was having some difficulties, so an inmate asked if he was alright.  'The guard said he was, but also told the inmate that he should call 911 on his cell phone if anything happens,' says Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats.  Moats tells WSB that, a few minutes later, the deputy wavered then collapsed due to the humidity.  'They (the inmates) rolled him over on his back,' Sheriff Moats tells WSB, 'took his gun belt off and his vest off and got ready to perform CPR when he started breathing.'  The inmates could have taken the officer's gun and car, but stayed with him instead.  'My guys were thinking the worst on their way over there,' Moats says, 'but, when they got there, all the inmates were with the officer. All were accounted for. They took care of him.'  The actions of the inmates do not surprise the sheriff.  'These guys are not bad guys,' Sheriff Moats says. 'They're people who just made a mistake and got caught.'  The Sheriff and his staff bought the inmates pizzas after what they did. The deputy’s family provided dessert.
  • Jon Lewis

    Field Reporter

    Jon Lewis has been a reporter for WSB for 20 years starting in 1997. He is originally from New York. His top stories include going to Norway to cover Jimmy Carter receiving the Nobel Peace prize. 

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News

  • Jurors in the Tex McIver murder trial told Channel 2 Action News it took a lot of compromise to reach a verdict. The 12-person panel deliberated for four days before finally reaching a verdict Monday afternoon. They found the Atlanta attorney guilty of murdering his wife, Diane, as they rode in their SUV in September 2016. They also found him guilty of trying to influence a witness, Dani Jo Carter, who was driving the SUV at the time of the shooting. Earlier Monday it appeared that a verdict might never come when jurors told the judge they were deadlocked and couldn’t come to a unanimous decision on four of the five counts. The judge sent them back, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and continue to try for a verdict. RELATED STORIES: 5 things to know about Diane McIver Juror breakdown for the Tex McIver murder trial Tex McIver found guilty of murdering his wife A breakdown of the verdict in the Tex McIver trial After the trial ended, Channel 2 Action News spoke with some of the jurors outside the courthouse.  'It definitely took a lot of compromise on both sides of where we were with our deliberations,' juror Aubrey Gray said. 'There was definitely a point where we did not think we were going to get to guilt or innocence.” He said after the judge read them the Allen charge Monday afternoon, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and try to reach a verdict, they re-examined their positions and were able to come to a unanimous decision. “(We were able to) specifically look at the evidence, take away any emotion that we had, and that’s how we came up with our guilty verdict on four of the five counts,” Gray said. Gray said he was back and forth for much of deliberations. “I was in both camps for a while, flip-flopping sides, trying to come to a rational decision,” he said. Gray said there were several “gun experts” on the jury, who helped them talk through many of the questions. [SPECIAL SECTION: Tex McIver Trial] “That was one of our contingents the entire time, why was his hand, particularly his finger, on the trigger. And one of the key things for us, we had to look back at his statements to police when he said the gun just went off, and we finally decided that a gun just doesn’t go off,” Gray said. “It was not an accident. His hand was on the trigger. Guns just don’t go off.” Another juror, Lakeisha Boyd, said the deciding factor for her was also the finger on the trigger, and holding the gun inside the car. “We went back down to the vehicle. We were able to take the firearm to the vehicle and were able to test it out ourselves,” she said. Boyd said, at the end of the day, they did their job. “Justice was served,” she said.
  • The Latest on the White House visit of French President Emmanuel Macron (all times local): 1:20 p.m. President Donald Trump says U.S. troops will come home from Syria, but he wants to leave a 'strong and lasting footprint' in the region. Trump's comment signaled a softening in tone. Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region. Asked about his timeline for bringing the troops home, Trump reiterated his desire to exit Syria. But he also said that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that neither of them wants to give Iran more of an opening in the region. Trump said 'we'll see what happens but we're going to be coming home relatively soon.' He commented during a White House news conference Tuesday with Macron, who is on a state visit to the U.S. ___ 1:15 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says he's confident about the future of his country's trading relationship with the U.S. He says it's good when allies work together. Macron says in a joint news conference with President Donald Trump that trade is balanced between the two countries and he's suggesting all nations follow the rules of the World Trade Organization. The French president has been critical of Trump's protectionist moves on trade in recent weeks and has called upon the U.S. to exempt European nations from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. ___ 1 p.m. President Donald Trump is thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for his partnership on the recent missile strikes against chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terrorism. Trump says at a joint White House news conference that he will soon be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says the U.S. won't 'repeat the mistakes of past administrations' and will pressure the North Korean regime. Macron is pointing to the need for the Iran nuclear deal. He says he wants to work on a new deal in the weeks and months ahead. Macron says any new agreement would need to block any nuclear activity in Iran through 2025, cease any uranium activity and put an end to the country's ballistic missiles program. ___ 12:16 p.m. A pair of designers is responsible for Melania Trump's white skirt suit and matching hat. The first lady's office says Michael Kors designed the two-piece suit that Mrs. Trump wore for Tuesday's White House arrival ceremony for President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte. Mrs. Trump also wore the suit on an outing to the National Gallery of Art in Washington with Mrs. Macron. The first lady topped her outfit with a broad-brimmed white hat designed by Herve Pierre. Pierre designed the first lady's inaugural ball gown. The white hat quickly became the talk of the town, as well as on Twitter. Mrs. Trump typically doesn't wear hats. Still to come is Tuesday night's piece de resistance: the first lady's state dinner gown. ___ 10:40 a.m. President Donald Trump is warning that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it 'will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.' Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be discussing the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday during their meetings at the White House. Macron wants Trump to maintain the deal. Trump is undecided but has called it 'a terrible deal.' Though Trump has warmly welcomed Macron to Washington, the two have disagreements to sort through, including Trump's decision to leave the multinational Paris climate change agreement. While with Macron, Trump refused to answer a reporter's question as to whether he is considering a pardon for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose office was raided by the FBI. Trump called it 'a stupid question.' Cohen has not been charged. ___ 9:54 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron is highlighting the close ties between his nation and the United States during his visit to the White House. Macron, standing alongside President Donald Trump Tuesday, said 'America represents endless possibilities for my country.' He also told Trump that 'France shares with your country an ideal of freedom and peace.' Macron touted how the French fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolution, which laid the blueprint for cooperation between the nations. The French president, who enjoys a closer relationship with Trump than many of his European peers, said that France works alongside the U.S. on challenges like terrorism, North Korea and Iran. He is expected to lobby Trump to maintain the Iran nuclear deal and reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. ___ 9:30 a.m. President Donald Trump is sending prayers to the Bush family and wishing former President George H.W. Bush a 'speedy recovery.' Trump is recognizing the former president as he greets French President Emmanuel Macron on the South Lawn of the White House. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with an infection, just days after attending the funeral of his wife, Barbara Bush. Trump is also sending the nation's sympathies to the Canadian people following the 'horrendous tragedy' in Toronto. A driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others. Trump says the nation's hearts are with the grieving families in Canada. ___ 9:25 a.m. President Donald Trump says the 'wonderful friendship' he has developed with French President Emmanuel Macron is a testament to two nations' enduring alliance. Trump is thanking Macron for his 'steadfast partnership' in responding to the recent chemical attack in Syria. The president is speaking at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Trump and Macron are meeting Tuesday on a number of issues, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria. The two leaders are holding a joint news conference later in the morning and then Macron will be honored with Trump's first state dinner. ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump is welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House in a formal arrival ceremony. The president and first lady are greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on rolled-out red carpet on the South Lawn. The arrival is heavy on pomp, with nearly 500 U.S. service-members from all five military branches participating in the ceremonial welcome, which includes a 'Review of the Troops.' Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump's Cabinet, lawmakers, and military families are in attendance. The audience includes students from the Maya Angelou French Immersion School in Temple Hills, Maryland. The two leaders are spending the morning in meetings and then will hold a joint news conference. On Tuesday night, Macron will be feted at Trump's first state dinner. ___ 12:50 a.m. A sit-down between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron followed by a joint news conference highlight the business portion of the French leader's second day in Washington. The pageantry of Macron's official state visit, the first of the Trump presidency, comes Tuesday night with a lavish state dinner at the White House. About 150 guests are expected to dine on rack of lamb and nectarine tart and enjoy an after-dinner performance by the Washington National Opera. Monday night was more relaxed, featuring a helicopter tour of Washington landmarks and a trip to the Potomac River home of George Washington for dinner. Pomp and ceremony aside, Trump and Macron disagree on some fundamental issues. A prime dividing point is the multinational Iran nuclear deal, which Trump wants to abandon.
  • To the Trump administration, the recovered missile fragments were incontrovertible proof that Iran was illicitly arming Yemen's Houthi rebels. Yet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif brushed it off Tuesday as little more than cheese puffs. During a visit to New York, the Iranian diplomat accused U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley of displaying fabricated evidence that missiles lobbed by the Houthis at civilian areas in Saudi Arabia originated in Iran. Though Tehran supports the Shiite rebel group, it firmly denies giving them missiles. But Haley has invited journalists and U.N. Security Council diplomats to inspect missile parts recovered after strikes on Saudi Arabia, bearing what U.S. military officials said were Iranian markings and characteristics. Zarif, in an Associated Press interview, said that one such logo was from the Standard Institute of Iran, which he said regulates consumer goods — not weapons. 'It's a sign of quality,' Zarif said. 'When people want to buy it, they look at whether it's been tested by the Standard Institute of Iran that your cheese puffs are good, your cheese puffs will not give you a stomach ache.' He laughed and added, 'I mean, nobody will put the logo of the Standard Institute of Iran on a piece of missile.' Zarif also pointed to a truck-size section of a missile that the U.S. said was recovered in Saudi Arabia and was transferred to a military base near Washington, where it was on display behind Haley for a photo-op. Zarif noted that the missile had been supposedly shot down in mid-air. 'I'm not saying Ambassador Haley is fabricating, but somebody is fabricating the evidence she is showing,' Zarif said. Some of the fragments Haley presented, if authentic, would seem to implicate Iran's military industry more directly, including some with the logo of Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, an Iranian defense entity under U.S. sanctions. Haley said others had clear 'Iranian missile fingerprints,' such as short-range ballistic missiles that lacked large stabilizers — a feature she said only Iran's Qiam missiles have. 'Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK, or the airports in Paris, London or Berlin,' Haley told reporters late last year. 'That's what we're talking about here.' Tehran's denials aside, there's broad agreement among the United Nations, Western countries and the Persian Gulf's Arab leaders that Iran has armed the Houthis with ballistic missiles, even though U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit it. With U.S. support, a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's civil war has been bombing the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen. Yet Iran's opponents have struggled to provide foolproof evidence to back up their claims, creating an opening for Iran to deny. After Haley's presentations at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, some national security experts raised questions, even drawing parallels to Secretary of State Colin Powell's 2003 speech to the U.N. making the case for the Iraq War. The fragments Haley presented were turned over to the U.S. by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of Iran's fiercest critics — and U.S. military officials had trouble tracing the fragments' chain of custody. Nor could they say when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis or in some cases precisely when they were launched.
  • A woman with multiple sclerosis says Delta Air Lines employees tied her to her wheelchair because she can’t sit up on her own and they didn’t have the chair she needed. >> Watch the news report here Maria Saliagas travels to Europe with her husband every year. When she was diagnosed with MS five years ago, she didn’t want to break her tradition of traveling with her husband. >> Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure She said Delta normally accommodates her by making sure staff members have a proper wheelchair that has straps to help her sit up straight. When she flew out of Atlanta on April 1 and arrived in Amsterdam, Delta didn’t have a chair with straps, so employees tied her to a regular wheelchair with someone else’s blanket, said her son, Nathan Saliagas. >> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight “They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it, and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying. That’s when that picture was taken,” Saliagas said. A Delta representative sent WSB-TV a statement about the incident, saying:  “We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.” >> Read more trending news  The family returns to Atlanta on April 30. When the family complained to Delta, they said the airline offered them 20,000 free SkyMiles, but they said that's not enough.  They want to see a policy change regarding how Delta handles passengers with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday wades into one of the more controversial policy matters of the Trump Administration, as the Justices will hear arguments on the merits of the revised effort by President Donald Trump to block certain foreign nationals from traveling to the United States, what critics often deride as his “Muslim ban.” Before the Court is the third version of the Trump travel order, which began just a week into his Presidency, as an effort to stop travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. After the first two versions were blocked by the courts – this third one would limit visits to the United States by people from Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, and Somalia, and slow down the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. “As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Mr. Trump said as he issued the third version of the travel order in September of 2017. Lower courts have ruled against the Trump plan. The travel order is being challenged by the state of Hawaii, which has tried to use the President’s past statements and tweets about the threat of Islamic terrorism against the travel order, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect while the case was being litigated. “The arguments against the travel ban come from every corner of our country,” says Neal Katyal, who will carry Hawaii’s case before the Justices. “It comes down to who we are as a nation,” Katyal wrote. THREAD 1. The backgrounds and perspectives of those articulating arguments against the travel ban in #TrumpvHawaii are remarkable in their breadth and diversity. Their chorus is deafening: the ban is unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American. — Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) April 24, 2018 Interest in the case has been strong, as the line for public seats began forming on Monday outside the U.S. Supreme Court. The arguments on the Trump travel order come as lower courts are still duking it out over efforts by the President to terminate the DACA program from the Obama Administration – that question is expected to reach the Justices in coming months. On Tuesday evening, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. became the third to block the President’s effort to end DACA, the program which allows younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to temporarily stay in the U.S. and avoid deportation proceedings. “DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” wrote Judge John Bates, though he gave the feds 90 days to better explain the decision. Judge Bates (DDC) finds DACA rescission unlawful (but note the different remedy than in prior cases; Judge Bates vacates the rescission, but stays it for 90 days to allow admin to offer a justification that might support the policy): https://t.co/ZfPkiBciYr — Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) April 24, 2018 As with the Trump travel order, the President’s effort on DACA could be on the docket next term for the Justices.
  • It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state's current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never considered endangered in any other year. Tuesday's narrow victory by Republican Debbie Lesko over a Democratic political newcomer sends a big message to Republicans nationwide: Even the reddest of districts in a red state can be in play this year. Early returns show Lesko winning by about 5 percentage points in Arizona's 8th Congressional District where Donald Trump won by 21 percentage points. The former state senator defeated Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room physician who had hoped to replicate surprising Democratic wins in Pennsylvania, Alabama and other states in a year where opposition to President Trump's policies have boosted the party's chances in Republican strongholds. Republican political consultant Chuck Coughlin called Tuesday's special election margin 'not good' for national Republicans looking at their chances in November. 'They should clean house in this election,' said Coughlin, longtime adviser to former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. 'There's a drag on the midterms for Republican candidates that's being created by the national narrative. And it would be very hard to buck that trend if you're in swing districts, much less close districts, if you can't change that narrative between now and November.' Lesko replaces former Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned in December amid sexual misconduct allegations. A former aide told The Associated Press that he pressed her to carry his child as a surrogate and offered her $5 million. The district sprawls across western Phoenix suburbs, covering some of the most conservative areas of the red state, including the retirement community of Sun City. At a victory party in her Glendale neighborhood, Lesko greeted supporters and looked back in wonder. 'I've really come a long way and this is really quite overwhelming, it's very surreal,' she said. 'Twenty-five years ago I left an abusive husband and I sure as heck never would have dreamt in a million years that I would be running for Congress to be a congresswoman.' Brewer, who backed Lesko and was at her victory party, also warned that Republicans need to make changes if they want to hold the district and other seats in November elections. 'I think all Republicans need to wake up and listen to what the public wants,' she said. 'Before November, we're going to have to work very hard. We're going to have to listen to our constituents.' Tipirneni worked the district hard, making inroads rarely seen in an area that hadn't elected a Democrat since the early 1980s. She was seen as a fresh Democratic face with relatively moderate views that could get support in the district. Making a push for older voters, she had said Lesko would vote to go after entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts that mainly benefit the wealthy. She's pushed a plan to allow some people to buy into Medicare. Tipirneni said she plans to run in November's general election and told supporters not to give up the cause. She said that despite the big Republican advantage in the district, the results show people were ready for a change. 'We have a very short amount of time, and clearly Ms. Lesko she had the registration numbers a little bit in her favor and she also had the name recognition,' Tipirneni said. 'But given more time I know we can get more folks on our side.' The Associated Press called the race for Lesko after state officials released tallies of more than 155,000 mail-in ballots, which represent about 75 percent of the votes expected. National Republican groups spent big to back Lesko, pouring in more than $500,000 in the suburban Phoenix district for television and mail ads and phone calls to voters. On Election Day, Trump and current Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey urged Republicans to go to the polls and vote for Lesko. National Democratic groups, meanwhile, didn't commit money to the race, a sign they didn't believe the seat was in play. Several Republican voters who spoke with AP said they backed Lesko primarily because she supported Trump's border security plans. David Hunt, a 64-year-old retired construction and warehouse worker from Glendale, said he cast his vote Tuesday for Lesko because he believed that immigrants in the country illegally are creating unfair competition for jobs for recent high school students in Arizona. 'She's the best candidate to deal with the porous border,' Hunt said. His views were echoed by Larry Bettis, a retiree from Glendale. 'Immigration - the fence,' Bettis said. 'That's all I really care about.' Democrats said they wanted to send a message to Trump and supported Democratic health care plans. 'I don't like the president and felt it was time to take a stand,' said Nikole Allen, a 45-year-old medical assistant from New York now living in Glendale. 'It's time for us to vote the Republicans out.