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President Trump has called for a crackdown on immigration, telling Congress to cancel the so-called diversity visa program, in the wake of an attack in New York City that left eight people dead and 11 more injured.
President Donald Trump: “I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program—diversary and diversity lottery. Diversity lottery sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good.”
President Trump’s demand came after suspect Sayfullo Saipov reportedly drove a rented Home Depot truck down a bike path along Manhattan’s Hudson River, killing multiple people before crashing into a school bus. He then reportedly jumped out of the car, waving a pellet gun and a paintball gun before being shot and wounded by police. Authorities say Saipov has been planning the attack for about a year. Saipov, an Uzbek native who has lived in Florida, Ohio and Paterson, New Jersey, has now been charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, as well as violence and destruction of a motor vehicle. On Wednesday, President Trump called for Saipov’s execution and called him an animal. Many have noted that President Trump did not use words like “animal” to describe 64-year-old white man Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 people, including himself, in Las Vegas. After that massacre, Trump said it was not time to talk about policy changes on gun control, although Trump is now calling for immigration policy changes after the New York City attack. Trump did not call for the death penalty after white supremacist James Alex Fields killed one woman, Heather Heyer, by also driving his car into a crowd of people, who were protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump did not call James Alex Fields an animal, instead saying there was violence on both sides. President Trump suggested Wednesday he would consider sending Saipov to Guantánamo Bay.
Reporter: “Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York sent to Gitmo?”
President Donald Trump: “I would certainly consider that, yes. I would certainly consider that. Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that, yes.”
This would mean sending Saipov to a military prison even though he’s already been charged with crimes in a U.S. federal court. Saipov has a green card, which means he is a permanent U.S. resident. On Wednesday, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham also called for Saipov to be held as an “enemy combatant under the laws of war,” denied his Miranda rights and taken to Guantánamo Bay.
President Trump also claimed the U.S. does not prosecute terror suspects quickly enough, calling the U.S. justice system “a laughingstock” during a televised White House Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump: “We need quick justice, and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock.”
But only hours later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders flat-out denied that Trump had made these comments, even though they had been broadcast on television. This is Sanders being questioned by CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Jim Acosta: “Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock during his comments in the”—
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “That’s not what he said.”
Jim Acosta: “He said that the system of justice in this country”—
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “He said that process. He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to answer whether President Trump thinks slavery was wrong. Sanders was being questioned Wednesday by reporter April Ryan, who referenced White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s recent comments that it was a “lack of an ability to compromise” that led to the Civil War.
April Ryan: “Compromise, the issue of compromise. What is the definition of 'compromise' as it relates to slavery and the Civil War?”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Look, I’m not going to get in and relitigate the Civil War, just like I told you yesterday. I think I’ve addressed the concerns that a lot of people had and the questions that you had, and I’m not going to relitigate history here.”
April Ryan: “There were a lot of questions still lingering when you left. So, and I’m going to ask the question again, and respectfully.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Why don’t you ask it in the way that you’re apparently accusing me of being”—
April Ryan: “I’m not accusing. I’m asking a question, Sarah, seriously. The question is: Does this administration believe—does this president believe slavery was wrong? And before you answer, Mary Frances Berry, historian, said, in 1860, there was a compromise. The compromise was to have Southern states keep slavery, but the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter, that caused the Civil War. And because of the Civil War, what happened? The North won. There’s no slavery.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I think it is disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside of this building would support slavery.”
The Trump administration continues to roll back former President Barack Obama’s efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba. On Wednesday, the United States voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Last year, the U.S. abstained from voting on a similar resolution. On Wednesday, Cubans expressed frustration with the embargo. This is Cuban student Yoel González.
Yoel González: “Unlike last year, when we obtained an abstention from the United States, and now back to the vote against. With regards to Trump’s policy, we can say that it’s another maneuver that is being used by that U.S. president against Cuban politics. But still we have hopes. There has always been hope. But let’s say this year we reaffirm our hopes that in later years the blockade against Cuba, which has caused so much damage throughout history, could possibly be eliminated.”
President Trump is expected to nominate Republican multimillionaire Jerome Powell to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Power is a former partner at the massive investment firm Carlyle Group, which is a major investor in military contractors, as well as telecommunications, fossil fuel companies, financial services and other industries. It would be the first time in 40 years that someone who is not an economist—Powell is a banker—would lead the Federal Reserve.
Men across the world are continuing to resign, be fired or face intense criticism and backlash over a slew of allegations of sexual harassment and assault that have surfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The wave of accusations has rocked not only Hollywood, but also the media industry, universities, academia, restaurants and the highest reaches of government. In Britain, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigned Wednesday amid multiple allegations of inappropriate past sexual conduct. This is Fallon.
Michael Fallon: “What might have been acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now. Parliament now has to look at itself, and the prime minister has made very clear that the conduct needs to be improved, and we need to protect the staff of Westminster against any particular allegations of harassment.”
In France, prosecutors are investigating multiple rape accusations against Oxford professor and renowned Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. One French official now says he knew Ramadan was violent toward women, although he says he’s stunned by the rape accusations. The official, Bernard Godard, said, “That girls were brought to the hotel at the end of his lectures, that he invited them to undress, that some resisted and that he could become violent and aggressive, yes, but I have never heard of rapes,” he said. Tariq Ramadan has denied any wrongdoing.
At Dartmouth University, three professors have been put on paid leave amid a criminal investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The professors, Todd Heatherton, Paul Whalen and William Kelley, are in Dartmouth’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman has apologized after a former female intern named Anna Graham Hunter said Hoffman touched her without her consent when she was only 17 and working on the set of the movie “Death of a Salesman” more than 30 years ago.
In the media industry, Michael Oreskes, NPR’s senior vice president for news, has resigned after multiple women said that they were meeting with Oreskes to talk about possible employment while he was Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, when he instead kissed them without their consent and stuck his tongue in their mouths.
Meanwhile, at least six women have accused filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual assault and harassment, including accounts that he overpowered one woman and forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was only 19 years old.
Questions are being raised about a 2000 memoir Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi co-authored with Mark Ames about their time as reporters in Russia. An excerpt of the book, which was sold as nonfiction, reads, “We have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their ass or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us.” Taibbi has said he deeply regrets what he wrote, saying it was satire and that the harassment described in the book never actually took place.
In Eritrea, an opposition group says security forces have killed 28 people and injured dozens more during protests in the capital Asmara on Monday and Tuesday. The Eritrean government has denied the casualties. Activists say the mass protest was sparked by the government’s attempt to take control of an Islamic school. Some activists say the protests may be a tipping point in Eritrea, where a U.N. special rapporteur says citizens face arbitrary arrest and enforced disappearances, and a military conscription program that amounts to enslavement.
In India, an explosion at a coal-fired power plant has killed at least 26 people and injured 100 more in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. The plant is operated by the government-owned company National Thermal Power Corporation.
Back in the United States, in Colorado, three people were killed during a mass shooting in a Wal-Mart in a suburb outside of Denver on Wednesday. Mass shootings happen nearly every day in the U.S., on average, and about 12,000 people die from firearm-related homicides every year.
A white former student at the University of Hartford has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after she admitted to constantly harassing her black roommate. Brianna Rae Brochu admitted she rubbed used tampons on her roommate’s backpack. She also wrote on social media, “After 1 and a half month of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions … putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie.” Brochu now faces charges of hate crimes.