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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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President Trump called Monday for Mexico to deport Central American asylum seekers, a day after U.S. Border Patrol officers fired tear gas on a group of migrants in Tijuana as they attempted to cross the heavily militarized border near San Diego. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”
Mexico has asked the U.S. to investigate the use of tear gas on children. Speaking from Mississippi Monday, Trump defended the tear gassing for a second time and placed the blame on parents of migrant children, suggesting that some people with children aren’t guardians but so-called grabbers who simply use the children to gain asylum.
President Donald Trump: “Why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming, and it’s going to be formed, and they’re running up with a child? And in some cases, you know, they’re not the parents. These are people—they call them grabbers. They grab a child because they think they’re going to have a certain—they’re going to have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws.”
An estimated 5,000 migrants are currently in Tijuana hoping to apply for asylum in the United States. One of them is Maria Meza, a 39-year-old Honduran woman. A Reuters photograph that went viral shows Meza rushing her two young daughters to safety Sunday as a cloud of tear gas spreads nearby.
Maria Meza: “Well, I felt sad, scared and wanting to cry. That’s when I grabbed my daughters and started running. At that moment, I thought I was going to die with them because of the gas. We ran and fell into the mud and struggled to get up amidst the gas. A young man gave me his hand and pulled me up to my feet.”
After headlines, we’ll go to San Diego to speak with Pedro Rios, who witnessed the U.S. Border Patrol using tear gas on migrants along the border on Sunday.
General Motors is cutting up to 15,000 jobs and closing five plants across North America. The cuts will primarily affect workers in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and the Canadian province of Ontario. GM says it will cease production on six of its car models in response to low sales and focus on the development of electric and driverless cars. Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown called the move “corporate greed at its worst,” adding that “the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs.” President Trump called the news “not good” Monday and said that GM “better put something else in” to replace the lost manufacturing jobs. Trump has repeatedly taken credit for reviving American manufacturing and creating jobs. In 2017 at a speech near the GM plant in Youngstown, Ohio, he told supporters that jobs were “all coming back.” He told locals, “Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.” General Motors cited tariffs levied by the Trump administration on imported steel as one of the reasons for the U.S. layoffs, saying the tariffs cost the company an extra $1 billion.
President Trump said Monday he does not believe the findings in last week’s government report on climate change. Thirteen federal agencies contributed to the report, which warns that human-driven climate change threatens to shrink the U.S. economy by as much as 10 percent by 2100, while increasing extreme weather events, destroying infrastructure, worsening air quality, destroying crops and leading to more frequent disease outbreaks. This is Trump speaking with reporters Monday.
President Donald Trump: “I’ve seen it. I’ve read some of it. And it’s fine.”
Reporter: “But they say the economic impact could be devastating.”
President Donald Trump: “Yeah, I don’t believe it.”
Reporter: “You don’t believe it?”
President Donald Trump: “No, no, I don’t believe it. And here’s the other thing. You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all of these other countries—you know, it addresses our country. Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been, and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air. I want clean water. Very important.”
Turkish authorities are investigating two villas south of Istanbul, as the search for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s body continues. One of the properties is said to belong to a Saudi businessman close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The businessman, Mohammed Ahmed al-Fauzan, reportedly spoke to one of the Saudi agents involved in Khashoggi’s murder, one day before Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where he was killed.
Meanwhile, the Saudi crown prince has reportedly asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet at this week’s G20 summit in Argentina. This comes as Human Rights Watch is asking Argentina to investigate the crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder as well as Saudi war crimes in Yemen. Argentina recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, which means they would be able to press charges against the crown prince once he is on Argentinian soil.
ABC News is reporting that Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner urged the White House to inflate the numbers of a possible arms deal with Saudi Arabia in order to strengthen the image of the two countries’ alliance. Kushner allegedly pushed for the administration last year to use the number of $110 billion in possible arms sales rather than the $15 billion figure officials believed was more accurate.
CNN is reporting that the U.S. has “slammed the brakes” on a U.N. Security Council resolution on a ceasefire in Yemen. The move is reportedly part of the Trump administration’s fear of compromising the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, but seems to counter recent statements by both U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and senior White House officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last month called for the ceasefire.
In a court filing Monday, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller said that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort repeatedly lied to investigators, invalidating his plea deal. The court documents do not detail the lies, but both prosecutors for the special counsel and Manafort’s lawyers have asked the judge in the case to move to sentencing Manafort. Meanwhile, former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos reported to federal prison in Wisconsin Monday to start a 14-day sentence. Papadopolous pleaded guilty last year to lying about his communications with Russian contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Utah Republican Congressmember Mia Love slammed President Trump in a concession speech Monday, after losing her congressional seat to Democrat and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. This is Rep. Love responding to a question about Trump’s lack of support for her campaign.
Rep. Mia Love: “This gave me a clear vision of his world as it is: no real relationships, just convenient transactions. That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.”
In 2014, Mia Love became the first—and only—black woman Republican ever elected to Congress. In her concession speech, she blasted her party for failing to reach out to voters of color. After the midterm elections, Trump blamed Republican losses on their refusal to “embrace” him.
President Donald Trump: “Those are some of the people that, you know, decided, for their own reason, not to embrace—whether it’s me or what we stand for. Mia Love gave me no love. … And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
In more election news, the Associated Press has retracted its call in an ongoing House race in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Republican incumbent Congressmember David Valadao was originally declared the winner, but Democrat T.J. Cox pulled into the lead Monday by just a few hundred votes. If Democrats win the seat in California’s 21st Congressional District, they will reach a net gain of 40 House seats.
In Mississippi, nooses were found hanging outside the state Capitol Monday morning ahead of today’s Senate runoff between Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy. Hyde-Smith has come under fire for praising a supporter at a campaign event days before the midterm with the words, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Last week, photos emerged showing Hyde-Smith in a Confederate Army cap and posing with a vintage rifle, sword and other Confederate artifacts. Her opponent Mike Espy is African-American. Meanwhile, President Trump appeared at two rallies in Mississippi Monday to campaign for Senator Hyde-Smith.
The Center for Disease Control has confirmed 116 cases of the rare polio-like disease, acute flaccid myelitis, this year. The condition, which mostly affects children, causes muscles and reflexes to weaken and in some cases become paralyzed. It is not known what causes the condition. Earlier this month, the FDA launched a task force to further investigate and combat the spread of the illness.
An autopsy released Monday reveals that Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Honduran transgender woman who died while in ICE custody in May, was physically assaulted prior to her death. Hernández Rodriguez arrived in the United States seeking asylum in early May of this year, after traveling with a Central American caravan. She was fleeing persecution and had survived a gang rape in Honduras. At the time of her death, ICE said she died of dehydration and complications related to HIV. In an interview with The Daily Beast, her family’s lawyer Andrew Free said, “She journeyed thousands of miles fleeing persecution and torture at home only to be met with neglect and torture in this country’s for-profit human cages.” She was held in a detention center run by CoreCivic, the second-largest private prison company in the United States.
In Washington state, a Russian asylum seeker held at the Northwest Detention Center died Saturday. Forty-year-old Amar Mergansana had been on hunger strike for 86 days when he was transferred to a hospital earlier this month after losing consciousness. Mergansana arrived in the U.S. last December via the U.S.-Mexico border and was taken into ICE custody. He began his hunger strike to protest conditions at the Northwest Detention Center—which is run by for-profit prison company GEO Group—and his possible deportation. The group Northwest Detention Center Resistance is demanding an investigation into his death.
And in New York City, activists and members of community groups protested at an Amazon bookstore Monday to call out the recent decision to host part of Amazon’s new expanded headquarters in Queens. Speakers included immigration activists and transit and housing advocates. This is homeless activist Nathylin Flowers Adesegun.
Nathylin Flowers Adesegun: “They’re giving Amazon a $3 billion home, while we, 69,000 New Yorkers, have to be homeless and sleep in shelters every night.”
Activist: “That ain’t right!”
Nathylin Flowers Adesegun: “They’re trying to erase us. They’re trying to erase us from New York, because so many of us have been evicted and pushed out of our neighborhoods as shiny new buildings go up all around us. We can’t afford to live in them. That is set to get worse when Amazon comes here.”