At least 900 children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border have yet to be reunited, as the Trump administration faces today’s deadline for family reunification set by a federal judge. Federal officials say some 463 separated parents have been deported since Trump launched his “zero tolerance” border policy—even as their children remain in U.S. detention centers. Administration officials say the parents voluntarily agreed to leave their children behind. But in court papers filed Wednesday, the ACLU argued many parents say they were coerced or misled into signing forms they could not read, and were confused about what they were agreeing to. After headlines, we’ll speak with two immigration lawyers who’ve been representing immigrant parents separated from their children.
In New York City, eight people were arrested as protesters targeted the Manhattan home of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in a nonviolent civil disobedience action. The protesters attempted to deliver a petition from more than 100,000 immigrant rights advocates calling on Chase to divest from for-profit prisons and detention centers.
Yaritza Mendez: “Family separations are not just happening at the border; they’re also happening here. We need Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase to step up and divest from private prisons and detention centers. It is inhumane for our communities to be ripped apart.”
JPMorgan Chase has invested tens of millions of dollars in both CoreCivic and GEO Group, for-profit prison companies that also operate immigrant detention centers.
At the White House, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s reached a deal to halt a burgeoning trade war with the European Union. This is Trump speaking in the White House Rose Garden after a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
President Donald Trump: “We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods. Thank you.”
Trump had few details on his agreement with Juncker but claimed the EU would buy more U.S. soybeans, and said he would work to reverse tariffs he put in place on imports of European steel and aluminum.
Wednesday’s surprise joint appearance by Trump and Juncker in the Rose Garden came after the White House banned CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from the event. Collins says earlier Wednesday she was summoned to the office of Bill Shine, the former Fox News executive who was recently named White House communications chief. Collins says Shine accused her of shouting and asking “inappropriate” questions during an earlier joint appearance by Trump and Juncker. This is an excerpt of that appearance.
Kaitlan Collins: “Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is going to say to prosecutors?”
President Donald Trump: “Thank you.”
Kaitlan Collins: “Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?”
President Donald Trump: “Thank you very much.”
Kaitlan Collins: “Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation, Mr. President?”
The White House Correspondents’ Association strongly condemned Collins’s exclusion from Trump’s appearance in the Rose Garden as “inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak.” Even Fox News weighed in, with network President Jay Wallace saying, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.” The incident came just one day after Trump drew comparisons to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” with these remarks to a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City.
President Donald Trump: “Just stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
In Pakistan, vote counting is underway after Wednesday’s general election, with early returns showing former cricket star Imran Khan building a commanding lead to be the next prime minister of Pakistan. Opposition groups, including the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, are rejecting the results, alleging vote rigging and saying Pakistan’s powerful military unfairly sided with Khan. Wednesday’s vote proceeded amid heavy security after a string of attacks on voters left scores dead—including a bombing in the northwestern city Quetta Wednesday that killed 31 people and an attack on a polling station in Balochistan that killed four others.
In Syria, a series of gun attacks and suicide bomb blasts claimed by ISIS killed at least 216 people Wednesday, in one of the group’s worst assaults yet inside Syria. The violence was centered in Syria’s southwest, where ISIS launched an offensive on villages surrounding the city of Suwayda, before suicide attackers targeted a crowded marketplace inside the provincial capital. The ISIS attacks came amid a Syrian military offensive that’s brought most of Daraa province under government control.
Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended oil shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait separating the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean, after Houthi rebels in Yemen reportedly launched attacks on a pair of tankers, causing damage to one. The state-owned Saudi Aramco oil company said no one was injured in the attacks and that no oil spilled, but the halt in shipments caused oil prices to increase worldwide. This comes as the U.K.-based charity Save the Children warned Yemen is likely to see a spike in cholera cases as hot summertime conditions favor a resurgence of the water-borne illness. At least 3,000 new cholera cases were reported in the first week of July alone—after more than 1 million people contracted cholera last year. Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, as a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure and helped push millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.
In the Gaza Strip, a tentative ceasefire broke down Wednesday, as Israeli airstrikes and tank fire killed three Palestinians and injured one other. The assaults came after Israel says a Palestinian sniper injured one of its soldiers at a post along Israel’s heavily militarized border in southern Gaza.
Meanwhile, the U.N. agency assisting Palestinian refugees—known as UNRWA—said Wednesday it’s laying off 250 workers, after the Trump administration slashed $300 million in funding. The announcement set off protests by trade unionists, who said as many as 1,000 people could ultimately be let go. In one incident, bystanders intervened to stop a fired UNRWA employee from setting himself ablaze, after he doused himself in gasoline in an apparent attempt at self-immolation. This is laid-off UNRWA employee Amal al-Batsh.
Amal al-Batsh: “This is a humanitarian disaster. This is disrespectful to the people and to the workers who provide these services. The services are also under threat. What kind of services will UNRWA give after it fires its workers? I think there will be poor services in health and education that will not meet humane standards.”
The White House said Wednesday that President Trump’s planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this fall will be delayed until at least next year. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said the administration would wait until special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election—which Bolton called a “witch hunt.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended President Trump’s July 16 Helsinki summit with President Putin, refusing to say what the two discussed behind closed doors with only a pair of translators present. This is New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, questioning Pompeo.
Sen. Bob Menendez: “We don’t know what the truth is. And the only way that we will know what the truth is, what transpired in those two hours, in a highly amazing period of time to spend alone one on one, is by understanding at least that if you were briefed by the president, what he told you. I don’t think that’s unfair to know, to understand what policy is.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “Senator, presidents are permitted to have conversations with their Cabinet members that aren’t repeated in public. I owe—I owe the president the capacity for him to have conversations with him, try to provide him the best foreign policy advise that I can. It’s what I was brought on to do.”
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit charging President Trump with violating an anti-corruption provision of the U.S. Constitution can proceed. The lawsuit, which was brought by the attorneys general of Baltimore and the District of Columbia, contends Trump violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause by receiving payments from foreign governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. It was the first-ever ruling by a federal court defining emoluments and could bolster two similar lawsuits targeting Trump’s business dealings.
In Mexico, press freedom groups are calling on the government to thoroughly investigate the death of journalist and media owner Rubén Pat, who was fatally shot six times on Tuesday in the southern state of Quintana Roo. The assassination came even though Pat was enrolled in a journalist protection scheme organized by the Mexican government. He’s at least the seventh journalist killed in Mexico this year.
And employees of the investigative news outlet The Intercept have ratified their first-ever union contract. The deal, which has the unanimous support of members of the Writers Guild of America, East, guarantees workers pay increases and paid parental leave. And in a first-of-its-kind provision, the deal guarantees that future interviews for job openings must include at least two candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups in journalism, including women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.