Aug 16 2018

House passes stopgap funding bill with $5 billion for Trump’s border wall, at odds with Senate

House passes

WASHINGTON — The House passed a stopgap measure Thursday night to fund the government that includes $5 billion for a border wall sought by President Donald Trump. The bill is expected to be rejected in the Senate, and does little to prevent a shutdown on Saturday.

The vote of 217 to 185 on Thursday night puts the House at odds with the Senate, which on Wednesday night passed a funding bill that does not include border wall money.

The Senate will now have to consider the House version before midnight Friday to avert a partial government shutdown, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled to members to be ready for a possible vote on Friday at noon.

Democrats, however, will most certainly block the measure in the Senate. With 60 votes needed to advance an appropriations bill to a final vote, Republican senators need Democratic votes to make it over that threshold.

If and when the Senate rejects the House measure, it’s unclear how House GOP leaders plan to proceed. Their only viable options on Friday are either to pass the so-called “clean” spending bill already passed by the Senate or to let the government shut down as Trump recently said he would be “proud” to do.

The House’s approval of billions for border security comes after Trump said Thursday he would not sign a short-term spending bill that did not include such funding.

“Any measure that funds the government has to include border security — not for political purposes, but for our country,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments came after an emergency meeting earlier Thursday at the White House with top House GOP leaders and several conservatives, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, a former Freedom Caucus chairman.

The House’s continuing resolution, which would fund the government until Feb. 8, also includes $8 billion for disaster relief.

The House vote Thursday comes after Democratic leaders had repeatedly told Trump that a bill with $5 billion in border-wall funding couldn’t pass either chamber of Congress.

House passes

Trump and Congress must come to agreement on a funding bill by Friday night, or parts of the federal government will shut down Saturday. That would mark the third time this year that the government has at least partially shut down.

The president has been scheduled to leave Washington for a 16-day vacation to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday night that he would remain in the capital if a shutdown occurs.

If the shutdown lasts until the new year, House Democrats, who are set to take the majority on Jan. 3, will have to come to a deal with a Republican president and GOP-controlled Senate on reopening the government.

Meanwhile, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized the vote in a Twitter post late Thursday, questioning how the GOP “discovers $5.7 billion for a wall.”

“What if we instead added $5.7B in teacher pay?” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Or replacing water pipes? Or college tuition/prescription refill subsidies? Or green jobs? But notice how no one’s asking the GOP how they’re paying for it.”

Jul 05 2018

Suspended San Francisco police officer accused of robbing bank

Francisco police officer

A suspended San Francisco police officer was charged Wednesday with allegedly robbing a bank of more than $9,000 in cash.

An FBI agent said in a federal court filing the robbery happened on Nov. 29 at the East West Bank in the city’s Sunset District neighborhood.

Surveillance video showed a man, later identified by police as Rain Daugherty, 44, walk into the bank just after 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) and hand a bank teller a note demanding $50 and $100 bills.

The teller said Daugherty told her to “calm down, just do it” after he passed the note. The teller then grabbed cash from a bank drawer and handed it over. A second teller told investigators that they witnessed the robbery and pressed the alarm button to alert the San Francisco Police Department.

Daugherty fled the bank with approximately $9,050, according to the FBI.

He was identified as the alleged robber after two internal affairs officers with the department and one of the bank tellers viewed photos pulled from the surveillance video, according to the court filing.

Police arrested Daugherty on Tuesday. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the robbery.

Daugherty was already on suspension from the San Francisco Police Department without pay due to an unrelated criminal investigation in San Mateo County, according to the filing.

Francisco police officer

The messages came to light during the federal prosecution of former Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was convicted in 2014 on charges of conspiracy to commit theft, conspiracy to violate civil rights and wire fraud in a case involving stealing money and property from drug suspects. Furminger was sentenced to 41 months in prison a year later.

Daugherty and his colleagues tried to appeal the charges against them, but the California Supreme Court denied it in September.

CORRECTION (Dec. 20, 9:06 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated one of the charges on which former Sgt. Ian Furminger was convicted. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft, not theft.

May 31 2018

Terrorism link eyed after tourists are killed in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Authorities arrested three more suspects Thursday in the deaths of two Scandinavian university students who were killed in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, while the Danish intelligence agency said the women’s slayings “may be related” to the Islamic State group.

The three suspects were arrested as they tried to flee Marrakech on a bus, Moroccan national security spokesman Boubker Sabik said. Authorities have said they consider the killings a terrorist act, and Sabik said officials are investigating if the three have extremist ties.

Another suspect was arrested Tuesday. Moroccan prosecutors said he had affiliations to an extremist group, without naming it. No other suspects besides the four now held are being sought, Sabik said.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen confirmed the identities of the victims, 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, of Denmark, and Norwegian citizen Maren Ueland, 28. The University of South-Eastern Norway said both women were students at its campus in Boe, southern Norway.

“What should have been a holiday trip turned into a nightmare” for the women, Loekke Rasmussen told reporters in Denmark.

The women’s bodies were found Monday in a remote region of the Atlas Mountains not far from a village that often is the starting point for treks to Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak.

Moroccan media outlets reported that investigators have video surveillance footage showing three suspects putting up a tent near the victims’ tent and leaving the area after the slayings. Other tourists found the women with stab wounds in their necks and alerted police, according to national media in Morocco.

The killings were “politically motivated and thus an act of terror,” Denmark’s Loekke Rasmussen said, without identifying the potential motives. “There are still dark forces that want to fight our values” and “we must not give in.”

In neighboring Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said terrorism “is not the only lead that is being investigated in Morocco,” but the case “emphasizes the importance of combating violent extremism.”

Terrorism link

“We trust that Moroccan authorities are doing their utmost to arrest those responsible for the murders,” she said at a news conference.

“It is an unacceptable act that does not fit with the values and traditions of Moroccan people nor the traditions of the area where the crime happened,” Khalfi said Thursday. It is a denounced, condemned act.”

A national security official who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media identified the suspects to The Associated Press as Abdessamad Ejjoud, born in 1993; Younes Ouziad, born in 1991; and Rashid Aftati, born in 1986. They had knives and slingshots when they were arrested, the official said.

Morocco is generally considered safe for tourists but has battled with Islamic extremism for years. More than a thousand Moroccans are believed to have joined the Islamic State group.

An anti-terrorism rally is being planned for Saturday in Rabat.