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FEMA Administrator Brock Long Resigning, Effective Immediately



Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long has resigned from his post, the department announced Wednesday. Peter Gaynor, who has served as Long’s deputy, will assume acting administrator duties in his place.

Long’s inappropriate use of government resources cost taxpayers $94,000 in staff salary, $55,000 in travel expenses and $2,000 in vehicle maintenance, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general resolved last year.

Long performed as the superintendent of the agency since 2017, and will be briefly replaced by Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.

“While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family – my beautiful wife and two incredible boys,” Long said in a statement. “As a career emergency management professional, I could not be prouder to have worked alongside the devoted, hardworking men and women of FEMA for the past two years.”

This post will be updated, stay tuned…

Trump Administration

Herman Cain Withdraws From Consideration For Fed Reserve Seat




(Reuters) – Herman Cain, facing resistance from his own political party, has withdrawn from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday.

Four Republican U.S. senators in recent weeks voiced opposition to Trump’s expected nomination of Cain, likely enough to deny the former Republican presidential candidate the support he needed to secure Senate confirmation for the post.

Economists and critics have expressed concerns about loyalists of Trump serving on the traditionally nonpartisan U.S. central bank.

Cain has been a public advocate of many of Trump’s policies, as has Stephen Moore, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, who Trump has also said he wants to nominate for one of two vacant seats on the seven-member Fed Board of Governors in Washington.

Multiple Democrats on Monday renewed calls for Moore to be taken out of consideration.

Cain had vowed to fight on in several interviews, and had said he was under attack as a nominee because he is a conservative. Cain’s bid for president in 2012 was derailed by accusations of sexual harassment that recently resurfaced and which he has repeatedly denied.

“My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!” Trump said in a Twitter post.

Cain did not respond to a phone call requesting comment on Monday.

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, said Cain’s “failure to garner adequate support should not be used as a pathway by Senate Republicans to approve Stephen Moore, who is equally unqualified, and perhaps more political.”

Schumer said in a statement that Moore “poses a danger to the economic stability of our country” and called on Republicans who have a majority in the Senate to force him out of consideration.

Moore did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Central bank independence from short-term politics is seen as important to prevent influence that could lead to runaway debt, inflation and financial instability.

Trump elevated Jerome Powell to Fed chairman a year ago but has frequently criticized him for the U.S. central bank’s interest rate increases.

The central bank’s other top policymakers are drawn from the Fed’s 12 regional banks and chosen by local boards of directors, not the U.S. president.

Cain, the former head of the Godfather’s Pizza restaurant chain, served as chairman of the Kansas City Fed’s board in the mid-1990s in a role that also provides the regional bank with input on the local economy.

The Fed in March brought a three-year rate-hike cycle to an abrupt end as it abandoned projections for any further rate increases this year.

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Trump Administration

Trump Advisers Weighed Whether US Military Could Build/Run Migrant Detention Camps




WASHINGTON — When some of President Donald Trump’s top national security advisers gathered at the White House Tuesday night to talk about the surge of immigrants across the southern border, they discussed increasing the U.S. military’s involvement in the border mission, including whether the military could be used to build tent city detention camps for migrants, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.

During the meeting, the officials also discussed whether the U.S. militarycould legally run the camps once the migrants are housed there, a move the three officials said was very unlikely since U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants. The law has been a major limitation for Trump, who wants to engage troops in his mission to get tougher on immigration.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was at the White House meeting Tuesday night and was open to sending more U.S. troops to support the border mission, so long as their assigned mission is within the law, according to the three U.S. officials.

Thousands of troops are currently deployed along the southern border, and are mainly used for reinforcing existing fencing with barbed wire.

Potential new projects for the troops that were mentioned Tuesday, according to the three officials — two from the Pentagon and one from Homeland Security — also included conducting assessments of the land before the construction of new tent cities in El Paso and Donna, Texas. They would also be used in assessments before construction of a new central processing center for migrants in El Paso, said the DHS official.

The creation of the processing center was announced last month. It is being designed to temporarily detain arriving immigrants, many of whom are being released in El Paso due to the lack of detention space.

The processing center will be similar to one currently used in McAllen, Texas, where children were kept in chain-link areas, which some called “cages,” while the Trump administration’s family separation policy was in effect last summer, according to two Customs and Border Protection officials.

The tent cities would hold immigrants while Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities continue to be at capacity. The Obama administration also used tents to hold immigrants in Donna, Texas, in 2016.

The idea has trickled down into planning meetings held this week at DHS, one of the officials said.

Discussions this week, at the White House meeting and afterward, have included the suggestion that troops may be needed to run the tent city detention camps once immigrants are being housed there, according to the U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.

The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of federal troops for domestic law enforcement inside the U.S. This prevents them from direct interaction with immigrants crossing into the country. One U.S. official said recent meetings have included discussions about whether using active duty troops to run a detention camp would be a violation of Posse Comitatus.

While there has been discussion of an increase in troops, no specific numbers have been mentioned, and officials do not expect a large number of additional troops to be needed for any new mission.

A U.S. border patrol official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the military allows for faster construction than private contractors, who can protest decisions and slow down the process.

“The importance of DOD is that they are able to mobilize quickly because we face an immediate crisis now,” said the border patrol official.

As an example of the crisis, the border patrol official said on Tuesday, 253 Central Americans, mainly families were stopped in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Large groups present a challenge for border agents who must process, shelter and often find medical care for immigrants.

The border patrol official said he is not aware of plans to use troops to run detention facilities for migrants and noted it would be in violation of U.S. law.

The White House meeting came just two days after Trump tweeted that his secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was leaving and that Kevin McAleenan, the CBP commissioner, would replace her as acting secretary. DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady has also resigned.

On Wednesday, during a visit to Texas, Trump spoke about increasing the number of U.S. troops assigned to the border mission and alluded to the limitations to using active duty troops there.

“I’m going to have to call up more military. Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy. … Our military can’t act like they would normally act. … They have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won’t change. They will not change them.”

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said: “As we said last year when we were looking at possible facilities at Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base, DOD could be involved in the possible construction of facilities to house immigrants. There are currently no new requests for assistance.”

(Reporting by NBC News)

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Trump Administration

US Treasury Department Rejects House Democrats Request On Trump Tax Returns




WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) says his department is unable to provide President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress by Wednesday’s deadline.

Mnuchin told House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, who made the request a week ago, that Treasury respects congressional oversight but needs more time to review the “unprecedented” request.

Mnuchin said Neal’s request raised important questions of “constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”

He quoted Capitol Hill Republicans who called the request “Nixonian” and who warned that it could set a precedent for disclosing personal tax information for political purposes.

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