On Tuesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an August ruling from a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio which had ordered Texas to redraw two congressional districts the court found to have unconstitutionally disenfranchised Latino and other minority voters. The Supreme Court's stay of the lower-court order, 5-4, was along ideological lines, and the conservative majority did not explain their decision. The high court also blocked a ruling from the lower court that invalidated nine Texas House districts also because GOP lawmakers had drawn them to "ensure Anglo control." The Supreme Court will weigh the merits of the Texas appeal sometime this term, probably in several months.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had requested the stay, and the Supreme Court's approval means the 2018 midterms will be held using the contested districts. This is the latest wrinkle in a legal dispute over Texas' redistricting after the 2010 Census. Civil rights groups had challenged the map because none of the new districts, created because of the state's growing Latino population, were drawn favorably for minority candidates. Wednesday's win for the Texas Republicans breaks a month of setbacks, where two federal courts in four cases had ruled against the state on the legislative districts, its voter ID law, and assistance for voters who don't speak English as their first language. Peter Weber
During a combative interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday night, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said she does not want to see kids and their parents separated at the border "unduly," but there are several reasons why the Trump administration has enacted its zero-tolerance policy.
Conway said children are coming to the border, clearly uncomfortable with the adult accompanying them, and Border Patrol agents need to figure out if that is their actual parent. She also said that over the last several years, thousands of girls have come to the U.S. from Central America, but the government lost track of them and now no one knows their whereabouts.
Cuomo wasn't interested in her talking points. "I don't think tonight's the night to fight," he said. "I think this is black and white." The Trump administration "created this situation," and had to know that there would be an outcry over separating kids and their parents. "You don't have the high moral ground on this," he said. "You changed a policy to impress your base, you got a pop in the polls with them, and you're OK with the instruction and harshness. Just own it." "How dare you," Conway responded. Watch the tense interview below. Catherine Garcia
Tucker Carlson spent part of his Monday night Fox News show smugly accusing "elites" of using the "spectacle" of children being separated from their parents at the border to try to "take the moral high ground."
Carlson — who, let's not forget, is a millionaire with his own cable show who attended boarding school and famously used to wear a bow tie 24/7 — just could not stop railing against those "elites," claiming their concern over families being split up is "performance art" and that most of the people "yelling at you on TV don't even have children, so don't for a second let them take the moral high ground. Their goal is to change your country, forever — and they are succeeding, by the way."
In the world according to Carlson, "the ruling class" cares "more about foreigners than their own people," and they want to see the collapse of "strong families" because that helps their political power. "The left" wants "immediate amnesty for anyone who crosses our borders with a minor in tow," he declared, and their elitist neighborhoods "look exactly like they did in 1960 — no demographic change at all, just like they like it," but if you think that's a problem, it's best to keep those thoughts to yourself. "There is no cost to them," he said. "The cost is entirely on you — but don't complain, or else they will call you 'Hitler.'" Watch the eye-roll-inducing video below. Catherine Garcia
On Monday, President Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to find $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that could be subject to new tariffs.
"China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology," Trump said in a statement. "Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong."
Trump has already ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual property theft, which China matched on U.S. exports. Trump said the new tariffs will go into effect if "China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced," and added he is willing to pursue "additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods." Catherine Garcia
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is calling on the White House to "end the cruel, tragic separation of families" at the border, saying the policy is "not consistent with our values."
In a statement released Monday evening, Murkowski said that the "thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be reunited as quickly as possible and be treated humanely while immigration proceedings are pending." There is no need for a "policy designed to separate families, particularly mothers with young children, without a clear process and focus on the needs of the children," she added. "To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable."
Murkowski is also "troubled that those seeking asylum are being turned away before they even have the opportunity to file their papers." If Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen can't "fix this and fast," she said, "we in Congress must." Catherine Garcia
By passing the National Defense Authorization Act on Monday evening, the Senate voted to reimpose the ban on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE.
The defense spending bill was passed by a vote of 85-10, and must still be reconciled with the House version. U.S. lawmakers consider ZTE a national security threat, and are concerned that its equipment could be used to spy on the U.S. and carry out cyberattacks. In April, the Commerce Department enacted a seven-year-ban on American companies doing business with ZTE, but President Trump in May tweeted that he was working to keep ZTE afloat because "too many jobs in China" were being lost.
A provision of the National Defense Authorization Act would prohibit the U.S. government from buying or subsidizing equipment from ZTE and another Chinese telecom company, Huawei, among other penalties. Catherine Garcia
Rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed Monday afternoon outside of a motorcycle dealership in South Florida. He was 20.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office confirmed XXXTentacion's death. Witnesses said the rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was leaving the dealership when a gunman ran up to his vehicle and shot him.
XXXTentacion's second album, ?, was released in March and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He had been under house arrest while awaiting trial for domestic violence, but a judge let him out so he could go on tour, TMZ reports. Catherine Garcia
ProPublica obtained audio of migrant children being separated from their parents. It's horrifying and heartbreaking.
The horrors of the Trump administration's decision to separate immigrant families at the border can be hard to fathom, even as images and descriptions of the detention facilities circulate the web. On Monday, ProPublica published alarming audio from a facility where children had just been separated from their parents, illustrating the trauma and desperation inflicted by the practice.
In the excruciating recording, children sob and wail for their parents, begging to contact their family members and desperately trying to figure out what's going to happen to them. ProPublica reports that the children are between 4 and 10 years old, and were only separated from their parents for about 24 hours at the time of the audio, which was recorded last week. As many as 30,000 children could be detained by August if the Trump administration continues to separate families at its current pace, a senior administration official said.
The "zero tolerance" policy announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has led to hundreds of children being held in facilities where they spend most of the day in cages awaiting placement with temporary foster families or to be picked up by a family member who is legally authorized to live in the U.S.
It's a difficult listen, but the recording demonstrates just how painful these separations are for children and families fleeing violence and instability in their home countries. Listen to the devastating audio below, via ProPublica. Summer Meza