Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 3, 2018

A judge blocks the blanket detention of asylum seekers, Trump starts interviewing potential Supreme Court picks, and more


Judge blocks blanket detention of asylum seekers

A federal judge on Monday blocked the Trump administration's blanket detention of asylum seekers. Judge James Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Department of Homeland Security was ignoring its own directive to release people who had shown they have a "credible fear" of persecution in their home country and give them humanitarian parole while their asylum applications are considered. Under the Obama administration, ICE granted parole to more than 90 percent of asylum applicants, but under the Trump administration, that figure has fallen to nearly zero. "To mandate that ICE provide these baseline procedures to those entering our country — individuals who have often fled violence and persecution to seek safety on our shores — is no great judicial leap," Boasberg said.


Trump starts interviewing potential Supreme Court picks

President Trump on Monday interviewed four possible replacements for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and he plans to meet with more in coming days. "They are really incredible people," Trump said. The president is aiming to announce his nominee on July 9. The first four interviews reportedly were with federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Trump's push came as the Democrats tried to rally opposition to any pick likely to oppose abortion rights. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Trump compiled his list of 25 potential nominees with guidance from conservatives, so it was "virtually certain" his pick would favor overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision affirming a woman's right to abortion.


Merkel reverses on migration to save her government

German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Monday to build camps for asylum seekers on the Austrian border in a bid to prevent the collapse of her coalition government, reversing her longstanding policy of welcoming asylum seekers. The change marked a compromise with Merkel's interior minister, Horst Seehofer, who also is the leader of one of her coalition partners, the Christian Social Union. Seehofer had threatened to resign, saying last week's European Union migration agreement didn't do enough to discourage the flow of migrants into Germany. His departure would have unraveled Merkel's coalition. The deal won't be finalized until the parties in Merkel's coalition all agree, but Merkel said she and Seehofer had "reached a good compromise." Seehofer said the agreement was "sustainable." European stocks rose early Tuesday in what was widely interpreted as a sign of relief.


Cohen says family, not Trump, is his first priority

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, who once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, said in his first in-depth interview since the FBI raided his home and office in April that his "first loyalty" really was to his wife and children. "I put family and country first," Cohen told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Stephanopoulos directly asked Cohen what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting Trump and protecting his family, suggesting he might be willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and other federal investigators. Trump tweeted in April that "most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that."


'Round 2' of Trump-Kim summit could be held in New York

President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un could follow up their June Singapore summit with a "round two," possibly in New York in September, Axios reported Monday, citing administration officials. The meeting could take place around the United Nations General Assembly. Trump declared that Pyongyang was "no longer a nuclear threat" after his meeting with the North Korean leader on June 12, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be making another trip to the country this week to push for denuclearization. "Since Singapore we have seen a huge gap open up between the claims made by POTUS (that the nuclear problem is essentially solved) and the reality that it is anything but," said Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass.


Mexico's president-elect talks migration, trade with Trump

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leftist populist who won in a landslide Sunday, said that he would "reach an understanding" with President Trump, and confirmed that the two had spoken for half an hour on Monday. López Obrador said the leaders discussed "development projects that generate jobs in Mexico, thereby reducing migration and improving security," BuzzFeed News' Hayes Brown reports. Trump said he and López Obrador discussed border security and trade. Despite López Obrador's campaign vow to stand up for Mexico more forcefully than the current government, Trump said he thinks "the relationship will be a very good one." Trump also boasted that he had predicted López Obrador would one day be Mexico's president when he saw him campaigning "for a different race" in "a different year."


Thai rescuers find boys alive in cave but ordeal not over

Rescuers on Monday found 12 boys, all members of a soccer team, and their coach alive far inside a flooded cave in Thailand where they have been trapped for 10 days. The boys were still wearing their soccer uniforms, sitting in a dry area, when Thai navy divers pushed deep into the cave and found them. The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing after flood water trapped them after they entered Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand on June 23. Rescuers got food to the boys and said they all appeared in stable condition, but provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn warned that getting the team out of the cave would be a complicated process. "We found them safe," he said, "but the operation isn't over."


EU threatens massive response if Trump imposes auto tariff

The European Union on Monday warned that it could impose retaliatory tariffs on roughly $300 billion in U.S. goods if President Trump follows through with his threatened levies on auto imports. European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said such a move by the U.S. "lacks legitimacy, factual basis, and violates international trade rules." The EU made similar allegations about the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed last month. President Trump said those tariffs were necessary to preserve the U.S. steel and aluminum industries for national security. The EU called those tariffs "pure protectionism," and placed new duties on some U.S. products. Futures for the three main U.S. stock indexes edged higher early Tuesday, after they all shook off early losses to end higher on Monday.


Harvey Weinstein faces more sex-crime charges

The Manhattan District Attorney's office said Monday that disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein had been charged with three more sex crimes. A grand jury indicted Weinstein on one new count of criminal sexual assault for an alleged forcible sexual act against a third woman in 2006, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. Weinstein was previously charged with rape and other crimes associated with forcible sex acts against two other women 2013 and 2004. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in June. The new charges carry potential sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.


Brazil, Belgium advance in World Cup thrillers

With a stunning stoppage-time goal, Belgium beat Japan 3-2 on Monday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup. The Red Devils had been down 2-0 to Japan before scoring three consecutive goals, beginning in the 69th minute. Earlier Monday, Brazil — the favorite to win the World Cup — eliminated Mexico 2-0. It is the seventh straight World Cup in which Mexico survived the group stage only to be knocked out in the Round of 16, despite optimism following a stunning victory over perennial favorite Germany. Belgium and Brazil will face each other in the quarterfinals on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.


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