Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 8, 2021

Harris urges migrants not to come to U.S., DOJ recovers most of Colonial Pipeline ransom, and more


Harris tells undocumented migrants: 'Do not come' to U.S.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday delivered a terse message to Central Americans contemplating making the dangerous trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, telling them, "Do not come." Harris, speaking during a visit to Guatemala on her first trip abroad since taking office, said the Biden administration was aiming to "help Guatemalans find hope at home." Harris is stopping in Guatemala and Mexico to discuss ways to reduce migration to the United States by addressing root causes and stepping up immigration forces in both countries. In a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris announced several new policies, including the establishment of a joint task force against human trafficking, a young women's empowerment program, and an anti-corruption task force.


DOJ recovers most of Colonial Pipeline ransom  

The Justice Department announced Monday that it had recovered about $2.3 million of the $4.4 million in bitcoin that Colonial Pipeline paid as ransom to the Russia-based hackers who forced the shutdown of the nation's largest fuel pipeline last month. The pipeline carries nearly half the East Coast's fuel, and the closure caused gas shortages across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. The cryptocurrency recovery was the first one accomplished by a Biden administration ransomware task force. "By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital currency, we will continue to use all of our tools and all of our resources to increase the costs and the consequences of ransomware attacks and other cyber-enabled attacks," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference.


Supreme Court rules TPS migrants ineligible for green cards 

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that immigrants who receive temporary protected status (TPS) for humanitarian reasons after entering the United States unlawfully do not qualify to seek permanent resident status. As many as 400,000 immigrants have been granted temporary protection from deportation after fleeing natural disasters or other unsafe conditions in their home countries. Lower courts have split over whether they meet a legal requirement for those seeking a green card to have been "inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States." In the case, Jose Santos Sanchez argued that he met that requirement despite entering the country illegally in 1997 because he was granted TPS in 2001. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, said that the law was clear that since he was not "lawfully admitted" he "cannot become a permanent resident." 


Canadian police: Driver ran over Muslim family deliberately

A driver in the Canadian city of London, Ontario, hit a family of five with his pickup truck — killing four of them — in an apparent attack targeting them because they were Muslims, Canadian police said Monday. The black pickup jumped a curb and plowed into the family at an intersection. "This was an act of mass murder perpetuated against Muslims," Mayor Ed Holder said. "It was rooted in unspeakable hatred." A young man was arrested in the parking lot of a nearby mall shortly after the incident on Sunday. The family identified those killed as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15; and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name was not released. A boy, identified only as Fayez, was hospitalized with serious injuries. "Everyone who knew Salman and the rest of the Afzal family know the model family they were as Muslims, Canadians, and Pakistanis," the family's statement said.


DOJ asks to continue defending Trump in defamation suit

The Biden administration Justice Department filed a brief in an appellate court on Monday seeking to continue defending former President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed by magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of rape then sued him for calling her a liar. Justice Department lawyers said that since Trump was an employee of the government when he made the comments he was acting "within the scope of employment," so the government should defend him. "Then-President Trump's response to Ms. Carroll's serious allegations of sexual assault included statements that questioned her credibility in terms that were crude and disrespectful," Justice Department lawyers wrote. "But this case does not concern whether Mr. Trump's response was appropriate. Nor does it turn on the truthfulness of Ms. Carroll's allegations."


NOAA: Atmospheric carbon buildup increased despite pandemic recession

Despite the global economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, human-made pollution increased the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere to a record level in the past year, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. Levels of CO2, the main human-caused greenhouse gas, averaged 419 parts per million at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, in May, an increase of 1.82 parts per million over the level in May 2020. The stable pre-industrial level was 280 parts per million. "There was no discernible signal in the data from the global economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic," NOAA said. Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory, added: "If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date."


Trump says he'd consider Florida governor as running mate

Former President Donald Trump said Monday that he would consider picking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as his running mate if he runs for the White House in 2024. "Sure I would ... I would certainly consider Ron," Trump told Fox Business' Stuart Varney in a phone interview. "I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a congressman that a lot of people didn't know, and my endorsement helped him tremendously (in his run for governor) ... He's a great guy." The comments came days after former Vice President Mike Pence admitted that he and Trump didn't see "eye to eye" on the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters aiming to prevent Congress from certifying Trump's election loss to President Biden.


Supreme Court turns away case on male-only military draft

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider a case questioning the constitutionality of the requirement that men, but not women, register for the military draft. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a statement joined by Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh that the court would stick with its "longstanding deference to Congress" on military matters, "at least for now." The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the policy 40 years ago, saying the draft was meant to provide combat troops, who at the time were all men. Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, called the men-only policy "outdated and sexist."


Boston mayor fires police commissioner over domestic violence allegations

Boston Mayor Kim Janey announced Monday that she had fired Police Commissioner Dennis White over allegations of domestic violence she said had damaged "public trust in his judgment and ability to lead." The decision came in response to White's admission in a closed-door meeting last week that he had "hit and pushed members of his household," Janey said. White has publicly denied allegations of domestic abuse. Janey added that instead of showing "growth or contrition," White had "continued to campaign to vilify his former wife." White's attorney, Nicholas Carter, said White was the victim of a "rush to judgment." "He is a Black man, falsely accused of crimes, not given a fair trial or hearing, and then convicted, or terminated which is the equivalent here," Carter said in a statement. "This reflects an ugly pattern in our country."


2 arrested in suspected road rage killing of 6-year-old

A gun enthusiast and his girlfriend have been arrested in connection with a suspected road rage shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy, Aiden Leos, in Orange County, California, last month, the California Highway Patrol announced Monday. The suspects, Marcus Anthony Eriz and Wynne Lee, were expected to be charged with murder on Tuesday. Police said a male passenger in a white Volkswagen fired shots, hitting Aiden, after cutting off a car driven by Aiden's mother, Joanna Cloonan, on a freeway. Aiden, who was sitting in a booster seat, was shot in the stomach. Authorities believe Lee, 23, was the driver and Eriz, an auto mechanic who posted photos on Instagram showing him at a shooting range, was the gunman. 


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Feds reportedly have 'important' tape of Trump discussing classified documents
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