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June 24, 2018

President Trump on Twitter Sunday proposed that immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally be immediately deported without due process:

The tweet's proposal is similar to comments Trump made Tuesday. "I don't want judges," he said. "I want border security. I don't want to try people. I don't want people coming in. Do you know, if a person comes in and puts one foot on our ground, it's essentially, 'Welcome to America, welcome to our country.' You never get them out, because they take their name, they bring the name down, they file it, then they let the person go. They say, 'Show back up to court in one year from now.'"

Sometimes, the president is very fond of due process. In February, he plaintively asked on Twitter whether there is "no such thing any longer as Due Process," apparently objecting to public critique of men accused of domestic abuse. Bonnie Kristian

1:41 a.m.

President Trump spoke by phone with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre for at least 30 minutes on Tuesday, and according to at least three accounts of their conversation, Trump assured LaPierre that expanding background checks — supported by 90 percent of Americans in multiple polls conducted after the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — is off the table.

In the call, Trump assured LaPierre that "he was not interested in legislation establishing universal background checks and that his focus would be on the mental health of the gunmen, not their guns," The New York Times reports. Trump said as much after the phone call, telling reporters "we have very, very strong background checks right now," and "mental problems" are the "sort of missing areas and areas that don't complete the whole circle." He added: "A lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment, and I am also."

This wasn't Trump's first aborted post-shooting lurch toward gun control, nor his first conversation with LaPierre after the El Paso and Dayton mass murders. Three days after the shootings, daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump "had proposed the idea of a televised Rose Garden appearance as a way to nudge her father toward supporting universal background checks," promising a made-for-TV occasion "where Trump could sign a document and call it 'historic' and 'unprecedented' — and receive positive media attention," The Atlantic reports.

Trump "loved it. He was all spun up about it," a former senior White House official told The Atlantic, but when he enthusiastically pitched the idea to LaPierre on an Aug. 7 call, LaPierre shot it down, and, as an NRA official put it, "the Rose Garden fantasy" was dead. The NRA, despite scandal and shrinking support, has kept up the lobbying onslaught unabated, to a receptive White House. Ivanka Trump assured GOP donors in Wyoming on Monday night that the White House is still focused on background checks, The Atlantic notes, but "less than 24 hours later, her father reportedly assured LaPierre of the opposite." Peter Weber

1:27 a.m.

Had Sylvie Beckers not overwatered her family's backyard flower bed, she never would have helped her mother discover a new insect species.

In the summer of 2016, Beckers, then 2, got a little too enthusiastic with the hose, and flooded the flower bed. Her mom, biology professor Laura Sullivan-Beckers, soon could see "these bright green bugs float up to the top of the soil," she told Good Morning America. While working on her doctorate, Sullivan-Beckers studied treehoppers, and she knew these bugs were out of the ordinary. With her daughter by her side, she spent the rest of the summer taking photos and collecting species, eventually sending the specimens to the Department of Agriculture.

After three years of waiting, Sullivan-Beckers finally got the call: this was a new species, and an especially rare find as its "closest relatives are all in South America," research entomologist Stuart H. McKamey said. "We don't know how it got to Murray, Kentucky, and we don't even know where else it is found in the U.S.A. or elsewhere, but I doubt it evolved there because there's nothing similar within 1,000 miles." Without Beckers, the bugs likely would have stayed deep underground, and her mother decided to name the species Hebetica sylviae in her honor. Catherine Garcia

12:33 a.m.

The Epoch Times, a news outlet closely aligned with a spiritual community banned in China, has spent $1.5 million over the last six months to run 11,000 pro-President Trump ads on Facebook, NBC News reports.

Only the Trump campaign has spent more money on ads in support of the president, data shows. Former staffers of the New York City-based Epoch Times told NBC News the ad blitz isn't surprising, due to the leanings of the Falun Gong movement. Ben Hurley, who helped launch The Epoch Times in Australia, said the outlet is "rabidly pro-Trump" because the most devout Falun Gong followers "believe that Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the Communist Party."

The Facebook ads feature people praising Trump and talking about fake news and Deep State and QAnon conspiracies, NBC News reports. Trump's Facebook page has posted Epoch Times content, and his daughter-in-law was recently interviewed by the outlet. Data shows that between Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, Epoch Media Group videos had about three billion views in April alone, making the company 11th among all video creators, NBC News reports.

The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by a Falun Gong practitioner named John Tang, but not much is known about its ownership, with executives refusing to give NBC News any names. The founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi, called Epoch Media Group "our media," and in 2009 he pushed for The Epoch Times to become mainstream. Li argues that feminism and homosexuality are wicked and that aliens can take over human minds and bodies, and former employees said they were told they couldn't write about gay people or popular music but needed to push conservative opinions and criticism of China. The Epoch Times' publisher, Stephen Gregory, said the company has "no political agenda." Read more about the secretive news outlet and what it was like to work there at NBC News. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2019

America's ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, rolled out the digital red carpet for President Trump on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting that America's "partner, ally, friend" is "ready" for Trump's visit.

A little more than two hours later, Trump pulled the plug, strongly suggesting that the entire purpose of his trip to Copenhagen was to discuss purchasing Greenland from Denmark. That might have been news to Sands, a former soap opera and film actress and chiropractor, as the official reason for Trump's visit was dinner with Queen Margrethe II and meetings with Danish leaders — "as an offbeat thank-you to a small country that has been a stalwart NATO member and that supported U.S. military actions," as The Washington Post put it — following a two-day visit to Poland.

Trump confirmed on Sunday that he had asked his administration to explore buying Greenland, saying that "essentially, it’s a large real estate deal," but he also said it wasn't "No. 1 on the burner" and claimed his trip to Denmark was "not for this reason at all." Trump had been talking about buying Greenland for weeks, the Post reports, and senior administration officials had discussed various offers to pry it loose from Denmark. Once the news leaked, Denmark and Greenland made it clear the ice-covered island territory is not for sale.

Trump is still expected to visit Warsaw to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II. Peter Weber

August 20, 2019

President Trump won't be breaking rugbrød with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen any time soon.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that he will no longer visit Denmark later this month, and he's putting his change in plans squarely on the shoulders of Frederiksen. "Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," he said. Both countries will save money, Trump added, thanks to Frederiksen being "so direct."

Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, and on Sunday, Trump confirmed reports that he was "interested" in buying it. In response, Frederiksen said Greenland is "not for sale," and she hoped Trump's comments were "not meant seriously." Trump's trip, it should be noted, officially had nothing to do with his misplaced desire to purchase the island — he was invited to visit Denmark by Queen Margrethe II. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2019

The Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization for LGBTQ members of the GOP, lost a board member over the group's decision to endorse President Trump.

"There is no world where I can sit down at the dining room table and explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president," Jennifer Horn told The Washington Post. "It is contrary to everything that I have ever taught them about what it means to be a good, decent, principled member of society."

Horn sent her resignation letter on Monday, after the Log Cabin Republicans' chair and vice-chair announced in a Post op-ed that the group was endorsing Trump because he's taking "bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community," including enacting tax cuts and pledging to "end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years." In her letter, Horn said, among other things, she opposed Trump's "regular verbal assaults against women, immigrants, elected members of Congress, [and] party members who do not agree with him on policy or principle."

Prior to joining the Log Cabin Republicans' board, Horn was chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, and she told the Post she was disappointed in 2016 when Trump did not remove language from the party's platform that advocated against equal rights for LGBTQ people. Horn remains hopeful that more Republicans will start speaking out against Trump. "People have to know, our party is dying because of the silence of those who oppose this president," she said. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2019

Police officers in Phoenix must now fill out a form every time they point a gun at a person, with a supervisor then reviewing the incident, a policy the city has been considering for several years.

City officials announced the new rule on Monday, with Police Chief Jeri Williams saying, "When a gun is pointed at someone, that's a traumatic event. I think this is a first step in being ... that accountable, transparent organization that is willing to share what we do and how we do it."

This was first recommended in 2015 by a community panel, and again in April by the National Police Foundation, which studied a spike in officer-involved shootings last year; there were 44 incidents in 2018, up from an average of 21 from 2009 to 2017, CNN reports. Other major cities also document when officers point their guns, including Dallas, New Orleans, and Chicago.

The city did not say if this new policy is in response to a video released two months ago, which showed an officer pointing a gun at a family during a shoplifting investigation. Police say the woman did not listen when officers told her to lift her hands, and they were concerned she might be hiding a weapon. Catherine Garcia

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