Wednesday morning news: November 21, 2018

Judge blocks asylum order » A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked an executive order by President Trump refusing asylum to migrants who illegally enter the U.S.

In his Monday ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar said immigration law allows persons to seek asylum regardless of whether they arrived “at a designated port of arrival.”

Baher Azmy is a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the ACLU. He argued refugees have a legal right to claim asylum however they enter the country.

BAHER: These people are desperate, fleeing persecution, not particularly sophisticated. In the case of asylum seekers on the southern border are often pressured to go outside the ports of entry because of gang violence or cartels. 

But President of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd said the White House got it right.

JUDD: The judge just encouraged them to break our laws, cross the border illegally, drain Border Patrol resources, because then we have to deploy our resources to those areas. 

President Trump’s decree was aimed at several migrant caravans making their way from Central America to the U.S. border.

The court order will remain in effect until December 19th unless the Trump administration appeals.

President Trump has turned over answers in Russia probe » President Trump has provided the special counsel’s office with written answers to questions in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick reports.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: The president’s written answers represent a compromise nearly a year in the making. Mueller secures a set of on-the-record statements. And Trump, at least for now, avoids a high-stakes sit-down with prosecutors.

Months ago investigators presented Trump’s legal team with dozens of questions they wanted to ask the president. They related to whether his campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 election. They also pressed the president on his motives for firing former FBI director James Comey and whether the move was intended to obstruct the Russia probe.

Mueller’s office agreed to accept written responses related to any possible Russian collusion and tabled questions related to obstruction.

President Trump’s legal team said it will not release copies of the questions and answers or discuss correspondence with the special counsel’s office.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.

President Trump: No further punishment against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi killing » President Trump said Tuesday the U.S. will not inflict any additional punishment on Saudi Arabia for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A team of Saudi operatives killed the Washington Post columnist last month inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The United States has already levied sanctions against 17 Saudis accused of taking part in the killing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized once again on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the region.

POMPEO: It’s a mean, nasty world out there – the Middle East in particular. There are important American interests to keep the American people safe. 

President Trump also noted that the kingdom is an important trading partner.

TRUMP: They’re buying hundreds of billions of dollars worth of things from this country. If I say we don’t want to take your business, if I say we’re going to cut it off, they’ll get the equipment—military equipment and other things from Russia and China. 

Despite speculation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder, President Trump noted the CIA cannot definitively say that he did it. Trump said—quote—“It could well be that the crown prince had knowledge”…“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t.”

At least 50 dead from bombing in Afghanistan » A bombing Tuesday that targeted a group of Islamic scholars in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 50 people and injured about 80 others. Hundreds of clerics and scholars had gathered in a large wedding hall to celebrate the birthday of Muhammad, the founder of Islam when the explosion went off. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIS and the Taliban remain active in the country.

Ivanka Trump team pushes back against email report » A spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s attorney is pushing back against a report that the president’s daughter and adviser improperly used private email for government business. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Washington Post reported this week that Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails to White House aides, Cabinet members, and assistants from a personal account. The paper said many of those emails violated federal public records rules.

A spokesman for her lawyer responded in a statement saying Ivanka Trump only used a private email account “while transitioning into government.”

It went on to push back against any comparisons to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. The statement said Ivanka Trump “did not create a private server” or transmit classified information, and the emails were not deleted. They were “retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules.”

But House Democrats are already signaling that they plan to take a close look at her email use when they assume the majority in January.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Pot shop opens on East Coast » The first commercial marijuana stores in the eastern United States opened Tuesday in Massachusetts. Two shops opened their doors—one in the town of Leicester and another in the small western city of Northampton. They’re now selling marijuana flowers, pre-rolled joints, concentrates, and edibles to adults 21 and older.

Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational pot more than two years ago. But regulators have been slow to approve marijuana shops, saying they want to ensure safety and avoid supply issues. Recreational pot is also legal in six Western states.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull) Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, left in light blue shirt and blue vest, walks with immigration officials along the border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in San Diego. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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