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US judge rejects Trump directives easing ability to fire federal workers

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A U.S. federal judge on Saturday rejected key elements of President Donald Trump’s May executive orders that would make it easier to fire federal employees and reduce their ability to bargain collectively.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said in a court order that Trump’s orders, which also would reduce the amount of time low-performing employees had to improve their performance before being fired, “undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively.”

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Trump signed three executive orders in May that administration officials said would give government agencies greater ability to remove employees with “poor” performance, obtain “better deals” in union contracts and require federal employees with union responsibilities to spend less time on union work.
The directives drew immediate criticism from the American Federation of Government Employees, which said the moves would hurt veterans, law enforcement officers and others.

Jackson ruled that while the president has the authority to issue executive orders relating to federal labor relations, the orders cannot “eviscerate the right to bargain collectively” as envisioned in a long-standing federal statute.

“The President must be deemed to have exceeded his authority in issuing (the orders),” Jackson ruled.

Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis

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Trump refusing to pay for New Mexico security and barricades — while trying to change the state from blue to red

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President Donald Trump thinks he will win New Mexico. He's repeated the factoid multiple times, including to a group of oil and gas workers and executives Wednesday at a conference in Pittsburgh, PA. But he also made two significant mistakes to put that support in jeopardy.

First, the president indicated he was building his "wall" on the border of Colorado, which is north of New Mexico. It would mean that New Mexico was now part of Mexico.

Second, it was reported by the Albuquerque Journal that their city is yet another one Trump's campaign is refusing to pay for security costs.

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CNN’s Cuomo obliterates GOP congressman who raided SCIF in impeachment hearing

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo brought on Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), one of the Republicans who participated in the raid on the secure room where the Intelligence Committee was conducting impeachment hearings. And Johnson's attempt to defend his behavior did not go well.

"Congressman, did you bring a phone in there?" asked Cuomo.

"We headed down that hallway to demand to be able to do our job. That's what we were there for," said Johnson. "There is no classified information being discussed in that room. It is a classified facility, if classified is being discussed, but there was no classified information being discussed there ... You know, a Republican speaker gave that due process and fairness to President Clinton. A Democrat speaker gave that fairness and due process to Richard Nixon. So what do they have to hide, Chris?"

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Intel Committee has ‘recent evidence’ Ukraine witnesses are working together to ‘coordinate’ their stories

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House investigators have "recent evidence" of witnesses working to coordinate their testimony before Congress, a Democratic congressman revealed on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the Intelligence and Judicial committees, was interviewed by MSNBC Chris Hayes.

"Final question, what is the timeline here?" Hayes asked. "There is some transparency argument that at some point this can’t be behind closed doors, the American people, all of us, Republicans, Democrats, citizens and journalists have to hear what’s happening."

"You’re absolutely right and there will be a public phase," Swalwell replied.

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