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White House gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expanded powers for US troops on border

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that he had been granted authority to allow troops on the Mexican border greater powers to help protect border officials, and would await direction from the Department of Homeland Security.

Reuters reported on Monday that the White House was likely to give troops authority to protect Customs and Border Protection agents stationed along the U.S. border with Mexico if they come under threat from migrants seeking to cross into the United States.

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Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mattis confirmed that he had been given the additional authority, but would await a request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before deciding how to use it.

“I have the authority to do more, now we’ll see what she asks me for,” Mattis said, referring to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. He said he had no immediate intention of changing the mission.

Mattis said, depending on the DHS request, that troops may be given powers to temporarily detain migrants, but not the authority to arrest them. They would only be permitted to detain migrants for “minutes, not even hours” while they hand them over to border agents.

He said troops could help protect the border agents with shields and batons, but would be unarmed.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a memo signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly gave Mattis the authority to protect immigration agents and if necessary, could include actions like use of lethal force, crowd control, temporary detention and cursory searches.

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The deployment of about 5,800 active duty troops to the Mexico border to bolster defenses ahead of the expected arrival of a caravan of mostly Honduran migrants has raised questions in Congress and among legal experts about troop deployments on U.S. soil.

The Pentagon has said in the past that there were no plans for U.S. forces to interact with migrants and that they have been carrying out support tasks.

The Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law on the books since the 1870s, restricts using the U.S. Army and other main branches of the military for civilian law enforcement on U.S. soil, unless specifically authorized by Congress.

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“There is no violation of Posse Comitatus, there’s no violation here at all,” Mattis said.

Asked if the border mission could be extended, Mattis said it was dependent on the situation, but at least some troops would be back home before Christmas. He also said that fresh troops could be assigned new missions.

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The mission is currently authorized through Dec. 15.

Reporting by Idrees Ali, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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WATCH: Nicolle Wallace breaks down ‘the case against William Barr’

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Monday broke down "the case against William Barr" as controversy continues to envelop the Department of Justice.

"Republicans and Democrats who have served in the Justice Department for the past 12 presidents are today calling for William Barr's resignation as our country's attorney general," Wallace reported.

Wallace read from an open letter signed by 2,000 former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials.

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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to donate $10 billion to fight climate change

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday that he plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune to help fight climate change.

Bezos, the world’s richest man, said in an Instagram post that he'll start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits working to protect the earth.

“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change,” Bezos said in the post.

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Fox News reports wages rose faster under Obama than Trump after his campaign lashes out at predecessor

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In what was possibly a hint to remind people of his legacy this Monday, former President Barack Obama gave a shout out to the anniversary of his signing of the 2009 economic stimulus package.

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history,” Obama tweeted with a photo of his signature on the bill.

https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1229432034650722304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fpolitics%2Ftrump-campaign-fires-back-after-obama-claims-credit-for-economic-boom

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