President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that U.S. authorities had “caught 10 terrorists,” citing it as a reason for why the United States should build a wall on its Mexican border, but four government sources said there was no recent evidence of terrorism suspects being caught along the border.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said: “We do not have evidence of known or suspected foreign terrorist organizations trying to infiltrate the southern U.S. border.”
Three national security officials agreed with that view, saying they knew of no recent border-related arrests. The three officials also asked not to be identified.
In a contentious White House meeting on Tuesday with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Trump demanded $5 billion in taxpayer funding for his wall, threatening a federal shutdown if he did not get the money.
“People are pouring into our country, including terrorists,” he said. “We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. Ten. These are very serious people. Our border agents, all of our law enforcement has been incredible what they’ve done. … We need the wall.”
The president did not say when or where the “terrorists” were caught. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his remarks.
One national security source said U.S. authorities had in recent years captured one terrorism suspect trying to cross into the United States over a land border.
Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said on June 12 at a security forum that her agency identifies and stops terrorists worldwide who would otherwise go undetected.
“In fact, on average, my department now blocks 10 known or suspected terrorists a day from traveling to or attempting to enter the United States,” she said.
Ahead of Nov. 6 congressional elections, Trump and his allies said the United States was under threat from a caravan of migrants moving north mostly from Central America toward the U.S.-Mexico border. He also said, without providing evidence, that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” were mixed in with the caravan, a claim immigration advocates disputed.
Days before the elections, Trump ordered more than 5,000 troops to the border.
Democrats have proposed $1.3 billion in spending on general border security as part of a package that must pass by Dec. 21 to avert a partial shutdown of the federal government.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney
Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’
Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance
Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.
Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.
"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.
"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.
"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"
California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report
On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.
"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."
Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.
‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation
Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a
"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."