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Philadelphia beats US appeal in sanctuary city case

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A federal appeals court said on Friday the Trump administration cannot cut off grants to Philadelphia for its refusal to cooperate with immigration authorities seeking to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally.

In a 3-0 decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the U.S. attorney general lacked power to condition that city’s receipt of $1.6 million for local law enforcement on its compliance with three new requirements.

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These included alerting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials when undocumented immigrants are being released from prison, providing access to interview immigrants, and barring the withholding of immigrants’ citizenship status.

Several other “sanctuary cities” have also opposed to the requirements, and Chicago, New York and San Francisco have won court rulings blocking their enforcement.

In Friday’s decision, Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell said the attorney general has only limited oversight of the program for awarding the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.

“Allowing the attorney general to withhold all funds because a jurisdiction does not certify compliance with any federal law of the attorney general’s choosing undermines the predictability and consistency embedded in the program’s design,” Rendell wrote.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Friday’s decision largely upheld a June 2018 ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson in Philadelphia, but voided his requirement that the government obtain warrants before seeking custody of immigrants in city custody.

It was issued a couple of hours before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval. Democrats vowed to challenge his action as unconstitutional.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney praised the appeals court decision, in a statement referring to Trump’s declaration.

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“The conditions imposed by the DOJ were an unconscionable attempt to bully the city and its residents into changing our policies,” Kenney said. “On the very day the president declared a bogus national emergency to build a useless wall, I say to our immigrant community: we are glad you call Philadelphia home.”

The case is Philadelphia v. Attorney General of the United States, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-2648.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing by G Crosse


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Trump claims not to ‘know’ Gordon Sondland very well — but the evidence suggests otherwise

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President Donald Trump attempted to distance himself Wednesday from his hand-selected European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland. At the same time, Trump claimed that Sondland’s stunning testimony, which alleged that the president had ordered a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, in fact, vindicated him.

“Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?” Sondland said in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday. "The answer is ‘yes.’”

Sondland further claimed that “everyone was in the loop” and all actions were “directed” by the president.

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Seth Meyers can’t stop laughing at Devin Nunes: ‘It’s like murdering someone and calling their ghost to testify’

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"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers summed up the day of hearings by saying it was devastating to President Donald Trump. If you don't believe him, he showed the humiliating clip of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who looked dejected.

"Wow, look at his face!" Meyers said. "He looks like he just walked in on his parents having sex -- with someone else's parents. There's only two explanations for that face, either he just heard lengthy testimony detailing a criminal scheme so shocking to bring down the presidency of Donald Trump. Or he sharted, and he's trying to remember how far away his back-up pants are."

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The Republicans’ impeachment lawyer made 2 huge mistakes in questioning Gordon Sondland

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered complex and convoluted impeachment testimony on Wednesday about his involvement in President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal. He gave detailed evidence recounting the president and the rest of the administration’s involvement in his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations of Trump’s political opponents — including by leveraging a potential White House meeting and a hold on military aid.

But he also, to the Republicans’ delight, left some ambiguity about how much Trump had been involved in the effort to leverage the aid, saying that he had “presumed” Ukraine’s announcement of the investigations would release the hold. And he noted that, in one phone call the president — as the scheme was slowly being uncovered — Trump angrily denied there was a quid pro quo.

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