WVPA Sharing

10 things to know: Wednesday, July 3

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The regional bureau of The Associated Press, shares 10 things you need to know Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Look for full stories on these late-breaking news items and much more in West Virginia newspapers.

1. Trump administration to print census without citizenship question

The Trump administration appeared on Tuesday to have abandoned its effort to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census, a week after the Supreme Court blocked the change. With time running out, administration officials ordered the Census Bureau to start printing the survey forms without the question. The decision amounted to a sharp reversal. Trump had said he would push to delay the census indefinitely to fight to include the question, which was opposed by critics who said it was part of an effort to scare off immigrants and deflate the electoral power of heavily Democratic areas, benefiting Republicans. The Trump administration publicly claimed the question would help enforce the Voting Rights Act — reasoning the Supreme Court said “appeared to be contrived.” [The New York Times]

2. Democrats sue Treasury Department for Trump’s tax returns

House Democrats on Tuesday filed a lawsuit demanding access to President Trump’s tax returns. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee already had issued a subpoena for the documents, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply. In a May letter to Democrats, Mnuchin argued that this “unprecedented” demand “lacks legitimate legislative purpose.” Democrats had requested six years of Trump’s tax returns under a 1924 law that says the IRS “shall furnish” tax returns when requested by the House Ways and Means Committee. The new lawsuit accuses the defendants, including Mnuchin, of mounting “an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight.” [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

3. Government watchdog finds squalor, overcrowding in migrant centers

Investigators for the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found extreme overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in Rio Grande Valley migrant holding facilities, with some children lacking access to showers and sleeping on concrete floors. The investigators published the report Tuesday to serve as a departmental “management alert.” A senior manager at one facility said the conditions had created a “ticking time bomb.” Some of the detained immigrants banged on cell windows when they spotted the investigators. One migrant pressed a note to the window, saying: “Help. 40 Day Here.” The report on conditions in the Rio Grande Valley said that most single adult detainees, even those held for a month, “had not had a shower in CBP custody.” [NBC News, The New York Times]

4. Jury finds Navy SEAL not guilty of murder

A seven-member military jury panel on Tuesday acquitted Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher on charges of murder, witness intimidation, and assault. The charges stemmed from a 2017 deployment in Iraq during which fellow SEALs said Gallagher stabbed a captive teenage ISIS fighter in the neck. The ISIS fighter, whom Gallagher was treating for air-strike injuries, later died. Three SEALs also said they saw Gallagher shoot two civilians. The jurors found Gallagher guilty of one count related to pictures he took next to the corpse of an Iraqi fighter. “I’m happy. I’m thankful,” Gallagher said after the verdict. “Thank God for freedom.” [The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Associated Press]

5. Judge blocks Trump policy detaining asylum-seekers indefinitely

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle on Tuesday blocked a Trump administration policy calling for thousands of asylum-seekers to be detained indefinitely while they pursue their requests. Pechman said the migrants have the right to an opportunity to be released under the Fifth Amendment’s due-process protections, so they should get bond hearings. Attorney General William Barr announced in April that the government was halting bond hearings for asylum-seekers, meaning they would remain locked up. The change was part of the Trump administration’s effort to discourage people from joining the wave of migrants trying to enter the U.S. over the southern border. [The Associated Press]

6. Harris continues post-debate surge but Biden still leads polls

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) continued to rise in polls following her breakout debate performance last week, jumping into a near tie with former Vice President Joe Biden in a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday. The poll found that 22 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters backed Biden, while 20 percent backed Harris. In last month’s poll, Biden had 30 percent and Harris had 7 percent. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trailed with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. A Washington Post-ABC News survey released Wednesday told a different story. Given a list of the 22 Democratic candidates, 29 percent of respondents said they supported Biden for the Democratic nomination. Sanders got 23 percent, while Harris and Warren had 11 percent. [NBC News, The Washington Post]

7. Dozens killed in alleged rebel airstrike on Libyan migrant center

An airstrike hit a migrant center east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, killing at least 40 refugees. Another 80 were injured, according to the Health Ministry’s emergency service Field Medicine and Support Center. Images from the scene showed buildings reduced to rubble. United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord condemned the “horrific crime,” which it blamed on rebel general Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army in April launched an offensive aiming to seize Tripoli. According to local media, Hifter’s forces were targeting a government-aligned militia near the detention center with airstrikes. Two migrants told The Associated Press that the hanger hit by the strike held about 150 migrants, mostly from Sudan and Morocco. [CNN, The Associated Press]

8. Iran threatens to increase uranium enrichment levels

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran would start enriching uranium beyond low levels set in its 2015 nuclear deal. The accord capped the enrichment level at 3.67 percent, suitable for use as nuclear reactor fuel. Much higher levels are required to make nuclear weapons. Rouhani said Iran’s enrichment level will “be as much as we want it to be,” because world powers are not fulfilling their side of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord last year and reimposed crippling sanctions. European leaders have tried to set up a trading system to shield European companies from the sanctions, but Iran has said it doesn’t do enough. [The Washington Post]

9. Report: Last month was hottest June on record

The Copernicus Climate Change Service reported Tuesday that last month was the hottest June on record. Average global temperatures were about 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous record-hot month. Europe had its hottest June ever, too. Average continental temperatures were about 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in June 1999, the previous record holder. The news came a week after Europe was gripped in a brief heat wave, which was brutal but not as bad as one that hit the continent in 2018. “Such extreme weather events are expected to become more common as the planet continues to warm under increasing greenhouse gas concentrations,” according to Copernicus Climate Change Service. [CNN, Independent]

10. U.S. women’s team advances to World Cup final

The U.S. women’s soccer team beat England 2-1 on Tuesday to advance to the Women’s World Cup final. Christen Press, who started in place of injured co-captain Megan Rapinoe, scored the first goal for the Americans. After England tied it up, Alex Morgan added the go-ahead goal. But goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was credited by her teammates with sealing the victory with a late save on a penalty kick. “She saved our butts,” Morgan said. The U.S. team will be playing in its third straight final, facing the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Sweden and the Netherlands. Rapinoe said she just had a “little, minor” hamstring strain but would be “ready for the final.” [The New York Times, The Washington Post]

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