Sanders Says She Was Told to Leave Virginia Restaurant

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday that she was booted from a Virginia restaurant because she works for President Donald Trump, becoming the latest administration official to experience a brusque reception in a public setting.

Sanders tweeted that she was told by the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, that she had to “leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.”

She said the event Friday evening said far more about the owner of the restaurant than it did about her.

“I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so,” Sanders said in the tweet from her official account, which generated 22,000 replies in about an hour.

The restaurant’s co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post that her staff had called her to report Sanders was at the restaurant. She said several restaurant employees were gay and knew Sanders had defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military.

“Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Wilkinson told her staff, she said. “They said yes.”

Wilkinson said that she talked to Sanders privately and Sanders’ response was immediate: “That’s fine. I’ll go.”

No one answered the phone at the restaurant, which was not scheduled to open until the evening. Lexington is about a three-hour drive from the nation’s capital and is in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Sanders’ treatment at the restaurant created a social media commotion, with people on both sides weighing in with their critique, including her father, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate.

“Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the ‘Hate Plate,’ ” Huckabee said in a tweet, quickly generating 2,000 replies in about 30 minutes. “And appetizers are ‘small plates for small minds.’ ”

On Yelp, a responder from Los Angeles wrote: “Don’t eat here if you’re a Republican, wearing a MAGA hat or a patriot.”

But many were also supportive of the restaurant owner’s actions.

“12/10 would recommend. Bonus: this place is run by management who stuck up for their beliefs and who are true Americans. THANK YOU!!!!” said a comment from Commerce City, Colorado.

Politically, the town is a spot of blue in a sea of red. It sided with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, 61.8 percent to 31.3 percent. It’s the county seat of Rockbridge County, which went with Trump by a similar margin. And it is home to Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University.

Tom Lomax, a local business owner, brought flowers to the restaurant Saturday afternoon as a show of support. He called Wilkinson a “force of nature” and “one of the biggest drivers of the downtown.”

“We support our own here, great little community we have,” he said.

The separation of families trying to enter the U.S. at the southern border has intensified political differences and passions that were already at elevated levels during the Trump presidency.

Earlier in the week, Trump’s homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, cut short a working dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington after protesters shouted, “Shame!” until she left.

Ari Fleischer, the press secretary for former President George W. Bush, tweeted: “I guess we’re heading into an America with Democrat-only restaurants, which will lead to Republican-only restaurants. Do the fools who threw Sarah out, and the people who cheer them on, really want us to be that kind of country?”

Brian Tayback, of Shrewsbury, Pa., and Brandon Hintze, of Alexandria, Va., walked by the restaurant during a visit to Lexington on Saturday. Tayback said he believes the owner made the right decision. 

“They’re taking a stand against hate,” Tayback said. 

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US Lawmakers Prepare for Vote Next Week on Immigration Bill

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representative plan to hold a vote next week on an immigration bill despite Trump urging them Friday to abandon efforts to pass legislation until after the mid-term elections.

Even if the Republicans — who have a majority in both the House and Senate — approve a bill, it faces almost certain defeat in the upper chamber where Democrats hold enough seats to prevent Republicans, even if they all vote together, from reaching the 60 votes needed for passage.

Earlier in the week, the president had called for Congress to quickly approve sweeping immigration legislation. But in a Friday tweet the president said, “Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing a majority Hispanic district in the state of Florida, who is not running for re-election, termed the president’s tweets “schizoid policy making.”

Another retiring lawmaker, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a frequent Trump critic who recently lost his primary election, said Trump’s reversal sends “a horrifically chilling signal” that “makes immigration reform that much more unlikely.”

On Saturday, California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris spoke in Otay Mesa, a community in San Diego, at a rally for revised immigration policies. “This is a fight born out of knowing who we are and fighting for the ideals of our country,” she said. Harris spoke after touring a detention facility and speaking with several mothers.​

Trump’s call for Congress to postpone action came as House Republican leaders failed to garner enough support for two bills that would overhaul U.S. immigration laws and bolster border security.

A hard-line measure authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte failed to pass on Thursday. The measure would have not guaranteed young undocumented immigrants a way to achieve permanent legal residency and included controversial enforcement measures such as a required worker validation program.

House Republican leaders suddenly delayed a vote Thursday on a compromise measure that has the support of key moderate Republican after concluding they lacked enough support to gain passage despite the growing controversy over separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Next week the House will vote on the compromise bill, which would provide $25 billion for Trump’s border wall, provide a pathway to “dreamers” and keep migrant families intact.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Trump said the path to immigration reform starts on Capitol Hill.

“Congress and Congress alone can solve the problem. And the only solution that will work is being able to detain, prosecute and promptly remove anyone who illegally cross the border,” the president said.

Aboard Air Force One on Saturday en route to Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump lashed out at House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, accusing them on Twitter of favoring illegal immigrants over American citizens. ​

All 435 seats in the House and a third of the 100-member Senate will be contested in the November election.

What is unclear, however, is whether Trump realizes the moderate Republicans he is alienating are among the most vulnerable in the mid-term elections.

“No one has more to lose in November than the president does when it comes to the majority in the House, because if this majority flips over to be a Democrat, there will be a big push for impeachment,” said Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne of Alabama, an opponent of the immigration measure.

Trump demonstrated Friday after his tactical retreat on immigration policy that there is no strategic shift to his overall tough approach to those attempting to illegally enter the country — vowing to “end the immigration crisis, once and for all.”

U.S. immigration laws, Trump declared, are “the weakest in the history of the world.”

Trump made the remarks on Friday in an auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House, where he presided over an event with “Angel Families” — those who have had relatives killed by people who have entered the country illegally.

“Your loss will not have been in vain,” the president told the families who held large photos of their slain relatives. “We will secure our borders … the word will get out. Got to have a safe country. We’re going to have a safe country.”

Family members were called by Trump to the presidential lectern to recount how their loved ones were killed by those who were in the United States illegally. Several of those speaking condemned the media for ignoring the stories of the victims and praised Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their attention to border security.

Trump, in his remarks, also suggested those illegally in the United States commit more crimes on a statistical basis than citizens or resident aliens.

However, studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit a crime in the U.S. than native-born citizens, including one published by the libertarian CATO Institute this year. 

Despite Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, 75 percent of Americans believe immigration in general is beneficial to the U.S., according to a poll released Thursday by the polling organization Gallup.

“Americans’ strong belief that immigration is a good thing for the country and that immigration levels shouldn’t be decreased present the president and Congress with some tough decisions as to midterm elections loom,” Gallup said in a press release.

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DOJ Gives Congress New Classified Documents on Russia Probe

The Justice Department says it has given House Republicans new classified information related to the Russia investigation after they had threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress or even impeach them.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan says the department has partially complied with multiple requests from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. House Republicans had given the department a Friday deadline for all documents, but Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said the department asked for more time.

“Our efforts have resulted in the committees finally getting access to information that was sought months ago, but some important requests remain to be completed,” Strong said in a statement Saturday. “Additional time has been requested for the outstanding items, and based on our understanding of the process we believe that request is reasonable. We expect the department to meet its full obligations to the two committees.”

In a letter sent to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes late Friday, the Justice Department said it had that day provided a classified letter to his panel regarding whether the FBI used “confidential human sources” before it officially began its Russia investigation in 2016. Nunes has been pressing the department on an informant who spoke to members of President Donald Trump’s campaign as the FBI began to explore the campaign’s ties to Russia.

The department has already given top lawmakers in the House and Senate three classified briefings on the informant. But Nunes has said he wanted the entire committee to receive the information.

In the letter, the Justice Department’s acting assistant director of congressional affairs, Jill Tyson, said the department had also given Nunes materials related to oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Republicans have for months questioned whether the department abused that act when prosecutors and agents in 2016 applied for and received a secret warrant to monitor the communications of a Trump campaign associate.

Democrats have criticized the multiple document requests, charging that they are intended to discredit the department and discredit or even undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties and whether there was obstruction of justice.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has backed the document requests, and he led a meeting last week with committee chairmen and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to try to resolve the issue. In a television interview two days after that meeting, on June 17, Nunes said if they don’t get the documents by this week, “there’s going to be hell to pay” and indicated the House could act on contempt or even impeachment. A spokesman for Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Tyson also wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, who had subpoenaed the department for documents related to the Russia investigation and also the department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016. She detailed progress on those requests and said the department is “expeditiously completing them.”

In the letters, Tyson said the department had built “new tools” to search top secret documents and had diverted resources from other congressional requests.

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AP Fact Check: Trump Off Mark on Immigrant Crime

President Donald Trump got some crime and immigration statistics right Friday but was off the mark on others in an appearance with those he calls “angel families,” people who lost loved ones at the hands of those living in the country illegally.

A look at how his statements compare with the facts:

TRUMP: “So here are just a few statistics on the human toll of illegal immigration. According to a 2011 government report, the arrests attached to the criminal alien population included an estimated 25,000 people for homicide, 42,000 for robbery, nearly 70,000 for sex offenses, and nearly 15,000 for kidnapping. In Texas alone, within the last seven years, more than a quarter million criminal aliens have been arrested and charged with over 600,000 criminal offenses. You don’t hear that.”

THE FACTS: Trump is likely working from a 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office report that looked at arrests, costs and incarcerations of immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally. The statistics he cites are accurate. He doesn’t note that about half of all of the 3 million arrests of the “criminal alien population” in the study were for immigration (529,859), drugs (504,043) or traffic (404,488). And some of the immigration arrests were related to civil violations, not criminal charges. The report didn’t distinguish between the two.

TRUMP: “I always hear that, ‘Oh, no, the population’s safer than the people that live in the country.’ You’ve heard that, fellas, right? You’ve heard that. I hear it so much, and I say, ‘Is that possible?’ The answer is it’s not true. You hear it’s like they’re better people than what we have, than our citizens. It’s not true.”

THE FACTS: Trump is questioning reports that those living in the country illegally commit fewer crimes than people in the population overall. He shouldn’t.

Several studies from social scientists and the libertarian think tank Cato Institute have shown that people here illegally are less likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens, and legal immigrants are even less likely to do so.

A March study by the journal Criminology found “undocumented immigration does not increase violence.”

The study, which looked at the years 1990 through 2014, argues that states with bigger shares of such people have lower crime rates.

A study last year by Robert Adelman, a sociology professor at University of Buffalo, analyzed 40 years of crime data in 200 metropolitan areas and found that immigrants helped lower crime. New York City, for example, has the nation’s largest population of immigrants living in the country illegally — about 500,000 — and last year had only 292 murders among a total population of 8.5 million people. A city murder rate is often used as a bench mark for overall crime because it’s difficult to fudge murder statistics.

And Ruben Rumbaut, a University of California, Irvine sociology professor, co-authored a recent study that noted crime rates fell sharply from 1990 to 2015 at a time when illegal immigration spiked.

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Detained Parents ‘Desperate’ to Know Where Children Are

The Guatemalan father last saw his 12-year-old daughter on June 5 and knows nothing about her whereabouts.

The Guatemalan mother of three sons — ages 2, 6 and 13 — is being held in Pearsall, Texas,

The Honduran mother is in detention in El Paso, Texas, and believes her son is in New York.

Two days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered an end to separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, the three parents, like thousands of others, are “desperate” for information about the whereabouts and well-being of their children, their lawyer says.

No access to information

“Our clients are being held in detention facilities with no access to information about their children,” said Jerome Wesevich, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. in Brownsville, Texas. “The government has some procedures in place for supplying information. So far those have been entirely inadequate.”

The legal aid organization is suing the Trump administration over family separations on behalf of the three parents, one of two major legal challenges to the government’s now-rescinded policy.

Wesevich said Trump’s executive order, issued Wednesday, has done little to inspire hope among the separated families.

“I’d say there is not a lot of optimism,” Wesevich said. “The president’s announcement is not very understandable about what it’s going to mean in practical terms.”

​More than 2,300 children

According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents between early May when the government started a “zero-tolerance policy” on immigration enforcement and last week.

The Department of Homeland Security says it has a plan to reunite the families in the wake of Trump’s order, but it hasn’t spelled out how it intends to carry out the program.

The Pentagon said Thursday that it had accepted a request from the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency tasked with finding shelter for asylum seekers, to house as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children.

With uncertainty surrounding the government’s reunification plan, legal assistance organizations are working to locate and connect separated families.

The Texas Civil Rights Project said Friday that it was seeking to reunite as many as 381 immigrants who have been separated from their children.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid said it would continue its efforts on behalf of the three Central American parents while hoping for a resolution to the plight of the more than 2,300 separated children.

“The point of our lawsuit that they do it as compassionately and quickly as possible,” Wesevich said. “By compassionate, I mean the parents are provided with information on where their children are, how they’re being cared for.”

The legal aid on Friday asked a federal court in Washington to order government agencies to provide the three parents with “immediate access to basic information about their children’s whereabouts and well-being, and frequent, meaningful opportunity to see and hear their children.”

Among other things, the three want government agencies to provide them with the exact address of where their children are being held; a description of the place they’re being held; information about whether the children have suffered any illness; and finally, the government’s best estimate on when they’ll be reunited.

The government has not responded to the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection, one of the agencies named in the lawsuit, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Short phone calls

The three parents were detained and separated from their children as they crossed the border into the United States in recent weeks.

Wesevich said the father from Guatemala “does not know where (his daughter) is at all.”

The Honduran mother of a 9-year-old son has told the legal aid that she believes her son has been moved to New York.

Since their separation, the mother has been allowed to speak with her son three times for about five minutes each time, according to court filings.

“He only asks when we will see each other again and begs to be with me,” the mother is quoted in court documents as saying. “He is scared and lonely and desperate to be with me. I try to tell him everything will be OK and that I’ll see him soon but, the truth is, I don’t know what will happen with us.”

The Guatemalan mother of three sons has been allowed to speak with them for 10 minutes two times each week. 

“Of course her 2-year-old is unable to provide reliable information about his circumstances, and staff provide only general information to M.G.U., nothing specific about her children’s well-being, which causes her anguish,” according to court papers.

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Mexican Airline Offers Free Flights to Reunite Families

Mexican airline Volaris said Friday it was offering free flights to reunite families separated by the “zero tolerance” immigration policy of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It hurts us to see these children without their parents and it is our vocation to reunite them,” Volaris said in a statement.

The airline said it would work with authorities in the United States, Mexico and Central America to offer free flights on its pre-existing routes to reunite children with their parents. According to its website, Volaris flies to more than 65 locations across Mexico, the United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

After facing an uproar at home and abroad, Trump bowed to intense pressure Wednesday and signed an order ending the separation of children from their families while parents were prosecuted for crossing the border illegally.

This week, four major U.S. airlines asked the federal government not to use their flights to transport migrant children away from their parents.

Some of the more than 2,300 children separated from their parents since mid-April have been flown to states far from the border area between Mexico and the United States, where their parents are being charged in immigration courts, according to media reports.

There have been some cases of immigrants being deported without their children. On Thursday, El Salvador demanded a 7-year-old boy be returned to his father who was deported back to the Central American country this week.

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US, Russia Energy Officials to Meet, Discuss Natural Gas

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet Russia’s energy minister next week in Washington, a person familiar with the situation said Friday, as the two countries compete to supply global markets with natural gas and crude.

Perry will meet Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Tuesday, in the context of the World Gas Conference in Washington, the source said.

Meetings between top energy officials from Russia and the United States, two of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, have been rare in recent years.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have cooled over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and as the Trump administration blames the Russian government for cyber attacks that targeted the U.S. power grid over the last two years.

The two countries are competing to sell natural gas to Europe. Russia’s Gazprom, the European Union’s biggest gas supplier, and several Western energy companies hope to open Nord Stream 2, a pipeline to bring Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

The United States, meanwhile, has begun some sales of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Poland and Lithuania, though LNG shipments can be more expensive than gas sent via pipeline.

The United States says the advantage of its LNG is dependability and stable pricing.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as did the administration of former President Barack Obama. Washington believes that the pipeline would give Russia, which has at times frozen deliveries to parts of Europe over pricing disputes, more power over the region.

The meeting comes as U.S. national security adviser John Bolton plans to visit Moscow next week to prepare for a possible meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Perry and Novak will also likely talk about oil markets. On Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in Vienna to raise oil output by a modest amount after consumers had called for producers to curb rising fuel prices.

Russia, which is not an OPEC member, began cooperating last year with the group for the first time, holding back production to support global oil prices. Before the Vienna OPEC meeting, Novak said Moscow would propose a gradual increase in output from oil-producing countries, starting in July.

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Police: Backup Driver in Fatal Uber Crash Was Distracted

The human backup driver in an autonomous Uber SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward just before fatally striking a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix, according to a police report.

The 300-page report released Thursday night by police in Tempe revealed that driver Rafaela Vasquez had been streaming the musical talent show via Hulu in the 43 minutes before the March 18 crash that killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn’t have happened had the driver not been distracted.

Dash camera video shows Vasquez was looking down near her right knee for four or five seconds before the crash. She looked up a half second before striking Herzberg as the Volvo was traveling about 44 miles per hour.

Vasquez told police Herzberg “came out of nowhere” and that she didn’t see her prior to the collision. But officers calculated that had Vasquez been paying attention, she could have reacted 143 feet before impact and brought the SUV to a stop about 42.6 feet before hitting Herzberg.

“This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted,” the report stated.

Tempe police are looking at a vehicular manslaughter charge in the crash, according to a March 19 affidavit filed to get a search warrant for audio, video and data stored in the Uber SUV.

 

 The detective seeking the warrant, identified as J. Barutha, wrote that based on information from the vehicular homicide unit, “it is believed that the crime of vehicular manslaughter has occurred and that evidence of this offense is currently located in a 2017 Grey Volvo XC-90.”

A previously released video of the crash showed Vasquez looking down just before the crash. She had a startled look on her face about the time of the impact.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a preliminary report issued last month, said the autonomous driving system on Uber’s Volvo XC-90 SUV spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.

The system is disabled while Uber’s cars are under computer control, “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior,” the NTSB report said. Instead of the system, Uber relies on the human backup driver to intervene, the report stated. But the system is not designed to alert the driver.

Uber pulled its self-driving cars out of Arizona the day before the NTSB report was released, eliminating the jobs of about 300 people who served as backup drivers and performed other jobs connected to the vehicles. The company had suspended testing of its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto while regulators investigated the cause of the crash. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey prohibited Uber from continuing its tests of self-driving cars after Herzberg was run over.

Police initially determined that Vasquez was not impaired after giving her a field test.

Analysis of video taken from the vehicle shows Vasquez looked downward 204 times in the 11.8 miles traveled before the crash. While the SUV was in motion, Vasquez averted her eyes away from the roadway nearly a third of the time, according to the report.

“Sometimes, her face appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down,” the report said. “Her hands are not visible in the frame of the video during these times.”

The office of Cristina Perez Hesano, an attorney for Herzberg’s daughter and husband, declined to comment on the police report. Attorney Pat McGroder, who represents Herzberg’s mother, father and son, didn’t immediately respond to a call late Friday morning seeking comment.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a prepared statement Friday morning that the company is cooperating with investigations while it does an internal safety review. “We have a strict policy prohibiting mobile device usage for anyone operating our self-driving vehicles. We plan to share more on the changes we’ll make to our program soon,” the statement said.

Use of a mobile device while an autonomous vehicle is moving is a fireable offense, and “this is emphasized on an ongoing basis,” the statement said.

After the crash, the ride-hailing company said it did a top-to-bottom safety evaluation, reviewing internal processes and safety culture. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety.

Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles.

Vasquez could be charged criminally, and if there’s evidence that Uber or its employees acted recklessly, then charges against them are possible, Smith said. But charges against the company are not likely, he added.

“This should not have happened in so many ways and on so many levels,” Smith said. “This report, if true, makes things worse. And obviously it would not look good to a jury.”

Uber settled quickly with some of Herzberg’s family members but others have retained legal counsel.

The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office hasn’t set a deadline for deciding whether to bring charges, said Penny Cramer, assistant to County Attorney Sheila Polk. The prosecutorial agency declined to comment on the police report.

The case was handed to Polk’s office after the prosecutor’s office in metro Phoenix passed on the case, citing a potential conflict of interest. The agency in Phoenix had previously participated in a public-safety campaign with Uber.

On a body camera video the night of the crash, police gathered at the scene quickly realized that they were dealing with a big story because an autonomous vehicle was involved.

An officer who identifies himself as supervisor of the unit that investigates fatal crashes is seen asking a man who appears to be an Uber supervisor about getting video from the SUV and whether Uber’s lawyers have been contacted.

“You guys know as well as I know that this is going to be an international story,” the police supervisor says. “We want to make sure that we’re doing not only what we normally do and not doing anything different, but also making sure that everything’s above board and everything’s out in the open.”

The supervisor goes on to say that he’s going to communicate as honestly as he can. “I hope that you guys do the same because we’re going to be working together throughout this whole process from now, probably for months from now.”

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Trump Threatens 20 Percent Tariff on EU Cars

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to impose a 20 percent tariff on vehicles assembled in the European Union and shipped to the United States, in retaliation for European tariffs on American imports.

On Friday, the day new EU tariffs went into effect, Trump tweeted, “…if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!”

Auto industry experts say such tariffs could negatively impact the U.S. economy, as well as Europe’s.

“It’s really a tangle; it’s not a simple question” of cars being made in one place and sold in another, Kasper Peters, communications manager of ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, said Friday in an interview with VOA.

In March, ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert noted the impact European carmakers with plants in the United States have on local economies. “EU manufacturers do not only import vehicles into the U.S. They also have a major manufacturing footprint there, providing significant local employment and generating tax revenue,” Jonnaert said in a statement.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this week that his department plans to wrap up by July or August an investigation into whether imported cars and car parts are a threat to national security. But Daniel Price, a former senior economic adviser to President George W. Bush, told The Washington Post that Trump’s threat of new tariffs “short-circuited the … process and conclusively undercut the stated national security rationale of that investigation.”

The new EU tariffs enacted Friday apply to billions of dollars’ worth of American goods — including jeans, bourbon and motorcycles.

The action is the latest response to Trump’s decision to tax imported steel and aluminum.

The U.S. is scheduled to start taxing more than $30 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks.

Like the EU, China has promised to retaliate immediately, putting the world’s two largest economies at odds. 

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, John Murphy, was cited by the Associated Press as saying he estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products could be subjected to new foreign tariffs by the end of the first week of July.

Separately, a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said, “The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world.”

“Clarity [is] still lacking about how far things will ultimately go between [the] U.S. and China and the potential ripple effect for world trade,” said financial analyst Mike van Dulken.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to apply tariffs, saying countries around the world had been exploiting the U.S.

A former White House trade adviser says Trump “has been so belligerent that it becomes almost impossible for democratically elected leaders — or even a non-democratic leader like [Chinese President] Xi Jinping — to appear to kowtow and give in.”

Phillip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said, “The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants.”

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India Joins Countries Announcing Retaliatory Tariffs on US Products

Retaliating against the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, India has raised duties on 29 U.S. goods worth about $240 million.

New Delhi made the announcement Thursday after Washington ignored its request to be exempted from the tariffs because its exports were tiny compared to others, such as China and the European Union. India accounts for about 2 percent of American imports of steel and aluminum, or $1.5 billion in sales.

India is the latest country to hit back against U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff increases on steel and aluminum imports.

Among the items on which India will impose higher tariffs are agricultural products such as almonds, apples, walnuts, chickpeas and lentils, as well as some stainless steel products. India is the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. almonds and among the biggest importers of apples. The new tariffs will go into effect August 4.

New Delhi imposed the retaliatory tariffs amid worries that the U.S. might target India’s more significant exports, such as pharmaceuticals.

“It is an appropriate signal,” said Rajiv Kumar of the government’s policy research organization, NITI Aayog. “I am hopeful that all this will die down.”

Although the Indian levies on American products are small compared with those involved in the U.S.-China spat, the trade friction between the two democracies signals discord and uncertainty at a time when they are developing a closer strategic partnership.

India is among the countries named by Trump as following trade practices unfair to the U.S.

Speaking at the Group of Seven summit in Canada earlier this month, he said, “This isn’t just G-7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent. A hundred percent. And we charge nothing. We can’t do that.”

Trump has repeatedly said India imposes a punitive import duty on Harley-Davidson motorcycles whereas the U.S. has much lower duties on motorcycles imported from India. His complaint prompted New Delhi to cut the import duty from 75 percent to 50 percent on high-end bikes earlier this year.

For the time being, India has kept high-end motorcycles off the list of items selected for higher tariffs.

The U.S. tariffs and counter-tariffs are “opening a Pandora’s box whereby countries will impose, retaliate, somebody will act, somebody will react. This is going to be a process that will pull everybody down,” said economist Ram Upendra Das, who heads the Center for Regional Trade in New Delhi, a research organization of India’s Commerce Ministry. He calls it “a race to the bottom.”

A trade deficit in New Delhi’s favor of about $30 billion in their annual bilateral trade of approximately $125 billion has long been an irritant for Washington. India is on the Trump administration list of countries with which it had a large deficit.

Officials from New Delhi and Washington are expected to hold trade talks next week to try to bridge their differences.

But amid growing fears that the rising wave of protectionism signaled by the U.S. tariffs threatens emerging economies like India, economists are confident that the trade disputes will be short-lived. “It has to get corrected. We will have to see how long it takes,” said economist Das.

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