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October 29, 2018

The Trump administration is sending even more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border than previously expected, Bloomberg reported Monday.

While Secretary of Defense James Mattis was reportedly ready to deploy about 800 troops to help prevent migrants from unlawfully crossing the border, General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, head of the Northern Command, said in a press briefing Monday that the number would be closer to 5,200.

The military presence will support border patrol officers, he said, providing logistical and medical help. That would mean members of the military will outnumber the estimated 3,500 Central American migrants who are weeks away from reaching the U.S. by foot. "We will not allow a large group to enter the United States in an unsafe and unlawful manner," said Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. The group of 800 troops previously reported has already been deployed, heading to Texas to "harden" the state's southern border.

The 5,200 will include members of the Army Corps of Engineers, reports The Washington Post, along with troops who specialize in aviation and who can pilot the helicopters that will aid in night-vision tracking of the border. The troops will be deployed by the end of the week. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

4:38 p.m.

President Trump began his address on border security and the partial government shutdown Saturday with a grim description of the "humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border." He highlighted the dangers of migrants' journeys to the United States, especially sexual assault, and argued stricter border control would reduce crime and drug trafficking.

"As I candidate for president, I promised I would fix this crisis, and I intend to keep that promise one way or the other," Trump said. "I am here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border."

That path, as Trump explained it, includes "$800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance, $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry, an additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals, [and] 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the backlog of — believe it or not — almost 900,000 cases."

The proposal retains Trump's longstanding demand of $5.7 billion for construction of "powerful and fully designed, see-through steel barrier[s]" in "high-priority locations." It offers "three years of legislative relief for 700,000 [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents at a young age," as well as a "three-year extension of temporary protected status (TPS)" for "300,000 immigrants whose protective status is facing expiration" while further immigration reform is negotiated.

Trump also listed two "measures to protect migrant children from exploitation and abuse," a "new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries and reform to promote family reunification for unaccompanied children" detained away from their families in the United States.

"That is our plan: border security, DACA, TPS, and many other things," Trump concluded. "This plan solves the immediate crisis ... and immediately re-opens our federal government." Watch the full live stream below. Bonnie Kristian

11:59 a.m.

"We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things. Things are going very well with North Korea," President Trump told reporters Saturday of his Friday conversation with North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol.

"That was an incredible meeting," Trump said. "We've agreed to [another summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un], probably the end of February. We've picked a country, but we'll be announcing it in the future. Kim Jong Un is looking very forward to it and so am I."

Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore are thought to be under consideration for the summit's location. Read a "plausible roadmap to peace with North Korea" from The Week's Harry J. Kazianis here. Bonnie Kristian

10:56 a.m.

At least 66 people were killed and dozens more injured Friday when a fuel pipeline in Mexico exploded after being ruptured by fuel thieves. Some 85 people not included in the current death toll are listed as missing as of Saturday morning.

A crowd of people had gathered to collect the spilling fuel in plastic containers when the fireball occurred. Local authorities said the death toll could continue to rise given the severity of the injuries and the number of people whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Illegal pipeline taps like this one, which occurred near the town of Tlahuelilpan about 60 miles north of Mexico City, are a chronic problem in Mexico; an average of 42 taps were drilled daily in the first 10 months of 2018. "Far from stopping the fight ... against fuel theft, it's going to become stronger," said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Saturday. "We'll continue until we've eradicated these practices." Bonnie Kristian

10:32 a.m.

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for his fatal shooting of a black teenager named Laquan McDonald in 2014, was sentenced Friday to six years and nine months in prison.

With good behavior, Van Dyke could be out of custody in three years or less, his lawyer said. The special prosecutor who handled the case had requested a sentence of 18 to 20 years, and the sentence Van Dyke received is for the murder charge alone, not the battery. Each of the battery convictions had a mandatory minimum sentence of six years, and the judge could have ordered them to be served sequentially.

On Thursday, three other officers accused of falsifying reports to justify the shooting were acquitted. Bonnie Kristian

10:25 a.m.

For once, President Trump is really happy with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

He responded with a flurry of tweets Friday and Saturday to Friday evening's news that Mueller denied a BuzzFeed News report alleging his investigation had compiled evidence Trump directed Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project.

Many of Trump's posts were retweets from friendly voices like his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and commentator Geraldo Rivera:

In his own tweets, Trump called the BuzzFeed report "disgraceful" and blamed it for a "very sad day for journalism."

Trump also tweeted on familiar topics including the Steele Dossier, the stock market, immigration, and his perceived persecution at the hands of the press. Bonnie Kristian

8:30 a.m.

Saturday's third annual Women's March is expected to draw smaller crowds than in previous years thanks to accusations of anti-Semitism among national organizers.

Former Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) formally withdrew her participation Friday, saying she "cannot associate with the national march's leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry."

Other prominent speakers and sponsors from past years — including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the Democratic National Committee, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and NARAL — have cut ties as well. Most did not issue specific statements explaining their decision.

For those who do participate, events are organized in Washington, D.C., as well as hundreds of other cities nationwide and around the world. Policy focuses this year include the minimum wage, health care, and opposition to President Trump.

Read The Week's Shikha Dalmia here on the controversy and divisions within the march's ranks. Bonnie Kristian

8:08 a.m.

President Trump on Twitter Friday evening announced plans for a Saturday afternoon statement on his proposed border wall construction and the partial government shutdown:

Trump did not offer any further details on the nature of his announcement, nor did the White House press team respond to inquiries on the subject. "I'm not going to get ahead of the president, but I can assure he's going to continue fighting for border security. He's going to continue looking for the solution to end the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

CNN reported Friday night an unnamed senior administration official said the president plans to offer a deal to congressional Democrats and will not at this point make an emergency declaration so he can use military funding for wall construction. Bonnie Kristian

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