With France going to the polls on Sunday for the first round of its presidential election, President Trump has remained uncharacteristically quiet. "Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this," he tweeted Friday morning. "Will have a big effect on presidential election!"
If the tweet was meant as a prediction or endorsement of the success of far-right anti-European Union leader Marine Le Pen, it is a muted one compared to Trump's vocal support of the Brexit vote last year.
Trump's relative silence is an interesting one: Le Pen, like Trump, has taken a hardline stance against immigration and securing the countries' borders from the threat of extremists, and ideologically she shares much in common with Trump's senior strategist, Stephen Bannon. But one Trump associate told Politico that Trump knows he cannot get too involved in foreign elections: "Even if there was some sympathy, there's nothing a president can do. That would be very undiplomatic," the associate told Politico.
Former President Barack Obama has also danced around the French election, taking a call from Le Pen's rival, centrist Emmanuel Macron. While not an explicit endorsement, Axios noted that "Obama and Macron are ideologically aligned and the signal will be noticed by French voters."
Trump, for his part, dodged an opportunity to come out one way or another during a press conference Thursday. "A strong Europe is very, very important to me," Trump said. "We want to see it. We will help it be strong, and it's very much to everybody's advantage." Jeva Lange
While riding their motorcycles in the mud flats outside of Sydney, two Australian teenagers saw a kangaroo in distress, and dropped everything to save it.
Jack Donnelly, 19, and Nick Heath, 19, tried to reach the young kangaroo, which was stuck in mud up to its neck, but he was too far out. They took off for home, grabbed a rope, and then returned to the mud. Heath put the rope around his waist, went out to the kangaroo, and then was pulled back in by Donnelly. "The roo's life was important to us so we went out on an arm and leg and got it," Heath told Australia's Today. "It's a pretty patriotic thing to do and we're proud of what we did. If we saw something like that again, we'll do it all over again."
It's believed that the kangaroo was looking for water, and that's how it got stuck. The dehydrated kangaroo — named Lucas by Donnelly and Heath — is now recovering at a wildlife rescue. Catherine Garcia
Trump administration will reportedly revoke special residency status for 9,000 Nepalis who fled earthquake
The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to end the temporary protected status (TPS) granted to 15,000 Nepalis in 2015, after a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake hammered their country, The Washington Post reports, citing internal planning documents. There are only about 9,000 of those Nepalis left in the country, according to Congressional Research Service estimates, and they will have until June 24, 2019, to leave the U.S., once Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen signs off on the order.
The Trump administration has been reviewing all communities covered by TPS permits, and it has already revoked the special status for 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, and smaller numbers of immigrants from Nicaragua, Sudan, and Liberia, and Nielsen is likely to end TPS for 57,000 Hondurans in May. In January, Nielsen extended the TPS status for about 6,000 Syrians. Congress created the TPS designation in 1990 so the U.S. had a mechanism to not send people back to countries hit by natural disasters, wars, and other destabilizing tragedies. Peter Weber
Republican Debbie Lesko won a special election in Arizona's 8th congressional district on Tuesday, a race that was closer than expected in this conservative area.
When the race was called by The Associated Press, Lesko had 53 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Hiral Tipirneni's 47 percent. The seat was vacated by former Rep. Trent Franks (R), who resigned last year in the midst of a sexual impropriety scandal.
Lesko winning with a single-digit margin is worrisome, GOP pollster Mike Noble told Politico. "This district isn't supposed to be competitive, and so to see this margin, especially with the Republicans pouring in resources here — again, it's a tough year." Republican groups plowed more than $1 million into the race, a boost that came after Democrats won several other special elections across the country, including Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama and Rep. Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania. Catherine Garcia
Democrat Steve Stern is the winner in New York's 10th Assembly district's special election on Tuesday, flipping a state legislative seat that had been held by Republicans for more than 30 years.
The district, on Long Island, gave Hillary Clinton 52 percent of its vote in 2016 and handed 51 percent to former President Barack Obama in 2012. This is the 40th legislative flip since President Trump's inauguration, The Daily Beast reports. Catherine Garcia
He just came right out and said it — on Tuesday, in front of 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at the American Bankers Association conference. Mick Mulvaney, head of the White House Office of Management and Budget and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, let the financial lobbyists know that if they want lawmakers to vote in their favor, they had better make some campaign donations, The New York Times reports.
Before joining the Trump administration, Mulvaney used to be a Republican congressman from South Carolina. During his speech at the conference in Washington, Mulvaney shared that there was a "hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you."
Mulvaney and banks are both critical of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in 2010 in order to keep banks from exploiting vulnerable consumers. He has asked Congress to pull funding of the independent watchdog group from the Federal Reserve, and told the audience on Tuesday that he needs their help to make this happen, and that's where their donations come into play. Since becoming acting interim director, Mulvaney has frozen new investigations and slowed down existing ones, the Times reports, and he's curtailed efforts to go after payday lenders — an industry that donated to his congressional campaigns — and other financial services companies that prey on the poor.
Mulvaney was just "making the point that hearing from people back home is vital to our democratic process and the most important thing our representatives can do," spokesman John Czwartacki told the Times. "It's more important than lobbyists and it's more important than money." Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Bates rejected the Department of Homeland Security's legal reasoning for President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In his opinion, Bates, a Republican appointee to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the Homeland Security Department "failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful." He gave the department three months to come up with a better reason for ending the program, and said if they couldn't do this, DACA would be restored. Bates said he found one argument, that conservative state attorneys general planned on suing to end DACA, "so implausible that it fails even under the deferential arbitrary and capricious standard."
In September, Trump announced he would wind down DACA by March 5, but the order has been challenged in court several times, and Bates is the third judge to rule against the administration. DACA, created by former President Barack Obama, protects certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits. Catherine Garcia
During a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump told White House physician Ronny Jackson, his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, that he will continue to support him, two senior administration officials told CBS News.
Jackson is under fire, accused of drinking on the job, improperly dispensing drugs, and creating a hostile work environment, and his confirmation hearing has been postponed. Jackson has said he wants to share his side of the story, but the White House cannot force the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to hold a hearing.
Earlier Tuesday, when asked about whether Jackson will pull his name from consideration, Trump told reporters he let the doctor know "if I were him, I wouldn't" go through the vetting process. Catherine Garcia