Trump warns of tariffs on Mexican imports, Louisiana bans abortion, and Trump attacks Mueller

President Trump threatens to impose a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico due to immigration concerns, Louisiana becomes the latest state to pass restrictive laws against abortion, Trump launches a verbal attack against special counsel Robert Mueller, and much, much more.


Good evening, it’s Thursday, May 30th, here’s what you need to know…


1. Trump warns of tariffs on Mexican imports


President Donald Trump said he would impose a new 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico next month unless the country made efforts to reduce illegal immigration to the United States. The president made the threat on Twitter Thursday saying, “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP.” Trump also warned that the tariff would “gradually increase” until the large influx of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is appropriately mitigated. This is the Trump administration’s latest threat toward Mexico over immigration and has been previously floated as a possible move that the administration could make to encourage the country to step up immigration enforcement actions. If Mexico does not meet Trump’s demands and numbers of immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally are not reduced, a 5% tariff would be levied on all Mexican imports from the country on June 10. This would increase to 10% by July, 15% by August, 20% by September, and would stop at a permanent rate of 25% by October. Trump has frequently voiced his frustration over the sharp uptick in illegal crossings into the U.S. and has been further angered by unsuccessful efforts to acquire funding for a border wall. The president has faulted Central American countries for the large influx of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, but has also criticized Mexico for not taking measures to stop them from reaching the border.



2. Louisiana’s Democratic governor signs abortion ban into law


Louisana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that prohibits abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, becoming the latest state in a series to pass a near-total abortion ban. Edwards, who has long been opposed to abortion, breaks with his own party’s ideology by imposing more restrictive regulations on a women’s right to choose. Many Democrats have already criticized the governor of challenging Roe v. Wade (1973) and siding with Republicans on the controversial issue of abortion. Louisiana’s bill has also garnered scorn for its strict regulations as it could prohibit women from having an abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy and provides no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. With the passage of the bill, Louisiana joins other states including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio that have passed fetal heartbeat bills in the past few months. Many of the anti-abortion bills are being contested in federal court, so recent measures like Louisiana’s will not take effect unless it is upheld.



3. Trump launches attack against Mueller


On Thursday, President Donald Trump lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, calling him “totally conflicted” and slamming him as a “true never-Trumper.” The president’s comments came one day after the former FBI director made his first public statements on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in which Mueller said the probe did not exonerate President Trump of obstruction of justice. “Look, Robert Mueller should have never been chosen,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I think he’s totally conflicted.” Trump also falsely claimed that Mueller showed animosity towards him by saying that Mueller asked to be his FBI director and that he denied his request. He also stated that a past “business dispute” had led to ill-feelings between himself and Mueller, but did not provide further details. “There’s no obstruction. There’s no collusion. There’s no nothing. It’s nothing but a witch hunt,” Trump reiterated. “[Mueller] said, essentially, ‘You’re innocent.’ I’m innocent of all charges,” Trump told reporters. “And you know the things that nobody brings up: There was no crime. There was no crime, and there was no charge because he had no information.”


4. Former Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran dies


The longtime former Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran died Thursday in Oxford, Mississippi, at the age of 81. The former Republican lawmaker served 45 years in Congress, including 40 years in the U.S. Senate, becoming the tenth-longest serving Senator in U.S. history and the second longest-serving member of Congress from Mississippi. During his tenure in the Senate, Cochran was responsible for bringing billions of dollars to his home state as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Cochran resigned from the Senate in April of 2018 as his health declined. In his farewell address, he said, “We have engaged in heated arguments. But even in full disagreement, I believe all our motivations begin at the same point: the sincere desire to serve our states and country.” He was succeeded by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.



5. More Democrats call for impeaching Trump


A greater number of Democrats in Congress are calling for President Trump’s impeachment after special counsel Robert Mueller spoke publicly about his investigation for the first time on Wednesday. During his statement, Mueller contradicted Trump’s repeated claims of being exonerated by refusing to clear the president of wrongdoing following his investigation. Mueller said that his office could not charge a sitting president with crime due to Department of Justice policy and seeming to suggest that such a role was up to Congress. In response to Mueller’s public remarks on Wednesday, more Democrats came forward to express their support for impeaching the president, including three presidential candidates. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who are all vying for the Democratic nomination, joined a growing list of Democrats who believe impeachment is an appropriate course of action. Other presidential contenders such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke have already expressed support for impeachment. About three dozen members of the House also join these calls despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cautiousness around the issue.



6. R. Kelly faces 11 new charges


R. Kelly has been charged with 11 additional felony charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse on Thursday, adding to the growing list of sex-related charges against the R&B singer. The new charges against Kelly are from the alleged sexual abuse of Jerhonda Pace in 2010, when she was a minor.  The 11 felonies include counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse of a minor, criminal sexual assault by force, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Some of these charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The three-time Grammy Award-winning artist R. Kelly, surrendered to Chicago police in February after being charged with numerous counts of sexual abuse against four women, including minors. Kelly denies the allegations and remains free on $1 million bond. He is expected back in court next week.



7. Injury at baseball game prompts calls for increased safety at MLB stadiums


A young girl was rushed to the hospital during Wednesday night’s baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs after being struck by a foul ball. During the fourth inning, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. was at bat and hit the line drive into the stands on the third-base side of Minute Maid Park in Houston. Almost immediately as the child was hit, Almora became visibly upset, throwing his hands behind his head and kneeling as the surrounding fans looked on with shock. In a photograph taken instantly after the ball struck the girl, she appeared to be conscious and was seen crying. The Astros said the girl was taken to the hospital, where her condition remains unknown. The incident has renewed calls for the MLB to extend safety netting further past each teams’ dugouts to prevent high-speed foul balls from striking fans. When a similar incident occurred at Yankee Stadium in 2017, in which a toddler was seriously injured by a foul ball, MLB responded by announcing that all teams would expand protective netting to the far end of the dugouts. Critics and safety advocates now say that those measures are not enough and fans are still at risk of being injured by fast-moving foul balls.



8. MLB attendance struggles this season


Major League Baseball is having a tough season for attendance, with the league’s average game attendance falling to new lows and franchises sinking to unimpressive levels. The Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays have the lowest average attendance for the 2019 season at 9,478 and 13,774, respectively. And both teams drew a combined crowd of 12,653 on Wednesday night. Other teams such as Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Toronto, and San Francisco have either set stadium lows this season or have seen attendance fall to 9-year lows. MLB’s overall average game attendance across all 30 teams is 26,854 so far this year, 1.4% lower than the same time during the 2018 season. The average has fallen below 30,000 for the first time since 2003 as the league struggles to attract fans to its stadiums. However, TV ratings are up and streaming has seen a sharp increase in viewers.



9. New Hampshire bans the death penalty


New Hampshire is the latest state to abolish the death penalty, becoming the 21st state in the U.S. to do so. The bill prohibits capital punishment and will replace the punishment with life in prison without parole for convicted inmates. The measure passed after lawmakers overrode Republican Governor Chris Sununu’s veto, who is a proponent for keeping the state’s death penalty.  However, New Hampshire has not executed an inmate since 1939 and only one person remains on death row – Michael Addison, convicted of killing Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006. Among the 21 states that ban capital punishment, including New York, New Jersey, and most recently, Washington, 11 of the states have banned or imposed a moratorium on the death penalty since 2007. 


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