WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday strengthened its crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, announcing a new policy that says local governments will lose some federal grants if they do not honor federal requests to detain illegal immigrants and allow immigration agents access to local jails.

The new policy, announced by the Department of Justice, will apply to all cities that get Justice Department grants.

Under the policy, cities will have to meet three conditions if they want the grants: honoring requests to hold detainees for at least 48 hours; allowing agents access to local and state jails, in order to pick up undocumented people who are being released; and compliance with a law that prohibits any jurisdictions from stopping the exchange of information about an individual’s immigration status.

—Tribune Washington Bureau


Rick Perry punked into fake interview with Russian ‘Jerky Boys’

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry thought he was talking about cyberhacking and a biofuel breakthrough in a call with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman. Alas, the 22-minute phone call was actually conducted with Russian pranksters.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, who are described as the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” have conducted similar prank calls with U.S. Sen. John McCain, singer Elton John. They arranged the call with Perry last week, just a few weeks after he had met with Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, and his delegation.

In it they pitched Perry on a new fuel made from alcohol and manure and discussed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to a recording posted online.

They also wondered if Ukraine could get a cut-rate deal on U.S. coal exports.

Maybe, Perry said.

“Negotiation is always possible,” he told them.

Ukraine and Russia are neighbors, but at odds over Russia’s annexation of the disputed Crimean region. Congress is poised to toughen sanctions on Russia following its actions in the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

“We look forward to bringing some oil and gas interests to the Ukraine,” Perry said during the call, adding that the Trump administration the proposed Nordstream 2 pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany. The administration is supportive of sanctions against Russia, Perry added.

Calls between Cabinet secretaries and foreign officials are typically closely vetted; it’s not clear how the pranksters connected with Perry.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed the faux phone call took place.

—Bloomberg News


Warrant in Damond killing says woman ‘slaps’ squad car

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman, possibly Justine Damond, slapped the police vehicle behind her Minneapolis home shortly before an officer inside the SUV shot and killed her, according to newly submitted court documents.

In an application for a search warrant filed in Hennepin County District Court and made public near the end of Monday’s business day, a state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) homicide investigator wrote that about 11:30 p.m. on July 15 police responding to a 911 call arrived in the alley behind the 5000 block of Washburn Avenue S. and “a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad.”

The filing continued, “After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley, approximately 10 to 20 feet north of 51st St.” after being shot by responding officer Mohamed Noor, a passenger in the squad.

The other officer in the squad, Matthew Harrity, has told investigators that he was startled by a loud sound near the vehicle before Noor opened fire.

A cellphone was found near Damond’s body, the filing notes. The family of the 40-year-old Damond and authorities have said that she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in progress.

The search of the shooting scene roughly seven hours after the shooting yielded items that may help authorities better understand the circumstances leading to Noor shooting Damond, who was unarmed at the time.

Submitted for forensic examination are a 9 mm cartridge shell, the cellphone found near Damond, blood from the rear driver’s side door of the squad car, fingerprint evidence from the rear of the squad car and other spots on the vehicle’s exterior.

—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


Schwarzenegger slams Trump, GOP at climate change bill signing

SAN FRANCISCO — Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump’s retreat from the world climate stage and challenged fellow Republicans to accept the science that spurred him to push cap-and-trade legislation.

Schwarzenegger held up the bipartisan legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on San Francisco’s Treasure Island as a powerful signal to Washington that the United States has not pulled back from its environmental commitments, despite Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord.

“America did not drop out of the Paris agreement. America is fully in the Paris agreement,” Schwarzenegger said. “The states and the cities in America, the private sector, the academic sector, the scientists — everyone is still in the Paris agreement. There’s only one man that dropped out. But America did not drop out.”

It was 11 years ago that Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32 in California, setting in motion the cap-and-trade carbon auction system that Brown, legislative Democrats and eight Republicans labored last week to extend for another decade. In 2006, Schwarzenegger won passage of the program with just one GOP vote.

Schwarzenegger said despite fears from within the Republican Party that the state would hemorrhage jobs and the economy would sputter, neither threat has materialized and the state’s business climate has only improved.

“Don’t those conservative Republicans get the message? And can’t they just think about it for a second and say, ‘Maybe we should stop lying to the people.’ Stop lying to the people! Stop it,” he said.

—The Sacramento Bee

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