WSJ’s Kim Strassel: “Mindboggling” That Obama’s DOJ Spied On The Republican Party’s Presidential Nominee | Video

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Kim Strassel is on the board of “The Wall Street Journal” editorial page and she joins us tonight.

Kim, so you’ve just heard Jim Clapper tell us it’s a good thing. Do you think it would be worth just putting a permanent FBI or CIA spy in every presidential campaign going forward?

KIM STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Why not? It sounds like it would be a good thing, Tucker.

Look, you and I have been doing this for a long time. Can you think of any time in history when this has happened or when anyone thought it was OK for – by the way, the Department of Justice is being run by one political party, electronically surveilling and then also spying on the leading candidate, for a nominee for opposing party running for the presidency.

CARLSON: It’s almost too big to get your head around. And you’ve got to think –

STRASSEL: It’s mindboggling.

CARLSON: – any other moment in the last 50 years, if this came to light, it would be considered a stop the presses moment. It would be a legitimate constitutional crisis and a scandal, people would go to prison. And, yet, this is passing almost without comment, except really on this channel and at your newspaper. Why?

STRASSEL: Well, the mainstream media doesn’t want to have to put this the way it is because they still want the Russia collusion narrative to be true.

They still want a pretext to get this president out of office. And so, people are no longer using standard measures.

Look, I’m a libertarian. I don’t want a government spying on anybody in any situation that’s illegitimate. And so, I try to put that measure out there.

But one other thing too that I think is so astounding and that also deserves some note is the games the Department of Justice is playing in terms of coming clean with this information.

They have now flouted a subpoena from Chairman Nunes for weeks, saying that there is no way that they can give him the information he wants because it might put this source of theirs at risk.

And yet, they have over the past couple of weeks leaked more information about this person than was prior known and would be known and they’re doing it all in order to get friendly media to write stories about how they did everything right in 2016, which, of course, we know they didn’t.

CARLSON: This person, the mole who fed the information to the feds from the campaign, there has been a lot of talk about this person, whispering about his identity. Apparently, it’s an older man.

Do we know who this person is? Can we say with certainty? And if we find out for sure, I mean, what are the consequences of that?

STRASSEL: Well, here’s the joke. I’m 99.9 percent sure that I know who this person is.

CARLSON: I do, too.

STRASSEL: I did not get that from any congressional sources, but I also cannot get them to confirm it. So, I haven’t used the name.

But the funny thing is, Tucker, one of the reasons I’m so monumentally certain that I’m correct, and I’m sure you are too, is because of the details that the Department of Justice itself has leaked about a source that it claims that it claims to so much want to protect.

CARLSON: Why would – I mean, take three steps back. The president of the United States is at the top of the executive branch pyramid. The Department of Justice is beneath him. He runs that agency. There is a picture of him in the lobby of it.

Why doesn’t he pick up the phone at some point and get this information? It’s not clear why. Are his lawyers telling him not to? What’s the answer? Do you know?

STRASSEL: Yes. My understanding is despite some of the things that the Department of Justice has said is that they have been given an order from the highest ranks to accommodate this request. But they are using that word and the wiggle room that it gives with as much enthusiasm as they can.

And so, what they are doing is Chairman Nunes wants to see the documents. He wants to look at them himself. And he knows exactly what it is he wants to see.

And they’re saying, no, you’re going to have to be satisfied with us just briefing you on it. Well, we all know what that game is. He will go in with questions. They will dance around. They won’t give the whole picture. And we know that’s the case because that’s how they have reacted every time they have been faced with a request for information that might be potentially embarrassing to them.

CARLSON: This is just so dysfunctional and third world. And your column, by the way, one of the few functional parts of all of this, thank you for your reporting, Kim. And I’ll hope you’ll keep it up. Thanks for that.

STRASSEL: Thank you.

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Trump Jr. met with Mueller witness during campaign

Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military contractor and an adviser to Middle Eastern leaders, both of whom have since become a focus of investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s eldest son said Saturday.

Erik Prince, an informal adviser to the Trump campaign and former head of Blackwater, and George Nader, a veteran operative who has advised the United Arab Emirates and helped American contractors secure business in the Middle East, met with Trump Jr. at Trump Tower to discuss a social media proposal, lawyer Alan Futerfas said in a statement.

“They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it,” Futerfas said.

Also at the meeting was Joel Zamel, the CEO of a social media company called WikiStrat. But he neither offered social media services to the Trump campaign, nor was he asked to help the campaign, his lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said.

“Joel Zamel offered nothing to the Trump campaign, received nothing from the Trump campaign, delivered nothing to the Trump campaign and was not solicited by, or asked to do anything for, the Trump campaign,” Mukasey said Saturday.

Mukasey also called it “misguided” to say Zamel conducts “social media manipulation,” as suggested by The New York Times, which first reported the meeting. The newspaper said the August 2016 meeting was convened primarily to offer assistance to the Trump campaign and that the outreach suggests countries other than Russia may have offered to help get Trump elected.

Mueller’s investigators have been looking into a later meeting, in January 2017 in the Seychelles, that Nader and Prince held with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker with close ties to the Kremlin. Nader is a witness in Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The Associated Press reported in March that Nader had been convicted on 10 counts of sexually assaulting a minor in the Czech Republic in 2003. Employees for Prince’s previous firm, Blackwater, were implicated in the deaths of 14 civilians in Iraq in 2007.

Neither a spokesman for Prince nor a spokeswoman for Nader’s lawyer immediately returned requests for comment Saturday.

Members of the House intelligence committee peppered Prince with questions about his interactions with the Trump campaign during a November 2017 interview, but Prince did not disclose the Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr. and Nader.

Mueller has dug into various facets of the social media and digital efforts in the 2016 election as part of his expansive federal probe. In February, he filed an indictment against 13 Russians and three companies accused of running an elaborate campaign on social media to disrupt the elections.

The federal probe has also dipped into the digital side of Trump’s 2016 campaign, with Mueller’s team asking former campaign staff about the role of Cambridge Analytica, the voter data firm which former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon helped run.

The president and his closest aides have repeatedly said there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. And the Republican-led House intelligence committee found no evidence of collusion. But Senate investigators said this past week that they believed the Russian meddling was clearly meant to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

———

Associated Press reporter Chad Day contributed to this report.

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Donald Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.

Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a group of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.

Despite these presentations, Trump has continued to level criticism at Amazon. And last month, his critiques culminated in the signing of an executive order mandating a government review of the financially strapped Postal Service that could lead to major changes in the way it charges Amazon and others for package delivery.

Few U.S. companies have drawn Trump’s ire as much as Amazon, which has rapidly grown to be the second-largest U.S. company in terms of market capitalization. For more than three years, Trump has fumed publicly and privately about the giant commerce and services company and its founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post.

Trump alleges Amazon is being subsidized by the Postal Service, and he has also accused The Post as being Amazon’s “chief lobbyist” as well as a tax shelter – both false charges. He says Amazon uses these advantages to push bricks-and-mortar companies out of business. Some administration officials say several of Trump’s attacks aimed at Amazon have come in response to articles in The Post that he didn’t like.

The three people familiar with these exchanges spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the White House’s internal deliberations.

Brennan and Trump have met at the White House about the matter several times, beginning in 2017, and most recently four months ago, the three people said. The meetings have never appeared on Trump’s public schedule. Brennan has spent her career at the Postal Service, starting 32 years ago as a letter carrier. In 2014, the Postal Service’s Board of Governors voted to appoint her as postmaster general.

Clouding the matter even further, Trump’s aides have also disagreed internally about whether Amazon is paying enough to the Postal Service, with some believing the giant commerce company should be paying more, while others believe that if it weren’t for Amazon, the Postal Service might be out of business, according to the three people.

Trump has met with at least three groups of senior advisers to discuss Amazon’s business practices, probing issues such as whether they pay the appropriate amount of taxes or underpay the Postal Service, according to the three people.

These groups include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, then-National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Domestic Policy Council Director Andrew Bremberg. Bremberg has served as a key liaison with Brennan.

One of Amazon’s biggest defenders within the White House was Cohn, who had told Trump that the Postal Service actually made money on the payments Amazon made for package delivery. Cohn announced his departure from the White House in March.

The White House, the Postal Service and Amazon – as well as Bezos, via an Amazon spokesman – declined to comment for this report.

While Trump has leveled a range of criticisms at Amazon, his efforts to increase the company’s shipping and delivery costs stand as the only known official action he’s taken to go after the company.

The company, meanwhile, has tread carefully around Trump. It has dramatically expanded its spending on lobbying in the past few years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, but Amazon officials have not been directly engaged with White House officials about the review, according to the three people familiar with the White House deliberations as well as others familiar with Amazon’s approach.

The company has, however, hosted more than a dozen lawmakers and governors at numerous Amazon facilities across the country to impress upon them the company’s economic footprint and job creation potential.

On March 7, when the company announced that it would be building a new fulfillment center in Missouri and hiring 1,500 employees, it alerted the state’s two U.S. senators on Twitter, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt.

Trump has berated Amazon and The Post on social media, briefly driving down Amazon’s stock price. And he has said publicly that he doesn’t believe the information he has been presented by some of his advisers and Brennan herself regarding the Postal Service’s contract with Amazon.

“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” he wrote on April 3. “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourn by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!”

Details of Amazon’s contract with the Postal Service are secret, making it difficult for financial experts to assess claims about the relationship. Amazon has said that publicly releasing the contract, which contains detailed information on the company’s delivery systems, would give competitors an unfair advantage.

Amazon primarily uses the Postal Service for the “last mile” of its deliveries. It brings the packages to the post office closest to the final destination, and then the Postal Service takes it from there. The Postal Service says other companies also have “last-mile” agreements with it but declines to say whom.

Amazon is the leading player in e-commerce but competes with other retail giants such as Walmart, Macy’s and Costco to offer fast and inexpensive delivery of products. The Postal Service competes with UPS, FedEx and others for delivery.

Amazon said it spent $21.7 billion on shipping costs in 2017, a figure that includes sorting, delivery center and transportation costs. Roughly 40 percent of its packages are delivered by the Postal Service, according to some analysts, a figure neither Amazon nor the Postal Service have confirmed. It is not known how much Amazon pays the Postal Service each year and what percentage of its items are shipped via the Postal Service.

The Postal Service, meanwhile, reported shipping and package income of $19.5 billion last year, an 11.8 percent increase from one year before. This increase wasn’t enough to stop the Postal Service from losing money for the eleventh straight year. That’s largely because of the continued decline in first-class mail, and expensive health benefit costs that the Postal Service must set aside for future retirees, according to data released by the agency.

Delivering packages has been a financial boon to the Postal Service in an otherwise tumultuous time, but experts say it is an open question whether Amazon’s arrangement fully compensates the Postal Service for its range of expenses. While the Postal Service is legally prohibited from charging a shipper less than it costs to deliver a package, the Postal Service is not required to include in its costs things such as retiree benefits.

David Vernon, an analyst at Bernstein Research, estimates that Amazon pays the Postal Service roughly $2 per package for each delivery, about half of what Amazon would pay United Parcel Service or FedEx. He based this estimate on broader data released by the Postal Service.

The Postal Service has tried to rapidly adjust its business model to take on more package delivery, but he said it would be better suited if it delivered fewer packages at a higher rate.

“In my business judgment, there’s too much ‘package’ in the postal network,” he said in an interview. “If you doubled the price, you would have fewer of them, but you would make money off what is left.”

Still, Postal Service officials, both in meetings with Trump and publicly, have insisted that they are making money off their arrangement with Amazon.

In January, Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer wrote an op-ed in the Hill newspaper pushing back against calls for it to raise package rates.

“Some of our competitors in the package delivery space would dearly love for the Postal Service to aggressively raise our rates higher than the marketplace can bear – so they could either charge more themselves or siphon away postal customers,” he wrote.

“The Postal Service is a self-funding public institution that generates its revenue from the sale of postal products and service, we compete for every customer across all of our product categories, and we exist for the benefit of American businesses and consumers.”

Because the Postal Service has lost money for 11 straight years, it has had to repeatedly borrow funds from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank, totaling $15 billion. Its reliance on taxpayer funds has allowed Mnuchin – one of Trump’s closest advisers – to gain a foothold in its future.

One of Mnuchin’s counselors, Craig Phillips, is leading Trump’s review of the Postal Service, along with Kathy Kraninger, associate director for general government at the Office of Management and Budget. It is due in July.

The review group is tasked with reviewing the package delivery market, the Postal Service’s role in that market and the decline in first-class mail volume, among other things. It is required to recommend changes to the White House and Congress.

The Postal Service is overseen by a board of nine governors, which pick the postmaster general and the deputy postmaster general. Currently, there are no governors serving on the board, though Trump has nominated three individuals who are awaiting Senate confirmation. The Postal Service, led by the postmaster, works out contracts with private companies that are approved by an independent federal agency, the Postal Regulatory Commission, which also assesses each year whether the contracts are in compliance with the law. Amazon has a multiyear contract with the Postal Service, and it is not clear how quickly it could be changed.

 

Trump’s attacks on Amazon date to 2015, when he accused Bezos of using The Post as a tax shelter to allow Amazon to avoid paying taxes, a false accusation. (Amazon is a publicly traded company, and The Post, wholly owned by Bezos, is private. The companies’ finances are not intermingled. The Post’s editors and Bezos also have declared that he is not involved in any journalistic decisions.)

Bezos responded to Trump’s 2015 attack with a tweet.

“Finally trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace,” Bezos, who owns a space company, tweeted in December 2015.

This angered Trump, who at the time was fighting for credibility during the GOP primary.

“Trump takes everything personally,” said Steve Moore, a former economic adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Moore says he has told White House officials that Amazon is paying the Postal Service plenty for its services and in fact helping the agency survive.

But others say Trump sees one company exploiting the government for a competitive edge. Amazon’s stock price is up close to 70 percent in the past year, and a growing list of competitors have complained that they have a hard time competing with the giant company on everything from delivery to its cloud computer business.

“I think this particular issue is one that he comes at from his business background and understanding the dynamics of cost and delivery and overhead,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said of Trump’s approach to the postal issue with Amazon. “And so . . . when you put all those components in there, it allows him to probably have a position on this that is deeper rooted in an understanding of a business model than perhaps some other presidents.”


The Washington Post’s Erica Werner contributed to this report.

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Individual, team champions in all classes

The 2018 Colorado high school track and field state meet concluded on Saturday at Jeffco Stadium. The following is a complete list of individual and team champions in all classes from this weekend’s action.

Use Command+F to search the page by athlete or school.

Class 5A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Fountain-Ft. Carson 100, 2. Cherry Creek 71, 3. Rock Canyon 50, 4. Fort Collins 48, 5. Broomfield 40.

4×100: Cherry Creek, 42.46.
4×200: Fountain-Fort Carson, 1:26.53.
4×400: Fountain-Fort Carson, 3:19.37.
4×800: Mountain Vista, 7:49.38.
110 hurdles: Andrew Doctor, Liberty, 14.35.
300 hurdles: Mitchell Gorman, Broomfield, 37.83.
100: Devin Cadena, Rock Canyon, 10.70.
200: Jalen Lyon, Fountain-Fort Carson, 21.65.
400: Jalen Lyon, Fountain-Fort Carson, 48.10.
800: Landon Rast, Legend, 1:53.03.
1600: Michael Mooney, Broomfield. 4:16.15.
3200: Michael Mooney, Broomfield, 9:12.97.
Pole vault: Max Manson, Monarch, 17-03.50.
Long jump: Micaylon Moore, Fort Collins, 22-10.25.
Triple jump: Allam Bushara, Fort Collins, 49-09.25.
High jump: Jequan Hogan, Fountain-Fort Carson, 6-08.00.
Shot put: Drake Nugent, Highlands Ranch, 55-09.50.
Discus: Jawuan Tate, Fountain-Fort Carson, 158-09.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Cherokee Trail 85, 2. Denver East 84, 3. Grandview 69, 4. Mountain Vista 59, 5. Rock Canyon 50.

4×100: Denver East, 47.10.
4×200: Denver East, 1:40.25.
4×400: Grandview, 3:57.56.
4×800: Broomfield, 9:16.33.
100 hurdles: Emily Sloan, Rock Canyon, 13.59.
300 hurdles: Emily Sloan, Rock Canyon, 41.42.
100: Arria Minor, Denver East, 11.51.
200: Arria Minor, Denver East, 23.60.
400: Lily Williams, Grandview, 53.85.
800: Marlena Preigh, Fairview, 2:09.19.
800 medley: Denver East, 1:42.62.
1600: Jenna Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista, 4:54.22.
3200: Jenna Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista, 10:35.09.
Pole vault: Mia Manson, Monarch, 12-06.00.
Long jump: Sydnee Larkin, Cherokee Trail, 18-11.25.
Triple jump: Aumni Ashby, Cherokee Trail, 40-11.50.
High jump: Kylee Harr, Grandview, 5-10.00.
Shot put: Gabriella McDonald, Rocky Mountain, 42-08.50.
Discus: Gabriella McDonald, Rocky Mountain, 148-02.

Class 4A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Silver Creek 60.50, 2. Pueblo South 52, 3. Pine Creek 51, 4. Valor Christian 50, 5. Vista Ridge 47.

4×100: Pueblo South, 42.44.
4×200: Pine Creek, 1:28.07.
4×400: Mullen, 3:22.73.
4×800: Mead, 7:55.55.
110 hurdles: Angelo Hurtado, Roosevelt, 14.48.
300 hurdles: Dane Palazzo, Valor Christian and Wyatt Wieland, Pine Creek, 38.007 (tied).
100: Luc Andrada, Pueblo East, 10.66.
200: Tyrese VanHorne, Harrison, 21.63.
400: Tyler Williams, Standley Lake, 48.22.
800: James Lee, Silver Creek, 1:54.25.
1600: Cole Sprout, Valor Christian, 4:14.54.
3200: Cole Sprout, Valor Christian, 9:22.10.
Pole vault: Josiah Molascon, Air Academy, 14-06.00.
Long jump: Raymon Harper, Vista Ridge, 23-03.00.
Triple jump: Raymon Harper, Vista Ridge, 46-10.00.
High jump: Garrett Martin, Standley Lake, 6-10.00.
Shot put: Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 56-10.50.
Discus: Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 185-09.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Valor Christian 138, 2. Niwot 112, 3. Discovery Canyon 60, 4. Palmer Ridge 37, 4. Battle Mountain 37.

4×100: Cheyenne Mountain, 49.57.
4×200: Valor Christian, 1:41.89.
4×400: Niwot, 3:55.64.
4×800: Battle Mountain, 9:16.13.
100 hurdles: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 14.23.
300 hurdles: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 42.67.
100: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 11.79.
200: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 24.05.
400: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 54.23.
800: Taylor James, Niwot, 2:13.55.
800 medley: Mead, 1:45.17.
1600: Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley, 5:06.22.
3200: Liberty Ricca, Discovery Canyon, 10:57.56.
Pole vault: Abigail Gray, Silver Creek, 11-06.00.
Long jump: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 18-09.75.
Triple jump: Aaliyah Ricketts, Widefield, 36-06.00.
High jump: Rylee Anderson, Silver Creek, 5-07.50.
Shot put: Logan Derock, Roosevelt, 40-00.75.
Discus: Logan Derock, Roosevelt, 133-08.

Class 3A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Bayfield 79.50, 2. Classical Academy 73, 3. Elizabeth 55, 4. Roaring Fork 53, 5. Lutheran 51.

4×100: Berthoud, 43.18.
4×200: Lutheran, 1:28.01.
4×400: Platte Valley, 3:21.59.
4×800: Skyview, 8:01.99.
110 hurdles: Carl Heide, Bayfield, 14.65.
300 hurdles: Carl Heide, Bayfield, 38.69.
100: Seven Lindsay, Kent Denver, 10.74.
200: Seven Lindsay, Kent Denver, 21.78.
400: Chad Jackson, Alamosa, 49.91.
800: Rasce Engelhardt, Holy Family, 1:56.41.
1600: Ryan Moen, Classical Academy, 4:25.72.
3200: Ryan Moen, Classical Academy, 9:38.97.
Pole vault: Eric Casey, Steamboat Springs, 14-00.00.
Long jump: Inaujee Ison, Ridgeview Academy, 21-02.25.
Triple jump: Justin Thompson, Roaring Fork, 45-11.75.
High jump: Skye Ciccarelli, Woodland Park, 6-04.00.
Shot put: Reece Davidson, Faith Christian, 53-04.50.
Discus: Reece Davison, Faith Christian, 159-00.

Girls

Team scores: 1) Classical Academy 110 2) Lutheran 86 3) Alamosa 57 3) Peak to Peak 57 5) Elizabeth 47.50

4×100: Classical Academy, 50.15.
4×200: Classical Academy, 1:43.91.
4×400: Alamosa, 3:58.69.
4×800: Peak to Peak, 9:20.84.
100 hurdles: Esther Diza-mbelolo, D’Evelyn, 15.08.
300 hurdles: Ashten Loeks, Elizabeth, 45.37.100: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 12.02.
200: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 24.88.
400: Aryelle Wright, Montezuma-Cortez, 57.90.
800: Maggi Congdon, Steamboat Springs, 2:14.07.
800 medley: Lutheran, 1:49.63.
1600: Maggi Congdon, Steamboat Springs, 5:06.52.
3200: Hannah Ellis, Frontier Academy, 11:19.39.
Pole vault: Erika Willis, Classical Academy, 12-09.00.
Long jump: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 18-03.50.
Triple jump: Alex Burns, Sierra, 36-05.00.
High jump: Jordan Lanning, Bayfield, 5-07.75.
Shot put: Amaya Atencio, Alamosa, 39-01.00.
Discus: Keena Murphy, Pagosa Springs, 127-10.

Class 2A

Boys

Team scores: 1) Resurrection Christian 63 2) Cedaredge 58 2) Lyons 58 4) Hoehne 56 5) Hotchkiss 43

4×100: Cedaredge, 45.12.
4×200: Cedaredge, 1:32.02.
4×400: Cedaredge, 3:30.01.
4×800: Lyons, 8:12.75.
110 hurdles: Austin Davis, Byers, 14.90.
300 hurdles: Jacob Yates, Hoehne, 39.50.
100: Michael Morgan, Buena Vista, 11.23.
200: Ty Grant, Cedaredge, 22.62.
400: Patrick Scoggins, Rangely, 51.02.
800: Ben Kelley, Soroco, 1:52.77.
1600: Ben Kelley, Soroco, 4:23.18.
3200: Cody Danley, Rocky Ford, 9:42.94.
Pole vault: Jake Chrisman, Yuma, 13-04.00.
Long jump: Tanner Applebee, Resurrection, 21-03.50.
Triple jump: Brady Lenz, Sanford, 43-02.50.
High jump: Grant Redmond, Soroco, 6-05.00.
Shot put: Jacob Tu’ufuli, Ellicott, 48-08.75.
Discus: Lane Walter, Crowley County, 160-01.

Girls

Team scores: 1) Highland 73.50 2) Lyons 57 3) Meeker 51 4) Peyton 45 5) Soroco 44

4×100: Peyton, 51.69.
4×200: Peyton, 1:48.93.
4×400: Vail Christian, 4:09.84.
4×800: Paonia, 9:57.24.
100 hurdles: Mattie Rossi, Soroco, 15.51.
300 hurdles: Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss, 46.17.
100: Remington Ross, Highland, 12.19.
200: Remington Ross, Highland, 25.16.
400: Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss, 58.29.
800: Kaylee Kearse, Peyton, 2:18.20.
800 medley: Denver Christian, 1:51.67.
1600: Soleil Gaylord, Telluride, 5:10.66.
3200: Soleil Gaylord, Telluride, 11:16.52.
Pole vault: Logan Kuskie, Lyons, 11-02.00.
Long jump: Taeryn Trumper, Holyoke, 18-01.75.
Triple jump: McKenna Palmer, Paonia, 36-03.75.
High jump: Katie Kurz, Dayspring Christian, 5-03.00.
Shot put: Alex Bauer, Burlington, 39-02.25.
Discus: Megan Shelton, Meeker, 124-09.

Class 1A

Boys

Team scores: 1) Heritage Christian 169 2) Cotopaxi 41 2) Haxtun 41 4) South Baca 40.50 5) Simla 39

4×100: North Park, 45.68.
4×200: Haxtun, 1:32.93.
4×400: Heritage Christian, 3:35.89.
4×800: Heritage Christian, 8:23.44.
110 hurdles: Arlo Garner, Cotopaxi, 15.42.
300 hurdles: Arlo Garner, Cotopaxi, 39.56.
100: Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 11.28.
200: Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 22.87.
400: Alex Ramos, Holly, 50.72.
800: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 1:59.13.
1600: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 4:34.29.
3200: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 10:04.98.
Pole vault: Tommy Harmon, Pikes Peak Christian, 12-03.00.
Long jump: Jaden Johnson, Heritage Christian, 20-07.00.
Triple jump: Jade Cass, Pawnee, 43-01.50.
High jump: Wesley Ryan, DeBeque, 6-02.00.
Shot put: Keylan Dracon, Otis, 42-09.50.
Discus: JT Borunda, Springfield, 136-06.

Girls

Team scores: 1) Shining Mtn.
Waldorf 94 2) Springfield 65 3) Heritage Christian 62 4) Eads 52 4) Plateau Valley 52

4×100: Springfield, 52.71.
4×200: Springfield, 1:50.89.
4×400: Springfield, 4:20.26.
4×800: Plateau Valley, 10:28.66.
100 hurdles: Faith Novess, DeBeque,15.94.
300 hurdles: Faith Novess, DeBeque, 47.30.
100: Zariah Mason, Kim, 12.70.
200: Faith Novess, DeBeque, 26.93.
400: Benisa Ellis, Springfield, 1:02.39.
800: Leeann Wagner, Heritage Christian, 2:25.95.
800 medley: Springfield, 1:53.88.
1600: Emma Schaefer, Shining Mountain, 5:29.48.
3200: Emma Schaefer, Shining Mountain, 12:11.83.
Pole vault: Marina Flandrick, Shining Mountain, 9-10.00.
Long jump: Jerraldawn Rector, Simla, 16-03.25.
Triple jump: Matalynn Dawson, Miami-Yoder, 34-06.00.
High jump: Jerraldawn Rector, Simla, 5-01.00.
Shot put: Heather Graham, Genoa-Hugo, 39-05.50.
Discus: Mariah Smith, Eads, 133-08.

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US, China say Beijing commits to buying more American goods

MARTIN CRUTSINGER and PAUL WISEMAN

AP,

2:27 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just-ended U.S.-China trade talks produced a commitment by Beijing to “significantly increase” its purchases of American goods and services, according to a joint statement Saturday from the rival economic powers trying to lower trade tensions.

They also agreed on “meaningful increases” in U.S. exports of agriculture and energy products and greater efforts to increase trade in manufactured goods and services.

The statement, however, provided no dollar amounts on how much China might boost its purchases of American products.

The statement also was silent on whether the talks had made progress in easing the trade standoff between the world’s two biggest economies. Washington and Beijing have threatened to impose billions of dollars in punitive tariffs on each other.

The statement said they did agree on the need for “effective measures” to reduce America’s trade deficit, and to strengthen cooperation on protecting intellectual property. The statement said the United States would send a team to China to work out further details.

One of the Trump administration’s goals has been to get China to take steps that would lower America’s goods trade deficit with China by at least $200 billion by the end of 2020. Outside analysts said it was highly unlikely that China would ever agree to a U.S. demand for a specific deficit reduction target.

Eswar Prasad, an economist and trade expert at Cornell University, said that Saturday’s statement seemed to be an effort to de-escalate for the time being the growing tensions.

“The Trump administration seems eager to engineer at minimum a temporary peace with China to ensure a smooth runup to the Kim-Trump summit in June,” Prasad said, referring to the June 12 meeting between Trump and North Korea’s leader.

“It is likely that this agreement, weak and vague though it is, will serve as grounds to at least delay the imposition of tariffs” that the United States and China have threatened to impose, Prasad said.

“There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China,” the joint statement said.

The two days of talks were led on the Chinese side by Vice Premier Liu He and on the American side by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The U.S. delegation included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to get tough on China and other U.S. trading partners. He views the massive U.S. trade deficit with China — $337 billion last year, the biggest with any country — as evidence that Beijing is engaged in abusive trading practices and has outmaneuvered previous U.S. administrations.

Last August, Lighthizer began an investigation into Beijing’s strong-arm tactics to challenge U.S. technological dominance. These include outright cybertheft of U.S. companies’ trade secrets and China’s demands that American corporations hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese markets.

Last month, the administration proposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports to protest the forced technology transfers. Trump later ordered Lighthizer to seek up to an additional $100 billion in Chinese products to tax.

China responded by targeting $50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans — a shot at Trump supporters in America’s heartland. The prospect of an escalating trade war has shaken financial markets and alarmed business leaders.

In a separate controversy, the Commerce Department last month blocked China’s ZTE Corp. from importing American components for seven years, accusing the telecommunications company of misleading U.S. regulators after it settled charges last year of violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

The ban amounted to a death sentence for ZTE, which relies heavily on U.S. parts, and the company announced that it was halting operations. Chinese officials complained loudly about the ZTE sanctions when a high-level U.S. delegation, led by Mnuchin, visited Beijing this month.

Trump waded into the fray last Sunday, tweeting that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to put ZTE “back in business, fast.” Media reports suggested that the U.S. was offering to swap a ZTE rescue for an end to proposed Chinese tariffs on U.S. farm products.

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Congress Leaders to Discuss Power-sharing Arrangement in Karnataka Today

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The Congress has 78 MLAs in the 224-member House and the JD(S) has 37. The H D Deve Gowda-led party had a pre-poll tie-up with the BSP, which has one MLA.​

PTI

Updated:May 20, 2018, 12:07 AM IST

Congress Leaders to Discuss Power-sharing Arrangement in Karnataka Today
A poster of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) chief HD Kumarswamy after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa announced his resignation, in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
New Delhi: The Congress will chalk out its strategy and power-sharing arrangement with the JD(S) in Karnataka on Sunday, when its top leaders will hold discussions with party chief Rahul Gandhi in the national capital, ahead of the swearing-in of H D Kumaraswamy as the chief minister of the southern state.

According to sources, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot will arrive in Delhi on Sunday morning and hold discussions with Gandhi, before finalising the power-sharing arrangement with the JD(S) in the Karnataka government.

The two leaders were stationed in Bengaluru to steer the party’s strategy ahead of the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly Saturday.

The BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa, however, resigned as the Karnataka chief minister without taking the floor test.
“Everything will be decided in Delhi tomorrow(Sunday), when the top leaders of the party will hold discussions with Rahul Gandhi,” a Congress leader said.

The Congress has extended support to the JD(S) to form a government in the southern state under a power-sharing agreement. While Kumaraswamy will be the chief minister, the deputy chief minister is expected to be from the Congress and a Dalit is likely to be appointed to the post.

The Congress has 78 MLAs in the 224-member House and the JD(S) has 37. The H D Deve Gowda-led party had a pre-poll tie-up with the BSP, which has one MLA.​

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Read President Trump’s Remarks on the Texas School Shooting

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting at a Texas high school on Friday that left eight to 10 people dead, calling it a “very sad day.”

Speaking before a summit on prison reform at the White House, Trump expressed sympathy for the victims and called on government to act to prevent more school shootings. His comments come three months after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. After Parkland, Trump put forth a school safety plan that advocated for various gun proposals including strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks and arming teachers.

Earlier, he tweeted his condolences about the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, which is southwest of Houston.

You can read a full transcript of Trump’s comments on the Texas shooting below.

Unfortunately, I have to begin by expressing our sadness and heartbreak over the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas that just took place moments ago. We’re closely monitoring the situation and federal authorities are coordinating with local officials.

This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years, too many decades now. We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High: we’re with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever.

My Administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others. Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe.

May God heal the injured and may God comfort the wounded, and may God be with the victims and with the victims’ families. Very sad day. Very very sad.



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Everything About the Texas School Shooting Seems Horribly Familiar

School shootings are now as American as apple pie, and Friday’s tragedy at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas, followed the usual recipe. People who knew the suspected shooter, a seventeen-year-old named Dimitrios Pagourtzis, said there was nothing particularly unusual about him. (Pagourtzis appeared in court briefly on Friday night, where he was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a peace officer, and was remanded to custody.) He made the Santa Fe Junior High honor roll, in 2012, and played on the 2016 junior-varsity football team. Fellow-students said he wasn’t particularly social. (Nor are many other males of his age.) According to CNN, his Facebook page showed he had demonstrated interest in joining the Marines, but more recently he had posted a picture of a black T-shirt with the words “Born to Kill” emblazoned on it.

The Times added some details to the all-too-familiar portrait of an alienated, but not obviously pathologically dangerous, adolescent. He posted pictures of his beloved trench coat, the one he used to cover up the guns he carried into school on Friday morning, along with explanations of the symbols he had attached to it. “Hammer and Sickle=Rebellion. Rising Sun=Kamikaze Tactics. Iron Cross=Bravery. Baphomet=Evil.” In addition, the Times reported, Pagourtzis “posted artwork seemingly inspired by the electronic musician James Kent, professionally known as Perturbator. Kent’s music—largely instrumental—has been adopted by affiliates of neo-Nazi groups and the alt-right.”

About the only atypical aspect of the shooting was that Pagourtzis reportedly used a Remington Model 870 shotgun and a .38-calibre revolver, rather than a semi-automatic rifle, to kill his ten victims and wound ten others. This was probably because his father didn’t own an AR-15 or any other weapon of war. (Pagourtzis told police he used his father’s guns. It wasn’t immediately clear whether his father knew that they were in his possession.) Enthusiasts of semi-automatic weapons will presumably use this detail to fortify their case against banning such weapons—the argument being that there are firearms of all kinds (more than three hundred million in private hands across the U.S., according to some estimates) and banning one particular type of gun won’t prevent a dedicated shooter from carrying out a massacre.

In the world of Second Amendment devotees, this qualifies as a legitimate case to make. So does the argument, which Donald Trump and the N.R.A. have made, that the real issue with school shootings isn’t the fact that disturbed adolescents have such ready access to deadly weapons but that schools don’t have enough armed teachers to stop gun-wielding intruders, or enough ready escape routes for students and staff to take as they flee the gunfire. “We have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built,” Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, said on Friday. “And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over eight thousand campuses in Texas . . . Had there been one single entrance, possibly, for every student, maybe he”—Pagourtzis—”would have been stopped.”

Rather than descending further into the world of deliberate denial, it is perhaps worth stating a few facts: this was the second school massacre in three months, and the second gun massacre in six months in Texas. Last November, Devin Patrick Kelly, a twenty-six-year-old Air Force veteran with a record of domestic abuse and mental issues, shot dead twenty-six worshippers at the First Baptist Church, in Sutherland Springs, near San Antonio. (Kelly used a semi-automatic weapon.) Since then, and not counting what happened on Friday, there have been at least three other shootings in Texas in which five or more people were killed. The United States has eight times more gun deaths, relative to its population, than Canada, twenty-seven times more than Denmark, and is almost on a par with Iraq.

At this stage, it would be lunacy to expect another gun massacre to change anything in Washington. On Friday, Trump said, “This has been going on too long in our country,” but he didn’t give any indication that he would revisit the decision he took, after the Parkland shooting, to challenge the N.R.A. Only two weeks ago, Trump addressed the gun group’s annual meeting, and said, “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your President.” Even if Trump, by some miracle, did decide to try to do something meaningful on guns, the Republicans in Congress would prevent him.

As I noted in a post back in March, the gun-control issue isn’t entirely frozen. A number of states, including Florida, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, have passed so-called red-flag provisions, which empower judges to take guns away from people they conclude to be potentially dangerous. Vermont, which has traditionally been a gun-friendly state, recently passed legislation to expand background checks, raise the legal age for buying guns to twenty-one, and ban bump stocks that enable rapid fire. In Texas on Friday, Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, called for stronger backgrounds checks and the passage of a red-flag provision. Such developments offer glimmers of hope. But the only way things will change in Washington, D.C., is if, come November, the voters elect a very different Congress.

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Trump administration will pull funds from groups that perform abortions or provide referrals

The Trump administration is proposing to bar clinics that provide abortion services or referrals from receiving federal family-planning funds, a far-reaching move that would deprive Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers of millions of dollars a year.

The proposal would require a “bright line” of physical and financial separation between clinics that receive $260 million annually in federal funding and any organization that provides abortions or referrals to abortion clinics.

The move delivers on a long-held objective of abortion opponents, who are staunch supporters of President Trump. In a statement Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that it “would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions” and that Trump “is pleased to support” it.

The president plans to unveil the proposal Tuesday in a speech before the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee that opposes abortion, according to two administration officials.

On Thursday, Vice President Pence hosted a dinner at his residence with conservative leaders ahead of the decision, according to one administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private event. Antiabortion groups were briefed in detail about the proposal in a conference call Friday morning.

However, the desire to preserve the public announcement for Trump’s Tuesday night speech made for an awkward rollout Friday: In addition to declining to comment publicly for most of the day, administration officials declined to distribute a final text.

The proposal largely mirrors requirements first adopted during Ronald Reagan’s presidency but never enforced. Unlike the Reagan rule, the Trump proposal would not prohibit clinics that receive federal funds from counseling clients about abortion, officials said. A senior White House official said that provision was left out to try to prevent litigation.

However, the new rule would bar grant recipients from referring women to abortion providers.

The proposal was sent Thursday to the White House budget office for an interagency review; officials said it would be several months before it could take effect. In the meantime, at least one governor, Washington’s Jay Inslee (D), and several women’s health groups say they will seek to block the rule in court.

Antiabortion activists noted that the Reagan-era rule withstood a Supreme Court challenge and said they were confident the Trump rule also would withstand legal scrutiny.

“Our understanding of the proposed regulation that the administration will put forward . . . is entirely consistent with the Supreme Court precedent in separating abortion from the Title X family-planning program,” said David Christensen, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council.

Jeanne F. Mancini, president of the antiabortion group March for Life, praised the administration in a statement Friday.

“This money will now be redirected to comprehensive family health and planning centers that don’t perform abortions and understand that abortion is not health care,” Mancini said. “The pro-life grass roots will be pleased to see President Trump deliver on yet another pro-life promise.”

In a call Friday with reporters, Planned Parenthood’s leaders characterized the new rule as an attack on women’s right to abortion that could compromise access to basic health care.

“It’s completely outrageous that a small group of people’s ideological views are being pressed through these government agencies onto women’s health care across the country,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president.

The proposal makes good on a promise Trump has repeatedly made to religious leaders to adopt policies that reflect their socially conservative values. White House officials say the president often talks about the need to keep conservative evangelicals on his side, and prominent Christian leaders say they have had unprecedented access to the Trump White House.

“They know what I’m doing for the Christians, right?” one attendee said Trump remarked at a gathering of religious leaders last year.

And Trump has delivered: Since taking office, he has appointed judges with a history of opposing abortion, including Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. He revived a policy that bars groups that provide abortion referrals overseas from receiving federal funds. And he signed legislation that allows states to withhold federal money from facilities that provide abortion services.

The new proposal would affect funding for domestic clinics. Under the federal Title X program, health centers receive grants to provide basic services such as cancer screenings, birth control, screenings for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests and well-woman exams. Currently, those clinics are permitted to provide abortions using nonfederal funds.

Under the latest proposal, that would change. Clinics such as Planned Parenthood that provide abortion services or that refer women elsewhere for the procedure would no longer be eligible to receive any federal cash. Planned Parenthood, which serves 41 percent of the 4 million patients receiving Title X care, stands to lose as much as $60 million a year.

But the new policy would have ripple effects far beyond Planned Parenthood. Susan Buchanan, chief executive of the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, said Title X funding accounts for $550,000, or roughly 20 percent, of her annual budget. The new rule, she said, would put “us in the position of having to make a Hobbesian choice” between the 10 percent of patients who receive abortions and the rest of its clients.

Buchanan said clinics such as hers have helped Colorado dramatically reduce unwanted pregnancy by providing women with long-acting reversible contraceptives. The state’s teen birthrate dropped 50 percent between 2009 and 2014, she said; losing federal funding could jeopardize this progress.

“They’re shooting themselves in the foot, really,” she said.

The proposed rule probably will include provisions that require parental consent for minors seeking family planning services at Title X clinics in most instances, according to people briefed on the rule. Opponents of such provisions warn that they could stop girls from seeking care.

Lawmakers on both sides of the issue have lobbied the administration. This week, more than 200 members of Congress — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) — wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar arguing that the proposed rule “would disproportionately impact communities of color, the uninsured, and low- income individuals.” Days before, 194 Republicans urged Azar to move swiftly to revive the Reagan-era restrictions.

Even before the rule is finalized, opponents are girding for a legal battle.

“Washington has been, and will continue to be, a state that stands with women and their right to safe and legal abortion and reproductive care,” Inslee said in a statement. “If this administration insists on weaponizing the Title X program, I will work our legislative leaders to make sure that no matter what happens in D.C., every woman in Washington state has access to all the family planning and health care services she needs.”

Read more:

The U.S. abortion rate fell 25 percent from 2004 to 2012; one in four women have an abortion

Nine organizations sue the Trump administration for ending grants to teen pregnancy programs

Teen birthrates hit all-time low, led by 50 percent decline among Hispanics and blacks

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Freedom Caucus leader Meadows says farm bill not dead

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who led House conservatives’ successful effort Friday to nix the GOP-controlled chamber’s farm bill, thinks detractors will eventually come around to supporting the measure.

“I think we’ll reconsider this bill,” the North Carolina Republican and leader of the House Freedom Caucus said minutes after the bill failed 213-198 on the House floor.

Members of the influential roughly 35-member caucus voted against the bill as leverage to try to force House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote on a hard line immigration bill that they support.

“I think if we get a vote on immigration we reconsider this bill,” Meadows told reporters. “We’ll vote for it, yeah.”

GOP leaders thought they had found a way by Friday morning to make the party’s warring conservative and moderate wings happy on an issue that has bedeviled them for years.

Conservatives would get a vote by late June on an immigration bill that parrots many of President Trump’s hard-right immigration views, including reductions on legal immigration and opening the door to his proposed wall with Mexico. And centrists would have a chance to craft a more moderate alternative with the White House and Democrats and get a vote on that.

But it all blew up as conservatives decided they didn’t like that offer and rebelled. By lunchtime Friday, many were among the 30 Republicans who joined Democrats and scuttled the sweeping farm and food bill, a setback for Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP House leaders.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., left, speaks during a news conference after the House voted to approve the Republican tax bill, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Meadows described his conversation with Ryan as “professional,” saying, “He understands we all got different districts.”

He also acknowledged pressure to back the farm bill after Trump tweeted his support.

“There’s always pressure when the president weighs in on one side or the other,” Meadows said.

Still, Meadows, who represents an agricultural district, suggested that delaying the passage of a new bill, which included work requirements for Americans on food-assistance programs, was not going to hurt farmers.

“Honestly, having a farm bill is critical, [but] you know an extension of the current farm bill is probably just as good for my farmers as this one,” he said. 

“Tomorrow, the House will vote on a strong Farm Bill, which includes work requirements. We must support our Nation’s great farmers!,” Trump tweeted.

The conservatives essentially took the agriculture bill hostage, saying they were unwilling to let the farm measure pass unless they first got assurances that when the House addresses immigration in coming weeks, leaders would not help an overly permissive version pass.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a leader of the moderates, said his group would try to write a bill that would let young “Dreamer” immigrants in the U.S. illegally stay permanently — a position anathema to conservatives — and toughen border security.

A moderate immigration package “disavows what the last election was about and what the majority of the American people want, and the people in this body know it,” said Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry, one of the many Freedom Caucus members who opposed the bill. “It’s all about timing unfortunately and leverage, and the farm bill was just a casualty.”

Denham and his allies were also unwilling to back down. He told reporters that the conservatives “broke that agreement,” and his group would pursue bipartisan legislation.

“I’m disappointed in some colleagues who asked for a concession, got the concession and then took down a bill anyway,” Denham said in a slap at the Freedom Caucus. He also said the concession was a promised vote on the conservative immigration bill by June, though conservatives said they never agreed to that.

Such internal bickering is the opposite of what the GOP needs as the party struggles to fend off Democratic efforts to capture control of the House in November.

Republican leaders and strategists think their winning formula is to focus on an economy that has been gaining strength and tax cuts the GOP says is putting more money in people’s wallets. And immigration is a distraction from that message.

On one side are conservatives from Republican strongholds, where many voters consider helping immigrants stay in the U.S. to be amnesty. On the other are GOP moderates, often representing districts with many constituents who are Hispanic, moderate suburbanites or are tied to the agriculture industry, which relies heavily on migrant workers.

Trump’s willingness to sign immigration legislation also remains in question after a year that has seen his stance on the issue veer unpredictably.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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