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Comedian brags he posed as senator, pranked Trump into returning call from Air Force One

A comedian known as “Stuttering John” apparently pranked the president into taking a telephone call on Air Force One recently, the Huffington Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

John Melendez, a longtime personality on Howard Stern’s radio show, apparently posed as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). Melendez left his cellphone number with the White House switchboard and duped several aides -- including the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner -- the New York Post reported.

“Hi, Bob. How are you? Congratulations on everything, we’re proud of you. Congratulations, you’re doing a great job,” Trump is heard saying in a podcast Melendez recorded Wednesday and then posted online Thursday. 

One hour into the podcast, Melendez is heard speaking to Trump about his immigration policy and his upcoming pick for the vacant post in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I am shocked ... I mean we did this as a goof, I'm a comedian," Melendez told CNN. “I just could not believe that it took us an hour and a half to get Jared Kushner and Donald Trump on the phone from Air Force One.

"All they had to ask me is what party affiliation is Sen. Menendez, or what state is he a senator of, and I would not have known. But they didn't ask me any of this.”

“Believe me, if it was that easy to dupe him, there’s every chance in the world (Russian President Vladimir) Putin duped him,” Melendez told the Huffington Post, which reported that it could not independently confirm that Trump was the person speaking on the podcast.

Politico, citing a source in the White House, said the administration “has been scrambling” to “figure out how this happened.”

Melendez said he gave his cellphone number to the White House switchboard but it has a Southern California prefix. An operator told the comedian the number did not match White House records for Menendez, the Post reported. Melendez said he was on vacation and was using a different phone, the newspaper reported.

“You went through a tough, tough situation — and I don’t think a very fair situation — but congratulations,” Trump is heard on the podcast.

"The President wants to be accessible to members and likes engaging them and wants them to have the opportunity to connect. The downside of that is sometimes the channels are open too widely and mistakes like this happen," a White House official said, CNN reported.

Menendez was indicted on bribery and corruption charges in 2015. He issued a statement saying he would appreciate a real conversation with the President.

“As someone who has spent my entire career trying to convince Republicans to join me in reforming our nation’s broken immigration system, I welcome any opportunity to have a real conversation with the President on how to uphold the American values that guided our family-based immigration policy for the past century,” Menendez said in the statement. “Tearing children apart from their mothers is not part of our proud history. Thus far, this White House has only sabotaged every good-faith effort to find bipartisan common ground on immigration.” 

Who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Socialist who beat Rep. Joe Crowley in NY primary?

A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist defeated longtime U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, a high-ranking Democrat, in Tuesday's New York primary, stunning election onlookers.

>> Jamie Dupree: Top House Democrat bounced from Congress in primary

Here's what we know about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won with more than 57 percent of the vote:

>> 2018 Midterm: House races you should be watching

1. The Bronx-born Latina activist said she "grew up in a working-class household." According to her campaign website, Ocasio-Cortez's mother, who is from Puerto Rico, cleaned houses and her father owned a small business before his death in 2008. She went to public school in Yorktown before attending Boston University, graduating in 2011 with degrees in international relations and economics. She later worked as a bartender, a waitress and an educational director for the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute, the Intercept reported

>> Midterm 2018: Here are the Senate races that you should be watching

2. She worked on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.

Sanders congratulated Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet Tuesday night.

"Congratulations to @Ocasio2018 on her extraordinary upset victory tonight!" Sanders wrote. "She took on the entire local Democratic establishment in her district and won a very strong victory. She demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do."

>> See his tweet here

>> Midterm 2018: What should you do if you are denied the right to vote? Here are some tips

3. She ran on a progressive platform, backing universal health care, free college tuition, paid family leave and protections for immigrants.

>> See a roundup of her positions on key issues here

"What the Bronx and Queens needs is Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee and criminal justice reform," she says in a campaign ad. "We can do this now. It doesn't take 100 years to do this."

4. If elected, she would become "the youngest person ever elected to Congress," according to The New York TimesOcasio-Cortez, who will face Republican Anthony Pappas in November, would take that title from Republican Elise Stefanik, who became a congresswoman at age 30, the newspaper reported.

>> Midterm elections 2018: When are the primaries? A state-by-state list

5. Crowley tweeted his support for Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday night. 

"I want to congratulate @Ocasio2018," he wrote. "I look forward to supporting her and all Democrats this November. The Trump administration is a threat to everything we stand for here in Queens and the Bronx, and if we don't win back the House this November, we will lose the nation we love."

>> See his tweet here

Ocasio-Cortez replied: "Thank you, @JoeCrowleyNY, for your support and longstanding service to our community. I look forward to working towards a takeback of the House on a strong platform of economic, social, and racial justice for working class New Yorkers & Americans. Let’s do this."

>> See her tweet here

6. Trump reacted to the results on Twitter, slamming Crowley without mentioning Ocasio-Cortez.

"Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election," Trump tweeted Tuesday night. "In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"

>> Read more trending news 

He added: "The Democrats are in Turmoil! Open Borders and unchecked Crime a certain way to lose elections. Republicans are for Strong Borders, NO Crime! A BIG NIGHT!"

>> See the tweets here

Oklahoma voters approve medical marijuana

Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana in the state in Tuesday's primary election.

>> Watch the news report here

State Question 788 represents the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

>> Visit Fox23.com for complete coverage

The description of State Question 788 on the ballot said the following:

"A yes vote legalizes the licensed use, sale, and growth of marijuana in Oklahoma for medicinal purposes. A license is required for use and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes and must be approved by an Oklahoma Board Certified Physician."

>> Midterm 2018: Here are the Senate races that you should be watching

The measure does not legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, nor could those receiving it for medicinal purposes give or sell it to others. Licenses are only given to those 18 years or older and residents of Oklahoma.

>> Midterm 2018: House races you should be watching

There are some exceptions that must be approved by multiple physicians and a parent or legal guardian.

>> Read more trending news 

Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement after the measure was approved:

>> Midterm 2018: What should you do if you are denied the right to vote? Here are some tips

“I respect the will of the voters in any question placed before them to determine the direction of our state. It is our responsibility as state leaders to look out for the health and safety of Oklahoma citizens. As I mentioned in previous public comments, I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana. I will be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies our options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.”

Immigrant children, parents separated at border must be reunited within 30 days, judge says

Immigrant children and parents who were separated by U.S. officials at the country's border with Mexico must be reunited within 30 days, a federal judge said in a preliminary injunction Tuesday night.

>> Jamie Dupree: Trump presses call for swifter legal action on illegal immigration

According to The Associated Press, Dana Sabraw, a U.S. district judge in San Diego, also said immigration officials must reunite children under 5 with their parents within 14 days. Additionally, officials must "provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days," the AP reported.

>> Jamie Dupree: Trump demands major change in how U.S. legal system deals with illegal aliens

The injunction, issued in response to an American Civil Liberties Union-backed lawsuit, ordered a halt to future separations, as well, the AP reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The news comes almost one week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending his administration's policy of separating immigrant children from parents at the border.

Read more here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lemonade stand raises $13K for RAICES to help separated immigrant families

When an Atlanta mother told her two young children about families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, her 6-year-old son suggested starting a lemonade stand to help.

>> Jimmy Fallon claps back at Trump's 'be a man' tweet with donation for immigrants 21 hours ago

>> On MyAJC.com: PHOTOS: Inside a family detention center

Shannon Cofrin Gaggero set a goal of $1,000, an amount she considered ambitious. A week later, the online and in-person campaign has raised 13 times that amount

The family and other volunteers hosted the lemonade stand and bake sale in Virginia-Highland on Sunday. While that event netted $1,100, the majority of donations — more than 200 of them — have come from the paired virtual Facebook event.

>> On AJC.com: Three-year-old Honduran boy separated from father at border located

The Atlanta fundraiser follows the trend of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide donating to nonprofit organizations, prompted by images and audio of children crying for their parents. A Silicon Valley couple, David and Charlotte Willner, has raised more than $20,000,000.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Like the Willners’ fundraiser, the Gaggeros' proceeds will go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service, or RAICES, a Texas nonprofit that offers free and low-cost legal services to immigrants. 

>> Read more trending news 

Gaggero, author of the blog “A Striving Parent,” is not new to organizing these types of events. She previously helped start a parenting group to discuss issues of race and privilege at Charis Books and More.

The Gaggeros' fundraiser, which Shannon Cofrin Gaggero said prompted a few satellite lemonade stands across the country, ended at midnight Tuesday.

New Texas billboard responds to sign telling liberals to leave state: 'Welcome, y'all'

Just one week after a billboard telling liberals to get out of Texas went viral, a new sign is offering a unifying message.

>> Texas billboard urging liberals to leave state to be taken down

According to KVII, Amarillo resident Roman Leal started a GoFundMe page Wednesday to put up a more welcoming sign after learning of a billboard near Vega that read, "Liberals, please continue on I-40 until you have left our GREAT STATE OF TEXAS." (That billboard has since been taken down.)

>> See it here

 >> Read more trending news 

"We need a sign that represents the true, hospitable spirit of the great state of Texas," Leal wrote in the fundraiser's description. "'Texas is for everyone – not for bigotry. Welcome, y'all!' will go up on the Lamar digital billboard at I40 and Coulter. It will be visible to travelers and commuters driving along the interstate in Amarillo, giving us a chance to put our best boot forward. Meeting the campaign goal will keep the billboard up for 4 weeks. Any contributions exceeding the goal will be used to pay for a longer duration."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The campaign quickly met its $1,800 goal. By Monday morning, it had raised $3,075.

The new billboard reportedly went up over the weekend and has already gone viral on Reddit.

>> See the post here

Read more here.

Jimmy Fallon claps back at Trump's 'be a man' tweet with donation for immigrants

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon is clapping back at President Donald Trump's latest Twitter insult with a donation to an organization that helps immigrants and refugees.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations

According to The Associated Press, the pair's social media spat began Sunday when Trump slammed Fallon's recent comments about the then-presidential candidate's appearance on a September 2016 episode of his show. In an article published last week, Fallon told the Hollywood Reporter that he regretted his lighthearted treatment of Trump on the show.

"I made a mistake," Fallon said. "I'm sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently."

>> Melania Trump wears ‘I don't really care’ jacket ahead of visit with detained child migrants

Trump, apparently referring to Fallon's remarks, took to Twitter to respond.

".@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous 'hair show' with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have 'humanized' me-he is taking heat," Trump tweeted Sunday evening. "He called & said 'monster ratings.' Be a man Jimmy!"

>> See Trump's tweet here

>> Read more trending news 

A few hours later, Fallon pledged to make a donation in Trump's name to the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which is working to help reunite immigrant parents and children who have been separated.

>> Trump border policy: How to help immigrant children separated from families

"In honor of the President’s tweet I’ll be making a donation to RAICES in his name," Fallon wrote

>> See Fallon's tweet here

Sarah Huckabee Sanders' tweet about restaurant eviction violates law, ex-ethics chief says

The former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics said that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ tweet Saturday about being kicked out of a Virginia restaurant violated federal ethics laws, The Slate reported.

Walter Shaub, the federal government’s top ethics watchdog for five years until mid-2017, said the tweet was a violation of the law because Sanders used her government account -- instead of her personal Twitter account -- to address the issue.

“Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a),” Shaub tweeted. “It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out.”

Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, on Friday night. She confirmed the incident with her Saturday tweet.

>> Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicked out of Red Hen restaurant

Sanders’ tweet from her official @PressSec account noted that the restaurant owner’s actions “say far more about her than about me.”

Shaub later tweeted that Sanders used her official government account “to condemn a private business for personal reasons.”

Former White House lawyer Ian Bassin said on Twitter that Sanders’ tweet would have been acceptable under her personal account, but not from her White House one.

“I think there’d have to be some argument that it was in service of the American people and not me personally. But read Sanders’ tweet. It doesn’t claim to be about public; the whole thing is ‘I’ and ‘me.’” Reads like it’s personal, which is fine from a personal account, not WH one,”” Bassin tweeted.

Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson said she personally asked Sanders to leave the restaurant.

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”

When asked to leave, Sanders’ response was immediate, Wilkinson told the Post. “‘That’s fine. I’ll go.’ ”

The Red Hen’s Facebook and Yelp pages were bombarded with reviews from people from both sides.

While some praised the restaurant, many others said the owner was being “intolerant.”

This comes after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen bolted from a Washington, D.C. Mexican restaurant after protesters confronted her at her table -- with the blessing of the manager.

Political ad by Texas war hero running for Congress goes viral

A decorated Air Force veteran is running for Congress, and the Texas Democrat released a political video that went viral since its release Thursday, USA Today reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar, who won a Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in Afghanistan, is running for the District 31 seat held by eight-term Republican John Carter. Her ad, called “Doors,” traces a life that included fleeing domestic abuse and helping her unit escape capture from the Taliban after their medevac helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, USA Today reported.

“Doors,” recorded against a backdrop of the Rolling Stones’ hit “Gimme Shelter,” describes Hegar’s “opening, pushing, and sometimes kicking through every door in my way.”

The mother of two from Round Rock, Texas, later challenged the Pentagon’s policy that excluded women from ground combat.

Hegar’s ad ends with a promise to “show the door” to Carter, whom she describes as a Tea Party Republican.

Hegar published a memoir of her time in the military, “Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front,” in 2017.

Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to end his administration’s controversial policy of separating migrant children from adults suspected of crossing the border into the United State illegally.

>> Read more trending news

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents have been separated from their children as they face prosecution, including nearly 2,000 children separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

>> From Jamie Dupree: Trump stops family separations, keeps ‘zero tolerance’ at border

Read the full text of the order:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code. This Administration will initiate proceedings to enforce this and other criminal provisions of the INA until and unless Congress directs otherwise. It is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law. Sec. 2. Definitions. For purposes of this order, the following definitions apply: (a) “Alien family” means (i) any person not a citizen or national of the United States who has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States, who entered this country with an alien child or alien children at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained; and (ii) that person’s alien child or alien children. (b) “Alien child” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States who (i) has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States; (ii) is under the age of 18; and (iii) has a legal parent-child relationship to an alien who entered the United States with the alien child at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained.  Sec. 3. Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members. (b) The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare. (c) The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities. (d) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent consistent with law, make available to the Secretary, for the housing and care of alien families pending court proceedings for improper entry, any facilities that are appropriate for such purposes. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities. (e) The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings. Sec. 4. Prioritization of Immigration Proceedings Involving Alien Families. The Attorney General shall, to the extent practicable, prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families. Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. DONALD J. TRUMP THE WHITE HOUSE, June 20, 2018.
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