5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • The Pentagon remains undecided about how to fund the border wall

  • Trump asks Europe to take back 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria

  • Trump's emergency declaration faces 1st lawsuit

  • Background check failed to detect Aurora shooter's record

  • Pence, Merkel differ on Iran nuclear pact

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Saturday he has yet to choose which military projects may have funding reallocated to pay for border wall construction following President Trump's national emergency declaration. The Trump administration reportedly identified $3.6 billion from the military construction budget and $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction fund, but Shanahan has ultimate approval on how much can be taken from which programs. "Very deliberately, we have not made any decisions," Shanahan said. The Pentagon is also still reviewing whether the wall is necessary to support the use of armed forces.

Source: CNN, Reuters

"The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany, and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial," President Trump tweeted late Saturday. "The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them," Trump added, "The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe." The fighters in question are Europeans who traveled to the Mideast to back the Islamic State. While France will repatriate and, in some cases, prosecute them, the United Kingdom has been less willing to do so.

Source: NBC News, The Guardian

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to redirect about $6.7 billion from programs in the Departments of Treasury and Defense to border wall construction. Less than 24 hours later, the declaration faces its first legal challenge: a lawsuit from Public Citizen, a progressive advocacy group, on behalf of Texan landowners whose property would be used for the wall. The suit argues Trump "exceeded his constitutional authority and authority under the National Emergencies Act" and asks that he be banned from "using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall."

Source: The Hill, The New York Times

The man who fatally shot five people and wounded six more in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday was armed with a handgun he should not have been able to purchase, local authorities have revealed. The shooter, identified as Gary Martin, was convicted of aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995, said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman. That felony conviction should have been detected by the background check Martin underwent to purchase his gun. It was not. Though a second background check for Martin's concealed carry permit application did alert to his record, he already had the weapon in his possession by that point.

Source: The Associated Press, CNN

Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced differing opinions on how to approach the Iran nuclear deal when they both spoke at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Pence criticized European leaders for remaining in the deal, arguing "the Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust and it seeks the means to achieve it." Merkel defended the agreement, describing it as an "anchor" that should be used to pressure Iran in other areas. The chancellor expressed concern over Europe's split with the U.S. on the matter.

Source: Al Jazeera, NBC News
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