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7-year-old Guatemalan migrant dies of dehydration, shock in Border Patrol custody

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents last week died two days later of dehydration and septic shock, putting further scrutiny on the conditions of detention facilities at the border. 

The girl and her father were taken into custody around 10 p.m. Dec. 6, accused of illegally crossing into the United States, Border Patrol officials told The Washington Post. The group of 163 people approached CBP agents south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, to turn themselves in. 

The Associated Press reported that an official with Guatemala’s foreign ministry identified the girl as Jackeline Caal. Her father was identified as Nery Caal, 29, of Raxruha, a town in the northern Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. 

Ministry officials told the AP that Jackeline was feverish and vomiting as she and the other migrants were being taken to the Border Patrol station in Lordsburg. 

Around 6:25 a.m. the next day, the girl began having seizures, according to CBP records obtained by the Post. Paramedics who responded to the detention center found her temperature to be 105.7 degrees. 

The girl reportedly had not eaten or had water in several days, the Post said. Migrants taken into custody are typically given food and water, but it was not known Thursday if the girl had received nourishment or medical care before her seizures began. 

She was taken by helicopter to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, where she went into cardiac arrest, but was revived temporarily. The girl died Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after being taken to the hospital. 

The Post reported that an initial diagnosis by doctors at the hospital indicated the girl died of septic shock, dehydration and a high fever. An autopsy is scheduled, but it could be weeks before the results are available. 

Jackeline’s father remains in custody.

Andrew Meehan, a CBP spokesman, told the newspaper that the agency sends its “sincerest condolences” to the girl’s family. 

“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” Meehan said. “As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”

The ACLU Border Rights Center issued a statement Thursday, stating that a lack of accountability and a “culture of cruelty” within the Border Patrol have worsened policies and led to migrant deaths. 

“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” the statement read

The organization said that President Donald Trump’s militarization of the border has driven desperate migrants fleeing violence in their native countries into the harshest, deadliest deserts along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP,” the statement read. “We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths.”

The Post reported that the number of arrests of migrants traveling as families has exploded this year. November saw a record number of “family unit members” -- 25,172, which accounted for 58 percent of the migrants taken into custody last month. 

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testified Tuesday before the Senate about the holding cells used to house migrants. McAleenan called the cells “incompatible” with the large groups of families coming to the border seeking asylum. 

“Our Border Patrol stations were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children,” McAleenan testified, according to the Post

Should text messages be taxed to help the poor? One state is considering it

If you live in California, you may soon have to pay a tax for your text messages.

According to the Mercury News and KGO, the state's Public Utilities Commission will vote Jan. 10 on the tax, which "likely would be billed as a flat surcharge per customer ... not a fee per text." Officials have not said how much that charge would be.

>> Read more trending news 

The money would be used "to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor," the Mercury News reported.

Opponents said the fees could cost California consumers more than $45 million annually.

"When hardworking Californians are already feeling taxed and 'feed' to death, not every new idea needs a new tax to fund it," Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group president and CEO, told KGO

Meanwhile, the CTIA, a trade group that represents wireless carriers, is arguing that the PUC can't legally charge the fee because "texting is an information service like email, not a telecommunications service," the Mercury News reported

Read more here or here.

Skydivers in Texas form '41' in tribute to George H.W. Bush

A group of skydivers in Texas took their tribute to former President George H.W. Bush to a higher level.

>> Read more trending news 

Twenty-two members of Skydive Spaceland San Marcos formed a “41” to honor the 41st president, who died Nov. 30 at age 94. 

"Farewell to George H.W. Bush, our 41st president," Skydive Spaceland officials wrote on Facebook. "Words cannot adequately express our appreciation of your service, character, and family focus. We hope your family will appreciate this tribute to a great man."

Bush, a Navy pilot during World War II, parachuted from planes to celebrate his 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays.

North Dakota man pleads guilty to using stolen forklift in Trump assassination attempt 

A North Dakota man has pleaded guilty to plotting to assassinate President Donald Trump, in part, by using a forklift to flip the presidential limousine while Trump was inside, federal court documents show. 

Gregory Lee Leingang, 42, of Bismarck, pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of attempting to enter or remain in a restricted building and on grounds while using a dangerous weapon, according to the documents. In exchange for the plea, a second charge -- attempt to damage government property, i.e. the presidential limo -- has been dropped. 

Leingang admitted in the court filings that on Sept. 6, 2017, he attempted to remain in a restricted area, the Andeavor Mandan Refinery in Mandan, after it had been cordoned off for a visit by Trump. 

“During and in relation to the offense, (he) did use a deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a forklift,” the plea agreement said. 

See Leingang’s plea agreement below.

U.S. Assistant State’s Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell told the Bismarck Tribune that Leingang was aware Trump was coming to give a speech at the refinery. He stole a forklift in Mandan and used it to enter the motorcade route, the prosecutor said. 

“The intent was to basically try to get to the limo, flip the limo and get to the president and he wanted to kill the president,” Sasse Russell told the newspaper

The forklift got stuck in a gated area, however, and Leingang jumped out and fled, Sasse Russell said. He was soon caught by Mandan police officers. 

Leingang later confessed his plan to detectives and a Secret Service agent, the Tribune reported

Mandan Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten told The Washington Post that, although reports said the forklift got stuck in a gated area of the refinery, Leingang actually never made it that far. Instead, he dumped the machine in a ditch and ran, with officers catching up to him soon after. 

“We had that whole area blocked off because of the president’s visit, so there was limited access,” Flaten told the Post. “It wasn’t until later, during interviews of him, that we found out that (killing the president) was his intention, not that he was stealing a forklift for transportation.”

>> Read more trending news

Leingang’s attorney told the court her client suffers from serious mental illness. 

“He was suffering a serious psychiatric crisis during this incident,” attorney Michelle Monteiro said, according to the Tribune

Leingang told the judge during a Nov. 30 court hearing that he suffers from bipolar disorder and ADHD and has been on and off medications since he was a child. Monteiro told the court that Leingang is getting help in prison and is doing well, mentally.

Leingang is currently in the North Dakota State Penitentiary, serving time for two fires he set the morning of Trump’s visit, at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark’s maintenance shop and at the state parole and probation office. According to the Tribune, he was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for the fires. 

He also received five years in state prison for the theft of the forklift, as well as another five years in a separate burglary case. His estimated release date is in 2038, prison records show.

The Tribune reported that Sasse Russell is considering making Leingang’s federal prison time concurrent, or to be served at the same time, as his sentence in the state cases. 

His federal sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 15. According to his plea agreement, he faces 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years on supervised release once he completes his prison time. 

Prosecutors: Manafort lied and breached plea agreement; Cohen deserves prison

Court filings Friday revealed additional details in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

Update 7:39 p.m. EST Dec. 7: The White House said the new court filings about President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and campaign chairman offered nothing new or damaging about Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the government filings about former Trump attorney and personal “fixer” Michael Cohen “tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”

Update 6:38 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Shortly after the filings were released, President Donald Trump tweeted:

"Totally clears the President, Thank You"

Update 6:07 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to investigators about contacts with Trump administration officials and Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik.

Prosecutors said Manafort violated his plea deal by telling “multiple discernible lies,” according to The Associated Press.

They said Manafort told investigators that he spoke with officials before and after they left the Trump administration. But prosecutors said a review of his electronic documents showed he had “additional contacts” with the officials.

Court Filing [Links to document]

Update 4:49 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Prosecutors say ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen should serve substantial prison time, despite his cooperation.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in New York federal court.

Court Filings [Links to documents]

>> Read more trending news 

Update 7:06 a.m. EST Dec. 7: President Donald Trump continued his Twitter barrage early Friday, wondering if the “scathing document” written by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about former FBI director James Comey would be included in the report expected from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Update 6:35 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Trump took a shot at Special Counsel Robert Mueller in an early Friday tweet. The president said Mueller had “many” conflicts of interests with “Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey,” the former director of the FBI, calling the two men “best friends.”

The president also characterized the probe as a “witch hunt” in his first tweet of the day.

Original report: Robert Mueller’s deadline is approaching fast.

The special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to reveal new details ahead of a Friday deadline in his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, The New York Times reported.

Sentencing memos are expected to be filed for Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager; and Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer.

>> Who is Robert Mueller?

Mueller is facing a Friday deadline to file both memos, CNN reported.

Last month, Mueller accused Manafort of lying to prosecutors, a violation of a plea bargain deal, the Times reported. Mueller will submit information about the alleged lies when he files his memo in a federal court in Washington, the newspaper reported.

>> Cohen pleads guilty to making false statements

Also Friday, Mueller's office and the Southern District of New York are expected to file sentencing memos on Cohen. The president’s longtime attorney pleaded guilty Nov. 29 to making false statements to Congress last year in connection to a Trump real estate deal in Russia. Mueller must file by Friday afternoon.

Friday’s filings follow a sentencing memo on Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.

>> Mueller recommends little to no jail time for Flynn

Mueller released a heavily redacted pre-sentencing report Tuesday and recommended little to no jail time for Flynn, who pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: 41st President George H.W. Bush laid to rest in Texas

After three days of remembrance in Washington, a plane brought Bush’s casket to Texas for his funeral’s closing ceremonies in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Americans pay tribute to George H.W. Bush with #SocksforBush

As family, friends and colleagues paid tribute to former President George H.W. Bush during his funeral service Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral, Twitter users nationwide paid homage to the 41st president’s love for colorful, stylish socks.

>> Read more trending news 

Bush, 94, who died Friday night at his home in Texas, often talked about his penchant for socks over the past several years. He particularly fancied socks with bold colors and patterns.

"I like a colorful sock. I'm a sock man," he told his granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager during a 2012 “Today” show segment.

>> George W. Bush tears up during eulogy for his father

After his wife, Barbara Bush, died in April, he sought sock giant John’s Crazy Socks for the perfect pair to wear to her funeral, according to ABC News.

Dozens of supporters decided to participate Wednesday in the national day of mourning by sporting socks that would have made the late president proud. Social media users tagged their posts #SocksforBush in his honor.

George H.W. Bush funeral: Who will deliver eulogies in late president's honor?

Former President George W. Bush will eulogize his father, former President George H.W. Bush, during Wednesday’s state funeral.

>> George H.W. Bush funeral: What time are services; how to watch

Outside of the late president’s son eulogizing him, three other men will speak on the life of the 41st president Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral.

>> Live updates: George H.W. Bush funeral

Here’s a little background on each of the three men, Brian Mulroney, Alan Simpson and Jon Meacham, speaking at Bush’s funeral Wednesday.

Brian Mulroney 

Mulroney was the 18th prime minister of Canada, from Sept. 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993. Bush was the 41st U.S. president, from Jan. 20, 1989, to Jan. 20, 1993, so the two men worked together on the world stage.

>> Bob Dole salutes fellow veteran, friend George H.W. Bush

“What stands out about George Bush is what a true gentleman he was,” Mulroney said on CBC News. “And as a Canadian prime minister, of course, I was privileged to work with him so closely, because he loved Canada and admired Canadians.”

Alan Simpson 

Simpson served between 1979–1997 representing Wyoming in the U.S. Senate.

>> PHOTOS: Family, friends, colleagues pay final respects to George H.W. Bush

“I think he should be remembered with a little bit of lightness of spirit,” Simpson said of Bush on CNN. “And he had loyalty, and he had manners — an unheard of thing, I know — manners. And he loved people, and he had a view of life of ‘what would we do without family and friends?’ ”

Jon Meacham 

Meacham is a presidential biographer. He wrote “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” in 2015.

“He embodied the Greek idea that character is destiny,” Meacham told MSNBC. “His presidency was a complete reflection, even more so than many presidents, of his personal vices and virtues.”

>> Read more trending news 

Wednesday’s state funeral begins at 11 a.m. EST and will be broadcast on all network and cable news channels.

>> On AJC.com: George H.W. Bush was the oldest president in US history

There will be another service on Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. It, too, will broadcast on all news channels at 11 a.m. EST. After this service, the 41st president will be interred by his wife, Barbara Bush, and daughter Robin at the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum, College Station.

George H.W. Bush was the longest-lived president in US history

Former President George H. W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94, was the oldest former president in United States history.

>> George H. W. Bush: 41st president dead at 94

He set the record in 2017 when he reached 93 years and 166 days.

>> PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

However, Bush may not hold the crown for long. Former President Jimmy Carter is 94 years old and still living. Bush was born June 12, 1924, and Carter was born a few months later on Oct. 1, 1924.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are the oldest presidents in the history of the United States:

  1. George H.W. Bush, 94 
  2. Jimmy Carter, 94 
  3. Gerald Ford, 93 
  4. Ronald Reagan, 93 
  5. John Adams, 90 

'SNL' pays tribute to George H.W. Bush, praises his ability to laugh at himself

"Saturday Night Live" took a serious turn this week, paying tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush in the show's "Weekend Update" segment.

]>> PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

"Friday night, former President George H.W. Bush passed away," cast member Michael Che said. "He was 94 years old. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends."

>> Read more trending news 

"That's right. President Bush was famously a warm and gracious man who always understood the power in being able to laugh at yourself," Colin Jost added.

>> ‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin's Trump returns, confronts Putin, Saudi crown prince in cold open

The tribute continued with a series of clips of former "SNL" cast member Dana Carvey's impressions of the former president, culminating with a split-screen appearance featuring both the real and fake Bush.

"I'm watching you do your impression of me, and I gotta say, it's nothing like me," Bush joked, using the same inflections and hand gestures as Carvey used in his impersonation.

>> Click here to watch the tribute

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