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By Mariana Atencio

SAN ANTONIO — Two days before the expected announcement of his presidential candidacy, Julián Castro described himself in an interview Thursday as “the antidote to Donald Trump.”

“Mine is an immigrant story,” said Castro, 44, formerly the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. “It’s an American dream story. It’s a testament that everybody counts in this country. And I look forward to sharing a vision where everybody, whether you’re Latino or any other background, you can reach your dreams in this country.”

Castro, whose grandmother migrated from Mexico in the 1920s, is expected to make the announcement Saturday in San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe, surrounded by his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, his wife, Erica, their two children and his mother, Maria “Rosie” Castro, a political activist.

In an interview at his house here as the president visited the state’s southern border with Mexico on Thursday, Castro called Trump’s planned border wall “a dumb way to use our resources.”

“What we don’t need is a wall that stretches the length of the border, some concrete wall that people are just going to be able to go over or go under,” he said.

A former mayor of San Antonio, a city in which Hispanics represent a majority, Castro made his case by emphasizing his roots and experience in comparison to the 20 or so other candidates expected to throw their hats into the ring — and particularly Beto O’Rourke, another young Texan making headlines.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about always having the shiniest words or approach, “Castro said. “People want to know that somebody has the right experience and that they have the right vision to make sure that their family can succeed in this country. And I have that.”

In 2012, after Castro gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, some called him the future of the party. But he has since been eclipsed by other Democratic stars.

“Well, I’m not the frontrunner,“ he jokingly acknowledged. “But, you know, I don’t think I can think of one time in my life where I was the frontrunner. If you go to the neighborhood that I grew up in, nobody that was growing up there was the frontrunner. And today, in this country, there are a lot of people that don’t feel like the frontrunner. … Fundamentally, this campaign is not going to be about me.”

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House Democrats demand answers from Hope Hicks over ‘apparent inconsistencies’ in her testimony



House Democrats are demanding answers from former Trump aide Hope Hicks after newly unsealed documents showed “apparent inconsistencies” with her congressional testimony about hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sent Hicks a letter Thursday, calling on her to explain her June testimony to the panel in which she said that she had no knowledge of the payments to Daniels and that she hadn’t discussed them with President Donald Trump or others.

Documents unsealed earlier Thursday revealed that the FBI believed Hicks and the president were both involved in the payouts arranged by Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney and fixer. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence for a slew of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments to Daniels and another woman who also claimed she had an affair with Trump. The president has denied the affairs.

“As I reminded you at the outset of your interview, anything other than complete candor can have very serious consequences,” Nadler wrote in his letter, noting that lying to congressional investigators is a crime.

Hicks, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign who later served as the White House communications director, was interviewed by the Judiciary Committee behind closed doors last month. The committee later released a transcript of her interview.

Pressed by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, during the hearing, Hicks repeatedly denied she had witnessed conversations between Trump and Cohen about Daniels. Hicks’ attorney interjected to clarify that the question was specifically about Hicks’ work on the campaign, and she again said that the answer is no.

“Given the apparent inconsistencies between your testimony and this evidence, I would like to give you an opportunity to clarify your testimony on a voluntary basis, prior to considering compulsory process,” Nadler wrote Thursday, hinting at a potential subpoena. He gave her a deadline of Aug.15.

In a statement, Hicks’ lawyer denied any wrongdoing.

“Reports claiming that Ms. Hicks was involved in conversations about ‘hush-money’ payments on Oct. 8, 2016, or knew that payments were being discussed, are simply wrong,” her lawyer, Robert Trout, said. “Ms. Hicks stands by her truthful testimony that she first became aware of this issue in early November 2016, as the result of press inquiries, and she will be responding formally to Chairman Nadler’s letter as requested.”

Thursday’s court documents — unsealed from the case against Cohen over campaign finance violations — describe a “series of calls, text messages, and emails” among Cohen, Trump, Hicks, Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson and David Pecker, an executive from the company that published the National Enquirer at that time.

“Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the ‘Access Hollywood’ story,” an FBI agent said in the court documents.

The documents also reveal that the FBI interviewed Hicks about her involvement. She told the FBI she couldn’t recall a series of phone calls of which the FBI said it has records.

Tom Winter contributed.

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Nearly 90 House members favor starting Trump impeachment inquiry



Here are the 89 members of the House of Representatives who favor starting an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. There are 88 Democrats — including 14 of the 24 Democrats who serve on the House Judiciary Committee — and one independent.


  1. Alma Adams, N.C.
  2. Nanette Barragán, Calif.
  3. Joyce Beatty, Ohio
  4. Don Beyer, Va.
  5. Earl Blumenauer, Ore.
  6. Suzanne Bonamici, Ore.
  7. Brendan Boyle, Penn.
  8. G.K. Butterfield, N.C.
  9. Tony Cardenas, Calif.
  10. Sean Casten, Ill.
  11. Joaquin Castro, Texas
  12. David Cicilline, R.I. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  13. Yvette Clarke, N.Y.
  14. William Lacy Clay, Mo.
  15. Steve Cohen, Tenn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  16. Danny K. Davis, Ill.
  17. Madeleine Dean, Penn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  18. Diana DeGette, Colo.
  19. Val Demings, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  20. Mark DeSaulnier, Calif.
  21. Lloyd Doggett, Texas
  22. Mike Doyle, Penn.
  23. Veronica Escobar, Texas (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  24. Adriano Espaillat, N.Y.
  25. Dwight Evans, Penn.
  26. Marcia Fudge, Ohio
  27. Ruben Gallego, Ariz.
  28. Jesús García, Ill.
  29. Jimmy Gomey, Calif.
  30. Al Green, Texas
  31. Raul Grijalva, Ariz. (Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee)
  32. Brian Higgins, N.Y.
  33. Jim Himes, Conn.
  34. Jared Huffman, Calif.
  35. Pramila Jayapal, Wash. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  36. Robin Kelly, Ill.
  37. Joe Kennedy III, Mass.
  38. Dan Kildee, Mich. (chief deputy whip of House Democratic caucus)
  39. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ariz.
  40. Rick Larsen, Washington
  41. Brenda Lawrence, Mich.
  42. Barbara Lee, Calif.
  43. Andy Levin, Mich.
  44. Ted Lieu, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  45. Alan Lowenthal, Calif.
  46. Tom Malinowski, N.J.
  47. Carolyn Maloney, N.Y.
  48. Betty McCollum, Minn.
  49. Jim McGovern, Mass. (Chairman of the House Rules Committee)
  50. Gwen Moore, Wis.
  51. Seth Moulton, Mass.
  52. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  53. Grace Napolitano, Calif.
  54. Joe Neguse, Colo. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  55. Donald Norcross, N.J.
  56. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y.
  57. Ilhan Omar, Minn.
  58. Bill Pascrell, N.J.
  59. Scott Peters, Calif.
  60. Chellie Pingree, Me.
  61. Mark Pocan, Wis.
  62. Katie Porter, Calif.
  63. Ayanna Pressley, Mass.
  64. Mike Quigley, Ill.
  65. Jamie Raskin, Md. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  66. Kathleen Rice, N.Y.
  67. Cedric Richmond, La. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  68. Harley Rouda, Calif.
  69. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Calif.
  70. Bobby Rush, Ill.
  71. Tim Ryan, Ohio
  72. Mary Gay Scanlon, Penn. (Vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee)
  73. Jan Schakowsky, Ill.
  74. Brad Sherman, Calif.
  75. Adam Smith, Washington (Chairman of the Armed Services Committee)
  76. Jackie Speier, Calif.
  77. Greg Stanton, Arizona (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
  78. Eric Swalwell, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee, member of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 2020 presidential candidate)
  79. Bennie Thompson, Miss. (Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee)
  80. Rashida Tlaib, Mich.
  81. Paul Tonko, N.Y.
  82. Norma Torres, Calif.
  83. Juan Vargas, Calif.
  84. Filemon Vela, Texas
  85. Nydia Velazquez, N.Y. (Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee)
  86. Maxine Waters, Calif. (Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee)
  87. Pete Welch, Vermont
  88. John Yarmuth, Ky. (Chairman of the House Budget Committee)


  1. Justin Amash, Mich.

CORRECTION (May 30, 2019, 1:25 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the position of Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., on beginning an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Rouda has said he supports an impeachment inquiry only if Trump does not comply with congressional subpoenas, not before. However, since this correction was originally published, he has come out in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry.

Dartunorro Clark contributed.

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U.S. spy chief creates a new head of election security for intelligence agencies



ASPEN, Colo. — The nation’s top spy has created a new job to coordinate the U.S. response to election security threats.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats announced Friday he has established the position of intelligence community election threats executive — and appointed a career official, Shelby Pierson, to serve in this new role.

Pierson will serve as the agency’s principal adviser on threats to elections and matters related to election security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement. She will coordinate and integrate all election security activities, initiatives and programs across spy agencies and synchronize intelligence efforts in support of the broader U.S. government, the statement said.

“Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC,” Coats said. “In order to build on our successful approach to the 2018 elections, the IC must properly align its resources to bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue. There is no one more qualified to serve as the very first election threats executive than Shelby Pierson, whose knowledge and experience make her the right person to lead this critical mission.”

Coats also directed the FBI, the CIA and other spy agencies to name a single lead for election security for each agency.

Coats’ move came amid growing concern about foreign threats to the 2020 election, and little evidence that the Trump White House is engaged on the issue.

Pierson served as the DNI’s crisis manager for election security during the 2018 midterm elections and has served for more than two decades in intelligence jobs, the DNI said,

Coats also announced the creation of an Intelligence Community Election Executive and Leadership Board, chaired by Pierson. Members of this board are senior executives from across the government who will coordinate the response to election threats, Coats said.

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