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Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for his administration's controversial new policy of taking children away from parents caught unlawfully crossing into the United States with them on the southern border, a practice the White House says is a deterrent to illegal immigration.

The president's criticism of the "horrible" policy comes less than a month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" approach to illegal border crossings. "If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law," he warned.

The president's efforts to deflect blame also comes amid a #WhereAreTheChildren backlash on social media against the policy.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Trump accused Democrats of protecting violent MS-13 gang members who he says illegally breached the border from Mexico and Central America.

"Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS," Trump wrote in his tweet.

 In April, a New York Times investigation estimated that more than 700 children, including 100 under the age of 4, had been taken from their parents at the southern border since October, citing federal Department of Homeland Security officials.

The U.S. government places these children into the homes of sponsors or caregivers.

"The children will be taken care of -- put into foster care or whatever," White House chief of staff John Kelly said in a May 11 interview with NPR.

But while testifying before a Senate subcommittee on April 26, Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said the Office of Refugee Resettlement was not able to account for the whereabouts of 1,475 migrant children it had placed.

The alarming news of the unaccounted children preceded a report released on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union's Border Litigation Project that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents abused and neglected more than 100 unaccompanied migrant children in their custody between 2009 and 2014 under the administration of former President Barack Obama.

The ACLU report also accused the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the agency's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of failing to "fully investigate, much less rectify, egregious abuse and neglect of migrant children."

Trump's tweet came a day after Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., attacked his immigration policy of splitting up children and parents.

"There are many ways to describe the @realDonaldTrump policy of ripping children away from their parents at the border. It violates human rights laws. It is unAmerican. It would shock Jesus. But I think the most appropriate way to describe it is this: The policy is evil," Lieu tweeted.

The new policy has also been roundly panned by celebrities on social media using the hashtag #WhereAreTheChildren.

"I don’t understand how anyone could work for @ICEgov," actress Alyssa Milano tweeted on Saturday. "ICE’s policy of separating children from their families under the Trump administration is not only un-American, it’s inhumane. Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE and ask them #WhereAreTheChildren?"

Actress Jessica Chastain tweeted, "Are we really such monsters?"

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Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the 13 states that have held primaries so far in 2018, Democrats have seen a surge in turnout that has them confident they're harnessing discontent generated by President Donald Trump and turning it into political gains.

From Georgia to Idaho, from Texas to Pennsylvania, Democrats have consistently voted in higher numbers compared to previous midterm cycles in the last decade.

In Georgia last week, where former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams made history as the first African-American and the first woman to sit atop the ticket in Georgia, Democratic turnout surged by 69 percent compared to 2014 – from just over 328,000 votes to more than 550,000 votes.

Republican turnout stayed essentially flat, increasing only by roughly 4,000 votes.

But despite the enthusiasm Democrats are seeing this cycle, particularly in traditionally red House districts and states, a number of Republican primaries have also seen a noteworthy uptick in turnout, a sign that both parties are energized in a year where control of both the U.S. House and Senate is in play.

Red state Democrats bolster hopes of ‘expanding the map’

Eleven of the 13 states that have held primaries are states Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, many of handily, over Hillary Clinton.

But even in these red states and districts, Democrats are turning out in significantly higher numbers.

In the U.S. Senate primary in Texas, nearly twice as many Democrats – 1,042,914 to be exact – turned out compared to the last midterm cycle in 2014, when 510,009 ballots were cast. The 2018 turnout was the highest for Democrats in Texas in any cycle since 2002.

Excitement around the campaign of El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who won the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, again has Democratic eyes transfixed on the prospect of turning Texas blue.

Not to be outdone, Republicans in the state cast over 1.5 million ballots in this years’ primary, a historic high for them as well.

“I think there’s certainly Democratic enthusiasm but these recent primaries, and special elections also show a surge of Republican enthusiasm as well,” Matt Gorman, Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told ABC News. “I think our party understands the stakes of what Speaker Pelosi would mean when it comes to undoing tax cuts and adding to Washington dysfunction.”

In deep red Idaho, Democratic turnout in the state’s gubernatorial primary more than doubled from 2014, and State Rep. Paulette Jordan, who would be the nation’s first female Native American governor if elected, scored a convincing victory over businessman A.J. Balukoff. Republican turnout in their gubernatorial primary increased by 25 percent from 2014.

Competitive House races in red states have also seen an uptick in Democratic enthusiasm.

In Kentucky, former U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath’s victory over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the state’s 6th Congressional District saw higher Democratic primary turnout than both 2016 and 2014, with total ballots cast just topping 100,000.

In Nebraska, a surprise victory by social worker Kara Eastman over former Rep. Brad Ashford in the state’s 2nd Congressional District saw nearly 20,000 more votes cast than in 2014.

The swing state of Pennsylvania, which saw its congressional map uprooted this year by the state’s Supreme Court, also saw Democrat turnout surge in two newly drawn districts expected to be competitive in November.

Democratic turnout outpaced Republican by nearly 14,000 votes in the state’s 7th Congressional District – based in the Lehigh Valley – which is an open seat race due to the resignation of GOP Rep. Charlie Dent.

In Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic ballots narrowly outnumbered Republican ones. The Bucks County-based seat is home to the Philadelphia area’s only Republican congressman – Brian Fitzpatrick – who will face Democratic nominee Scott Wallace, a wealthy entrepreneur who ran as the progressive in the primary against a former Republican and Navy veteran.

Why is turnout surging?

Democrats have credited the man in the White House with not only fostering higher levels of political engagement but also inspiring new candidates to run for office.

“One day, hopefully very soon, we will remember this president as the best thing that ever happened to our party,” Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee said last week at the party’s annual women’s leadership forum.

“Because of him, we are united women in unprecedented ways across the country and from different communities. Because of him, over 400 women are running for Congress just this year,” Meng went on.

Some of the more progressive groups, especially those aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, have argued that competitive Democratic primaries have helped bring out more people, as various party candidates work to expand the pool and campaign for votes.

The David Turner, the Deputy Communications Director for the Democratic Governors, acknowledged during an interview with ABC News this week that after the 2016 presidential campaign, he was leery of tough primaries and “exhausted.” But, he said, that while working on the Virginia gubernatorial race last fall, he was reminded that, in his opinion, primary races can help make campaigns dial tested, if they don’t get too negative. More spending on TV earlier in the cycle, can deliver candidates’ message to a general election audience and foster “more communication more general awareness,” he said.

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Patrick Smith/Getty Images(BIDDEFORD, Maine) -- Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to the hospital Sunday afternoon for low blood pressure and fatigue, his spokesman Jim McGrath said.

"He will likely remain there for a few days for observation," McGrath said. "The former president is awake and alert, and not in any discomfort."

Bush, 93, who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993, was taken to Southern Maine Health Care, a hospital in Biddeford, Maine.

His wife, first lady Barbara Bush, died last month. They were married for 73 years.

Just one day after his wife's funeral, Bush was admitted to a hospital in Houston for a blood infection. After his release, he made his annual trek up to Kennebunkport, Maine, where his family has had a summer home on the water for decades.

On Saturday, Bush celebrated Memorial Day by having breakfast with Gen. Brent Scowcroft, his former national security advisor, and veterans at the American Legion Post 159 in Kennebunkport.

"Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft, at the @AmericanLegion Post 159 monthly pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport today," tweeted Bush. "This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said the president’s repeated claims that the FBI spied on his presidential campaign are “a piece of propaganda the president wants to put out and repeat.”

California Rep. Adam Schiff told ABC News’ Chief Global Affairs correspondent and This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that the president's assertions that the FBI infiltrated his campaign are an attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.

"There's no evidence to support that spy theory," Schiff said.

"You have a president peddling these falsehoods, and you have essentially people putting out propaganda" to promote that "fiction," the California Democrat said. "This is part of the propaganda machine. 'Let’s spread a completely fallacious story and then let’s say that it needs to be investigated and give it a life of its own.'"

"But it is resonating," Raddatz asked. "Just quickly -- how do you counter that?"

Schiff responded, "There’s only one remedy for that, and that is you need to throw the bums out. As long as there’s a majority in Congress that is willing to do this president’s will and as long as we have a deeply unethical president, there’s only one remedy. And that is to change the Congress and to let the investigation go on."

The Democratic representative also commented on controversy surrounding the surprise appearance of two White House officials at a classified briefing on the Russia probe last week. The two officials -- lawyer Emmet Flood and chief of staff John Kelly -- left before classified material was discussed, and the White House said they attended only to make brief remarks before the meeting.

But Schiff, who was at the briefing, said the officials' appearance at the congressional briefing was "improper."

Also on This Week, Senate Intelligence Committee member Marco Rubio, a Republican, said he hasn’t seen any evidence that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign, but rather that it was looking at individuals who might have had ties to Russia.

“As far as what I have seen to date, it appears that there was an investigation not of the campaign, but of certain individuals who have a history that we should be suspicious of that predate the presidential campaign of 2015, 2016,” the Florida senator said. “And when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he sees "no evidence" to support President Trump's claims that the FBI used an informant to gather information on his campaign, but that the federal probe was instead focused on "individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning."

"What I have seen is evidence that they were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning," Rubio, a Florida senator who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday.

"As far as what I have seen to date, it appears that there was an investigation not of the campaign, but of certain individuals who have a history that we should be suspicious of, that predate the presidential campaign of 2015, 2016," Rubio said on This Week. "And when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI, who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations, should look at people like that."

The president has claimed repeatedly there was an FBI "spy" in his presidential campaign.

Rubio said he thinks the president and his lawyers are "responding" to "what they’re facing and the things that are happening to them."

He added, "If there is an FBI informant or any sort of inappropriate action that’s been taken targeting a political campaign -- the president’s or any -- we want to know about it and it should be punished."

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Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump welcomed American citizen Josh Holt, who was released Saturday morning from prison in Venezuela after two years, to the Oval Office Saturday evening.

"I just want to welcome you to the Oval Office, welcome you to the White House," Trump said. "You've got through a lot -- more than most people could endure."

"They came back from a very tough ordeal in a Venezuelan prison almost two years, Josh -- and, you know, amazing that you were able to take it," Trump said.

Holt, who had changed from his blue jeans into a navy blue suit and tie for the White House visit, looked calm and at ease sitting next to Trump. On one gold couch in the Oval Office sat Holt's family, and on the other couch sat Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah; Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in a row. State Department officials lined the back wall of the Oval Office.

"I'm overwhelmed with gratitude," Holt said.

"They were a very, very difficult two years," he continued. "Not really the great vacation that I was looking for. But we're still together, starting off a marriage rough, but now we'll be together. I'm just so grateful for what you guys have done and for thinking about me and caring about me, just a normal person. It really touches me, and thank you."

"You've been very brave," Trump replied.

Holt had traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Thamara Caleño, whom he met on an online Mormon dating site. Holt planned to return to the United States with his new wife and two stepchildren, but they never made it back. Venezuelan police raided their apartment and arrested them on charges of terrorism, espionage and illegal possession of weapons. They never received a trial, and maintained their innocence.

Corker, who led efforts to get Holt and his wife released, traveled to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolás Maduro and said it was "quite an experience."

"We could almost write a book about the past 48 hours," Corker said.

Trump shook hands with Corker's staffer, who played an instrumental role in setting up communications for Holt's release.

Trump touted the number of prisoners his administration has released and went on to say that he's specifically looking at trying to free Pastor Andrew Brunson, currently imprisoned in Turkey.

"Pastor Brunson, I hope you can hear us. We'll be helping you," Trump said.

Trump asked everyone sitting with him in the Oval Office to speak about Holt's release but was surprised -- and amused -- when Lee turned to Holt's daughter to address her in Spanish.

"You understood that beautifully," Trump said to Holt's Venezuelan daughter. "Good job."

At the end of the spray, Trump said he wanted to make comments on North Korea.

Trump revealed that there are currently meetings going on about the summit "as we speak, in a certain location, which I won't name but you'd like the location. It's not so far away from here."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Border Patrol union slammed the execution of the National Guard deployment to the southern border on Friday, saying that resources were being wasted and that troops were not being used as "initially planned".

"Someone in between President Trump and the folks on the border is not relaying the information correctly," Art Del Cueto, the national spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told ABC News.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times on Thursday, union president Brandon Judd harshly criticized the deployment of National Guard troops as "a colossal waste of resources" and of "no benefit."

Judd told the Los Angeles Times that when he found out the National Guard was going to the border he was "extremely excited because previous deployments on the border helped alleviate the Border Patrol's workload.

But this time, he told the paper, "that has not happened at all."

The union, which represents around 18,000 agents and support personnel, had hoped troops would be used in similar capacities as past deployments to the border and that they would provide support as the "eyes and ears" for Border Patrol, according to its spokesperson.

"We're not attacking President Trump. It's not his fault, but the people underneath him aren't understanding what he wants," said Del Cuento who added that he hasn't seen evidence that deploying the National Guard has helped the Border Patrol reallocate its workload to the frontlines.

The union endorsed Trump's candidacy and have been staunch supporters of the president.

Border Patrol Chief and acting deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello defended his agency on Friday against criticism, saying "we’ve already seen dividends from it."

"The categorization that it's wasteful or it's not effective, it's not resonating with me," Vitiello said.

Vitiello said he doesn't think the union realizes that the differences are "based on the lessons learned” from previous deployments.

This comes less than two months after the Trump administration announced that it was deploying troops to the U.S.-Mexico border with the goal of gaining "operational control" of the border.

The exact goals and timeframe for the deployment are unclear.

President Trump has said he wants National Guardsmen to guard the U.S. border with Mexico until a border wall is built. Border Patrol has said the length of the deployment will be "conditions-based" and depend on the amount of funding available.

In 2006 the Bush administration deployed 6,000 guardsmen as part of the border support mission known as Operation Jump Start.

President Barack Obama deployed 1,200 guardsmen in 2010 as part of a similar mission called Operation Phalanx.

The current mission on the border is designed to free-up Border Patrol agents to carry out arrests and interdictions, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees Border Patrol.

National Guard soldiers are not allowed to perform any federal, state, local or tribal law enforcement functions and have been assigned to duties that don't require they be armed.

"We’ve already seen dividends from it," said Vitiello.

He credited about 4,000 arrests and the confiscation of 4,000 pounds of marijuana with direct troop support.

"The Guardsmen have been great partners for us and we’re grateful that they are out there with us," said Vitiello.

As of Friday, there were just over 1,000 on-the-ground troops dedicated to supporting Border Patrol, plus 500 to 600 additional troops to provide logistics and other support, according to Vitiello.

The current on-the-ground missions include air interdiction support, road maintenance and vegetation clearing, operational support with radio operators, fleet maintenance, intelligence analysts and surveillance support.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has authorized up to 4,000 total troops to participate through the end of September.

The Department of Defense had no comment on criticism from the union.

Elizabeth Mclaughlin and Luis Martinez contributed to this story.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Psychologist Michael Rosmann said that whenever he is home at his family's farm in western Iowa he is taking calls or answering emails from farmers asking for help or counseling.

He specializes in behavioral health for farmers and said he has received more requests for assistance in recent months than the last three decades.

"My phone and my email have just been completely filled for the last six months. I work virtually seven days a week if I'm around the phone is always going email is always coming," he told ABC News.

The calls are part of a critical issue faced by farmers, their profession faces the highest overall rate of suicide in the nation — much higher than the number of suicides in the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Debbie Weingarten reached out for help four years ago when she was running a vegetable farm in Arizona. She was a first-generation farmer and said that even without the pressure of maintaining a family farm she felt depressed and anxious about the possibility that they would lose money or crops.

"I felt like the risk that farmers undertake to produce food for eaters is not spread out fairly across the food system, so that's squarely on the backs of farmers," she told ABC News.

She said couldn't find anyone to talk to online who understood her situation until she found a program run by Rosmann. The website said it lost funding a few years before but she called anyway.

"I was grasping at straws," she said.

Rosmann picked up the phone.

Weingarten said she left farming in 2014 but still writes about agriculture. She spent five years researching and reporting a story about the suicide rate among farmers that was published in The Guardian last year.

Farmers in industries that have faced falling commodity prices and international trade disputes have faced additional economic pressure in recent years and farming experts and industry leaders say the uncertainty around the nearly $400 billion dollar Farm Bill adds additional stress for farmers and their families.

“Farmers were going through a very stressful winter weather-wise, a cold and tough winter, and on top of that we are into our fourth year of low milk prices, below the cost of production, and that has been creating a lot of stress,” Robert Wellington, a senior vice president of Agri-Mark Dairy Farmer cooperative, told ABC News on the phone Thursday.

On average, Wellington estimated, small and medium dairy farmers have struggled through four years of milk prices that are 10 to 30 percent below the cost of production.

His group sent a letter to members in January forecasting yet another year of low milk prices. In the letter, they included phone numbers for people dealing with financial and emotional stress and a suicide hotline.

The farm bill has traditionally been bipartisan legislation to maintain subsidies, crop insurance programs, and livestock disaster programs but there has been dramatic debate and delays in this year's bill due to proposals to cut funding from food stamp programs that make up a huge portion of the money allocated by the bill every five years.

This draft of this year's farm bill in the House would have also provided funding for crisis hotlines and other programs to provide mental health help to farmers.

"Our farmers who feed the world are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders," one of the sponsors of that bipartisan provision Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn. said on the House floor ahead of the Farm Bill vote.

The House rejected the proposed bill.

In a 2016 report, the Centers for Disease Control found that about 84 out of every 100,000 people in the farming, fishing and forestry industries died by suicide in 2012, the most recent data available. The suicide rate for the general population was about 12 out of every 100,000 people that year, according to CDC data.

That study included data from 17 states but did not include data from states like Iowa, Texas, or California where agriculture is a major part of the economy.

The report said that the high rate among farmers could be due to the potential to lose money in the business, as well as social isolation, lack of mental health services, or access to lethal means.

Rosmann is a psychologist and adjunct professor at the University of Iowa who specializes in behavioral health for farmers. He said farming is physically and emotionally stressful but that the current health system does not deal with all of the physical and mental risks for farmers.

"The bigger picture is that we have not attended to the behavioral well being of the agricultural population the way we have to the general population's need for behavioral health," Rosmann told ABC News.

He said that farmers have a unique psychology that drives them to work hard but that some factors are out of their control, like policy, weather, or commodity prices, resulting in a very stressful situation, adding that there has been increased economic stress on farmers in recent years and that they think they're being economically marginalized.

Rosmann said farmers have a strong bond to their land and their farming operation and that on a psychological scale the stress of a life event like losing a family's farm can be just as traumatic as losing a child.

"It's almost always because of the loss of livelihood that people do such dramatic things as taking their lives," he said.

Rosmann said he strongly supports a provision in the farm bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., to provide more money for states to provide mental health services like crisis hotlines for farmers and ranchers.

He said that some states offer resources like a crisis hotline but they need a stronger network of resources and a national center to help with the problem. In Minnesota the state employs one rural mental health counselor to help roughly 100,000 farmers, according to MinnPost.com.

Earlier in May the president of the National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to proactively address what he called “the farmer suicide crisis.”

“Farming is a high-stress occupation,” Johnson wrote in his letter. “Due to the prolonged downturn in the farm economy, many farmers are facing even greater stress. USDA’s national reach uniquely positions the Department to assist farmers and ranchers during times of crisis. We urge you to leverage your vision for collaboration across USDA and the entire federal government to develop a response to the farm suicide crisis.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced a bipartisan bill on the issue of farmer suicide that would mandate more spending on mental health resources in rural areas. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., also introduced a bipartisan bill earlier this year to provide mental health services for farmers and ranchers.

Emmer's bill was included in the version of the farm bill that was voted down in the House. The Senate's farm bill has not yet been released.

The current farm bill is set to expire in September.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 free, confidential support. The organization Farm Aid also offers a hotline for farmers in need of emergency help and a directory of local resources.

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Sam Morris/Getty Images(BOISE) -- Paulette Jordan, an Idaho gubernatorial candidate from the Coeur d'Alene tribe, said she was "birthed into politics," and her upbringing helped pave the way for her political quest to become the country’s first Native American governor.

She grew up on a quiet and peaceful ranch surrounded by wildlife, bluegrass and elders whom she describes as self-sufficient and full of wisdom and teachings that she has carried along with her in life.

“We are very connected to the land,” Jordan said about her community. “My community is very independent and based around prayers.”

She was raised around leaders, and she felt it was her destiny to become one.

“It’s like I inherited a legacy of leadership because of my lineage,” Jordan said. “My responsibility is to continue this legacy.”

Her grandfather was a chief of their tribe and her Toop’ya, or grandmother, was a prominent figure in their community.

Her Toop’ya was known for being an old, pure soul who never cast judgment on anyone. She was known as the “sweetheart” of the Coeur D’Alene community.

Jordan remembers a time when a member of the tribe was about to face punishment, and her Toop’ya intervened to tell others in the community that this is "not our way" and "not who we are as a people."

Since her death, Jordan, a state legislator, has taken her Toop’ya’s ideologies and used them as her political backbone.

“She was small in size, but powerful in her being,” Jordan said. “She taught me to be good to all people, to be sincere. I learned a lot from her in that regard.”

Jordan recently cinched Idaho’s Democratic gubernatorial primary -- a historic win.

The Idaho Statesman, in its endorsement of her ahead of the primary, said voters have a choice between electing a traditional candidate or they could "try something -- and someone -- new."

Former Labor Secretary and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez recently tweeted his congratulations to Jordan, saying, “A big congratulations to fellow DNC member and Idaho's Democratic nominee for governor @PauletteEJordan! We are inspired by you and can't wait to see you soar in November."

Jordan said she sees her role as “significant” to other women, especially amid the current "pink wave" of an increasing number of female candidates seeking office and the #MeToo movement of women speaking out about sexual harassment and assault.

“We’re breaking one barrier after another,” she said. “I want to inspire them to do more, feel emboldened to take on leadership roles. I want more young women to feel strong.”

Jordan also views her platform as pressing in this current political climate.

“We were able to draw out an election that hasn’t happened in government before. People are now invested in improving the system overall.”

Jordan has other issues she’s focused on as well, such as protecting the environment, expanding education resources and health care.

“When we win in November, there will be a major overhaul,” Jordan said. “We’re reminding people this race is about them and building the community. We’re building one Idaho family for the greater good.”

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Malasian Navy(NEW YORK CITY) -- The former commanding officer of the destroyer USS John S. McCain pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of dereliction of duty for his role in last year's deadly collision that killed 10 sailors.

Commander Alfredo J. Sanchez was sentenced to a letter of reprimand and a $6,000 fine, as part of his plea deal agreement he will be required to retire from the Navy.

On August 21, 2017 10 sailors were killed when the destroyer collided with an oil tanker as it entered the busy waterway into the port of Singapore. The collision occurred two months after seven sailors were killed when the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan.

Both collisions resulted in the removal of senior leaders in the Navy's Seventh Fleet and to criminal proceedings against the senior leaders and some of the crew members of both ships.

Sanchez, the McCain's commanding officer, was on the bridge when the warship collided with the Alnic MC following an apparent loss of steering control.

A Navy investigation later determined that Sanchez did not follow the recommendations of his command team to have the ship's most experienced bridge team on duty as destroyer entered the busy waterway into Singapore. Investigators also found that Sanchez and the bridge team lacked a familiarity with some of the helm consoles that led to a perceived lack of steering.

Originally charged with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and hazarding a vehicle, Sanchez pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of "dereliction in the performance of duties through neglect resulting in death" as part of a plea deal agreement.

He entered his plea at a special court martial hearing held at the Washington Navy Yard.

"I am ultimately responsible and stand accountable for the actions and decisions leading to USS John S. McCain's collision and death of my ten Sailors," an emotional Sanchez told the court. "I will forever question my decisions that contributed to this tragic event and fully recognize that no actions or desires will bring our sailors back."

Sanchez told family members of the 10 sailors, "I will never forget them and they will never be forgotten."

Sanchez acknowledged that he should have "taken the conn" in the three-minute time frame preceding the collision with the tanker. "I should have injected myself into the situation earlier," he said.

In testimony, Sanchez told the court his belief that he should have also been more rigorous with the crew’s training.

“That’s my job,” he said, “To bring your ship and more importantly your crew back safe.”

The judge in the case sentenced Sanchez to a punitive letter of reprimand and a fine of $2,000 in pay for three months. He received credit for the non-judicial punishment given to him last year where he was also given a letter of reprimand and the forfeiture of half a month’s pay totaling $4,498.

As part of the plea deal agreement Sanchez will be required to retire from the Navy, and Friday's guilty plea could impact whether he is allowed to retire at his current rank of commander or at a lower rank.

Killed in the collision were Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith; Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley;Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez; Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake; Electronic Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr.; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23.

During the sentencing phase of Friday's hearing surviving family members read victim impact statements describing the grief of lost sons, brothers and fathers.

Ricardo Lopez described how his brother's wife and two daughters grieve the loss of his death on a daily basis.

Lopez told the court his brother was on the last deployment of a nearly 20-year naval career and three months away from retiring and that the family is not receiving his retirement benefits "because of this incident".

Riho Findley had met and married her husband Charles in Japan and recalled how she looked forward to visiting the United States with him. But her first visit to America was for his funeral, it was also the first time she met his family.

Findley's sister, Amy Winters, said her brother had once reassured her about his time at sea that the McCain "was one of the safest places to be."

Seven impact statements were read by Kevin Bushell's family members who described their continuing grief over the loss of their son and brother.

"Why was such a wonderful person taken away from us so soon?" asked Krystal Bushell.

Sanchez's wife, Maria Zapata Yordan, also told the court of the emotional toll the collision has had on her husband, noting that some nights he will be yelling orders in his sleep.

In an empathetic aside prior to reading the sentence Captain Charles Purnell,the presiding judge at Friday's hearing told Sanchez, “Don’t become the 11th casualty of the McCain. I am convinced you still have a whole lot to contribute.”

On Thursday, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jeffery Butler, who was in charge of training sailors on the McCain in using steering equipment, was demoted in rank after also pleading guilty to a charge of dereliction of duty for his role in the collision.

Two weeks ago Lt. Junior Grade Sarah Coppock received a letter of reprimand and a loss of pay after pleading guilty to negligence for her role in the collision of the USS Fitzgerald. At the time of the collision Coppock was the Officer of the Deck as the ship maneuvered through the busy shipping lanes outside Tokyo Bay.

Commander Bryce Benson, the commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, has waived a right to a preliminary hearing, no date has been set for a potential court martial. He faces charges of negligent homicide, hazarding a vessel and dereliction of duty.

Two other junior officers aboard the USS Fitzgerald are waiting to hear whether they will face courts martial following preliminary court hearings two weeks ago.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump signed executive orders Friday that take aim at what White House officials described as an overly bureaucratic and extensive process of firing “poorly performing” civil servants.

The orders would also limit the power and funding from the federal unions set up to protect them.

The head of the largest federal workers' union said the Trump administration "seems hellbent on replacing a civil service that works for all taxpayers with a political service that serves at its whim."

In a call with reporters, administration officials described the three executive orders taking a wide variety of actions, including rolling back the amount of time that "poorly performing" civil servants have to correct their behavior before being fired – and making it harder for fired workers to move to a separate agency.

A second executive order will create a federal 'Labor Relations Working Group' intended to analyze government contracts with federal unions and remove "wasteful expenditures."

The third executive order restricts the amount of time federal employees can spend on "union work," and aims to charge federal unions for rent space in federal buildings and eliminates their ability to expense their travel to the government. The order will also halt payments to unions specifically related to their time lobbying Congress.

The officials pushed back on the idea that the moves were politically motivated, insisting that it was more about increasing efficiency in government and saving taxpayer dollars.

“This executive order is about promoting better use of taxpayer dollars and helping support the hundreds of thousands of federal civil servants that come to work every day to do a great job on behalf of their country and have consistently said the government's inability to effectively manage poor performing employees is a problem,” one official said. “We don't view this as an administration as a particularly political issue.”

White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg said in a statement that the orders are in line with the public opinion inside the civil service itself.

"Every year the federal employee viewpoint survey has consistently shown that less than one-third of federal employees believe that poor performers are adequately addressed by their agency," Bremberg said. "These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor performing employees and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used."

Federal worker unions quickly objected. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 700,000 federal workers, issued a statement saying "President Trump is attempting to silence the voice of veterans, law enforcement officers, and other frontline federal workers through a series of executive orders intended to strip federal employees of their decades-old right to representation at the worksite."

"This is more than union busting – it's democracy busting," AFGE National President J. David Cox said in the statement. "These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government."

As for the amount of taxpayer dollars saved as a result of the orders, the officials said their current estimates predict that it will save taxpayers “at least $100 million” annually." They could not say just how many civil servants would be cut from the federal government as a result of the orders.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has reached a deal with Chinese telecom ZTE to lift economic sanctions on the firm, a move likely to frustrate much of Congress, two sources familiar with the arrangement have confirmed to ABC.

The Commerce Department will lift a seven-year ban on ZTE’s ability to buy American parts, which was imposed after the company violated U.S. sanctions and did business with Iran and North Korea. The U.S. government is also concerned that the state-backed company was using its devices to spy on users.

In a statement, a White House official said, “This is a law enforcement action being handled by Commerce. We are making sure ZTE is held accountable for violating U.S. sanctions, pays a big price, and that we are protecting our security infrastructure and U.S. jobs.”

The effect of the action, however, weakens the existing sanctions on ZTE. The U.S. will instead require the company to pay a fine, install U.S. compliance officers and change board members.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. President Donald Trump has asserted that loosening sanctions on ZTE will strengthen the U.S. hand in broader trade negotiations with China and lead to China purchasing more American goods. Trump had previously tweeted that China was willing to increase agricultural imports from the U.S.

Earlier this week, as President Trump tweeted his intention to execute this agreement, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio warned that the new deal would not be enough to change ZTE’s bad behavior. The U.S. has already fined the company $1.2 billion.

“We're basically saying, we're going to give you the same deal you violated the first time, and by the way you can keep spying,” Rubio told ABC in an interview Tuesday.

Democrats were also quick to condemn the move. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement linking the agreement to contemporaneous reports that China had agreed to fund the construction of a Trump-linked hotel in Indonesia, which White House officials have dismissed as unrelated.

“The President’s ZTE deal is a staggering betrayal of the American people,” Pelosi said. “Although Trump pledged to fight for hard-working Americans, he is now using U.S. government resources to enrich a foreign company – right after the Chinese government reportedly agreed to funnel half a billion dollars into one of his family’s resorts.”

Congress has already taken additional steps to block ZTE’s influence in the United States. A measure blocking the military from working with contractors that use ZTE devices and networks will likely soon pass as part of its annual defense authorization bill, and the Pentagon has already banned the sale of ZTE devices on U.S. bases.

House and Senate committees are also working on bills to prohibit the Trump administration from unilaterally lifting the seven-year ban on ZTE’s ability to purchase U.S. supplies. The Senate measure, introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., passed the Banking Committee Tuesday by an overwhelming margin.

Congress is also exploring ways to expand the U.S. government’s ability to review foreign transactions through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The Banking Committee also approved a bill by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., that would do just that.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Friday that it has spent more than $3.5 million on Administrator Scott Pruitt's security team since taking office, significantly more than his two predecessors.

As more ethical questions prompted investigations into the cost of Pruitt's security detail and travel, members of Congress have questioned whether the increased spending was justified.

The agency says that Pruitt needed 24/7 security – more than previous administrators – in response to an "unprecedented number of threats" against him. Because of the threats, the EPA says, Pruit and his security team needed to fly first class and the total includes those costs.

Documents released by the EPA show that the agency spent more than $2.7 million on payroll for the administrator's security detail between April 2017 and March 2018 and nearly $760,000 on travel for his detail during the same 12 months.

Pruitt was sworn in in mid-February 2017. The agency spent almost $500,000 in that January - March fiscal quarter but it's not clear how much of that was after Pruitt was confirmed.

The documents show that agency spent significantly less on the security detail for the two previous EPA administrators under the Obama administration, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy. Payroll and travel for Jackson's detail cost about $1.9 million for her first year in office in 2009 and 2010. McCarthy's detail cost almost $2 million for her first year starting in July 2013.

An EPA spokesman said the agency plans to proactively release security costs multiple times a year to be more transparent. The documents released this week are posted on a page of the EPA's website for materials frequently requested through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Administrator Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and to provide transparency EPA will post the costs of his security detail and pro-actively release these numbers on a quarterly basis. Americans should all agree that members of the President’s cabinet should be kept safe from violent threats," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement.

Pruitt said he would tell his staff to switch him to more flights in coach earlier this year but the former head of his security detail has defended the decision to increase security. Investigations into threats against Pruitt that have been publicly released found no imminent threat to his safety, despite language like calling Pruitt "evil" or a message saying that they hope a family member would die.

At least two investigations into reported threats against Pruitt are still ongoing.

The agency released documents with the cost of both salary and travel for the administrator's protective detail on its website, with the total cost for each fiscal quarter going back to the 2009 fiscal year.

Despite the criticism over the cost of his security detail President Donald Trump has defended Pruitt, saying that Pruitt received death threats.

Documents released by the EPA inspector general, however, have questioned whether the threats were credible and properly vetted to justify upping Pruitt's security to 24/7. The inspector general also found that the agency decided to increase Pruitt's security before he took office, saying that one office was told "Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as administrator."

The EPA's inspector general is currently looking into the cost of Pruitt's security detail.

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US House Office of Photography(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was already facing a tough re-election bid in California’s 48th Congressional District – with 15 candidates running against him, including a former protégé – when he told a delegation of Orange County realtors that it is acceptable to refuse to sell homes to LGBTQ people.

“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone [if] they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher told an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation at a May 16 meeting in Washington, D.C., Wayne Woodyard, a former Orange County Realtor president who was at the event, told the Orange County Register.

Rohrabacher told the Orange County Register Thursday that homeowners should have "a right to choose who they do business with."

“We’ve drawn a line on racism. But I don’t think we should extend that line," he told the paper. "A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

Rohrabacher’s campaign confirmed to ABC News the sentiments in the comments were accurate.

Campaign spokesman Greg Blair said in a statement that the congressman "does not believe the federal government should force those with strong religious convictions into a personal or business relationship that is contrary to their religion.”

Rohrabacher made the comments to a group of realtors including members of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) who were meeting with the congressman to seek his support for including LGBTQ protections under the Fair Housing Act, according to a letter sent by the group's founder, Jeff Berger, to the president of the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of Realtors had included Rohrabacher in its "President's Circle" – a list of candidates it prompted members to donate to this election cycle.

The group pulled the congressman from this list after reports of the comments surfaced, telling ABC News "after reviewing all new, relevant information, it was determined that Representative Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President's Circle."

Rohrabacher is seeking a 16th term in office – he's been in Congress for three decades – but his comments come as he faces his toughest primary yet in California's 48th Congressional District, which is centered in Huntington Beach in Orange County.

The top-two primary, in which the two most-voted candidates will move on to the general election regardless of party, is June 5 – and Democrats had seen an opening as talk of a 'blue wave' in Southern California intensified in neighboring districts.

Democratic candidate Harley Rouda, a favorite of national Democrats to win a place on the November ballot, took no time to condemn the congressman's comments.

"Rohrabacher's comments are appalling and unacceptable," said. "These comments show once again that Dana Rohrabacher has no right being in office and representing the people of this district."

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iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The bill establishing Pentagon policy for the next fiscal year includes items on President Donald Trump's military wish list, including giving service members a pay raise, laying ground rules for a military parade and making progress on establishing a military branch focused on outer space.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of a more than $700 billion military authorization bill Thursday and is now awaiting a Senate floor vote, while the House of Representatives has already passed its version, where some of Trump’s wish-list items are better detailed. The National Defense Authorization Act sets spending levels, but then Congress must pass a separate bill to actually allocate funds.

Here’s a look at some of the items that President Trump will likely be paying closest attention to:

SERVICE MEMBER PAY RAISE: In both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA service members get a 2.6% pay raise. The House version also extends special pay and bonuses to service members in high-demand fields. Earlier this year Trump erroneously said he gave service members their first pay raise in 10 years, when in fact they have had their salaries raised at least 1 percent every year for more than 30 years. What is correct is that this is the largest pay increase service members have seen in nine years.

MILITARY PARADE: The House version of the NDAA gives the Secretary of Defense the authority to fund a military parade in Washington, D.C., to satisfy President Trump’s stated desire for an event like the Bastille Day parade he witnessed during his trip to Paris. In a statement, House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry said he “agrees with President Trump that it is appropriate to honor and celebrate 100 years of patriotic sacrifice in a way that expresses appreciation and admiration for our men and women in uniform, including a parade in the nation’s capital and a national celebration for that purpose.”

But the bill also puts significant limits on the amount of military equipment and personnel that can be devoted to the parade – all at the Secretary of Defense’s discretion.

Language in the House bill allows the Secretary of Defense to expend funds specifically “for the display of small arms and munitions” as well as the participation of ceremonial military units, but it also expressly prohibits the use of funds for “motorized vehicles, aviation platforms” and munitions other than those used for customary ceremonial honors. Thornberry’s statement added that his proposal would prohibit the use of operational units or equipment in the parade if the Secretary of Defense believes their inclusion would hamper readiness.

The Senate version, named after Armed Services Committee chair John McCain, R-Ariz., does not contain any language covering President Trump’s desire for an elaborate military parade in Washington D.C. like the one he witnessed during a trip to Paris which commemorated Bastille Day. “There was discussion about it in committee but it ultimately was not added,” a Senate Armed Services Committee aide told reporters Friday.

SPACE FIGHTING: President Trump has occasionally expressed his desire to see the United States’ military dominance expand in outer space, alluding to an eventual new military corps. "I said, 'Maybe we need a new force. We'll call it the Space Force,'” he said at an event in March. "And I was not really serious. And then I said, 'What a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that. That could happen. That could be the big breaking story.”

So far, Congress and the military haven’t caught up to Trump’s lofty plans, but they have been laying the groundwork. Last year, in fact, the House Armed Services Committee tried to establish a Space Corps within the Air Force, similar to the Navy’s Marine Corps, but the Senate committee sought to expressly prohibit any such setup. The compromise between the two committees was to require several bureaucratic steps to consolidate the Air Force’s command of military space operations.

This year, the House’s request is slightly different. It seeks to establish a fighting force, housed within the Air Force, which would be dedicated to space warfighting, giving it less autonomy than a separate corps would. It also requires the Secretary of the Air Force to increase the number and improve the quality of its civilian and military “space cadre,” submitting a report to Congress on its plans by next March.

The Senate’s bill has no language on space but an aide said last year’s NDAA provided a “pretty significant homework assignment” for the Air Force to focus on, including standing up Air Force Space Command as the single authority for all decisions related to space security.

“The committee is waiting to see what comes out of the department on that,” the aide said.

The Senate could vote on its NDAA as soon as the first week of June, after which point the two committees must merge their bills in a conference committee.

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JET

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"Always in our Heart! "