In our news wrap Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that 70 current and former employees who belonged to a secret Facebook group are under investigation for offensive posts about migrants and lawmakers. Also, a Virginia state judge sentenced James Fields to life in prison plus 419 years for driving into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in 2017, killing one.
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President Trump tonight has rejected claims that he is fanning the flames of racism.
He ignited a storm of criticism on Sunday, attacking four Democrats in the U.S. Congress, all of them women of color. Today, he defended his attacks, saying again that — quote — "If you're not happy here, you can leave."
On another front, the president claim success in deportation raids that targeted some 2,000 people across the nation and raised fears in migrant communities. But there were a few signs that major raids had actually begun. Meanwhile, the administration declared most migrants will now be ineligible for legal asylum in the U.S. if they pass through another country first.
We will explore this and the president's attacks on the congresswomen after the news summary.
In the day's other news, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol confirmed that 70 current and former employees are under investigation for offensive posts about migrants and lawmakers. They belonged to a secret group on Facebook. It has been reported that Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost was also in the group, but it is unclear if she is under investigation.
A state judge in Virginia today sentenced James Fields to life in prison, plus 419 years, for a fatal attack at a white nationalist rally. He drove into counterprotesters in Charlottesville in 2017. Heather Heyer was killed, and more than two dozen others were hurt.
Heyer's mother said that today's sentence delivers a powerful warning.
I want it very clear in the public realm that not only does the United States hold these actions to be quite serious, with serious consequences, but also the state of Virginia is not tolerating them. And I think that message is sent loud and clear today.
Fields is 22 years old. He had already been sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges.
Forecasters warned today of continued flood dangers from the remnants of Hurricane Barry. The storm dropped 17 inches of rain across Louisiana over the weekend. Still, the state escaped the worst, and recovery began in Iberia Parish and elsewhere, where some businesses were left ankle-deep in water.
Rain continued today over Louisiana and Mississippi, along with swathes of Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.
Financier Jeffrey Epstein will stay in jail, at least until Thursday, on charges that he sexually abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida. A federal judge in New York delayed a decision on bail today, as two of Epstein's accusers spoke at a hearing. Prosecutors said their case is getting stronger as more witnesses come forward.
There were closing arguments in Oklahoma today in the first state lawsuit against a drugmaker over opioid addiction. The state charged that Johnson & Johnson understated the risks of opioids out of pure greed. The company said it aimed to help people with chronic pain. The outcome could influence the fate of 1,500 similar lawsuits.
In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam condemned violent Sunday night clashes. They began after thousands had protested peacefully against an extradition bill and mainland China's influence. Storefront windows were smashed. At least six police officers were hospitalized. And more than 20 people were hurt. Lam called today for an end to the trouble.
Carrie Lam (through translator):
We're deeply grateful to the police who put their lives on the lines. They were attacked by the rioters, which is shocking. I'm here to call for all Hong Kong residents to respect the rule of law.
Pro-democracy lawmakers urged both protesters and police to cut back on the force used during demonstrations.
Economic growth in mainland China slowed to 6.2 percent over the last year. That's the lowest rate in 26 years. Beijing reported that news today, amid trade tensions with the U.S.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 27 points to close at 27359. The Nasdaq rose 14 points. And the S&P 500 added a fraction.
And hundreds of activists in Hawaii tried today to block construction a long-disputed telescope project. The protesters said the site on Mauna Kea, which is the island's highest peak, is a sacred place for some native Hawaiians. Protests have blocked previous attempts to build the giant telescope. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the project is legal.