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June 13, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new office dedicated to rooting out applicants who are suspected of lying or cheating to obtain citizenship, and they've already referred 95 cases to the Justice Department.

The DOJ will strip immigrants of citizenship and possibly bring criminal charges after the new office identifies people who created fake identities or lied during the application process, The Associated Press reports. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars told the Washington Examiner that dozens of lawyers and immigration officers will be tasked with "the civil denaturalization process" in a more coordinated effort. DHS has stripped immigrants of citizenship before, but on a rare basis and only as a small portion of agency duties.

Bars said that 95 cases have already been sent to the DOJ, where a judge will determine whether to denaturalize each immigrant after an in-person interview with immigration officers. More than 2,500 cases have been identified, reports the Examiner. Another official told AP that "a few thousand cases" would be handled to "start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place."

The office will be paid for by the agency's existing budget, which is funded by immigration application fees, but officials declined to say how much the new effort would cost in total. Only about 300 people have been denaturalized since 1990, said an immigration attorney who worried that immigrants who made innocent mistakes on paperwork could be targeted and wrongfully denaturalized and deported. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza

5:28 a.m.

If you ignore President Trump's Twitter rants, his public reaction to last week's release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report has looked like a "no collusion, no obstruction" victory lap. But "backstage, Trump realizes the damage the report has done, and has taken a much darker view of the post-Mueller landscape," Gabriel Sherman reports at Vanity Fair.

Specifically, Sherman says, "Trump is lashing out at former West Wing officials whom he blames for providing the lion's share of damaging information in Mueller's 448-page report," a group "known as 'the notetakers' that includes former White House counsel Don McGahn, McGahn's deputy Annie Donaldson, and staff secretary Rob Porter." McGahn, who is cited 157 times in Mueller's report, "is receiving the brunt of Trump's post-Mueller rage," Sherman notes — a fact Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has acknowledged publicly to The New York Times.

"The thing that pisses him off is the note-taking," a former West Wing official who spoke with Mueller told Sherman. "Trump thinks they could have cooperated with Mueller without all the note-taking." Other officials who spoke to Mueller "are angry that Trump is blaming them for the contents of the report when Trump's legal team told them to cooperate," Sherman reports.

Giuliani, meanwhile, insisted that Trump's "mood is good" and his angry tweetstorms are "all very deliberate," designed "to undermine the blind adherence to what's said in the report. The report is only the prosecutors' version of what happened." Giuliani and Trump's other lawyers released their own rebuttal to Mueller's report, but people don't seem to have found it quite as compelling a read. Peter Weber

3:42 a.m.

"Let's start at the end of this story," George Mason University law professor J.W. Verret wrote in The Atlantic on Tuesday. "This weekend, I read Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report twice, and realized that enough was enough." Verret explains that he has "worked on every Republican presidential transition team for the past 10 years," including President Trump's, briefly. He was never a big Trump fan and turned down opportunities to work in his administration, he said, but he was never a Never Trump Republican.

Still, "if you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right," Verret writes. "But I did exactly that this weekend." And he explained why:

I wanted to share my experience transitioning from Trump team member to pragmatist about Trump to advocate for his impeachment, because I think many other Republicans are starting a similar transition. Politics is a team sport, and if you actively work within a political party, there is some expectation that you will follow orders and rally behind the leader, even when you disagree. There is a point, though, at which that expectation turns from a mix of loyalty and pragmatism into something more sinister, a blind devotion that serves to enable criminal conduct. The Mueller report was that tipping point for me, and it should be for Republican and independent voters, and for Republicans in Congress. [Verret, The Atlantic]

On MSNBC Tuesday evening, Verret told a skeptical Chris Matthews that "as the hearings proceed forward, as the American people read the Mueller report from Amazon — it's very popular right now — I think the tide's going to turn ... in favor of impeachment."

"We have seen the top lines debated, we have not seen the nitty-gritty," Verret said. "This is nitty-gritty, soap opera–style details. Give the people time to process. I trust they'll do the right thing." Peter Weber

2:38 a.m.

The Portland Trail Blazers won their Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, but it's the way they won that has everyone talking. With the scored tied and the clock almost out, Damian Lillard sank a 37-foot 3-pointer to give the Blazers a 118-115 win, a lopsided 4-1 series victory, and a franchise playoff-record 50 points for Lillard himself.

After nailing the game-winning half-court stunner, Lillard waved a cool goodbye to the Thunder.

Portland, swept in the first round of last year's playoffs, will advance to play either the San Antonio Spurs or Denver Nuggets in this year's Western Conference semifinals. Peter Weber

2:02 a.m.

A 70-year-old woman died Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Canyon after falling over the edge of the South Rim.

Park authorities said they were notified at around 1 p.m. that an incident had occurred near the Pipe Creek Vista, The Arizona Republic reports. Using a helicopter, rescuers spotted the woman's body about 200 feet below the rim. Later in the afternoon, more than a dozen rescuers recovered the body. The woman's name has not been released.

Over the last two months, several people have fallen to their deaths at the Grand Canyon. In early April, a man tumbled over the edge of the canyon, and last month, a tourist from Hong Kong lost his balance while taking photos. Catherine Garcia

1:52 a.m.

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) traveled to New Hampshire to talk politics at St. Anselm College, but unlike many politicians who visit the Granite State, he wasn't declaring his candidacy for president. In fact, Hogan announced that he won't challenge President Trump in the 2020 GOP primary unless he sees "a path to victory."

"I'm not going to launch some sort of suicide mission," Hogan said. Unlike former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R), the only other Republican in the race, "I have a real day job that's important to me, the people of Maryland." It's true that "a lot of people have been approaching me" and asking "me to give this serious consideration," he said. "I'm listening, coming to New Hampshire and listening to people is a part of that process. I've been to 10 states in the past few months and have 16 more on my schedule . . . but I'm not at the point where we're ready."

Hogan is one of the country's most popular governors, but Trump has high approval ratings among Republicans nationally and the Republican National Committee has also put up structural barriers to any candidate who wants to primary Trump in 2020, voting to give its "undivided support" to Trump. Hogan said he "was pretty critical" of the RNC's machinations. "To change the rules and to insist 100 percent loyalty to the dear leader," he said, "it didn’t seem much like the Republican Party that I grew up in." Peter Weber

1:32 a.m.

Writing in cursive comes naturally to Sara Hinesley, and she has the award to prove it.

Hinesley, 10, was born without hands, and to write, she puts a pencil between the ends of her arms. She tried prosthetic hands, but quickly decided that they weren't necessary. "She can do just about anything — oftentimes better than me or my husband," her mom, Cathryn Hinesley, told CNN.

A third-grader at St. John's Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland, Hinesley says that when her teacher taught her how to write in cursive, she thought it was "easy, and I would practice at school." She entered the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, and thanks to her neat cursive, won the Nicholas Maxim Award, which is given to an entrant with a physical, developmental, or intellectual disability. Hinesley said she hopes that other kids "who have challenges learn from me," and see that "if you try your hardest you can do it." Catherine Garcia

1:11 a.m.

On Monday night, CNN hosted five hour-long, back-to-back town halls. "Most of you don't have the time to sit through five hours of town halls, but lucky for you, we don't have a life, so we watched the whole thing so we could give you the highlights," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He recapped Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) "policy bombshell" about prisoner voting rights and Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) gun-law ultimatum to Congress, but lingered on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Warren "has been releasing policies faster than Netflix releases documentaries about serial killers," Noah said, and she actually has a plan to pay for them. "You have to admit, it is brilliant how she just frames it as 2 cents of every dollar about $50 million," he said. It's like "when they ask you to sponsor an African kid, they say 'For just 80 cents a day, you can save this child.' Because if they say, 'You can help this child for $292 a year,' you'd be like, 'Wait a minute, that's an Xbox! You're on your own Mufasa.'"

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, was "like the anti-Oprah," telling Americans everything they won't find under their seats, Noah said, and "the surging Pete Buttigieg" rounded out the night, improvising like "that kid in school who always got good grades without reading any of the books."

"You have to admit, running for president as a man is so much more fun," Noah said. "Because as a woman, you have to bring extra homework. Elizabeth Warren calculated two cents on every dollar over $50 million, Kamala is breaking down the statistics on maternal mortality as it relates to race and class. But a dude can just come out be like, 'Yeah, I'm just gonna wing it.'"

The five Democrats — and party at large — also couldn't agree on whether to impeach President Trump. Noah brought out Michael Kosta for his barely-safe-for-work analysis. Watch below. Peter Weber

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