by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 27, 2017) — At Thursday’s on-camera White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduced newly-sworn-in associate deputy attorney general Robert Hur, an adviser to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to speak about the DOJ’s efforts to “target MS-13 members and their associates” in both the U.S. and other countries.

The briefing was scheduled for approximately 1:15 but began an hour later.

MS-13 is an abbreviated term for a brutal “street gang” known for murder, human trafficking, the smuggling of weapons and other crimes.

Hur said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is coordinating its efforts with the DOJ to remove violent criminal illegals who are involved in a wide array of crimes in the U.S.  He reported that 16 members of an MS-13 “clique” in Maryland were recently identified, arrested and convicted to “life in prison.”

Hur stressed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “will not allow sanctuary cities” to protect criminal illegal aliens. Sessions has said that he intends to withhold certain federal funds from cities whose law-enforcement officials do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of DHS.

Hur punctuated his remarks by stating that the DOJ’s goal is to “reduce and eliminate” MS-13.

After leaving the podium, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan spoke, reiterating some of Hur’s points, then took questions from reporters.

Thus far, Homan said, approximately 3,000 gang members have been removed from U.S. communities.

In response to a question, Homan said that sanctuary cities endanger ICE officers and are “a criminal’s best friend.”

In reply to CBS News’s Major Garrett’s question about the differences between the Trump administration and its predecessor concerning criminal illegals, Hogan said that the Obama administration required “a conviction” in order for ICE to issue a “detainer” to take the criminal into custody.

Homan said that county sheriffs’ cooperation with ICE is essential in removing dangerous illegals from the streets.  However, he said that “gang members walk out of county jails every day.”

He maintained that anyone entering the U.S. without permission is “committing crimes” and related brief accounts of the results of aliens smuggled into the country who underwent horrendous suffering and death as a result of failing to pay the fee.

At 2:47 p.m. EDT, Homan told reporters, “We need the border wall,” echoing one of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises, then left the podium.

At 2:48, Sanders returned and updated the press on efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, the previous administration’s “signature” accomplishment.  Sanders said that the bill has caused difficulty for many Americans, as the Trump administration has stressed throughout its six-month tenure.

The specter of a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare, meaning a targeted dismantling of certain aspects of the law, received several questions.

ABC News’s Jonathan Karl asked Sanders whether or not Trump “has confidence” in his chief of staff, Reince Preibus, who is rumored to be at odds with incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

Other rumors include that Trump intends to fire Sessions while the Senate is in recess and that Preibus is suspected to have been “leaking” White House confidential information.  Sanders later called the “recess appointment” story “fake news from The Washington Post” in responding to a second question from Garrett.

At 2:56 p.m., Sanders indicated that she was “tight on time” and limited reporters to one question each, cutting off a reporter’s repeated questions about whether or not Scaramucci has taken an oath of office and is officially installed in his new position.

Sanders closed the briefing by noting that no one had asked about “Russia,” a topic constantly discussed by the mainstream media with the speculation that Trump campaign aides “colluded” with Russian operatives to help Trump win the presidency.  Sanders said that testimony to Congress earlier in the day directly contradicted the narrative that any of Trump’s aides coordinated their actions with Moscow.


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