Man wanted in Maine deputy’s slaying was arrested with the fallen officer’s own cuffs, authorities say

The man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a Maine deputy was in custody after a four-day intense manhunt, arrested with the slain deputy’s own handcuffs, the police said.

John Williams, 29, was captured by authorities Saturday, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster confirmed during a news conference, adding that he was taken into custody at a camp near Route 139 in Norridgewock.

When asked by a reporter about the detail involving the handcuffs, the sheriff confirmed that the ones used had belonged to Cpl. Eugene Cole, 62, the shooting victim. The sheriff said he “felt that it was fitting.”

Corporal Eugene Cole

Corporal Eugene Cole was killed early Wednesday morning.

 (Somerset County Sheriff’s Office)

Williams “was brought to justice using Cole’s handcuffs,” Lancaster said.

The sheriff said he notified Cole’s family about William’s capture and “they were relieved, thankful and very grateful.”

State Police Lt. Col. John Cote said that Williams was apprehended by a seven-man capture team, comprising several different law enforcement agencies, and that the suspect did “give limited resistance.”

john williams

John Williams is accused of fatally shooting Corporal Eugene Cole.

 (FBI)

On Saturday, about 150 law enforcement officers remained in the area as searchers took advantage of improving weather to use ground patrols and aircraft to focus on a certain section of woods, where they believed Williams might be hiding.

Williams is accused of fatally shooting Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. The corporal was killed around 1:45 a.m. on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, 30 miles north of the state capital of Augusta. 

Williams has a lengthy criminal background. He was arrested in March for carrying a firearm without a license.

Following the shooting, Williams allegedly stole Cole’s cruiser and then robbed a convenience store, officials said. After fleeing the store, he reportedly abandoned the vehicle, which was found around 5 a.m., officials said. 

The announcement of Williams’ capture came just minutes after a press briefing in which Cole’s widow pleaded with Williams to turn himself him.

“This is all that we’re asking of you. Please, please talk to us,” the widow said.

Lancaster said he was “extremely relieved that we have Williams in custody” and was also “extremely saddened by the death of my deputy.”

He described Cole as “an outstanding officer” and said they could “now focus on the important task of respectfully laying our fallen brother to rest.”

Cole was a member of the sheriff’s office for 13 years and had a son, according to authorities. His funeral is slated for Monday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. A public viewing is set for Sunday at the Skowhegan Armory. The corporal’s death is the first time in 29 years that a Maine officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. 

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump calls on Democratic senator to resign after VA pick drops out

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Veteran’s Affairs committee should resign after the President’s pick to lead the Veterans Affairs department withdrew from consideration amid numerous allegations.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, meets with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

On Thursday, Trump’s physician Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration to head the department after allegations that he had been lax with prescription drugs and drank alcohol on the job.

Trump had already singled out Senator Jon Tester, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, who is up for re-election in November in Montana.

“Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false… Tester should resign,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

“Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!,” Trump added.

In a statement, Tester said he would “never stop fighting.”

“It’s my duty to make sure Montana veterans get what they need and have earned, and I’ll never stop fighting for them as their Senator,” Tester said.

Jackson, a U.S. Navy rear admiral who has been physician to three presidents, has categorically denied the accusations as false. Trump doubled down on his criticism of Tester in a tweet later on Saturday.

“Secret Service has just informed me that Senator Jon Tester’s statements on Admiral Jackson are not true,” Trump tweeted. “There were no such findings. A horrible thing that we in D.C. must live with, just like phony Russian Collusion. Tester should lose race in Montana. Very dishonest and sick!”

Democrats said more than 20 people, whose names they withheld, said Jackson had prescribed himself medications, got drunk at a Secret Service party, wrecked a government vehicle and once could not be reached on a work trip to provide medical treatment because he was passed out drunk in a hotel room.

Tester had said Jackson’s nickname was “the candyman” because of his willingness to hand out prescription drugs.

The White House said on Friday it had looked through records of motor vehicle incidents involving government vehicles and found only three that involved Jackson. None of the records noted alcohol use. Reuters also reviewed two years of audits of the White House medical unit pharmacy, which did not show any major issues.

Separately, the U.S. Secret Service said it had no records to back allegations that its personnel intervened to stop Jackson from disturbing former President Barack Obama during a foreign trip in 2015.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Roberta Rampton amd Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Franklin Paul and Chizu Nomiyama

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Asylum-seekers in Mexico snub warnings of stern US response

U.S. immigration lawyers are telling Central Americans in a caravan of asylum-seekers that traveled through Mexico to the border with San Diego that they face possible separation from their children and detention for many months. They say they want to prepare them for the worst possible outcome.

“We are the bearers of horrible news,” Los Angeles lawyer Nora Phillips said during a break from legal workshops for the migrants at three Tijuana locations where about 20 lawyers gave free information and advice. “That’s what good attorneys are for.”

The Central Americans, many traveling as families, on Sunday will test the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric criticizing the caravan when the migrants begin seeking asylum by turning themselves in to border inspectors at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest.

President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet have been tracking the caravan, calling it a threat to the U.S. since it started March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border. They have promised a stern, swift response.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system,” pledging to send more immigration judges to the border to resolve cases if needed.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said asylum claims will be resolved “efficiently and expeditiously” but said the asylum-seekers should seek it in the first safe country they reach, including Mexico.

Any asylum seekers making false claims to U.S. authorities could be prosecuted as could anyone who assists or coaches immigrants on making false claims, Nielsen said. Administration officials and their allies claim asylum fraud is growing and that many who seek it are coached on how to do so.

Kenia Elizabeth Avila, 35, appeared shaken after the volunteer attorneys told her Friday that temperatures may be cold in temporary holding cells and that she could be separated from her three children, ages 10, 9 and 4.

But she in said an interview that returning to her native El Salvador would be worse. She fled for reasons she declined to discuss.

“If they’re going to separate us for a few days, that’s better than getting myself killed in my country,” she said.

Since Congress failed to agree on a broad immigration package in February, administration officials have made it a legislative priority to end what they call “legal loopholes” and “catch-and-release” policies that allow asylum-seekers to be released from custody while their claims wind through the courts in cases that can last for year.

The lawyers who went to Tijuana denied coaching any of the roughly 400 people in the caravan who recently arrived in Tijuana, camping out in shelters near some of the city’s seedier bars and bordellos.

Some migrants received one-on-one counseling to assess the merits of their cases and groups of the migrants with their children playing nearby were told how asylum works in the U.S.

Asylum-seekers are typically held up to three days at the border and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If they pass an asylum officer’s initial screening, they may be detained or released with ankle monitors.

Nearly 80 percent of asylum-seekers passed the initial screening from October through December, the latest numbers available, but few are likely to eventually win asylum.

Mexicans fared worst among the 10 countries that sent the largest numbers of U.S. asylum seekers from 2012 to 2017, with a denial rate of 88 percent, according to asylum outcome records tracked by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse. El Salvadorans were close behind with a 79 percent denial rate, followed by Hondurans at 78 percent and Guatemalans at 75 percent.

Evelyn Wiese, a San Francisco immigration attorney, said she tried to make migrants more comfortable sharing memories of the dangers they faced in their homelands.

“It’s really scary to tell these experiences to a stranger,” Wiese said after counseling a visibly shaken Guatemalan woman at an art gallery in a building that used to house a drug smuggling tunnel into San Diego. “The next time she tells her story will be easier.”

Nefi Hernandez, who planned to seek asylum with his wife and infant daughter was born on the journey through Mexico, worried he could be kept in custody away from his daughter. But his spirits lifted when he learned he might be released with an ankle bracelet.

Hernandez, 24, said a gang in his hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, threatened to kill him and his family if he did not sell drugs.

Jose Cazares, 31, said he faced death threats in the northern Honduran city of Yoro because a gang member suspected of killing the mother of his children learned one of Cazares’ sons reported the crime to police.

“One can always make up for lost time with a child, but if they kill him, you can’t,” he said outside his dome-shaped tent in a migrant shelter near the imposing U.S. border barriers separating San Diego from Tijuana.

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A mother’s journey across Mexico in the migrant caravan

March 25: Tapachula

She is late.

Gabriela Hernandez has missed the caravan marching north.

As she realizes her mistake, she also knows she can’t let it go.

She scrounges up enough coins to pay for a taxi. Not knowing exactly where the group is, they simply head north, asking along the way in the hope they will catch up with the group.

The pregnant mother of two has never before left Honduras. Now, she has fled her country, crossed Guatemala and found herself in the southern Mexican border city of Tapachula.

“I was very scared. I didn’t even have a dollar for a hotel,” she says later.

When she arrived with her two little boys, she didn’t know whom to trust.

Gabriela Hernandez with her sons, Jonathan and Omar

She went to the church, where a priest told her about an upcoming caravan of migrants, a march with religious roots organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras since 2010. It could provide the guidance she needed, he told her.

Gabriela, 27, admits she had no idea what she was getting into, but when she saw more than 1,000 migrants, including many Hondurans, uniting for the annual pilgrimage, it felt like the best option.

The journey north is dangerous. Migrants are often robbed, assaulted or kidnapped. The caravan, Gabriela thought, could offer more than guidance, it could offer her family safety in numbers.

The taxi catches up with the march and lets them out.

She gathers up her sons, Omar, 6, and Jonathan, 2, and they start to walk.

And walk.

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April 1: On the road in Oaxaca

“Trump is mad at the caravan,” Gabriela says.

The US President has tweeted following news reports of the migration.

She is struck by the word he used to describe the group — dangerous.

“He talks about us like we are the plague,” she says.

Gabriela laughs in disbelief. It’s hard for her to understand how someone could look at her two little boys and think they are dangerous.

The family has been walking for days. Sometimes they are helped by a friend from her old neighborhood, but often they are on their own. She is out of money. The boys are always hungry.

Omar eats an apple. It's been hard for the family to get enough nutritious food.

For the first time in her life, she is forced to turn to strangers for help, asking for spare change.

“Excuse me, do you think you could help me with something for my kids?” she will ask.

The first person gave her two pesos, about 10 cents. The most came from a woman who looked at the two boys, and handed over 50 pesos (about $2.70.)

“There were people who would give me money. There were people who would tell me ‘I don’t have money, but I can give you some fruit,’ and I would say ‘OK.’ Fruit is very helpful,” she says.

April 3: Matias Romero

The caravan’s journey has become more political than Gabriela ever imagined.

For the first time, the Mexican government has reached out to the group, agreeing to grant many temporary permission to stay in the country as they travel through. Gabriela’s case is approved.

She receives an official piece of paper with the Mexican government’s seal granting her 20 days to be in the country. For now, she doesn’t have to worry about an arrest or deportation. She snaps a picture and sends it to her family in Honduras. It’s part celebration, part backup plan.

“If something were to happen to those papers, my mom will now have a copy,” she says.

The family got help from volunteer medics as they made their journey north.

The relief is short-lived. Jonathan, her 2-year-old, is sick, and getting worse.

“He started to convulse,” she explains.

A volunteer doctor helping the caravan tells her the child should be hospitalized. Jonathan, Gabriela learns, has pneumonia.

“I told him I can’t, I have to keeping moving north. I can’t let this caravan leave me behind again,” she remembers saying.

The doctor pulls out a nebulizer for respiratory treatment. He also gives Jonathan a shot, although Gabriela doesn’t know what is in it.

“Wherever you go, make sure you cover his mouth,” he advises.

Gabriela is grateful for his understanding and help, but feels ashamed. She wants to be able to do more for her child.

April 6: Puebla

Buses filled with dozens of migrants arrive at a church. Gabriela is the first mother to step off the bus with her sick toddler in hand. He’s fidgety. She looks exhausted. Her other son, 6-year-old Omar, follows closely behind her.

In a live interview with CNN, she explains she is fleeing violence in Honduras, and questions how they could be dangerous.

“A child like this, how? My child has pneumonia,” she said.

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Church members welcome the caravan with a warm meal. They give children toys and board games. Within a matter of minutes, organizations set up booths and mobile units, including a clinic with medical volunteers.

“They have been so good to us,” Gabriela says. “You can always feel when something is given to you with love.”

The group is too big for one shelter. They split up into three for housing. Gabriela is assigned to the shelter at the church. They sleep on the floor with only a mat to shield them from the cold floor.

April 7: Puebla

Just before noon, the migrants line up under a striped, circus-like tent in front of the church. During a head count, organizers make announcements over a bullhorn, including the schedule for the day’s information sessions to discuss US immigration policies. They also set a few rules: Familiarize yourself with the exits of the church in case of an earthquake, and clean up after yourself.

Volunteers tally about 500 migrants.

Gabriela attends a workshop about migrants’ rights in the United States.. Advocates explain US immigration laws, including asylum.

When a volunteer attorney offers her one-on-one time, she sits down and tells the attorney her life story, why she had to leave Honduras.

“She says I have a good case,” Gabriela explains. “I may be granted asylum up north.”

April 8: Puebla

Jonathan finds himself munching on a mini-pack of M&Ms while eyeing a massive, winding slide at the playground across from the church. He is feeling better. Omar made friends with some of the kids in the caravan. They take turns racing up and down the slide.

Gabriela watches, keeping an eye on both while worrying about her other child. She’s three months pregnant. She visited the free clinic, and the doctor told her she is not drinking enough water.

For lunch, volunteers serve roasted chicken, tortillas and rice. Omar is wide-eyed as he looks at the chicken on the paper plate in front of him. Jonathan skips the utensils and grabs the chicken with both hands for his first bite, smiling before he even finishes chewing.

“It’s the first time they’ve eaten meat since leaving Honduras,” Gabriela explains.

There has not been much meat to eat on the journey.

As the family eats on the floor, a volunteer flips on a speaker. Reggaeton, some Ricky Martin and other music blast as couples pair off to dance.

“Listen, that’s punta,” Gabriela yells, battling the speaker. “We dance that a lot in Honduras.”

For a moment, thoughts of the journey’s hardships fade away as the family laughs and cheers on the dancers.

April 9: Mexico City

The travelers gather outside the church at 7 a.m. Jonathan is still asleep and Omar is struggling to stay awake. They’re shivering, and waiting for instructions to get on the buses headed to Mexico City. Volunteers hand out bags filled with snacks. A sign on the gate of the church reads, “We appreciate your donations but for the moment we are covered. God bless your generosity.” The migrants have felt welcomed here.

“We ate a lot there. We got new clothes there, shoes. We got sweaters, pants, lots of diapers and milk, things that I needed for the boys and a mountain of toys,” Gabriela says.

Organizers ask everyone to make as much room possible to get everyone on board the 17 buses that have turned up. As their bus heads off, Jonathan’s face is glued to the window as he waves goodbye. A migrant yells out the window, “Gracias Puebla!”

The two boys pile into Gabriela’s lap and fall asleep. Nearly four hours later, the caravan arrives in Mexico City, where police stop traffic and escort the convoy through town.

As they pull into a shelter’s parking lot, other migrants and supporters are cheering, holding signs that read, “The fight continues,” “No Trump” and “Viva Honduras.”

Central American migrants are welcomed as they arrive at a shelter in Mexico City.

April 10: Mexico City

Gabriela is exhausted after the night in the new shelter, in what is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico City. The boys don’t seem tired at all.

A bounce house has been set up, and volunteers are painting faces. Omar insists he wants a Spider-Man face. He gets it.

Gabriela is annoyed.

“It’s not easy getting that face paint off,” she says.

Caravan organizers ask the migrants to make copies of their IDs and official documents from Mexico. Gabriela hoists Jonathan onto her shoulders and grabs Omar. They walk to a print shop and join the long line of Central Americans.

Jonathan amuses himself at a stop on the journey.

As they wait, Jonathan, dressed in a Spider-Man onesie, amuses himself with a bell on a parked bike. He giggles, running back and forth between his mother and brother, and the bike.

“Stop that,” Gabriela says scolding him. She is struggling to focus, and wants to make sure she gets the right amount of copies.

Omar sits alone, ignoring his brother as he explains he is going to the United States of America. In the United States, he says, they won’t have to deal with the violence and could make more money.

And he’s looking forward to something else.

“A good education,” he says.

April 11: Mexico City

Gabriela doesn’t like the food at the shelter, and nausea from the pregnancy doesn’t help.

“It’s hard for me to keep anything down,” she says.

She orders a smoothie at a stand set up near the shelter. The boys order a plate of fries each and douse them in ketchup. A glass bottle of Coke is passed back, something they can barely afford at 75 pesos, about $4.

As Gabriela pulls coins out of her pocket to pay, Omar spots an arcade game and begs for a coin to play. She hesitates. She doesn’t have many coins left. Omar continues to plead. She caves and he runs off to play.

“Sometimes, they don’t understand when you say, ‘I don’t have money.’ It hurts my heart every time I have to say that,” Gabriela says.

As they share the smoothie, she talks about her family. She misses her mom and grandmother most.

“My mom and I are close. But I am really close to my grandma. I have only been able to talk to her once (since I left).”

Gabriela got out of Honduras very quickly. It’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and gang violence is rife.

She’d suffered domestic abuse from her husband and left him. But then gang members found her one day, demanding to know where her ex was. They gave her 12 hours to give him up or said they would kill her 6-year-old.

She left that night, with her sons and the clothes they wore.

It’s hard for her to accept, but she says she understands leaving her family is part of the sacrifice she must make to give her children a better life, a safer life.

“There are people who think I just woke up and said, ‘Oh,I want to just go to the United States.’ It’s not that easy,” she says.

In hearing talk about the United States, Omar reveals he knows a little bit of English.

“One, two, three, four …”

He stumbles on the number five, but continues counting until he reaches 10, his face beaming with a great sense of accomplishment.

April 12: Mexico City

The family joins the caravan as it visits the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, then heads to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Gabriela doesn’t know whether their presence will actually make a difference, but she wants to support the group.

The mother and sons spend the day in the city until large, blue police buses with barred windows arrive to take them back to the shelter on the far side of town.

There aren’t enough buses for the entire group. Most of the men while have to walk six miles back to the shelter.

By the time Gabriela reaches the door of the bus, it is packed with women. She hands Jonathan to another woman who pulls him onto the bus as if he were crowd surfing. Gabriela holds Omar tightly next to her and squeezes onto the bus. It doesn’t seem odd or scary to the children. By now, they’re used to it.

April 13: Tultitlán

The municipality is providing buses to move the group north, closer to a train station. With Jonathan dangling from a baby carrier, the family marches with the caravan. They chant, “We are not criminals.”

As they wait for transportation, the heat takes its toll on a child nearby. She faints, and is rushed to a doctor. Organizers say she was dehydrated.

“I can’t even imagine what I would do if that happened to Omar or Jonathan,” Gabriela says.

She isn’t feeling well either. When they arrive in Tultitlán, she lies down in the plaza.

Gabriela lies down in a plaza in Tutitlán, exhausted by the traveling.

Not everyone welcomes them.

Seeing the buses, a local worker says, “They make me nervous.”

Groups of migrants often come to this area to clamber onto freight trains that stop nearby, he explains. He believes it is the cause of a rise in crime.

Migrants clamber onto trains they nickname "The Beast" to head north.

The boys are hungry after the 12-hour bus journey that included traffic jams and wrong turns. They buy potato chips at a stand, one bag per child. The boys lean up against Gabriela on the ground, until they hear a train whistle in the distance.

The migrants jump up and cheer. Gabriela says she is afraid of the train, but Omar quickly corrects her and uses his hands to open her mouth like a puppet as he says in the deepest voice he can muster, “We are not afraid of the train.”

April 14: Tultitlán

At 7 a.m., the family is sitting in the already hot sun, trying to keep cool. They have been waiting for the train for four hours. It will take another four hours to hear the train whistle again.

This is not a scheduled service. There are no tickets. It is not even a passenger train. Migrants are waiting for La Bestia, “the Beast,” a name given to any northbound freight train that can be boarded.

It is chaos as hundreds of people try to climb up the train, not knowing how much time they have before it starts off again.

Gabriela pushes the boys, and others help pull them up. But the pregnant Gabriela struggles.

Panicked, a woman scolds her. The backpack being carried by the man climbing ahead of her slams into her face. When she finds the strength to pull herself up, she finds her children sitting atop a mound of scrap metal and trash filling the train’s car. Omar has a cut on his hand. And she is feeling dizzy.

The family sits on top of a load of trash being carried on a freight train taking them north.

“I felt like I was going to faint. I was scared,” she says. “What if I faint and wake up, and can’t find my kids?”

She settles on a blanket, and sobs. As they wait for the train to move, volunteers throw out Coca-Colas and water bottles to keep the group replenished. An air of desperation spreads across the train, just as it starts moving at 3:30 p.m.

Hours later, as the sun sets, it is cold and Gabriela feels lost in the darkness. She can’t see where she is headed, but she knows it is north.

April 15: On a train in Guanajuato

A sigh of relief. Gabriela is now in Guanajuato. She calls the overnight trip on the train one of the scariest moments of her life.

She didn’t know what part of Mexico she was in when there was a sudden jolt. The train stopped and she held on tightly to her boys. All she could see in the dark distance was the outline of mountains.

The migrants were told to get off the train. They refused. The conductor disconnected the cars carrying the migrants, and started the train again, leaving the migrants stranded.

Cold and trembling, the children cried.

“Even the blankets were frozen,” Gabriela noted.

She was hungry, and they didn’t have enough food. “I couldn’t do anything about it,” she says.

Her throat was sore. Asthma kicked in. She couldn’t breathe well. And she was starting to develop a pain in her lower abdomen. Gabriela actually thought to herself they could die.

“I covered her legs (to keep her warm),” Omar chimes in with pride, as he hears his mom talk about it later.

They stumbled off the tracks and huddled together, praying and asking God to keep them safe. Men from the caravan gathered wood and started a bonfire. It would be three hours before there was any sense of an answered prayer.

Another train was rolling in. Gabriela pulled herself and the boys onto the rail car yet to again continue north. This time, the car was not filled with mounds of trash. It was empty, and they could hunker down in a much warmer place for the journey.

April 16: Irapuato

They’ve rested. The wait begins again. Gabriela is hearing from caravan organizers they’re heading to Guadalajara the next morning, but they’ll have to wait to find out whether transportation is sorted out by then.

She prays buses will be available. She doesn’t want to have to get back on another freight train with the boys.

As Omar sits with other kids at a table, he draws small stick figures sitting on top of La Bestia. He is one of them.

He doesn’t say much about riding on La Bestia. He shares just one thought: “I thought I was going to die, too,” he says.

April 17: Guadalajara

Organizers did not get the buses. Gabriela pulls herself onto another train to Guadalajara, where they will reunite with members of the original caravan who had gotten there earlier. The total head count now is closer to 600.

Migrants find what space they can on freight trains.

Some of them are at the church, where they may have to sleep in the pews. Gabriela heads to a shelter, where volunteers make sure a warm meal is available and there are medical volunteers voluntarily tending to the sick.

Gabriela needs help. Her health is deteriorating. She is weak, and can’t stop coughing. Her blood pressure is high.

The doctor explains the abdominal pain she started to feel on the train is an infection, and it could spread to her kidneys if she doesn’t take care of herself.

“If it spreads to my kidneys, I could lose the baby,” she says.

Doctors give her a shot, and insist she must rest.

April 18: Guadalajara

The trio has spent the morning in talks with volunteers and organizers. After a long meeting, Gabriela is worried because the latest rumor suggests the group will not move for five days.

From the little she has heard, the plan is to move north to Mazatlan. And while Gabriela is looking forward to making it closer to the border, she worries because the boys are getting sick. The medicine she has isn’t helping them.

The rough journey and the lack of nutritious food is taking its toll.

April 19: Guadalajara

Omar wakes up very sick. He has a fever, and can only stomach sips of water. Usually a curious boy who typically wanders off, he doesn’t even have the energy to walk.

“When I would stand him up, his knees would buckle,” his mother says.

Gabriela takes him to the medical volunteers, hoping they can give him a shot, too. She is desperate for something to make him better.

The doctor tells her he is dehydrated and has an infection. They give him a shot before the family heads to yet another bus to head north.

April 20: Mazatlan

As soon as they reach Mazatlan, the family heads straight for the showers. It has been 10 days since Gabriela had an opportunity to wash her hair with warm water.

“Even though I was congested, I could smell the train in my hair. I still had rust from the train in my hair,” she says.

Omar is feeling better, but the family is homesick, missing their relatives. Gabriela manages to borrow a phone. She calls home and talks to her mom.

Something seems wrong. Her mother is reluctant to tell her, but eventually breaks the news. Gabriela’s beloved grandmother is very sick.

“I don’t know if I will ever see my grandmother again,” she says.

She wants to go back to see her family, but she can’t quit now, she tells herself. She is too close to the United States.

That night, they board a bus for a 12-hour ride to Hermosillo.

April 21: Hermosillo

Gabriela is chatting with others on a street near the new shelter in Hermosillo, when she notices the window of a car passing by rolls down and a woman inside.

“She asked Omar why he was walking around barefoot. He told her it was because he lost his shoes,” says Gabriela.

The woman told them she would be back. The family didn’t move. And it didn’t take long before the woman returned with several pairs of new shoes for Omar.

Throughout their journey, migrants have been helped by donations of clothes and food.

And that wasn’t all. Gabriela was most excited about the food the woman brought. They now had cornflakes and milk in hand.

“People have treated me in such a kind way,” she says, though she’s unsure whether the same will happen on the other side of the border.

April 22: Hermosillo

At the shelter, a volunteer who knows Gabriela is pregnant pulls her aside.

“She said, ‘Come. I’m going to make you an egg, just like I know you like to eat them.'”

She served Gabriela salty scrambled eggs, indeed just like Gabriela likes them. Gabriela then had tortillas, soup, beef stew, potatoes and rice. She hasn’t eaten this much food in weeks.

“Even the smell of it was delicious,” she says

She was worried about nausea, but it never came.

“It gave me strength,” she remembers.

April 23: Hermosillo

A new reality is starting to sink in. Gabriela is in the final stretch of the journey north. Omar feels it, too.

“He keeps saying, ‘Are we close? Mom, are we in the United States? I am tired of the buses and sleeping on the floor,'” she says.

A bus carrying migrants on the road of La Rumorosa, in Tecate, Baja California state.

Gabriela understands her son’s feelings. She knows she is close, but has no idea how close. She keeps telling her son Tijuana is next, and that’s all she knows.

April 24: Tijuana

But first, there is another bus ride. On the way to Tijuana, Omar starts crying. He is hungry.

Another Honduran mother on the bus passes food down. A bond has grown between the mothers of the caravan and they help each other.

Gabriela is starving, but she must feed the boys first. She hands over the snacks to Omar.

Laura comes back.

“She told me I have to eat too, but I said no. I want my kid to eat first,” Gabriela explains.

At last the bus stops and the family gets in line to enter the Juventud 2000 shelter.

The organization has set up about 50 tents, each with a warm blanket and a pillow. The excitement over the new fuchsia tent is too much for the boys to contain. They jump up and down inside the tent.

The boys play inside their fuchsia tent, a little space of their own for a while.

Gabriela smiles.

“I do get tired, but I’d rather see them like this. I can’t stand seeing them as sick as they have been throughout all of this.”

April 25: Tijuana

Gabriela had no idea.

“It seems so close, right?” she said giggling.

She is standing about a quarter of a mile away from the US-Mexico border. “It doesn’t seem real after all we’ve struggled through to get here.”

A sign outside a soup kitchen reminds people how close they are to the United States.

But it is real — she is now within sight of the land she hopes will offer her and her children a new life.

And while she may be in disbelief, she knows she is close enough to start preparing to turn herself into US immigration officials.

As she points to the border fence, the insides of her hands are visible, filled with now-faded numbers written in ink.

“This is my aunt’s number.”

It’s the only link she has to her one relative who lives in the United States, in California.

She has it written on a small piece of paper she keeps tucked in her jacket, but she’s heard immigration officials will take all of her belongings. So she’s written her aunt’s contact details on her hand in hope of memorizing it. She still can’t remember all the numbers. Maybe she’ll come up with a song, she says.

But that is for the future.

Gabriela, center, is still with hundreds of migrants who made the trek north.

Right now, Gabriela is experiencing more pain. She is taken to the emergency room, where they give her a shot of penicillin and antibiotics.

And in the back of her mind, she is also thinking about the talk among the migrants. She has heard about “la hieleras,” the coolers, the migrants’ nickname for cold ICE detention facilities.

She has heard she could be held for months. But, it’s the talk of family separation that worries her most right now. Immigration authorities say they do not normally split mothers from their children, but that does not stop the fear.

“Omar already tells me, ‘I don’t want to be far away from you. I will cry.'”

April 26: Tijuana

The shelter is quiet, with most of its inhabitants out for the day, only to return for dinner.

Gabriela is feeling better. The medicine from the ER is helping with the pain from her kidney infection, and her unborn child, now about four months along, has not been harmed.

She’s sitting outside in the sun and the boys are roughhousing happily together.

But back inside a few minutes later, Omar’s mood shifts and he throws a tantrum, sobbing and shrieking in the small pink tent. “No! No!” he wails.

At first, Gabriela is upset with him and his unusual mood and Jonathan joins in to berate him. “He only started behaving like this once we started moving with the caravan,” Gabriela says apologetically.

Gabriela has seen her children's moods change on the long journey.

She grabs Omar and soothes him with hugs until he falls asleep. Jonathan joins his mother in giving his brother hugs and all is well again for the time being.

“Thank God I have patience,” Gabriela says. There are moments where I’m frustrated with the boys and I’m desperate. There are times I want to go home when they make me crazy. Other women in the caravan tell me to be calm and keep fighting. “

The future: California?

Gabriela can see the United States, but still does not know whether her future lies there or what the next stage of her journey will be.

The family plans to head to the border in the coming days.

She does not plan to enter illegally, instead presenting herself to officials to claim asylum, given the danger to her life — and the lives of her children — in Honduras.

And that’s about as far ahead as she can contemplate. She just doesn’t have the energy to think what would be next if she is not given asylum, if she is sent back, forced to continue her journey elsewhere.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Gabriela says simply. “I cannot go back to my country.”

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Tucker Carlson: Steele Dossier “Was A Setup From The Beginning” By The Deep State | Video

Tucker Carlson delivered commentary on the Steele dossier and former DNI James Clapper’s involvement in disseminating it on the Friday edition of his FOX News show. He said the use of the infamous dossier was a “setup from the beginning.” Carlson called Clapper and former CIA director John Brennan “accomplished and enthusiastic liars.”

“No one ever really believed the dossier was true or cared if it was true. It was always just a tool designed to hamstring an administration that Permanent Washington opposed from day one,” Carlson said.

“Trump was onto this actually from the beginning. He couldn’t really explain it, but he could smell it, which is his one great talent and he was right,” Carlson said. “Of course, he was attacked mercilessly for suggesting the so-called intel community might not be on the level. How dare he do that, they yelped on CNN. They are public servants. They dedicate their lives to keeping you safe blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

“Actually, they’re just people. Some are great people. Some of them are rotten and unethical. Some would gladly use leaks, deception, and innuendo to reverse results of an election. Most people understand this and that’s why the phrase deep state is suddenly part of the public conversation,” he said.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: After a year of research and interviews, the House Intelligence Committee has finally completed its investigation into that Russian meddling during that 2016 election you’ve been hearing so much about. The final report is out. It’s more than 200 pages long.

Here’s the headline: Investigators found no evidence of collusion or coordination of any kind between the Russian government and the Donald Trump for president campaign. None. So that’s bad news for the other cable channels. They probably ought to apologize for the entire last year of their programming but obviously don’t hold your breath. But to the rest of us, there is really no surprise here because there was never any evidence of collusion. It was always a fantasy.

By the way, the report does not offer any evidence that the Russian government directed the hacking of the DNC servers or John Podesta’s G-mail account either.

To this day, though no one ever says it, no one has ever come up with any proof that that happened despite the fact that we’re all required to believe that it happened or else we are Russian agents ourselves but whatever.

There is not a lot new about the Trump campaign in this report. But there is quite a bit actually about how Washington actually works. Consider former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper. For years, Clapper was one of the most powerful intelligence chiefs in the world. Now he is a cable news shouter and a political activist. He is also a prolific liar.

According to today’s reports in sworn testimony to Congress, under oath, Clapper claimed that he never discussed the Steele dossier with anyone in the press. That’s untrue. The report reveals that Clapper whispered to CNN about the Steele dossier and months later, of course, the network hired him as a contributor. He still is one.

Yesterday, Jim Comey told our friend Bret Baier that Clapper encouraged him to discuss the dossier with the president. That briefing was later used by CNN and other media outlets to justify reporting on the dossier and so on in the circular fashion, we have been watching for the last year. In other words, the whole thing was a setup from the beginning.

No one ever really believed the dossier was true or cared if it was true. It was always just a tool designed to hamstring an administration that Permanent Washington opposed from day one.

Trump was onto this actually from the beginning. He couldn’t really explain it, but he could smell it, which is his one great talent and he was right. Of course, he was attacked mercilessly for suggesting the so-called intel community might not be on the level. How dare he do that, they yelped on CNN. They are public servants. They dedicate their lives to keeping you safe blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Actually, they’re just people. Some are great people. Some of them are rotten and unethical. Some would gladly use leaks, deception, and innuendo to reverse results of an election. Most people understand this and that’s why the phrase deep state is suddenly part of the public conversation.

John Brennan is part of the reason by the way. Brennan is the former head of the CIA and like Jim Clapper, he is an accomplished and enthusiastic liar. Like Clapper, he has begun second career as political activist. Almost immediately after today’s report was released and long before he could have actually read the report, Brennan denounced the entire thing as meaningless. He then said this on Twitter directly to the president, quote, ‘The [Special Counsel’s] findings will be comprehensive & authoritative. Stay tuned, Mr. Trump….’ He added an ellipsis just to make it extra ominous, which it was.

Okay. So the long-time chief of a shadowy intelligence agency is warning the democratically-elected president of our country that something bad is about to happen to him. Apparently, because John Brennan has inside knowledge the rest of us don’t. But don’t let that bother you. Don’t get paranoid or anything. Don’t buy any of those nutty conspiracy theories about the deep state. Everything is fine. Just be sure to obey the permanent government in Washington or else goons like John Brennan will crush you.



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Largest child sacrifice in history discovered in Peru

The skeletal remains of more than 140 children and 200 baby llamas were found on the country’s northern coast. It may be evidence of the largest child sacrifice in history, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic, released Thursday on its website. The remains of a man and two women were also found.

The sacrifices are believed to have taken place 550 years ago in the pre-Columbian Chimú Empire, in a sacrificial site formerly known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, close to a UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan, in the modern town of Trujillo.

The children ranged in age from 5 to 14, according to the report. The baby llamas were less than 18 months old.

“Skeletal remains of both children and animals show evidence of cuts to the sternum as well as rib dislocations,” the report says.

The children had their faces smeared with a red cinnabar-based pigment, the report says, which took place during the ceremony before their chests were cut open, most likely to remove their hearts.

“The sacrificial llamas appear to have met the same fate,” the report states.

According to National Geographic, the children were “buried facing west, out to the sea.” The baby llamas were buried facing east, toward the high peaks of the Andes.

Based on evidence from layers of dried mud, the report states it’s believed that all the human and animal sacrifices took place at the same time. The three adults found had blunt-force trauma to the head and no grave, leading scientist to believe they, too, were part of the sacrifice.

The site where the children and baby llamas were found has been under excavation since 2011, when the site first made headlines after the discovery of 42 children and 76 llamas during an emergency dig.

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From luxury to life behind bars: What Bill Cosby faces in prison

(Reuters) – Bill Cosby, used to the high life as one of America’s biggest stars, will likely see his entourage of aides replaced by an inmate paid pennies to help the legally blind comedian navigate life behind bars after he is sentenced for sexual assault.

FILE PHOTO: Actor and comedian Bill Cosby exits the Montgomery County Courthouse after a jury convicted him in a sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Cosby, 80, faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in the next three months for drugging and raping Andrea Constand, 45, in 2004 at his sprawling compound outside Philadelphia. He is appealing the verdict, which could potentially delay his imprisonment for months or even years.

Should he eventually leave the world of private jets and luxury hotel suites, the disgraced star of the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show” will become probably the best-known celebrity to hear the gates of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shut behind him, according to a department spokeswoman, Susan McNaughton.

She said previous and current high-profile inmates have included legislators, ex-police officers and Jerry Sandusky, a former Pennsylvania State University football coach convicted in 2012 of being a serial child molester.

Another is Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political activist convicted in the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

Incarceration will be a stark change for the comedian, whose net worth was estimated in 2016 by Fortune magazine at $400 million, with $100 million invested in real estate, including homes in New York, Massachusetts and Nevada. He also owned a private jet, artwork and dozens of classic cars.

Once Cosby arrives behind bars, he will face an “incarceration reception process” to determine his healthcare and psychological treatment needs, his security level, and to which of 22 male prisons he will be sent.

He will be one of just 83 inmates aged 80 or older, and one of very few who are legally blind, McNaughton said.

Such prisoners are typically assigned a sighted inmate, who is paid just 19 to 42 cents an hour, to assist them and lead them through the facility.

“Certainly Mr. Cosby would be fine,” she said. “Of course they (the inmate assistants) are screened, and there is a lot of monitoring and supervision.”

Like most inmates, Cosby will likely be allowed to receive and send emails, which are also screened for security purposes. Most inmates use prison-approved tablet computers.

Cosby’s prison assistant might also help sort any fan mail that passes a security screening.

“No drugs or contraband or influence of escape,” McNaughton said. “If it clears through the mailroom, it’s delivered to the inmate.”

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler

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Priorities USA super PAC ramps up fundraising for 2018


People voting are pictured. | Getty Images

The super PACs first-quarter haul more than doubled what it brought in all of last year, when the nonprofit took the lead fighting policies put forward by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Democratic group raised $4.5 million in the first quarter, plus $2.2 million for an allied nonprofit.

Priorities USA Action, the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC that reinvented itself in 2017 with a broader mission and a focus on digital campaigning, raised $4.5 million in the first three months of 2018 as it prepares for the midterm elections.

The super PAC’s sister nonprofit, Priorities USA, raised $2.2 million, for a combined first-quarter total of $6.7 million.

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The super PAC’s first-quarter haul more than doubled what it brought in all of last year, when the nonprofit took the lead fighting policies put forward by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. The super PAC spent approximately $500,000 in two key 2018 Senate states, Indiana and Missouri, and finished the first quarter with about $4.5 million on hand, the group said.

The fundraising pace slowed for the 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Priorities USA, which brought in $15.5 million in 2017.

While Priorities USA Action has to report its donors and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission by Sunday’s first-quarter deadline, the 501(c)(4) can accept anonymous donations of unlimited size.

The Priorities USA groups plan to spend $75 million in the 2018 midterms, CNN reported in January, focusing on digital advertising and working in concert with House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, the biggest Democratic super PACs focused on congressional races. Priorities USA Action and House Majority PAC already announced a plan to jointly spend $12 million on digital ads this year, as Democrats look to win the 23 seats they need to take back the House.

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Pakistan moves jailed doctor who helped track bin Laden

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani prison authorities have moved the jailed doctor believed to have helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden, his attorney said on Saturday, speculating it could be a prelude to his release.

FILE PHOTO: A roadside vendor sells newspapers with headlines about the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in Lahore May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo

The continued imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi has long been a source of tension between Pakistan and the United States, which cut military aid over accusations Pakistan continues to shelter Taliban militants fighting U.S. and Afghan soldiers across the border in Afghanistan.

A jail official in the northwestern city of Peshawar told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Afridi had been transferred to Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, but said the reasons were unclear and could simply be security-related.

Afridi’s lawyer, Qamar Nadeem, confirmed the transfer of his client but said he was not sure where he was now. Judicial officials could not be reached on Saturday, nor could embassy officials for the United States, which has for years called on Pakistan to release Afridi.

Afridi was accused of treason after word spread he had helped the CIA collect genetic samples of the bin Laden family, paving the way for a U.S. Navy Seal raid in 2011 in the town of Abbottabad that killed the al Qaeda leader accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people.

He was arrested days after the U.S. operation – which Pakistan called a violation of its sovereignty – and charged with aiding terrorists.

Afridi was sentenced to 23 years’ jail for financing terrorism. That conviction was overturned in 2013, but he is still serving time for other terrorism-related convictions, his lawyer said.

FILE PHOTO: A police officer walks past Central Jail in Peshawar June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/File Photo

He also faced a murder trial related to the death of a patient more than a decade ago.

However, the layer said Afridi had recently had his latest sentence reduced to seven years in a clemency action, and had served about that amount of time already.

“So I think he can be released very soon,” Nadeem told Reuters.

There were no other immediate indications of any release in the works, however.

In January 2017, Pakistan’s then-law minister said the country would not release Afridi under any U.S. pressure.

“Afridi worked against the law and our national interest, and the Pakistan government has repeatedly been telling the United States that under our law he committed a crime and was facing the law,” Zahid Hamid was quoted as saying at the time.

Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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