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Politics

Rex Tillerson has touched down in Moscow. But well before his plane landed on the runway, heated words were already flying between the U.S. secretary of state and Russian officials over the situation in Syria.

"I hope that what the Russian government concludes is that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad," Tillerson said Tuesday at a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers in Lucca, Italy, shortly before he left for Russia.

As the Trump administration considers steps to implement what the president has called extreme vetting of foreigners at the border, one aspect of security screening has already been amped up.

The number of people who have been asked to hand over their cellphones and passwords by Customs and Border Protection agents has increased nearly threefold in recent years. This is happening to American citizens as well as foreign visitors.

Charles Fettinger / Creative Commons

 

Aspiring tyrants have long used disaster and terror to consolidate power and limit freedom. Hitler used the Reichstag fire to suspend the basic rights of all German citizens; more recently, Putin used the bombing of buildings in Russian cities to attack Russia's Muslim people in Chechnya.

The newest member of the Supreme Court celebrated his swearing-in with a public ceremony in the White House Rose Garden Monday morning. Neil Gorsuch will cement the conservative 5-4 majority on the high court, delivering on a key campaign promise of President Trump.

"I've always heard that the most important thing that a president of the United States does is appoint people — hopefully great people like this appointment — to the United States Supreme Court," Trump said. "And I got it done in the first 100 days."

The school board in Newtown, Connecticut, wants Donald Trump to acknowledge the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Trump has praised a radio host who claims the shooting was a hoax. The board sent Trump an open letter in February asking him to repudiate that claim.

The letter says the town has been hurt by the viciousness of people who deny the shooting took place. At least three people have been arrested for harassing parents who lost children in the shooting.

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