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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump fired back at a woman who accused him of sexual assault saying "she's not my type" and insisting the incident "never happened."

The accusation is the latest in a string of allegations against the president dating back decades, all of which he has denied.

In response, E. Jean Carroll, who made the latest accusation, could only laugh.

The writer, who said Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s, told Anderson Cooper in an interview Monday night: "I love that. I am so glad I'm not his type. I'm so glad."

Earlier in the day, the president, who also said Carroll was "totally lying" that he sexually assaulted her, told The Hill during an interview in the Oval Office: "I'll say it with great respect: No. 1, she's not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?”

Carroll had repeated the accusation a few hours earlier during a TV interview.

In the later interview with Cooper, in addition to laughing off Trump's denial, Carroll said the president's response felt quite similar to others when confronted by other women.

"He's denied all 15 women who have come forward. He denies. He turns it around. He threatens, and he attacks," Carroll said on CNN.

Trump on Monday repeated the claim he'd never met Carroll, whose account of the alleged incident was published on Friday by New York Magazine in an excerpt of her forthcoming book. That excerpt included a photograph from 1987 showing Trump, his then-wife Ivanka, Carroll and Carroll's then-husband, John Johnson, at a party.

"Totally lying. I don't know anything about her," Trump had said. "I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her. She is -- it's just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that."

Trump told reporters the photo didn't prove anything.

"Standing with a coat in a line -- give me a break -- with my back to the camera," he added. "I have no idea who she is."

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Sean Rayford/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On a mild summer Tuesday this month, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg stood before hundreds of supporters at an Indiana University auditorium and laid out his plan for American foreign policy.

It was a vision shaped in part by his deployment to Afghanistan in 2014 as a U.S. Navy Reserve intelligence officer, he told the crowd, an experience he referenced four times in that speech and brings up often on the campaign trail.

But what the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor didn't mention, and virtually never discusses in his run for the nation's highest office, were other trips to Afghanistan and Iraq years prior to his military deployment, when he was a 20-something civilian contractor for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Buttigieg worked for McKinsey from 2007 to 2010, after completing post-graduate studies at Oxford. In his memoir, Shortest Way Home, he mentions his involvement in domestic projects for the firm like doing energy efficiency research in the U.S., and goes into particular detail about one that involved analyzing North American grocery prices.

But when it comes to his work abroad with McKinsey, he only drops hints about working on "war zone economic development to help grow private sector employment" in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also refers to a "safe house" in Baghdad. The book doesn't say exactly when or how long Buttigieg was in either country.

And beyond that, details are scarce -- by design.

‘The strictest confidentiality'

"So McKinsey, the way it works, is truly on a confidential basis. They won't mention publicly what project they'll do," Taufiq Rahim, a former McKinsey consultant in the Middle East and current New America senior fellow, told ABC News. "Sometimes their work comes to the fore in this region, but they're generally able to be even more secretive here."

A McKinsey brochure notes it "treat[s] all client data and information with the strictest confidentiality, both during a project and once it has been completed." A McKinsey spokesperson declined to answer ABC News' questions about Buttigieg's work with the company and its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Buttigieg campaign, too, declined to answer questions posed by ABC News about Buttigieg's consultant work in the war zones, citing a now nearly decade-old non-disclosure agreement.

"A couple years after graduating college, Pete worked for a few years for McKinsey, where he worked on various tasks ranging from energy efficiency to grocery pricing," the campaign said in a statement. "He had a good experience and learned a lot while at McKinsey, but also realized there that his heart was in public service. His work there is largely covered by a non-disclosure agreement."

Buttigieg's foreign policy record will come into focus as the 2020 presidential candidate -- known as "Mayor Pete" -- tries to edge out 23 other hopefuls for the Democratic nomination and the right to try to unseat President Donald Trump. Buttigieg and his competitors will debate this week in Miami.

Founded in 1926, McKinsey counts a myriad of major American and international corporations among its customers, including ABC News, as well as a host of U.S. government agencies. For example, the firm has been contracted to provide planning support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to conduct internal assessments for the Internal Revenue Service.

The firm was the subject of a New York Times story last year that detailed its allegedly controversial work in places like China, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. For its part, McKinsey said in a statement that the story "painted a misleading picture."

Buttigieg's campaign told ABC News the South Bend mayor believes McKinsey "needs to be held to a high standard" and said he's "troubled by the reports of some of the things they've been involved in," including the firm's purported link to the opioid industry.

A McKinsey spokesperson declined to comment on the opioid report to ABC News, but the company told Bloomberg last month that it is "no longer advising clients on any opioid-specific business and [is] continuing to support key stakeholders working to combat the [opioid] crisis."

Still, less has been written about McKinsey's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But an ABC News review of public documents, government reports and military contracts sheds light on some of the firm's work there in the economic development field during the span of Buttigieg's employment.

Both McKinsey and the Buttigieg campaign declined to discuss whether Buttigieg was personally involved in the projects described in this report. A spokesperson for McKinsey did not say whether the firm had other business in either country, which, unlike U.S. federal contracts, may not have been publicly disclosed by law.

In Iraq, McKinsey and the U.S. military

In both countries, McKinsey worked with a now-defunct Department of Defense organization called the Task Force on Business and Stability Operations, records show, which had a primary objective to foster economic and job growth in the aftermath of -- and effectively during -- the conflicts there.

Paul Brinkley, a former senior Defense Department official who was in charge of the task force, authored a book in which he described in the early days of the effort in the mid-2000s turning to a McKinsey senior partner he'd known previously, John Dowdy, to help the department figure out how to get Iraq's formerly state-owned industrial factories up and running again.

"Within a few weeks, [Dowdy] had assembled a strong group of consultants from the McKinsey global manufacturing practice, ready to deploy into country for extended six-week assignments, rotating out with replacements ready to pivot in to maintain momentum," Brinkley writes in the 2014 book War Front to Store Front: Americans Rebuilding Trust and Hope in Nations Under Fire.

The consultants performed factory assessments and worked with U.S. military supply officers to "identify demand sources for Iraqi factories," Brinkley wrote in the book.

Through an associate, Brinkley declined to comment for this report. The associate said Brinkley did not have any specific recollections about Buttigieg.

In late 2008, McKinsey was awarded a contract worth nearly $3 million funded by the Defense Department's Business Transformation Agency, which supported the task force's work.

The contract described the work as "consulting services" in Iraq, though it's unclear if it was related to the initial factory assessments or other work.

At one point Dowdy interviewed Brinkley for a McKinsey publication and hailed the economic development work undertaken by the task force in Iraq. Neither, however, mentioned McKinsey's own role there.

Overall, Brinkley in his book praised McKinsey's work in Iraq and noted the "bravery" of the consultants who worked on the ground.

$18.6 million and the 'theater of the absurd' in Afghanistan

By 2009, the Defense Department task force set its sights on expanding into Afghanistan, and Brinkley brought McKinsey along.

The taskforce also awarded McKinsey an $18.6 million contract for a wide range of services in Afghanistan, from conducting training workshops to helping it define its "strategic focus" in the country, according to watchdog report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Federal records indicate the contract was paid out in several batches of more than $1 million at a time in 2009 and 2010.

But the watchdog report said that when its investigators later searched task force computers for evidence of McKinsey's work, the "only output [they] could find" was a 50-page report about strategic economic development potential in Herat, a province in western Afghanistan.

In 2016, senior Defense Department official Brian McKeon told lawmakers that he understood early on McKinsey had been tasked with doing an analysis of what sectors in Afghanistan "might be productive in terms of economic generation," but said his team had not been able to find the study.

"In my experience with McKinsey, it is a 10-page slide deck, so I am not sure it is going to answer many questions anyway," he said.

The inspector general report said that overall the Defense Department task force, which spent $675 million in dozens of projects across the country, had "mixed results" in Afghanistan and rapped it for some wasteful, unsustainable projects. It also criticized the task force's "lack of documentation" that made it "difficult to evaluate to what extent" McKinsey and other contractors met their intended goals.

In his book, Brinkley contends that the task force was making progress in Afghanistan on several fronts before it was effectively killed by Washington bureaucracy.

Frank Calestino, a former Treasury Department official who worked in the inspector general's office though not directly on the task force review, told ABC News that generally in Afghanistan the U.S. government often rushed to hire outside entities to solve problems. It then left those private organizations largely to their own devices, he added.

"It was the theater of the absurd out there," Calestino said.

"But I can tell you this, that it has very little to do with Mayor Pete," he added, referring to Buttigieg. "Everybody was stagehands in the theater of the absurd."

Buttigieg quit McKinsey in 2010 but said in his book he brought some lessons from the experience back home to South Bend.

"I felt that I understood our city's problems, not just as a resident but also a professional; the overlap and balkanization of our city's economic development efforts reminded me of what I had seen on my trips to Afghanistan as a consultant dealing with the bewildering array of development agencies on the ground there," he wrote.

Whatever else he saw there while working for McKinsey, however, the presidential hopeful isn't saying.

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Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday aimed at curbing health care costs by requiring health insurers and providers to reveal pricing for care to patients.

He said it would "blow everything away" in the health care industry.

"This is bigger than anything we've done in this particular realm," Trump said at a signing ceremony at the White House. "It's pretty much going to blow everything away."

"Often, prices differ drastically between providers and hospitals for the exact same services. And there is no consistency. There is no predictability. And there's frankly no rhyme or reason to what's been happening for so many years," Trump said.

The order, "Improving Price and Quality Transparency in Healthcare," does not immediately make changes to America's health care system, but creates rules that will require hospitals to disclose the prices patients and insurers actually pay and require the Department of Health and Human Services to put forward a proposal to provide patients with information about potential out-of-pocket costs they will face before they receive services. It also calls for dramatic expansion of access to claims data and directs the Treasury Department to expand the range of services for which patient Health Savings Account dollars can be used.

On a call with reporters, HHS Secretary Alex Azar touted the executive order as "one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform."

Azar talked about his own experience with trying to figure out the cost of a routine echo-cardiogram procedure that he was going to have back in his home state of Indiana.

"So there I was, the former deputy of Heath and Human Services, and that was the kind of effort it took to find out the cost of a very standardized or routine procedure. What if I had been a grandmother or a 20-something with a high-deductible health plan? This is the kind of experience that no American should ever have, and it's the kind of thing President Trump is intent on making as rare as possible in American healthcare?" Azar said.

Advocates for the executive order say that it will help patients understand potential costs for procedures so that they can make better decisions about their heath care, but critics say that that it will only create more red tape and may even end up driving up heath care costs as competition prices are revealed.

"Everyone deserves affordable coverage, and we share the Administration's commitment to making health care more affordable for every American," said Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, in a statement. "We also agree that patients should have accurate, real-time information about costs so they can make the best, most informed decisions about their care. But publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher -- not lower -- for consumers, patients, and taxpayers."

"It sounds simple to reveal prices to a government agency that then would make them available to the public. But the infrastructure and paperwork to implement this will become a new Washington swamp," former Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., and president of Americans for Less Regulation wrote in an op-ed.

With health care a top issue for 2020 candidates, the president has said he plans to roll out a brand new health care plan and his administration has issued incremental federal fixes.

"Obamacare has been a disaster," Trump said in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "We're going to have a plan. That's subject to winning the House, Senate and presidency, which hopefully we'll win all three. We'll have phenomenal health care."

Lowering costs for care has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill but is seen as a weak spot for Republicans in the next election. As a result of Trump's poor polling on health care, Politico reported that the Democratic group American Bridge is reportedly spending $50 million to target potential 2020 voters.

Still, the president took a jab at Democrats in Congress and singled out 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Democrats' support for single-payer health care calling it "very dangerous."

Trump, who has long been teasing a major executive order on health care, said he thinks this will "be one of the biggest things ever done in this world, in this industry and in this profession."

It's unclear if this is the executive order that he has been teasing for months.

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U.S. Army(WASHINGTON) -- Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia will become the first living Medal of Honor recipient for the Iraq War when President Donald Trump presents the award at a White House ceremony on Tuesday, fifteen years after his acts of heroism in the city of Fallujah in 2004.

The five previous Medals of Honor for the Iraq War were handed out posthumously.

Bellavia, now 45, is being honored for his heroism on Nov. 10, 2004 when he was a squad leader in Operation Phantom Fury, an American offensive on the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, an Iraqi insurgent stronghold. The operation is also known as the Second Battle of Fallujah.

The Army veteran, then a member of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, is credited with saving his entire squad that day after being pinned down by enemy fire coming from a block of houses.

"He quickly exchanged an M16 rifle for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, entered the house where his squad was trapped, and engaged insurgents, providing cover fire so that he and his fellow soldiers could exit safely," according to a White House statement announcing his award earlier this month.

One of those soldiers pinned down by the enemy was Sgt. 1st Class Colin Fitts -- now retired -- who briefed reporters beside Bellavia at the Pentagon on Monday.

"Were it not for David Bellavia, I wouldn't be sitting here today. So I'm extremely humbled and very appreciative for him," Fitts said. "[Bellavia] put himself in the line of that fire and laid down a base of fire -- overwhelmed the enemy long enough for me to get myself and the members of my squad out."

When an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle could not fire directly into the house, Bellavia re-entered the house -- armed only with an M16 -- and attacked the insurgents who had been firing rocket-propelled grenades.

"He proceeded to kill one insurgent and wound another, who then ran to another part of the house," the statement said. "Then-Staff Sergeant Bellavia was soon engaged by another insurgent rushing down the stairs when the previously wounded insurgent reemerged to engage him as well."

Bellavia was able to return fire and killed both of those attackers. When he took fire from an insurgent who appeared from a closet across the room, he pursued that individual up the stairs and killed him.

His award is an upgrade from the Silver Star he had previously received for these same actions. A few years ago, the Pentagon began a blanket review of all valor awards to see if they should be upgraded. Bellavia was unaware that his Silver Star had been chosen for the Medal of Honor until he received a phone call from the president, he said.

"The Iraq War veteran has served and surpassed, at times, the highest standards of American warrior tradition among any generation," Bellavia told reporters on Monday. "We have nothing to apologize for. We serve our country. We do what our leaders tell us to do."

"The narrative on the Iraq War has long been written," he continued. "I'm not here to change anyone's mind. I'm here to tell you that there are men and women who served our country in Iraq, and it has made me -- it is one of the honors of my life."

 He now wants to encourage others to serve.

"There's a million and five reasons why we're divided in this country. I never cared what your skin color was, who you worshiped or who you loved. If you are willing to get shot at for me, for my buddies, I will follow you. I will lead you anywhere," Bellavia said, adding, "I want to be of service to that Army."

He said that after reuniting with his battle buddies after 15 years there was "so much love."

"I never thought I'd see love on a battlefield. It's horrible, it's ghastly, it's ghoulish," Bellavia said. "But you see people doing things for each other that you'd never see in any other circumstance and it is a sight to see. It will change your life forever. I think we're all better for seeing that love displayed in combat."

Bellavia grew up as the youngest of four boys in Lyndonville, New York. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in 1999 and would deploy to Kosovo and then Iraq just four years later in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Between February 2004 and February 2005, his task force participated in battles in Najaf, Mosul, Baqubah, Muqdadiyah and Fallujah.

After leaving the Army in 2005, Bellavia co-founded Vets for Freedom, a veteran advocacy organization with tens of thousands of members who were veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He returned to Iraq in 2006 and 2008 as an embedded reporter, covering the fighting in Ramadi, Fallujah and Diyala Province. His 2007 book, House to House, detailed his experiences in Fallujah.

Bellavia is a business owner in western New York. He has three children.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced his most sweeping plan yet to tackle the increasing cost of a higher education, introducing a bill Monday that would make public colleges and trade schools tuition free and cancel outstanding student loan debt for everyone, a proposal that goes beyond one introduced earlier this year by one of his chief presidential campaign rivals, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, Sanders unveiled the plan to eliminate all of the $1.6 trillion of student loan debt in the U.S. held by 45 million Americans. The plan would include all private and graduate school loan debt and would apply to all persons regardless of income. The cost, he said, would be paid for by taxing Wall Street speculation.

"If the American people bailed out Wall Street, now it is Wall Street to come to the aid of the middle class of this country," Sanders said, referencing efforts by the federal government banks and lenders deemed "too big to fail" during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

"The millennial generation was told that the only way they would get the good jobs available is if they received a college education," he continued. "Unfortunately, that turned out to be bad advice."

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduces a "revolutionary" plan to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt for everyone: "This proposal will make it possible for every person in America to get all of the education they need, regardless of their financial status" https://t.co/ERXmslESrN pic.twitter.com/NEKUceMdS2

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 24, 2019

 

Student-loan forgiveness and tuition-free colleges have been a main component of Sanders’ rise as a presidential hopeful, garnering sharp criticism from both the left and the right for his ambitious, and expensive, proposals. Critics argue that the revenue generated by Sanders' proposed Wall Street taxes would not fully cover the costs of the plan, or that the money would be better spent directly assisting those in poverty, rather than persons whose education and degrees have already left them with increased upward mobility.

This student loan forgiveness component of the plan is coupled with a larger initiative to make all public universities, community colleges, and trade schools tuition-free, which would also be paid for by the new set of taxes on Wall Street, including a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades and a 0.1 percent tax on bonds.

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders says his plan to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt will be "fully paid for by a tax on Wall Street."

"The American people bailed out Wall Street. Now it is time for Wall Street to come to the aid of the middle class of this country" https://t.co/ERXmslESrN pic.twitter.com/BAYEKLYvah

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 24, 2019

 

At the news conference, Sanders was flanked by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who are introducing the House version of the bill, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an additional supporter of the legislation. Sanders argued pursuing a higher education should not economically punish young Americans.

"The result is that many millions of young people today are forced to work at low wage jobs," Sanders said. "Bottom line is we should not be punishing people for getting a higher education, it is time to hit the reset button under the proposal that we introduced today, all student debt would be cancelled in six months by taking this action."

Ocasio-Cortez, who at age 29 last year became the youngest woman ever to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, claimed that her election victory was "easier" than paying off the student loans she continues to carry.

"That should tell you everything about the state of our economy and the state of quality of life for working people, because in order for me to get a chance to have health care, in order for me to get a chance to pay off my student loans, I had to do something that was nearly impossible," Ocasio-Cortez said. "And I don't think that that is the bar for which a person should be able to access education, health care, and a bevy of other things that should be considered human rights."

Monday's proposal is not be the first time Sanders and Jayapal have teamed up to propose legislation to tackle tuition, although their previous proposals pale in comparison to this most recent bill.

In 2017, they introduced the “College For All Act” which would make public colleges tuition-free for families making up to $125,000 and expand loans for lower-income students looking to attend private universities.

With just two days before the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, Sanders’ proposal may be another way to further distinguish himself from his fellow presidential contenders, even as some of them, longtime friend Warren included, have proposed their own plans to tackle this issue.

Warren’s plan would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for people with a household income under $100,000. Those who make more, up to $250,000 would also get some debt cancellation. But the Massachusetts senator’s plan stops short of relieving debts for those who make more than $250,000.

The Vermont senator spoke to the rationale Monday for not setting income limits for either proposal, comparing the plan to others that are provided to all Americans, such as Social Security, and arguing that wealthier people would pay their share in other ways.

"I happen to … believe in universality, and that if Donald Trump wants to send his grandchildren to a public school, he has the right to do that," Sanders said, adding, "Now, our response to making sure that this does not benefit the wealthy is in other areas, we are going to demand that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes."

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Mitch McConnell is scheduled to meet with 9/11 first responders this week to discuss the renewal of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, following a public feud with comedian Jon Stewart.

McConnell's office has not confirmed the meeting, but a Ground Zero recovery worker and longtime activist, John Feal, confirmed the meeting to ABC News. Feal added that he requested the meeting, which will be held Tuesday.

"I don't think he would have just openly invited me," he told ABC News.

Earlier this month, Stewart made an emotional appeal to Congress to make the victim compensation fund permanent. With first responders and their advocates behind him, Stewart ripped Congress for failing to fully fund the program.

"They responded in five seconds, they did their jobs. With courage grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!" he shouted.

 The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which Stewart and others have battled to protect for years, is set to run out of money in December 2020.

"These cuts are real," Feal said Monday. "Tomorrow will be my 270th trip to Washington in 15 years. I've got a chip on my shoulder. I'm seeing people get sick, friends die. Their families are going to be left in financial ruin."

Stewart has called out McConnell on several occasions for his inaction in the past regarding the bill. Stewart promised in his testimony before Congress that he and other advocates won't allow a "certain someone" in the Senate to use the program as a "political football" in spending negotiations, referring to McConnell.

McConnell retaliated on "Fox and Friends" saying he didn't know why Stewart was "bent out of shape," and denied that he was moving slowly on the issue. He also said the extension would pass when it came up for renewal.

Stewart fired back on the "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," arguing that he was "not bent out of shape." He said he was upset that heroes were getting sick or dying and desperately needed Congress' help.

"These are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars War on Terror. And they are currently dying, suffering and in terrible need," he said. "You know you would think that would be enough for Congress to pay attention, but apparently, it's not."

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jetcityimage/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said she told President Trump he was “scaring the children” with his administration’s planned deportation raids across the country.

"When I spoke to the president, 'I said look, I'm a mom, I have five kids, seven, nine grandchildren and children are scared, you're scaring the children of America, not just in those families but their neighbors and their communities," Pelosi said at an event in Queens, New York, about her Friday evening phone call with the president.

A source familiar with the phone call between Pelosi and Trump said the call took place at 7:20 p.m. Friday evening and lasted for about 12 minutes.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he would delay the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids for two weeks to give Congress time to “work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.”

 ICE planned to target more than 2,040 undocumented immigrant family members who had received deportation orders but were still living across the United States, an unprecedented show of force in 10 cities to deter families from attempting to enter the United States illegally.

“This is not about fear,” ICE Acting Director Mark Morgan told ABC News Live in an interview on Friday. “No one is instilling fear in anyone. This is about the rule of law and maintaining the integrity of the system.”

Morgan said the goal was to deter more people from coming illegally to the United States. Of the roughly 144,000 migrants stopped by U.S. authorities in May, more than 105,000 came as families. The numbers represent the largest North American land migration trend in more than a decade.

This week, the House and Senate will vote on emergency spending proposals that would provide the Trump administration with $4.5 billion in border security and humanitarian aid.

But with each chamber voting on a different package – neither of which addresses asylum laws - it’s unclear if lawmakers can reconcile the proposals and send a compromise to the White House before next week’s July Fourth recess – and the president’s July 6 deadline.

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pabradyphoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to advocates of greater access to public information, ruling in a 6-3 decision that the government does not have to turn over private food stamp data it obtained from grocery stores to a South Dakota newspaper.

The paper, the Argus Leader, had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking the names and addresses of all retail stores that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and each store's annual redemption data. The FOIA request did not involve any identifying information about food stamp recipients or how they used the federal government benefit.

The paper argued that it's in the public's interest to know how government spends tax dollars. But the retailers, represented by the industry group Food Marketing Institute, objected to release of the information, which it calls "confidential" and only shares with USDA under an expectation of privacy.

FOIA exempts disclosure of "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential."

Lower courts have interpreted the the statute as also requiring an objector to show "competitive harm" with the release and ruled in favor of the paper.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, reversed that decision, saying that "at least where commercial or financial information is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner and provided to the government under an assurance of privacy, the information is 'confidential' within the meaning" of the law.

"Small business owners expect privacy when it comes to their confidential information and the Supreme Court's decision today reaffirms just that," said Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business, which filed a brief supporting the retailers.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the case.

"The whole point of FOIA is to give the public access to information it cannot otherwise obtain," Breyer wrote. "And given the temptation, common across the private and public sectors, to regard as secret all information that need not be disclosed, I fear the majority's reading will deprive the public of information for reasons no better than convenience, skittishness or bureaucratic inertia."

Argus Leader news director Cory Myers lamented the court's decision, saying in a statement posted by the paper on Twitter, "This is a massive blow to the public’s right to know how its tax dollars are being spent, and who is benefiting."

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Sean Rayford/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Ahead of the debates in Miami this week, former vice present Joe Biden released his immigration policy plan in a Miami Herald op-ed.

In the op-ed, Biden lays out in broad strokes his immigration priorities -- starting with granting immediate citizenship to undocumented immigrants brought by their parents to the U.S. when they were children.

“DREAMers are Americans, and Congress needs to make it official. The millions of undocumented people in the United States can only be brought out of the shadows through fair treatment, not ugly threats,” Biden writes.

Biden’s op-ed does not speak specifically about citizenship for others illegally in the U.S., but does calls for improvements to the asylum process, as the U.S. has seen a surge in asylum-seekers at the border.

He also cites recent news reports prompting widespread outrage.

"Under Trump, there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages, tear gassing asylum seekers, ripping children from their mothers’ arms—actions that subvert our American values and erode our ability to lead on the global stage," he writes.

Biden also hits the current administration’s attempts to do away with Temporary Protected Status for some, which protects individuals who cannot return to their home country due to temporary dangerous conditions, and prevents them form detained by Department of Homeland Security on the basis of their immigration status.

“Trump’s efforts to repeal Temporary Protected Status (TPS) across the board have injected unnecessary uncertainty into the lives of thousands of families. Our asylum system needs to be improved, but the answer is to streamline and strengthen it so that it benefits legitimate claims of those fleeing persecution, while reducing potential for abuse,” Biden writes.

Biden’s plan also calls for “improving screening procedures at our legal ports of entry and make smart investments in border technology,” and “addressing the root cause of immigration by improving security, reducing inequality, and expanding economic opportunity in Central America.”

Biden's plan would take on the U.S. approach to foreign policy in the region, calling the Trump administration's Latin America policies at beast "a Cold War-era retread and, at worst, an ineffective mess."

"Rather than standing with our partners in the region to take on corruption, transnational criminal groups, climate change and threats to democracy and the rule of law, Trump’s wrong-headed policies are leading us astray at every turn," Biden writes.

Biden’s op-ed lays out the larger points in the former vice president’s immigration plans, it does not speak to the specifics of he proposes to do so. The Biden campaign told ABC News more details on the full policy would be forthcoming.

Biden also takes direct aim at the Trump administration’s handling of immigration -- continuing to pit himself against President Trump rather than his 2020 competitors.

“It’s clear Donald Trump is only interested in using his policies to assault the dignity of the Latinx community and scare voters to turn out on election day, not addressing the real challenges facing our hemisphere,” Biden says, in the first paragraph of the piece.

Biden has spoken about the president’s previous family separation policy often while on the trail, saying “This is not who we are...this is not America.”

“Under Trump, there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages, tear gassing asylum seekers, ripping children from their mothers’ arms—actions that subvert our American values and erode our ability to lead on the global stage,” Biden writes.

Biden also released a version of the piece in Spanish as well in El Nuevo Herald Monday.

Biden has hinted that he may be making a trip to a detention facility while in Florida this week. During an event earlier this month in Concord, New Hampshire, Biden was asked by an audience member if he would bring the press to visit a facility in Homestead, Florida while in the state for the debate. Biden said his campaign was already working on setting that up. The campaign declined to comment about such a visit when asked by ABC News.

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, has already announced plans to visit the Homestead facility on Thursday.

Some of Biden’s fellow 2020 candidates, including former Obama cabinet Secretary Julian Castro, Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Washington and O’Rourke have also released their immigration plans. All call for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants illegally in the United States.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of President Donald Trump's senior advisers, Kellyanne Conway, personally defended herself on Monday against the recent accusation from a federal watchdog agency that she violated the Hatch Act and should be "removed from service."

"They want to silence me now," Conway, whose formal title is Counselor to the President, said in an appearance on Fox and Friends.

"This is my First Amendment right. They want to chill free speech because they don't know how to beat him at the ballot box," she said.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that investigates wrongdoing by government employees, said on June 13 that Conway “violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”

The report cites comments Conway made during the Alabama Senate special election in December 2017, which the office found violated the Hatch Act in another report released last year.

The report also mentions recent statements to White House reporters in which Conway criticized former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom are seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

"If I'm quoting what some of the other candidates say about the other candidates, I'm just repeating the news as I read it that day," Conway said.

President Trump, despite a federal watchdog agency's call the day before that she should be “removed from service” for using her office for political activity, said that he will not fire Conway.

"No, I'm not going to fire her, I think she's a tremendous person, tremendous spokesperson, she's loyal, she's a great person," Trump said in an interview on Fox and Friends.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a memo to lawmakers that they will vote Wednesday to authorize a subpoena Conway if she does not appear before the panel for a Wednesday hearing on her alleged violations of the Hatch Act.

"It's not even clear to us in the White House, according to the White House Counsel, that the Hatch Act applies to assistants to the president," Conway said.

She added, "Even if the Hatch Act applies, our position is that I haven't violated it."

In an interview on May 29, Conway reportedly downplayed the law, according to a OSC press release, saying she wouldn't stop making political statements.

“If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” and “Let me know when the jail sentence starts," she said, according to the OSC press release.

A spokesman for the office said it's the first time the office has recommended the removal of a White House official. In the report, sent to President Donald Trump on Thursday, the office said that Conway has not faced consequences for her repeated violations of ethics rules on government employees.

The office recommended Conway be removed from her position because she has "shown disregard" for the law that prohibits federal government employees from engaging in political activities.

"Ms. Conway's disregard for the restrictions the Hatch Act places on on executive branch employees in unacceptable," Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote in the report. "If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her position by the Merit Systems Protection Board."

"As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions. Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system -- the rule of law

White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves said in a statement that the OSC's actions are "deeply flawed."

“The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process. Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees. Its decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations – and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, non-political manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act,” Groves said.

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ABC News(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) -- Mayor Pete Buttigieg is facing the biggest test of his presidential campaign so far: the fallout stemming from an incident in which a white police officer fatally shot a black man in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana.

On Sunday afternoon, the presidential hopeful appeared before hundreds of community members inside the Washington High School auditorium at a town hall that was at times angry, passionate and tense. Members of the community vented their frustration, not only about this recent fatal shooting, but a long history of distrust between the police department and the black community of South Bend.

Eric Logan was shot and killed on June 16 by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, after he was allegedly caught breaking into cars, and allegedly approached O’Neill with a knife.

The shooting forced Buttigieg off the campaign trail, cancelling a speaking event in New York City and fundraisers in California. In a last-minute decision, Buttigieg also decided to skip Rep. Jim Clyburn’s Fish Fry on Friday night, which other Democratic presidential candidates attended, so he could go to a protest and march in South Bend.

The mayor spent a majority of his week in South Bend, speaking with the victim’s family and members of the community. He also directed his police chief to turn on all body cameras when engaging with civilians.

When Buttigieg was introduced alongside South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski to people gathered in the auditorium, he was met by both boos and applause.

During the two-hour event, the mayor was interrupted countless times, though some came to his defense, yelling at hecklers to let him speak so they could hear what he had to say.

Often appearing composed on the campaign trail, Buttigieg maintained his calm for the most part, only speaking up when he became frustrated that he was being interrupted.

Anger surrounding the police shooting came from both black and white residents of South Bend, who demanded changes to the police department.

The first person to ask a question came to the mayor’s defense, but was interrupted several times.

“Give him a chance. Pete Buttigieg is a good mayor,” he said, adding that he’s frustrated with crime in the community. “We are killing each other.”

Another woman took the mic and yelled advice to the mayor on how he could help an “oppressed society.”

“There are ways to assess the way people think. Do you understand? Get the people that are racist off the streets! Reorganize your department!” she shouted.

Buttigieg responded by saying that if anyone on patrol “is shown to be a racist or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street.”

His answer was met with heckling from the crowd.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Buttigieg said the town hall was “an experience where a lot of pain and a lot of hurt, but also a lot of ideas came out.”

Many people who attended the event said they were grateful that the mayor showed up, but his campaign stops in South Carolina on Saturday were not lost on at least one person.

“You got to get back to South Carolina like you were yesterday,” a man shouted at the mayor.

Buttigieg said despite what’s happening in South Bend, he still plans on attending the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami this week, adding that he will continue to “serve this community to the best of my ability.”

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  President Trump is denying that he sexually assaulted advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s, calling her claims false and motivated by attempts to sell her forthcoming book.

In a New York Magazine article posted Friday, Carroll accuses Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago. The article features an excerpt from Carroll’s forthcoming book “What Do We Need Men For” which is set to be released July 2.

In response to Carroll’s allegations, the president issued a statement Friday evening vehemently denying her claims, and saying that he never even met Carroll. “She is trying to sell a new book -- that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section. Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda.” Trump then called for any information that “the Democratic Party is working with Ms. Carroll or New York Magazine, please notify us as soon as possible.” President Trump also addressed Carroll’s allegations on the South Lawn on Saturday morning, calling New York Magazine a “failing publication” that no one reads anymore.

In a brief phone interview with ABC News on Sunday evening, Carroll dismissed Trump's suggestion that she could be associated with the Democratic Party.

"It's so preposterous," she said. "I am such a lazy person. I didn't march. I would never do the bidding of a political party." Carroll told ABC News she is a registered Democrat.

ABC News has obtained an advance copy of the book, in which Carroll, now 75, details the alleged assault in four pages, writing she ran into Trump at the revolving door entrance of the high-end department store’s entrance sometime during the fall of 1995 or spring of 1996. She claims he said to her “Hey, you’re that Advice Lady,” and then asked her advice on buying a present for “a girl.” She writes after he dismissed several of her suggestions, the two ended up in the lingerie department where Carroll claims he asked her to try on a see-through bodysuit. Inside the dressing room, Carroll alleges that Trump lunged at her, pushed her against the wall, placed his mouth on her lips, reached under her coat-dress and pulled down her tights.

In Carroll’s own words, she alleges: “The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, then thrusts his penis halfway -- or completely, I’m not certain -- inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. I am too frightened to panic. I am wearing a pair of sturdy, black patent-leather, four-inch Barnes high heels. I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand -- for some reason I keep holding my purse with the other -- and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off, and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.”

Carroll said she never reported the incident to the police, but that she confided in two friends, contemporaneously. In her book, she described one friend as a journalist -- a writer for New York and Vanity Fair magazine -- whom she says encouraged her to go to the police. ABC News reached this friend by cell phone on Sunday evening, and she asked for her name to be withheld due to fear of retribution by President Trump's supporters.

Carroll's friend said she has known Carroll for over 30 years, and recalled Carroll calling her within a day of the alleged incident.

"She kept repeating to me, 'He pulled down my tights, he pulled down my tights,' as if that were the headline," Carroll's friend said. She recalled that Carroll made her swear not to a tell a soul, and they never spoke of it again until writers at New York Magazine recently reached out at Carroll's request.

"She told me, to tell a friend...it gets smaller and less threatening the more people know," the friend said.

The other friend that Carroll said she confided in is described in her book as a “New York anchor-person” who discouraged Carroll from going to the authorities. ABC News spoke with this friend briefly, and they corroborated what Carroll wrote in her book.

When asked by ABC News to address the president's remarks that her motivations are to "sell a book," Carroll responded, "The book is called 'What Do We Need Men For?' It is not called 'Donald Trump Attacked Me.'"

Carroll added that she goes out of way not to name Trump in her book.

"This is a memoir, starting out when I was born. He was 15 minutes of that life. He's gotta stop making himself the victim here." Carroll also directly addressed the question "Why haven't I come forward before now?" in her book, writing, "Receiving death threats, being driven from my home...only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten and attack...doesn't sound like much fun. Also, I'm a coward."

New York Magazine, in the online article, included a photo provided by Carroll which shows Carroll, Donald and Ivana Trump, and Carroll’s then-husband, television news anchor John Johnson, attending an NBC party around 1987. ABC News reached out to Carroll’s ex-husband, Johnson, who has since retired from the industry. [Note: Johnson worked at Eyewitness News.] Johnson’s current wife said her husband has “no comment” on Carroll’s allegations against Donald Trump. Carroll was married once before, according to her previous writings, but ABC News has been unable to speak with her first husband.

On Friday evening, hours after the first excerpts from her book were posted by New York Magazine, Carroll gave an exclusive interview to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. She told the cable news host that she believed the situation she describes at Bergdorf’s was her fault.

“I blame myself for that." she told O'Donnell. "I said I am the stupidest woman who’s ever walked and did that for years and it took my 'Ask E. Jean' letter writers who would write into my column 'Dear Jean'…And I would say over and over, 'It's not your fault. It's not your fault. You're not stupid. You're doing right.' You know? I was just saying this to all of these women for all of these years. And I never came forward and said, 'I understand.' And I still can't kick that feeling that it was my fault. I can`t -- it's hard to get rid of that.”

During the interview, O’Donnell played the “Access Hollywood” tape for Carroll, in which Trump is heard bragging that “when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything…grab them by the *****.”

“I was astounded," Carroll responded. "I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t…He’s a very powerful man. He takes what he wants. That`s the thing. And the American voters liked it because that was a referendum. Are they going to vote for a sexual harasser? Yes, they are, because his power is so great that it doesn't matter. He can have whatever woman he wants, and going on.”

To date, more than a dozen women have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, all of which he denies.

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Alex Edelman/Getty Images(McAllen, TX) -- From sleeping on concrete floors with the lights on 24 hours a day to no access to soap or basic hygiene, migrant children at least two U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities face conditions one doctor described as comparable to "torture facilities."

The disturbing, first-hand account of the conditions were observed by lawyers and a board-certified physician in visits last week to border patrol holding facilities in Clint, Texas, and McAllen, a city in the southern part of the state.

The descriptions paint a bleak image of horrific conditions for children, the youngest of whom is 2 1/2 months old.

"The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities," the physician, Dolly Lucio Sevier, wrote in a medical declaration obtained exclusively by ABC News.

Lucio Sevier, who works in private practice in the area, was granted access to the Ursula facility in McAllen, which is the largest CBP detention center in the country, after lawyers found out about a flu outbreak there that sent five infants to the neonatal intensive care unit.

After assessing 39 children under the age of 18, she described conditions for unaccompanied minors at the McAllen facility as including "extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food."

All the children who were seen showed evidence of trauma, Lucio Sevier reported, and the teens spoke of having no access to hand washing during their entire time in custody. She compared it to being "tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease."

In an interview with ABC News, Lucio Sevier said the facility "felt worse than jail."

"It just felt, you know, lawless," she said. "I mean, imagine your own children there. I can't imagine my child being there and not being broken."

Conditions for infants were even more appalling, according to the medical declaration. Many teen mothers in custody described not having the ability to wash their children’s bottle.

And children who were older than 6 months were not provided age-appropriate meal options, including no pureed foods necessary for a child's development, Lucio Sevier reported.

"To deny parents the ability to wash their infant's bottles is unconscionable and could be considered intentional mental and emotional abuse," she wrote.

The attorneys who represent the children threatened to sue the government if it denied a visit from a physician. They are part of a team working under the Flores settlement agreement, a 1997 ruling that stipulated detention standards for unaccompanied minors, including being held for less than 72 hours and in the “least restrictive setting appropriate to the child’s age and special needs.”

As part of that ruling, the lawyers, who are part of a class action lawsuit, represent all children in custody and, as such, are allowed to visit and interview them.

Lucio Sevier has no connection to the lawyers aside from their request for a physician to be granted access. The legal team, also from the Flores settlement agreement group, had negotiated access to the Clint facility in advance and officials from CBP knew of their pending arrival for weeks.

The alleged conditions documented at the facilities follow a Homeland Security inspector general report that found "dangerous overcrowding" and unsanitary conditions at a different CBP facility in El Paso, Texas, where hundreds more migrants were being housed than the center was designed to hold.

The El Paso Del Norte Processing Center housed as many as 900 migrant detainees earlier this month despite only having a recommended capacity for 125.

The reports come as President Donald Trump continues to make immigration a staple of his administration and a key issue in his re-election bid. After threatening to deport more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants, and then extending the deadline by two weeks, the president on Sunday tweeted his intention to "fix the Southern Border."

Later in the day, the president blamed his predecessor for implementing the policy of separating migrant. Trump said he ended the policy, too.

"You know, under President Obama you had separation. I was the one that ended it," he told reporters.

The Obama administration's policy only separated families in rare circumstances when the child's safety might be at risk.

Last April, the Trump administration and his attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, enacted a "zero-tolerance" approach that called for stepped-up prosecutions of any adult crossing the border illegally. As a result, 2,700 children were separated from their families in a matter of weeks.

More than a year later, though, documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- obtained by immigration rights groups and the Houston Chronicle through a Freedom of Information Act request -- show family separations are still happening, even after a court ordered children to be reunited with their parents.

The documents showed more than 700 children were separated from parents between last June and May, often with questionable legal justification.

The CBP, however, said in a statement it has limited resources and is leveraging all of them to "provide the best care possible to those in our custody, especially children."

"As [Department of Homeland Security] and CBP leadership have noted numerous times, our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis," the statement read. "CBP works closely with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer unaccompanied children to their custody as soon as placement is identified, and as quickly and expeditiously as possible to ensure proper care.

"All allegations of civil rights abuses or mistreatment in CBP detention are taken seriously and investigated to the fullest extent possible," the statement continued.

A U.S. government official added that the immigration system is "clearly broken," but CBP is doing everything it can to "provide appropriate care for children in custody, even though they were never meant to."

"The acting secretary and acting commissioner have been warning about these dire circumstances for months," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added. "More must be done to confront this humanitarian crisis and the requested supplemental funding is critical to mitigating it."

The source added that transferring the children to the custody of the Health and Human Services department is a "top CBP priority."

"Without a specific allegation of separating family members that can be looked into, CBP wouldn’t and shouldn't provide additional details without knowing the facts and circumstances of individual cases," the official added.

As for the conditions at detention facilities, lawyers for the Trump administration last week argued that providing basic necessities, like soap, was not a requirement of the Flores agreement. Three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly asked if the lawyers if they were arguing that "safe and sanitary" did not include the ability to sleep soundly or use soap.

In Congress, the Senate Finance Committee last week passed, almost unanimously, a $4.6 billion spending bill that included $2.9 billion for HHS programs for unaccompanied children. The full Senate and House still need to pass the bill, which includes strict regulations that the funds may not be used for Trump's proposed border wall.

Trump said despite Democrats not "even approving giving us money," his administration is doing a "fantastic job under the circumstances."

"Where is the money?" he asked. "You know what? The Democrats are holding up the humanitarian aid.”

Wherever the blame lies, the lawyers with the Flores agreement team said present-day conditions at the facilities need urgent attention. At the Clint facility, the environment was just as bad as they were at the McAllen site, the lawyers said.

The Associated Press first reported on the alleged neglect at the Clint facility, reporting ABC News later confirmed.

All of the detainees had been in custody longer than the 72 hours permitted for unaccompanied minors under the Flores agreement. The lengths of stay ranged from four days to 24 days.

"We wanted to try and find out what was happening down there and why these children were dying at a rate that we’ve never seen before,” said Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University who helped interview the children at the Clint border patrol facility.

On the day they arrived, they witnessed the Clint facility was home to 351 children -- most from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. More than 100 were under the age of 13, while 18 children were 4 years old or younger, including the youngest, a 4 1/2-month-old, the lawyers found.

Like the McAllen facility, many were held for three weeks or longer, the lawyers learned from the children. Binford added the children who were old enough explained they arrived with a family member or planned to join a parent in the U.S. and all were lawfully entering and claiming asylum.

A lawyer who works with the Flores team told ABC News many children had parents living in the U.S. with whom they wanted to be reunited; others said they had been separated from their parents at the border.

The administration has maintained that separation only occurs in situations in which a family member is dangerous or cannot be confirmed to be the legal guardian.

At the Clint facility, Binford described conditions that included infants and toddlers sleeping on concrete floors, a lice outbreak that led to guards providing two lice combs to 20 children to "work it out," guards punishing the children by taking away sleeping mats and blankets, and guards creating a "child boss" to help keep the other kids in line by rewarding them with extra food.

She said one of the most striking examples was a 2-year-old brought to her with no diaper and being cared for by "several other little girls."

"When I asked where his diapers were and she looked down and said, 'He doesn’t need them,' and then he immediately peed in his pants right there on the conference chair and started crying," Binford said. "So children are being required to care for other very young children and they are simply not prepared to do that."

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates attended Planned Parenthood’s forum on Saturday, and – on the subject of abortion access, at least – presented a united front.

The "We Decide" forum, hosted by Planned Parenthood's political arm, showcased the broad support among the 20 candidates in attendance for passing a federal law guaranteeing abortion rights, allowing federal funding for abortions, and expanding access to women’s healthcare, especially for poor and marginalized women.

“I got into politics because there are too many communities who are being left out and left behind,” said New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. “And a lot of these assaults on reproductive care are really assaults on low-income women and women in marginalized communities.”

So far this cycle, the parade of 2020 Democrats has sought to reclaim the reins of this politically sensitive issue with proactive proposals following a spate of restrictive anti-abortion bills sweeping across conservative states.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 60% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 28% saying abortion should be legal in all cases, matching the highest level of support since the question was first asked in 2004. Only 13% of voters believe abortion should be illegal in the case of rape or incest.

But the ascent of two conservative judges to the Supreme Court under President Donald Trump has also raised hopes among abortion opponents that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that guarantees abortion rights, might eventually be knocked down.

"We've been on defense for 47 years, and it's not working,” said Massachusetts Senator Elisabeth Warren, who received one of the warmest receptions of the day. “We need to go on offense on Roe v. Wade.”

President Donald Trump, who formally launched his own re-election campaign this week, has adopted rules that hinder the work of abortion providers, including barring health clinics that receive federal funds from making referrals for abortions or sharing office space with abortion providers.

Along with Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California have offered detailed plans for safeguarding abortion. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California has a plan for free contraception, while former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has a plan for expanding access to IUD's.

The three candidates not in attendance – Steve Bullock, Tulsi Gabbard and Wayne Messam – have all in their campaigns expressed broadly similar views. Gabbard, for her part, used to lean more anti-abortion, but as a member of congress, she has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.

Many of the candidates said that a particular failing of healthcare in America is that poor, marginalized and black women are denied access to care.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who represented an area along Texas’ border with Mexico, likened a Trump administration policy that makes it harder for immigrant women to access reproductive healthcare to something out of the dystopian show "The Handmaid's Tale.”

“Trying to force young women into only one option, not allowing them to make their own decisions about their own body,” O’Rourke said, was “haunting, chilling, reminiscent of maybe a scene from “The Handmaid's Tale,” not the United States of America in 2018 and 2019.”

The forum also presented an opportunity for several candidates who have clashed with abortion rights activists in the past to explain themselves.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who recently came under fire for saying he supported the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for most abortion care -- and then abruptly changed course -- said his position is that women should have the same access to health care, regardless of where they live.

“I laid out of health care plan that is going to provide federally-funded health care for all women, and women who now are denied even Medicare in their home states across the board up, you’d be automatically signed up under [an] Obamacare-like provision,” he said.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, when asked about his past support for some anti-abortion candidates, said that recent news has shifted his thinking on the issue.

“I think, right now, given the attacks that we're seeing, in recent years, on Planned Parenthood, in particular, and on abortion rights in general, I think what we can do and must do is find candidates in every state in this country and every congressional district in this country who do support absolutely a woman's right to control her own body."

In addition to offering their views on policy, the candidates also heard from women who recounted harrowing stories of abuse and others who recounted stories about their own abortions.

Near the start of the forum, a women recounted to Gillibrand, the senator from New York, how, at age 19, she had tried to throw herself down a flight of stairs in an effort to terminate her pregnancy. The senator responded by saying the story was “shared by millions of people,” and the attack on freedoms undermines the humanity of marginalized women.

“No legislature in any one of these states, which are mostly white men, mostly older men, they cannot know a minute of your experience,” Gillibrand said. “Not a minute of your experience as a mother, a minute of your experience as someone [who] has to make that decision.”

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The former top military adviser to both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama said on Sunday that he's concerned escalating tensions with Iran "could spin out of control," stressing that the last thing the world needs is the United States going to war with the Middle Eastern country.

"My biggest concern is the president is running out of room, running out of options, and while the rhetoric goes back and forth on how close we came to hitting Iran just the other day, that this thing could spin out of control," retired Adm. Mike Mullen told "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz. "The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran."

Mullen, who boasts a lengthy military career and served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff between October 2007 and September 2011, said politicians need to diplomatically attain their goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and that Americans need to call their representatives to advocate against declaring war on Iran.

"I really would like to know that the American people who feel we should not go to war with Iran are pressing their congressmen, their senators and everybody in the public domain to make sure that no matter what happens with respect to where we are with Iran right now, that we do not go to war," he said on "This Week." I think the politicians need to figure out a way to achieve the objective, which is Iran without a nuclear weapon, without -- from my perspective -- without regime change, without going to war."

One of those politicians, House Armed Services Ranking Member Mac Thornberry told Raddatz that President Donald Trump "is clearly trying to navigate a fine line to show that you cannot attack Americans and American military equipment without having a response."

"He's very conscious of not getting on an escalatory ladder that leads to a military conflict that neither side wants," the Texas Republican said in an interview on "This Week."

However, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused the president of "taking a belligerent course of escalation and provocation with Iran" since the beginning of his presidency.

"We pulled out of a anti-nuclear deal that gave us complete transparency into their nuclear program," Booker said on "This Week," referring to Trump's decision in May 2018 to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. "We literally isolated ourselves from our allies and set us out on a very fragile limb towards conflict."

"The critical crisis we have is not just a drone being shot down, but now Iran has moved back to where it was before, which could be months from getting a nuclear weapon, which puts us again in that region on the brink of chaos," he added, also accusing the president of not having a strategy and making the U.S. "weaker."

In a series of tweets on Friday, Trump said that he called off a military strike on Iran with just 10 minutes to spare on Thursday night, explaining that the civilian casualties that would have occurred would not have been a "proportionate" response to the Iranians shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone late Wednesday.

Iran claimed the drone was flying in its airspace, but the U.S. government disputed that, saying it was flying in international airspace. Trump's reversal on the strike, which was first reported by The New York Times, was against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Popeo and national security adviser John Bolton, sources told ABC News.

Mullen told Raddatz that a it's "very, very unusual," but not unprecedented "that a strike would be called off so close to its execution."

However, leaving for Camp David on Saturday, Trump told reporters "we hadn’t made a decision to go forward" with striking Iran when the retaliatory response was called off, later tweeting, "I never called the strike against Iran 'BACK,' as people are incorrectly reporting."

The president reiterated to reporters that his reason for stopping the strike was because he didn't want to kill 150 Iranians "unless it's absolutely necessary."

The United States did respond with a cyber strike against the country, The Washington Post reported on Saturday and a source later confirmed to ABC News. Trump approved an offensive cyber strike against Iranian computer systems used to control rocket and missile launches. The cyber attack was launched Thursday and was in the works for weeks if not months.

Thornberry told Raddatz on "This Week" that when Trump met with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders Thursday, himself included, "everyone agreed that shooting down an unarmed American aircraft deserved a response," and that all agreed "it should be on the lower end of the range of possibilities."

However, he added, "This story is not over," saying the Iranian's response to the cyber strike matters.

"Obviously the president has a whole range of additional responses that he could employ," Thornberry said. "There are a number of other military and probably other actions that could be taken if the Iranians decide that they want to continue this aggressive provocative sort of behavior."

The top Republican on the Armed Services Committee credited the president for seeking bipartisan input on how the United States should respond, but Booker was critical of the fact that a military response was considered at all, saying on "This Week" that Trump can't take military action against Iran without congressional approval.

"The Constitution speaks very clearly on this that he needs to come to Congress before he engages in military action that again could have us tumbling towards chaos and war in that region," he said.

"This situation is getting more and more tense, not less. We have a president that seems to be doing this like a reality TV show when trying to build more drama and trying to make a foreign policy by tweet," Booker added. "We have to, as a nation, work in coordination with our allies to denuclearize Iran, and to bring stability and peace back to that region."

Mullen said that if Iran does begin enriching uranium again and looks to be on its way to developing a nuclear weapon, it may lead to Israel attacking the country.

The former Joint Chiefs chairman also warned, "Iran with a nuclear weapon would start to proliferate nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is incredibly dangerous. Other countries would then probably generate that kind of capability. And the Middle East has got a lot of problems and we don't need more nukes."

Booker echoed that warning, saying, "We're closer to a nuclear weapon, which could trigger proliferation around the region. It could trigger a military conflict and have us tumbling back into a Middle East war that will cost American lives and trillions of American dollars."

Thornberry said on "This Week" that Trump is "giving the Iranians every opportunity to back out of this cycle of increasing violence."

He said Trump shouldn't be criticized for giving the country the opportunity, but added that there's a limit to that.

"If Iran goes back to mining tankers, the sorts of things they've been doing here lately, then we have a whole range of military and other responses which we can employ, and I think the president will look to do that," he said.

But Mullen cautioned that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, "attacking militarily is a very, very difficult task to actually make it happen."

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