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Kena Betancur/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a newly released agenda, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tackles an issue that has been a cornerstone of her congressional career -- paid family leave and policies that offer support to working families.

The plan, aimed at parents with young children, is dubbed the “Family Bill of Rights." The plan focuses on a number of areas Gillibrand wants to see changed to make raising children safer and more affordable: pregnancy, fertility treatments, adoption, safe nurseries for newborns, paid family leave, affordable childcare and universal pre-K.

Gillibrand's focus on families isn't new, she's introduced a paid family leave bill every year since 2013.

The push for parent-centric policy has gained popularity as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have sought to address affordability in raising children.

In February, Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a plan to create government-funded child care centers that would be free for low-income families. Several Democratic candidates, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker have called for universal pre-K. Booker, Harris, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Michael Bennet, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have all co-sponsored Gillibrand’s paid family leave bill.

The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, has taken up the issue as an advisor to her father.

But for Gillibrand, enacting the proposal would make an issue that was a cornerstone of her Senate career a key administrative priority.

“Passing the Family Bill of Rights will be my priority in my first 100 days as president,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement. “And I believe it will transform American families and their ability to achieve the American Dream."

Though she did not offer details on an estimated final cost, Gillibrand said she plans to pay for the plan by passing a Financial Transaction Tax. According to the Congressional Budget Office , the tax could yield $777 billion in revenue over the next decade.

The plan calls for equipping hospitals with better resources and standardizing practices to prevent complications and death during childbirth and addressing the racial disparity in maternal mortality rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women die of pregnancy-related deaths at a rate three to four times higher than white women. The plan also calls for increased access to obstetric care in rural areas where women may have to travel further to see a doctor.

Gillibrand’s proposal would aim to make fertility treatments more affordable and mandate that insurance companies cover the cost of fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization for couples who have trouble conceiving naturally.

The Family Bill of Rights would give equal adoption rights to potential parents regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status or religion and offer tax credits to families who adopt.

In her proposal, Gillibrand said she would launch a program that would provide supplies for new parents like diapers, blankets and clothing in a box with a mattress that could be used as a nursery bed. The plan calls for the program to be administered through the Department of Health and Human Services with state organizations.

Similar programs are already in effect in Ohio, Alabama, New Jersey and Texas.

A national paid family and medical leave program would be created under the plan and every child would be auto-enrolled in CHIP at birth and offered access to Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment program. Parents would be able to opt out.

Gillibrand’s plan also calls for creating universal pre-K programs and expanding access for children with disabilities. Parents would receive a bigger tax credit for child care costs under the plan. It would cover up to 50 percent of $12,000 in qualifying childcare.

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YinYang/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice has made a counteroffer to Democrats on subpoenaed documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into 2016 Russian election meddling -- a move aimed at dialing back tensions between the administration and lawmakers over the matter.

The counteroffer includes a concession to make available some underlying evidence that helped inform Mueller's report. DOJ officials had initially balked at such an overture as recently as last week, which led House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff to set a deadline of this Wednesday to respond and threatened Attorney General William Barr with "unspecified enforcement action."

That action could include a resolution of contempt or hefty fines.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in DOJ's latest offer said all members of the House Intel Committee would be able to view a less-redacted version of "Volume 1" of the Mueller report that dealt primarily with outlining Russia's efforts to meddle in the election.

A separate DOJ official said that the department had "already begun the process of identifying, locating and reviewing" some of the materials provided by Mueller's team separate from the report that could be in line with what Schiff has requested.

But, the official added, it was "a process that will not continue should the committee take the unnecessary and unproductive step of moving to hold the attorney general in contempt."

The House Intelligence Committee did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, facing a revolt from members of her caucus, has been compelled to hold an closed-door meeting Wednesday morning to deal with new pressure to go forward with an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Despite a growing number of Democrats tired of delay and calling for action, Pelosi on Tuesday continued to try to deflect the reality that her caucus is beginning to shift toward impeachment, telling ABC News, "No," when asked if she was under increased pressure to impeach Trump.

"We don't have division," she told reporters.

But after Trump blocked former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying Tuesday, one after the other, several Democrats publicly bucked Pelosi.

Rep. Mark Pocan, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Trump's "stonewalling" of Congress "only enhances the President's appearance of guilt," and "has pushed Congress to a point where we must start an impeachment inquiry."

"Regrettably, the President's most recent actions and continued disrespect for the Constitution are forcing us down the road to impeachment," Pocan, D-Wisc., said. "The President and his associates are engaging in a campaign of obstruction and lawlessness that undermines the rule of law and does not reflect the actions of someone who is ‘exonerated' as innocent. Congress has a responsibility to conduct oversight and get the information we need to deliver the truth to the American public regarding Russia's interference in our elections."

"I think impeachment, what's also tough about this conversation is when we say impeachment a lot of people don't know what that process means in the House," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, said. "I think that right now what we need to do is at least be on that track and at least be in the process of impeachment."

For months, Pelosi has attempted to keep her caucus in line, urging them to withhold calls for impeachment in order to focus on the Democrats' legislative agenda. She has openly downplayed the prospects of successfully impeaching Trump, given the lack of bipartisan support for impeachment and a Republican firewall in the Senate.

But after Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash broke ranks with his GOP colleagues and said he believes President Trump "engaged in impeachable conduct," some Democrats believe Pelosi is running out of excuses.

Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said she will introduce a "Resolution of Investigation" this week, asking the full House of Representatives to authorize an investigation intended to determine whether impeachment powers should be exercised.

"What the American people want and deserve is deliberate and judicious action by the United States Congress," she tweeted. "We have to educate before we activate. Just like the Nixon tapes did. I will be introducing such a resolution. The time is now that Congress refuses to accept a rejection of its legal requests."

Democrats in support of launching an impeachment inquiry believe opening the inquiry would help streamline Democrats' investigations and strengthen their hand in the courts as they battle with the Trump administration over information and testimony. They have also said that opening the inquiry wouldn't necessarily lead to a full House vote to refer the matter to the Senate for a trial.

Pelosi and her top lieutenants, in their rebuttal to Democrats now pushing for impeachment, have said that the majority has not exhausted all of their options to force the administration to heel. They have floated changing House rules to levy fines on individuals who flout congressional subpoenas, among other possibilities.

"We still have unexhausted avenues here," Pelosi told Democrats in a closed-door meeting Monday, according to an aide in the room.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the decision to proceed on impeachment will ultimately be "a collective judgment" from Democrats.

"I'm not saying that the Caucus is going to vote on it, but what I'm saying is there will be discussions among the leadership and among the Caucus as to whether or not we have reached a point where it is clear that the responsibility is to move ahead on that. I don't think we're there at this point in time," Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday. "I don't probably think there's any Democrat who probably wouldn't in their gut say, you know, he's done some things that probably justify impeachment.

"The majority of Democrats continue to believe that we need to continue to pursue the avenue that we've been on in trying to elicit information, testimony, review the Mueller report, review other items that have gone on," he continued. "And, you know, if the facts lead us to a broader action, so be it."

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A trove of documents related to the government’s case against Michael Cohen, the president’s onetime personal attorney, will remain redacted for now, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, after prosecutors informed the court that some information in them pertains to “an ongoing investigation.”

Judge William Pauley’s ruling on Tuesday suggests the government’s probe of potential campaign finance violations during the 2016 presidential election remains active. During his plea hearing last year, Cohen implicated his former boss in the scheme.

“In view of the ongoing aspects of the government's investigation,” Pauley wrote Tuesday, “this court determines that continued redaction of the materials is justified at this juncture.”

The “materials” to which Pauley referred include nearly 900 pages of previously sealed court records describing the basis for an April 2018 search on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

Cohen, who is currently serving a three-year prison sentence, pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

Federal prosecutors accused Cohen of violating campaign finance laws by paying off two women who allege to have had affairs with President Donald Trump. Cohen, at his plea hearing, said he acted “in coordination with and at the direction of” the then-candidate to execute the payments.

Trump has argued the payments amount to nothing more than a “simple private transaction,” and do not qualify as campaign finance violations.

On Tuesday, Pauley asked prosecutors to justify their request to keep certain information secret by July 15, at which time the government must “[identify] the individuals or entities subject to any ongoing investigations and [explain] any need for continued redaction.”

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drnadig/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- After hearing from top Trump officials, Democratic lawmakers are expressing alarm over the administration's posture in the Middle East and the possibility of a conflict with Iran.

In particular, some members of Congress even accused the Trump administration of "misrepresenting" U.S. intelligence about an Iranian threat and escalating tensions without a plan to prevent a larger conflict.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford briefed the House and Senate Tuesday on President Donald Trump's Iran strategy, recent intelligence of an increased Iranian threat and the U.S. reaction to it, including the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers and the ordered departure of non-emergency personnel from Iraq.

"This is about deterrence, not about war. We're not about going to war. This is about continuing to protect our interests in the Middle East," Shanahan told reporters after both briefings.

Pompeo added that the administration has "plenty of ways" to communicate with Iran to de-escalate the situation.

But Democrats in both chambers left the briefings Tuesday with concerns about the administration's actions.

"I truly believe that the intel has been misinterpreted and misrepresented by Secretary Pompeo, by [national security adviser John] Bolton and other people that do want us to go to war in Iran, as a repeat to Iraq," said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who served as a Marine in Iraq.

Most members said the greater fear was of conflict by accident -- that tensions would escalate and the two sides would be pushed into fighting.

"I worry very much, that intentionally or unintentionally, we can create a situation in which a war will take place," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. "When you do that, you're talking about a war that will go on and on and on."

Republicans, however, defended the administration's actions, saying they had helped to deter attacks on American personnel and interests and push back on Iran in ways that previous administrations hadn't.

"We're ready to respond if we have to. The best thing to happen is for everybody to calm down and Iran to back off and I'm hoping that this show of force will result in de-escalating, not escalating," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

"This is purely defensive and deterrence in nature," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

But Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., argued the administration's actions were "blind escalation" without a "thoughtful inter-departmental strategy for how this is ultimately going to wind up in a better deal" between the U.S. and Iran.

"It doesn't seem like well thought out policies," he added.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Calif., also expressed concern about how long it took senior officials to brief Congress. The White House first announced it was speeding up the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group on May 5 because of "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

"When you're trying to put together a policy like this, the co-equal branch of government that is the United States Congress should be far enough up on your list that it doesn't take you a week before you get to us, so it is not an acceptable answer for the Secretary of State to say to Congress, 'Sorry we didn't brief you earlier, but we were busy.' That doesn't fly," Smith said, adding that he was not satisfied with the briefing.

It was a sentiment shared across the Capitol by Senate Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he told the three senior officials that they had to do a better job consulting Congress and the American people.

Shanahan pledged afterwards to be "more communicative with the American public."

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VallarieE/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is demanding answers on the latest death of a minor who had been apprehended at the border.

The 16-year-old, who was traveling without his parents, died at a U.S. Border Patrol station on Monday while waiting to be picked up by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Joined by fellow Democratic caucus members, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said Tuesday that the Trump administration must end policies that force migrants to remain in Mexico during the asylum process.

"This is an epidemic of death by the Trump administration," Castro told reporters.

The Hispanic Caucus chairman accused the administration of withholding information from Congressional inquiries, citing the recent death of a 2-year-old whose name has not been made public.

"They're concealing the truth of these atrocities to the American people," Castro said.

Democrats have consistently railed against the administration, following the recent deaths of minors in U.S. custody, with threats to launch congressional inquiries and oversight probes.

The death on Monday of 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, marks the third time in the past month that a minor has died after being apprehended along the border.

U.S. authorities have struggled to handle the influx of migrant families and children who, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, mostly turn themselves over to agents after crossing.

According to the CBP, Vasquez was picked up on May 13 near Hidalgo, Texas, and was sent to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in the Rio Grande Valley.

Federal law generally requires minors to be transferred to a Health and Human Services shelter within 72 hours of their arrest. A CBP official said officers follow instructions from HHS in determining where and when to send apprehended kids.

CBP said in a statement on Monday that the teen had been found unresponsive earlier in the day.

"The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family," said acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders. "CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody."

Mexican and U.S. authorities have warned of the dangers migrants face in attempting to make the journey north. Last year, Border Patrol recorded 283 migrant deaths along the southern border.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, two former senior White House officials, as they condemned former White House counsel Don McGahn's dismissal of a subpoena for his testimony, and vowed to hold him in contempt of Congress.

McGahn failed to appear at committee hearing on Tuesday morning after being directed not to testify by President Donald Trump.

"Our subpoenas are not optional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said at the start of Tuesday's hearing as he faced an empty chair reserved for McGahn at the witness table.

"This committee will hear Mr. McGahn's testimony even if we have to go to court to secure it," he said.

McGahn’s defiance of the committee’s subpoena is the latest episode in the struggle between Democrats and the Trump administration over documents and testimony demanded by Congress.

On Tuesday, they tried to move forward with their investigation into special counsel Robert Mueller's findings, issuing subpoenas for Hicks and Donaldson, who served as McGahn’s deputy in the White House, to provide documents and testimony to the panel in June.

The administration's resistance to Democrats' oversight efforts, capped by McGahn's decision to skip Tuesday's hearing, led some members of the Judiciary Committee and the Democratic leadership team to call for the start of impeachment proceedings against Trump.

 At Tuesday’s hearing, Republicans accused Democrats of staging a spectacle to attack Trump.

“The theater is open,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the top Republican on the panel, said Tuesday of the hearing without McGahn, and the Democrats' larger investigation.

“Democrats claim we need to dig deeper — deeper than the two years of investigation conducted by what is considered a prosecutorial dream team — because that probe ended without criminal charges against the president or his family,” he said.

“Now Democrats are trying desperately to make something out of nothing, which is why the chairman haphazardly subpoenaed today’s witness.”

Collins also took a jab at Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. who brought fried chicken to the committee's hearing at which Attorney General William Barr failed to show.

Trump on Monday told McGahn he shouldn't tell Congress about events relating to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and in a letter to Nadler, the attorney for McGahn said he "remains obligated to maintain the status quo and respect the president's instructions. In the event an accommodation is agreed between the Committee and the White House, Mr. McGahn will of course comply with that accommodation."

Nadler, in a letter to McGahn Monday evening, argued that the former White House counsel isn't shielded from testifying about the episode of obstruction detailed in the Mueller report, and said the White House counsel did not formally invoke executive privilege.

He warned McGahn against skipping Tuesday's hearing, and said the committee would "use all enforcement mechanisms at its disposal," later telling reporters that the committee would move to hold him in contempt of Congress in the coming weeks.

Some Democrats have bristled at McGahn's dismissal of the committee's subpoena, and called for Democratic leaders to launch impeachment proceedings to aid in their investigations.

"There is a tremendous level of frustration at our inability to get witnesses and documents that are necessary to do our work," Rep. David Ciccilline, D-R.I., a member of the committee and Democratic leadership, told reporters Monday.

"We are getting to that point if Mr. McGann does not appear it will then establish a pattern from this president to not only have obstructed or attempted to obstruct justice as details in the Mueller Report, but an ongoing effort to prevent the American people from knowing the full truth engaging in a cover up and behaving as if he's above the law," he said.

"The Mueller Report documents a shocking pattern of obstruction of justice," Nadler said in a statement earlier Monday after news of the president's direction to McGahn. "The President acted again and again -- perhaps criminally -- to protect himself from federal law enforcement.

"Don McGahn personally witnessed the most egregious of these acts. President Trump knows this. He clearly does not want the American people to hear firsthand about his alleged misconduct, and so he has attempted to block Mr. McGahn from speaking in public tomorrow."

Earlier Monday, in a letter to Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote "that McGahn is absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters occurring during his service as a senior adviser to the President," citing previous Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel opinions, along with OLC guidance specific to McGahn's testimony.

"The Democrats do not like the conclusion of the Mueller investigation -- no collusion, no conspiracy, and no obstruction -- and want a wasteful and unnecessary do-over," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Monday.

Democrats are considering other actions beyond impeachment to strengthen their hand in court and push back on what they say is the administration's unprecedented stonewalling of Congress: some lawmakers and aides have suggested amending House rules to allow Congress to exercise its inherent contempt powers, and levy fines against individuals who defy congressional subpoenas.

They will face another test in June: The committee has asked Donaldson and Hicks to provide documents by June 4th, related to concerns about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. and other key episodes examined by Mueller in his investigation.

Democrats have also asked Hicks, one of Trump's closest aides in the White House and during the 2016 campaign, to testify on June 19, and for Donaldson to appear before the committee on June 24th.

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Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are pushing back on terms offered by Justice Department officials for special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony, objecting to a proposal for him to give a public opening statement before answering questions behind closed doors, according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations.

The ongoing back-and-forth over the special counsel's highly anticipated appearance to discuss the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any efforts to obstruct the probe continues as Democrats battle with the administration over access to documents and witness testimony. A Justice Department official said Mueller's team is "directly negotiating with the Hill."

While House Democrats aren't ruling out having closed-door testimony for portions of the report, they want to have Mueller answer at least some questions in a public setting.

The committee has been in discussions with Mueller's team within the Justice Department over the past month. Sources have said that Mueller is seeking guidance from DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel ahead of any planned testimony to advise on what he can and cannot say.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment about the negotiations.

While Democrats had initially hoped that Mueller would testify by May 15, the ongoing discussions mean that the special counsel will not appear on Capitol Hill before next month.

Attorney General William Barr has said he has no objections to Mueller testifying, even though President Donald Trump has said publicly in a tweet that "Bob Mueller should not testify."

One complicating factor in the negotiations, according to people familiar with the talks, is Mueller's unwillingness to enter the political fray over his findings.

The Justice Department has also not complied with the committee's subpoena for the unredacted version of the Mueller report and underlying evidence. The White House has asserted executive privilege over the full report, which has raised new questions about Mueller's testimony and prompted Democrats to prepare to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress.

President Trump has deferred to Barr but tweeted earlier this month "Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!"

Barr has said he has no objections to Mueller testifying before Congress, most recently in a Wall Street Journal interview.

In addition to the House Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee is also in talks with some officials at the Justice Department about Mueller appearing before the panel, which is also locked in a battle over access to the full Mueller report and underlying intelligence gathered in the probe.

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Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a female congresswoman challenged Housing Secretary Ben Carson on his budget and housing policies on Tuesday, Carson responded by urging lawmakers to “think logically rather than just emotionally."

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat, called Carson’s proposed budget “shameful” and “immoral” because she said it didn’t include enough money to address the nation’s housing crisis, citing the more than 4 million people waiting for housing assistance.

Velazquez also challenged Carson's proposal estimated to push out an estimated 55,000 children from the housing assistance program because they are living with a relative who won't satisfy new immigration requirements.

“We need to have a national conversation about homelessness in our nation, about the disrepair about this nation,” Velazquez said. “You know what it takes? It takes money. It takes the budget. You have created this crisis by the disinvestment that has taken place in public housing in our nation.”

Carson was prevented from responding because the congresswoman's time was up. But Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida said he’d use his time to let Carson respond, describing Velazquez’s behavior as “selfish” and offering to help Carson out if he gives a “thumbs up” sign.

Carson said it was "silly" he hadn't been allowed to respond and proceeded to explain his position that he believed more money wouldn't solve the nation's housing crisis.

“We have to analyze these things carefully, we have to use our brains,” Carson responded. “We have to think logically rather than just emotionally if we’re going to solve these problems. And they can be solved if we work together, rather than making everything into a political platform and trying to score points.”

“Well stated, Mr. Secretary,” Posey said, adding that he didn’t want to see Carson “bullied and berated” for “not breaking the law.”

At one point, Velazquez fired back at Posey: “You’re calling me selfish? For fighting for children in America?”

The law has never allowed undocumented immigrants to qualify for federal housing assistance. But under existing rules in effect for two decades, only one person living in a household needs to meet immigration requirements, which could include a child born in the U.S.

The amount of housing assistance is then prorated based on the number of people in a household who qualify. Housing advocates say this rule is enough to ensure undocumented migrants aren't getting access to federal assistance, while still supporting legal residents and citizens.

Under Carson’s plan, every person living in a unit that receives federal assistance would have eligible immigration status. The rule also would require that anyone holding the lease meets its immigration requirements.

Carson’s proposal, which is subject to a 60-day public comment period and was expected to trigger a court challenge, is one of several steps the Trump administration has taken in recent months to try to curb access to public services by immigrant families. Critics say the administration's policies will adversely impact the most vulnerable populations.

Carson said the long wait lists for Americans looking for affordable housing is why he believes the change is needed.

“Unless we begin to tackle the things that are driving these prices, we’re just chasing our tails by just saying we’ve to throw money at it,” said Carson.

According to an agency analysis of the rule, the rule is expected to drive out of the program some 25,000 families whose members have "mixed" legal status. The analysis found that among these families, 76,141 people in these families are eligible for assistance and that 73 percent of those eligible members -- roughly 55,000-- are an infant, child or teen under 17 who is in the country legally and qualifies for assistance.

The agency concluded in its analysis that the rule is likely to drive these families out of federally supported housing, rather than split up to retain benefits.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is expected to tap immigration-hardliner and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to a new immigration-focused role within the Department of Homeland Security, a source familiar confirmed to ABC News.

One source described it as a "czar-like" role, with many of the specifics of the job still in the process of being determined.

Cuccinelli had been critical of President Trump during his campaign for president and withheld his support for much of 2016. He was a strong supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign and led the presidential candidate's effort counting delegates to support his candidacy for the Republican convention.

Cuccinelli served as attorney general from 2010 to 2014. He ran for governor in 2013 but lost that race.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Lawyers for the Trump Organization on Tuesday appealed a federal judge's ruling in favor of House Democrats in their efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s financial records, marking the first legal victory for Democrats as the Trump administration stonewalls their attempts at congressional oversight.

“It is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations.” Judge Amit Mehta wrote in a ruling Monday. “Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee.”

President Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, last month, seeking relief from his subpoena request for the president’s financial records.

The court also denied their request for a stay pending appeal, which lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization formally filed Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit.

The president and his legal team decried Democrats’ efforts to obtain Trump’s financial information as an “all-out political war,” in which “subpoenas are their weapon of choice.”

But in his order on Monday, Judge Mehta, an Obama appointee, sided with Democrats, whom he wrote have “facially valid legislative purposes” to obtain information requested in their subpoena of Mazars USA, the president’s former accounting firm.

"It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry," Mehta wrote.

Cummings served a subpoena to Mazars USA in April seeking ten years of the president's financial records in an effort to corroborate elements of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen's testimony before the committee. Cohen claimed that Trump had defrauded insurance companies by misrepresenting the value of his assets.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat whose committee is also seeking information from the Trump administration, reacted to news of the decision, calling it "very important."

“It shows that the courts understand the importance of oversight even if the president does not,” Schiff said.

"Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations. We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions. As a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients," Mazars USA spokesperson Jennifer Farrington told ABC News on Monday.

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House Monday evening, Trump said that he plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

"Yeah, they'll appeal it. They'll appeal it. Sure they'll appeal it," Trump said.

The president "disagreed" with the ruling and slammed the judge for being appointed by Obama.

"We disagree with that ruling. It's crazy because you look at this never happened to any other president. They're trying to get a redo. Trying to get what we used to call in school a do-over and if you look, you know, we had no collusion, we had no obstruction. We had no nothing," Trump said.

"The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report as perhaps they should be, but, I mean the country is very happy about it because there was never anything like that. They're trying to get a do-over or redo. You can't do that as far as the financials are concerned it's totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama appointed he was a recent Obama appointed judge," Trump added.

The House Oversight Committee was not immediately available for comment. The Trump Organization and lawyers for President Trump – both plaintiffs in the case – did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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Zach Gibson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Advocacy groups on Tuesday asked the Education Department’s internal watchdog to investigate Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' handling of states' requests to use federal funds to arm teachers.

A letter obtained by ABC News and sent Tuesday to the Education Department’s acting inspector general argues that DeVos broke federal law when she said it was not within the department’s purview to decide how these funds were used by states.

Last month, DeVos appeared before the House Education and Labor Committee where she was pressed by Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., on the department’s stance regarding states using Title IV-A funds from the “Every Student Succeeds Act” to train and arm teachers.

DeVos told the committee that she did not believe it was the department’s responsibility to decide if arming and training teachers was a proper use of the funds, and only said that they had “not advocated for nor against” it.

Hayes, who in 2016 was the National Teacher of the Year, noted during the back-in-forth with DeVos that a previous legal analysis, done by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, contradicted DeVos’ statement.

Hayes said that instead, the office’s conclusion advised that “the Secretary has discretion to interpret the broad language of the statute” and stated that “it is, therefore, reasonable for the Secretary to disallow this particular use of the funds absent specific Congressional authorization.”

A news release by Hayes’ office following the exchange said the money from this grant program is generally intended to “fund programs like STEM education, drug prevention programs, and mental health services.”

The letter, sent by American Federation of Teachers, Democracy Forward, Giffords Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that because of DeVos’ lack of input on the states’ requests, it “likely opens the door to the concerning policy outcome that grantees will be allowed to use SSAE funds to train and arm teachers.”

“Secretary DeVos’s repeated assertions – which open the door for states to use these federal funds to put more guns in school, thereby wasting SSAE program resources on costs that by no means serve the goal of the statute – are based on a legally erroneous understanding of the limits of the Department’s authority and violate the Administrative Procedure Act,” the letter reads.

In a joint statement, the groups said: “Secretary DeVos tried to wash her hands of the responsibility to decide whether federal funds can be used to arm teachers. But there is no question she has the authority to prevent this dangerous and misguided use of funds, as her own Office of General Counsel confirms, and it violates federal law to justify her inaction with misstatements. The only question here is whether she has the moral courage to keep our children safe.”

"Separate from any specific policy issues that we care about, we want reasoned decision making from our government and this is you know where the secretary is publicly making statements about her, about legal issues, about her legal authority to do or not do something and that is based on a mistaken view of the law, or even worse would just be an intentional misstatement about her limited authority when in fact she knows that she has authority to act," said Ben Seel, counsel and legal analyst for Democracy Forward.

"You know, that's not reasoned decision making, that's not how governments should operate, you should have the best information available to you and you should make accurate statements about what you can and can't do," he said.

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Zach Gibson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing mounting pressure to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, resulting in a clash behind closed doors with members of her own party on Monday evening in a House Democratic leadership meeting, according to sources familiar with what transpired.

Pelosi, Rep. Jim Clyburn and Rep. Steny Hoyer pushed back on the calls for impeachment from members of the Democratic leadership team and Judiciary Committee, as first reported by Politico and confirmed by ABC News.

Other members -- Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. David Cicilline, who are members of the House Judiciary Committee -- "stood tall" in their calls for impeachment, according to one source in the room.

Raskin specifically argued that it could streamline Democrats’ investigations and help them in court.

Pelosi responded by asking if he was advocating for shutting down the five other committees who are working, sources said.

"You want to tell Elijah Cummings to go home?" she asked, according to an aide in the room.

As for the impeachment advocates, they are arguing that it would help them strengthen their investigation and obtain documents and information the administration is blocking.

Those in favor of impeachment argue it would help them force administration compliance, and aren't necessarily calling for a quick push for a full House vote to launch a trial in the Senate.

Pelosi and Rep. Jerry Nadler have argued that Democrats’ success Monday in court regarding Trump’s financial records suggests they are on the right path.

"Now, what we said when we started it that these [investigations] will yield information to us. Today, we won our first case," Pelosi told Democrats in a second meeting Monday evening, according to an aide in the room.

"We’ve been in this thing for almost 5 months and now we’re getting some results," she added.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., an impeachment advocate, asked Pelosi if she was concerned about losing seats.

“This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through," she said.

"We still have un-exhausted avenues here" she said, referencing inherent contempt.

"We have invested this much time. I don’t know why we would say McGahn, that’s it," she added.

Chairman Nadler, even as he pointed to Democrats’ success in the civil courts, also suggested that Trump may not leave Democrats with any other options.

"The president’s continuing lawless conduct is making it harder and harder to rule out impeachment or any other enforcement mechanism," he said, according to an aide in the room.

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Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release transcripts of its two-day closed-door interview with former Donald Trump fixer Michael Cohen -- interviews that highlighted Cohen’s claim that Trump's lawyers edited his testimony and knew he lied to Congress about Trump’s business ties to Russia.

Following the vote, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., released a statement about the release of the transcripts along with information provided to the committee by Cohen.

“With the completion of Special Counsel Mueller’s work and the release of his report, it is critically important that the Committee, and the Congress, make public as much information as possible that bears on Mueller’s findings, explain the evidence he uncovered, and expose the obstructive actions taken by this President and those who surround him, Schiff said. "It is in this light that the Committee today releases the transcripts of two days of interviews of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen."

In March, Cohen told the House Oversight Committee that the president’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, changed his 2017 statement to the House and Senate intelligence committees regarding the duration of discussions about a potential Trump Tower Moscow project.

“I lied to Congress about when Mr. Trump stopped negotiating the Moscow Tower project in Russia. I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016. That was false – our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign," Cohen told the committee.

“You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it," Cohen said.

According to the interview transcript released Monday, Cohen told the committee that Sekulow suggested that the Trump Tower Moscow project ended in January of 2016, ahead of the Iowa caucus.

In his subsequent 2017 statements to Congress, Cohen said discussions about the Moscow project ended in January 2016, though they continued through the summer of 2016, after Trump had become the Republican nominee for president.

Cohen said Sekulow asked him to stick with the January 2016 date to "distance Mr. Trump from any relationships, any contacts, anything to do with Russia."

In July 2016, then-candidate Trump said, "I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia."

Cohen also told the committee that he discussed pardons with Sekulow until he withdrew from the joint defense agreement with the president, and said he believed Trump was aware of the discussions.

"They raised the topic, and what they were doing, including publicly, they were dangling the concept of pardons, and the purpose of course was to keep everybody part in the joint defense team," Cohen told lawmakers, according to the transcript.

The reason Sekulow gave for considering pardons for Cohen and others, according to Cohen's testimony, was to "shut down the inquires and shut the investigation down."

Sekulow, in a statement through his attorneys Monday night, said Cohen's statements "are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen's 'instinct to blame others is strong.'"

"That this or any Committee would rely on the word of Michael Cohen for any purpose – much less to try and pierce the attorney-client privilege and discover confidential communications of four respected lawyers – defies logic, well-established law and common sense," the statement read.

Cohen also told lawmakers that his then-attorney Stephen Ryan said that Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, had requested that he alter his statement to Congress to suggest that the president's eldest daughter had no role in the project.

Cohen testified under oath that he briefed members of the Trump family repeatedly about the Trump Tower Moscow effort.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

Cohen's attorney, Lanny J. Davis, praised Schiff for releasing the transcript.

“While we were not consulted, we applaud Chairman Schiff for making the transcripts of Michael Cohen’s House Intelligence Committee testimony public. Transparency and the truth are Donald Trump’s worst nightmares," Davis said in a statement. "Michael Cohen lied only once and that was to Congress —specifically for the benefit (and in accordance with the directives) of Donald Trump to cover for Trump’s repeated public lies during the 2016 campaign of no Russia deals or contacts."

"To anyone who questions the veracity of Michael Cohen’s testimony, I ask: 'Will you testify under oath?'" Davis said.

According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Cohen said he was instructed by Trump’s attorney to keep his 2017 statement to Congress short and "tight," and that he should stay on message and not contradict Trump.

While Mueller said there was evidence that Trump was aware of Cohen’s false statements to Congress, "the evidence available to us does not establish that the President directed or aided Cohen’s false testimony," according to his report.

Federal prosecutors in Mueller's office later wrote that Cohen also sought to "minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1," referring to then-candidate Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee has since sent letters to attorneys representing members of Trump and his family members’ legal teams in an effort to investigate the attorneys' involvement in drafting Cohen’s false statement.

Trump’s lawyers have pushed back against the request and argued that demands by the committee's chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, for information would force them to violate attorney-client privilege.

Since March, Schiff has exchanged a series of letters with attorneys representing members of Trump's legal team. News of the nascent investigation and Schiff's letters to the attorneys was first reported Tuesday by the New York Times.

Earlier this month, Cohen reported to prison in New York to begin his three-year sentence, after an unsuccessful effort to delay his surrender to prison.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2018, and to campaign finance violations and tax and bank fraud.

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Paul Marotta/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif. was honored Sunday night with the 2019 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award -- the first woman to net such an achievement.

The award recognizes a public official who demonstrates politically courageous leadership.

“Thanks to her courage we have healthcare for all Americans, and the most diverse Democratic Congress in American history,” said Caroline Kennedy. Speaker Pelosi was critical in passing The Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration.

Pelosi started her 17-term career in 1987 as a congresswoman in California, and she has been the only woman to be elected, then re-elected, as Speaker of the House.

She recognized the late President John F. Kennedy with kind words.

"His self-deprecating wit and the natural grace he symbolized and conveyed truly did captivate and inspire the country," Pelosi said. “Our presence…celebrates and honors him. I too am honored with this award as something I accept with a full and humble heart.”

Pelosi thanked her family, congressmen and the Kennedy family.

“The Kennedy family has given so much to America’s history and to America’s future,” she said.

She closed her acceptance speech by recounting fond memories of Kennedy: "In college, I attended the inauguration... and on that freezing, thrilling day, I heard his electrifying call to public service, never did I suspect then, later as House Democratic leader, I would participate in a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of his inauguration by hearing his voice reverberate through the rotunda of the Capitol with that beautiful, beautiful inaugural address; and never did I suspect, as Speaker of the House, I would be given this profile and courage award."

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