Hung jury thwarts federal prosecution of Arizona teacher arrested for helping migrants

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3:52 a.m.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial Tuesday evening after a jury in Tucson, Arizona, couldn’t agree on whether Scott Warren, a 36-year-old geology teacher and border aid volunteer, had broken the law by helping a pair of Central American migrants crossing a treacherous stretch of Arizona desert. Warren’s lawyer, Greg Kuykendall, said eight jurors wanted to find Warren not guilty on all three federal counts and four jurors thought him guilty. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.

“The government put on its best case with the full force of countless resources, and 12 jurors could not agree with that case,” Kuykendall said. Warren also read a statement, pointing to the 88 bodies recovered in the Sonoran Desert since his arrest in January 2018. “The government’s plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees, and their families,” Warren said. “Prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness, and solidarity,” and plans to “build an enormous and expensive wall across a vast stretch of southwestern Arizona’s unbroken Sonoran Desert.”

Warren is part of the group No More Deaths, which places food and water for migrants in the most treacherous areas of the Arizona desert and recovers the remains of those who died there, as more than 2,800 did between 2000 and 2017. Prosecutors alleged that Warrent was actively trying to hide the two Central Americans from U.S. Border Patrol agents. Warren’s defense team said he was simply offering shelter to two men who showed up unexpectedly at a No More Deaths staging house, suggesting the Trump administration was targeting humanitarian workers as part of its border crusade and specifically targeting No More Deaths, which had posted video of Border Patrol agents destroying water jugs just hours before Warren was arrested.

Prosecutors have not said if they intend to retry Warren. Collins has scheduled a status meeting for July 2. Warren still faces misdemeanor charges for driving through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to leave water jugs. Peter Weber

2:34 a.m.

Last week, a Russian destroyer nearly rammed into a U.S. warship on the high seas. Where would Russia get the nerve “to play chicken against America in the Pacific?” Trevor Noah asked on Tuesday’s Daily Show. “Well, maybe it’s because they have a new and powerful BFF.” While President Trump was meeting with allies in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, and they got really friendly.

“That’s right, Xi and Putin have gotten so close they’re even taking boat rides together,” Noah said. “And not just a normal boat ride — Putin even helped Xi re-create that scene from Titanic. It was like, ‘Yeah, I’m king of the woooorld! No, really, China’s taking over the woooorld!'” And Xi, significantly, gave Putin two pandas. “The point is, China and Russia are getting super close, and the consequences for America go beyond boat rides and cute bears,” Noah said. China and Russia are “teaming up against the United States. I mean, America could probably handle China or Russia, but not both at the same time. Imagine if in Rocky IV, Ivan Drago was fighting and then Jackie Chan jumped in the ring to help. That would be the end of Rocky.”

“Beyond geopolitics, the personal element of this bromance is probably something that’s gonna bug Donald Trump,” Noah said. “Because don’t forget, he wants to be a part of this club — he loves those dudes. … So to see his two besties make plans without him, that’s gotta hurt. And I don’t think he’s dealing with his feelings in the most mature way.” The clip he showed did look pretty bad, in context. “Wow, really Trump? He’s going to put tariffs on China if Xi doesn’t hang out with him? That is so childish,” Noah said. “Xi Jinping won’t have a play date? Tariffs!” He ended with some dubious relationship advice for Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:41 a.m.

Using Snapchat’s new gender-switch filter, Ethan became Esther … and essentially launched his own version of To Catch a Predator.

Ethan, a 20-year-old college student from the San Francisco area, wanted to help law enforcement find possible sexual predators on Tinder. Police said Ethan created an account using his filtered photo, claiming to be a 19-year-old girl named Esther. In May, he started chatting with Robert Davies, 40, an officer with the San Mateo Police Department, CBS News reports. They talked on Tinder, then Kik Messenger, and finally Snapchat, and Ethan told Davies that Esther pretended to be 19 in order to use Tinder but was actually 16 years old.

Police said after discussing Esther’s age and acknowledging she was a minor, Davies continued to talk about “engaging in sexual activity.” Davies gave Ethan enough information for him to figure out his identity, police said, and he tipped off the authorities to what was happening. Last week, Davies was arrested and booked on charges of contacting a minor to commit a felony. Davies is now on paid administrative leave from the San Mateo Police Department, and in a statement, Chief Susan Manheimer said if the alleged conduct is true, it “is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a department, and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole.” Catherine Garcia

1:34 a.m.

President Trump waved a folded sheet of paper at reporters multiple times on Tuesday, claiming it was the secret deal he claimed his administration had reached with Mexico on Central American migrants. Trump did not let reporters read the paper, but photographers took plenty of photos, and thanks to a little backlighting, it’s clear the paper wasn’t blank. The Washington Post was able to reconstruct much of what the paper said, and the low-level officials who signed it: A U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, Marik String, and Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, a deputy legal adviser in Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

The document also doesn’t appear to be secret — Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard disclosed much of its contents on Monday, and he elaborated on Tuesday evening. The document has language suggesting that Mexico might consider changing its laws to facilitate a regional “safe third party” asylum system, subject to “domestic and international legal obligations,” in which migrants would have to apply for asylum in the first country they enter.

Ebrard said Tuesday that Mexico has 45 days to significantly stem the flow of migrants to the U.S., and if at that point the U.S. says there isn’t enough progress, “safe third country could be applied if we fail, and we accept what they say.” He said Mexico had not agreed to implement a “safe third country” system, which would need approval by Mexican lawmakers, and it probably won’t enact such a measure outside of a regional agreement involving countries like Panama and Brazil.

On CNN Tuesday night, Chris Cuomo was losing patience for Trump’s theatrics.

“I just don’t get the need for the exaggeration here,” Cuomo said. You can disagree with Trump’s methods and acknowledge that Mexico had already agreed to most of the measures, but “look, the threat of the tariffs moved them,” so “why does he have to do that with the paper?” Peter Weber

12:43 a.m.

A man was rescued Monday afternoon by the Coast Guard after he fell 800 feet into Oregon’s Crater Lake, officials announced Tuesday.

Crater Lake National Park rangers called the Coast Guard at 3:47 p.m. to report the accident, and “the aircrew was hovering above the injured man within 15 minutes of arriving on scene,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. Using a rope, they were able to hoist the man out of the volcanic crater and into the helicopter. The Coast Guard did not share the man’s identity, the extent of his injuries, or how he fell into the crater.

Crater Lake National Park released a statement in May urging visitors to stay back from the edge of the caldera. “A few times every year, visitors get too close and fall, often resulting in severe injury or death,” the park said. “Rocks and snow near the edge of the caldera are unstable and may give way without warning. Overhangs of snow called cornices build up over the winter, and it might look like you’re standing on solid ground when you’re actually standing on a thin layer of snow hanging over air.” Catherine Garcia

12:29 a.m.

“Today’s a big day for the 2020 election — Donald Trump and Joe Biden were both in Iowa,” Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday’s Late Show, “either because it’s the first primary state or because Kevin Costner needed more old guys to walk out of the corn field.” Biden hit Trump by saying, among other things: “Donald, it’s not about you. It’s about America.” Yes, Colbert said, “Biden’s right, it’s not about Donald — which is why Biden, in his speech, talked about Trump only 76 times. The only person talking more about Donald Trump than Joe Biden is Donald Trump, and me.”

But Biden is right that the cashiers at Target understand tariffs and economics better than Trump, Colbert said, “though to be fair, the cashiers at Target also know more about foreign policy, labor relations, and how to close an umbrella.” Meanwhile, “Trump didn’t even wait to get to Iowa before attacking Biden,” Colbert said. He laughed at Trump calling Biden not very smart, and made a geopolitical puppetry joke about Trump calling Biden a “dummy.” You can watch that below. Peter Weber

June 11, 2019

The streets of Hong Kong were once again filled with tens of thousands of protesters on Wednesday, as they demonstrated against a controversial bill that would allow the extradition of people arrested in Hong Kong to mainland China.

The protesters jammed Lung Wo Road, near the offices of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and put up barricades so drivers couldn’t get to the financial center. There are hundreds of riot police on the scene, and they have been using pepper spray and water cannons to push some of the demonstrators back, The New York Times reports.

Hong Kong’s legislature had planned on debating the bill on Wednesday, but postponed the action after throngs of protesters surrounded the council’s complex. Multiple groups are united against the bill, including students, teachers, and business leaders who worry about the creeping influence of Beijing. After decades of British rule, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, with the understanding there would be “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong has its own independent justice system, while China’s courts are controlled by the Communist Party. Catherine Garcia

June 11, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans on using a speech at George Washington University on Wednesday to educate President Trump on his version of democratic socialism.

Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, released excerpts of the speech on Tuesday night. Trump has been critical of socialism as a whole, declaring in his last State of the Union address that the United States will “never be a socialist country.” Sanders plans on pointing out that Trump “and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism,” but they “don’t really oppose all forms of socialism. They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.”

Sanders will also tout the success of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which “helped create a government that made huge progress in protecting the needs of working families.” Today, he will add, Americans need to “take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion. This is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we must accomplish.” Catherine Garcia

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