Trump to transfer $3.8B from military to fund border wall

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday slashed billions of dollars in funding for 17 Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to free up money for the construction of President Donald Trump’s long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the $3.8 billion border wall request from the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon acknowledged that more cuts could be coming to provide additional funding for Trump’s signature campaign promise.

Thursday’s decision only heightened sharp divisions between Trump and members of Congress who have opposed the use of military funding for the wall construction.

Trump bringing back trusted aide Hope Hicks to White House

WASHINGTON — Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, is returning to the White House as the president works to surround himself with loyalists as his reelection campaign moves into high gear.

Hicks, a former White House communications director who was one of Trump’s original 2016 campaign staffers, is expected to serve as counselor to the president, working with presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity before the announcement had been made public. She left the White House in 2018 and moved to California to work as a top executive at the Fox Corporation, though she and Trump remained in touch.

Longest-serving federal judge, named by LBJ, retires at 98

NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York City who was nominated by President Lyndon Johnson and who contributed to the landmark case that struck down racial segregation in public schools is retiring at age 98.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein was known for favoring lenient sentences and rehabilitation. He retired this week after moving his remaining cases to his fellow jurists in the federal court based in Brooklyn, The New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

He was the longest-serving incumbent federal judge, the newspaper reported. He spent nearly 53 years on the bench.

Weinstein, who was appointed in 1967, was the last federal judge named by Johnson. Weinstein said he often pushed for the shortest prison sentences possible so people could try to build a better life.