Emergency rush hour landing on Florida highway

A small airplane made an emergency landing on a Florida highway ramp during rush hour and crashed into a car. News outlets report the plane landed on an Interstate 4 on-ramp just north of Orlando. Nobody was hurt. (May 17)

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Julián Castro Thinks His Path To The Nomination Is Through Nevada And Texas (HBO)

While many of the 2020 Democratic contenders are camped out in Iowa or New Hampshire, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro is in Nevada. It’s his seventh visit to the Silver State since announcing his presidential exploratory committee.

“I see this state as just crucial to victory,” Castro said. “Out of the first four early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, I’ve always received the best response here in Nevada.”

Castro contends that he has a unique path to victory: an early win or strong showing in Nevada, followed by the same in California and Texas, both Super Tuesday states. It’s a path that plays on Castro’s supposed strengths.

The former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas argues that those Western and Southwestern states share a similar sensibility. Plus, as the only Latino vying for president, Castro believes he can mobilize the large Latino electorates in each of those states, and then do the same in the general election.

“I have no doubt that in 2020 the Latino turnout rate is going to go up because people are not just thinking about Donald Trump as a theoretical anymore,” Castro said. “They know how bad he’s been as president.”

On Friday, Castro announced he’s reached the Democratic National Committee’s debate threshold of 65 thousand individual donors, along with the other criteria. So his fundraising may have accelerated since his first quarter numbers (he only raised $1.1 million) but the latest polls still show him in the single digits.

Castro seems unfazed by those early indicators. “What can I do except go and work hard and do what a lot of families out there do every day which is to scrap and to continue to work,” Castro said.

VICE News followed Castro during two days of campaigning in Nevada.

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Life After Release From ICE Detention (HBO)

With thousands of Central American migrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol to ask for asylum each day, the U.S. is running out of space to hold them. So starting this winter ICE has been releasing them from detention into communities on the border.

Dropped into a country they know nothing about, often with no resources, their fate is left in the hands of good samaritans, nonprofits, churches, and even helpful bus station employees.

VICE News followed Brenda Del Carmen, a young mother who had never before left the Honduran village where she was born, in the days after she was released. With her four-month-old infant in tow, she tried to make her way from El Paso to Chicago, where her husband and five-year-old daughter had gone two months earlier. Like many others in their small farming community, their coffee crops had fallen sick that year.

“Honduras is really poor right now,” she said. “There is no hope.”

Facing destitution, the family gathered funds to pay a coyote to bring them to the U.S. Brenda traveled for a week with her infant Kimberly, presented herself to Border Patrol, and after a week in ICE custody, was released. She then spent more than 24 hours straight traveling through Texas, Arkansas, and Illinois to reach her family.

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The Teens Running Former Sen. Mike Gravel’s Presidential Campaign (HBO)

What happens when you mix the online snark and progressive idealism of the podcast-listening teen and the dgaf attitude of a 88 year-old lefty?

You get the Mike Gravel For President campaign.

A group of massively online college and high school students heard about Gravel a little while ago on Chapo Trap House, the podcast of record for the Bernie set. Gravel got famous in 1971 when, as senator from Alaska, he read the Pentagon Papers into the Senate record, effectively declassifying them. Then he dropped off the radar for a long while until 2008, when he ran a quixotic bid for president. He didn’t get very far, but he got far enough to create a few viral moments on the debate stage. Gravel was the anti-war conscience in the primary.

That’s the role the college and high school students want Gravel to play in the 2020 Democratic primary too. Most of them are supporters of Bernie Sanders, but they think getting Gravel on the debate stage again could help Sanders by giving him an ally and help push the entire party to the left.

So the teens talked Gravel into running again. But this time, Gravel doesn’t really want to leave his California home. He’s given the kids control of his online identity, and they’ve used it to raise thousands of dollars — and attack just about every other Democratic candidate.

VICE News met up with Gravel as he hosted the teens in real life for the first time.

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What Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Thinks About Trump’s Immigration Policy (HBO)

President Barack Obama’s former homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson would prefer not to be the frequent recipient of President Trump’s praise. But despite his party allegiance and previous employer, the president, his son, and the White House’s official Twitter feed have all recently praised Johnson for telling multiple interviewers that America’s southern border is “truly in a crisis.”
When VICE News’s Michael Moynihan sat down with Johnson to discuss Trump, the politics of immigration, and his tenure overseeing border enforcement, he was quick to point out that the president and his surrogates truncated his quote, leaving out his criticism of administration policies.
“I said that 4000 arrests on our southern border — one hundred thousand in a month — is truly a crisis,” Johnson told VICE News. “I then went on to, in the same interview, prescribe all the things I think should be done to deal with the crisis and what we seem to be doing wrong. The one sentence ‘it is truly a crisis’ went viral.”
Johnson, who began his career in politics interning for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a centrist Democrat, acknowledges that his party is lurching to the left — and that the Obama administration’s aggressive immigration policies would get a tougher reception these days.

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Democrats In Washington Try To Change The Subject From Mueller (HBO)

On Tuesday, Democrats continued to call for the release of the full report into President Trump’s administration by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

But, in much louder voices, they tried to talk about other things instead, like healthcare and the Green New Deal.

The reason is obvious — the initial findings from the Mueller report, as communicated by Attorney General William Barr, were embarrassing for a party that had whipped itself into a lather about what the Mueller findings might mean for the president.

But the weird thing is, Democratic voters in the primary states were not as excited for the Mueller report as Democrats in Washington were. Voters are thinking about the next two years, the Democratic primary and the race against Trump after that, and the ones VICE News spoke with this weekend would rather their candidates talk about something else.

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Hillary Clinton on 2020: ‘I’m not running’

Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president in 2020, but vows she’s “not going anywhere.” Clinton ruled out another campaign during an interview posted Monday by TV station News 12 Westchester. However, she said she’ll keep speaking out. (March 5)

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Students Uninvite Gov. Ralph Northam From The First Stop On His Apology Tour (HBO)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam hoped that today would kickoff his statewide apology tour. But last night, his first attempt to atone for the yearbook photo of a klansman and man in blackface, and for wearing blackface to moonwalk as Michael Jackson, fell apart.

The governor doesn’t deny moonwalking, but he does deny he’s in the photo on his yearbook page.

The governor planned to appear at historically black Virginia Union University for an event honoring the Richmond 34 civil rights activists. While some of the honorees were happy to let their ceremony serve as a place for the Governor to begin learning and apologizing for his racist act, the current VUU student body felt blindsided.

VUU’s Student Government Association President, Jamon Phenix, penned a letter addressed to Governor Northam demanding he back out of the event, explaining that the students “feel as though your presence takes away from the historical significance of our commemoration.”

Phenix says he invites the Governor to return to campus later this year. When asked why he would delay the chance to reconcile, Phenix told VICE News that the Governor’s mere presence at the event, without the opportunity for students to ask questions or have a discussion, didn’t add value. “There was no real reconciliation. If he was to attend, he would not be on the platform and he would not have said anything. Where’s the reconciliation inside of just a presence?”

Elizabeth Johnson Rice, one of the Richmond 34, disagreed. In 1960, she and her peers entered Thalhimers department store, sat down at a whites-only counter, and were arrested and charged with trespassing. As alarmed as she was that Northam had dressed in blackface, she believes firmly in second chances. “Northam may have trespassed against the black community,” she conceded. “But the word is forgiveness. And that’s, that’s what my heart said that he deserves.”

VICE News met with current and former VUU students in Richmond, VA. Though Governor Northam wasn’t in the room, the question of whether or not he was worthy of reconciliation certainly was.

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Inside Steve Bannon’s Town Hall For A Privately Funded Border Wall (HBO)

While President Trump continued to battle with Congress over funding for building the border wall with Mexico, his former chief strategist Steve Bannon was out in Arizona to back a do-it-yourself approach.

Once the planet’s most powerful political strategist with access to the Oval Office, Bannon is now raising money to fulfill Trump’s signature campaign promise. On Friday he headlined an event at the banquet hall of a retirement community in Arizona to raise private funds for a border wall — made out of hemp. So far the project has raised an astonishing $22 million from small donors in just over a month.

He wants the wall to be technologically state-of-the-art. “I’m obsessed with the hempcrete,” Bannon said, referring to a concrete-like construction material made from hemp. “I think this plant has got tremendous entrepreneurial aspects to it and it’s innovation. We’re not sitting there saying, ‘Hey, just a concrete wall or just a steel barrier.’ It has to be advanced technology.”

VICE News joined Bannon and the team behind ‘We Build the Wall’ to learn how they plan to side-step Washington and build their own wall.

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The Government Shutdown Is Now Affecting National Security (HBO)

Several airports along the East Coast are experiencing delays after “staffing issues” among air traffic controllers due to to the government shutdown.

LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Philadelphia International Airport, and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, are all operating with delays, according to the FAA’s status website. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) had briefly halted flights entirely at LaGuardia, one of the busiest airports in the United States, Friday morning, although that notice has now been lifted.

VICE News’ Alex Jaffe spoke to some federal workers about how the shutdown could impact U.S. national security.

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