Torres Small backs impeachment inquiry

After becoming one of the final Democratic holdouts, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small now supports the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump happening in the House, citing Trump’s efforts to block the investigation. However, she said she still has “not reached judgment on the president’s actions, nor on the appropriate response.”

The first-term congresswoman announced the news in an opinion piece in the Las Cruces Sun News on Thursday. Previously, Torres Small had held the middle ground, saying she supported an investigation into the allegations against Trump related to Ukraine, but not calling it a formal impeachment inquiry. However, the Trump administration’s actions changed that. “Earlier this week, the president and his administration made it clear to New Mexicans that they are not committed to finding the truth,” Torres Small wrote.

Heinrich: ‘Trump is running our government like a criminal enterprise’

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich slammed President Donald Trump after the release of a rough transcript of the president’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

“This transcript is hard evidence that President Trump is running our government like a criminal enterprise,” Heinrich said. “He has enlisted both his personal attorney and the U.S. Attorney General to coordinate with a foreign government to interfere in our election.”

The phone call took place in July and is part of a whistleblower complaint filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General. Federal law requires that such complaints be transmitted to the House and Senate Intelligence committees. The complaint will be sent to Congress Wednesday afternoon, according to U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California; Heinrich sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential frontrunner.

‘Latinos for Trump’ call on supporters to talk to friends and neighbors

The morning after President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Rio Rancho, a group of about 100 people gathered to encourage Trump supporters to talk to their friends and neighbors about Trump. 

Latinos for Trump held a panel discussion at Casa Rodeña, a winery in the village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Guest speakers included members of Latinos for Trump, the state Republican chairman, a state representative and Trump’s campaign manager. The message:  volunteering and having conversations about Trump’s policies, not social media posts, is the best way to garner support for the president in Hispanic and Latinx communities. 

Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale has a background in digital media campaigns and said while the Trump campaign will utilize digital technology to connect supporters, the real effort should be local. 

“Winning elections is not about what I do on my computer or what we do across the country, it’s what you do in your neighborhoods,” Parscale told the crowd. 

Echoing his boss, Parscale said news organizations cannot be trusted to get the story right. Instead, he said, it’s up to friends and neighbors to share Trump’s policies and educate each other. 

“We do not get true information when we watch TV,”Parscale said. “Let me just tell you, from a guy who’s had a lot of fake news written about himself.”

Katrina Pierson, a senior advisor for the 2020 Trump campaign, also spoke and told the crowd that support for Trump goes beyond political affiliations. 

“We’ve transcended red and blue states and I think a lot of people have not figured that out yet, because now we have a decision to to be either pro or against America,” Pierson said. 

State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, told the crowd person-to-person conversations and contagious energy were part of the reason counties like Colfax, Hidalgo and Valencia flipped to Republican in the presidential race in 2016.   

“If we can multiply that with these people in this room and make that excitement happen in their hometowns and neighborhoods, President Trump will coast to victory in New Mexico,” Baldonado said. 

State Republican Chairman Steve Pearce also spoke at Tuesday’s event and praised the venue’s owner John Calvin for having the “courage” to host a political event. 

Calvin, a self-described life-long Republican and “lover of freedom and of free speech,” said he welcomes anyone who wants to hold an event at his winery. 

“Not everybody who comes here is a Republican.

As Trump speaks, Democrats rally miles away

While the city of Rio Rancho prepared for President Donald Trump’s appearance in Rio Rancho, Democrats held a unity rally in Old Town Albuquerque at Tiguex Park. Hundreds of supporters listened to Democratic elected officials and others slam Trump and his agenda. They also rejected the idea that Trump could win New mexico and be the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since George W. Bush in 2004. Related: Trump rallies in Rio Rancho, vows to flip NM in 2020

Supporters held signs calling for Trump to be impeached, calling for action on gun violence and to protect abortion access. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller kicked off the event.

Alt-right groups rally, outnumbered by counterprotesters

At a rally organized by a far-right, pro-Trump organization, the ralliers were outnumbered five-to-one from counterprotesters. The rally largely went off without any incident beyond the two groups shouting and chanting at each other. 

The protest was organized as a “Freedom First Flag Wave” by Bradley Burris, a New Mexico resident who hosted a Proud Boys podcast earlier this year. About 20 people at its peak showed up for that rally, some wearing helmets and other protective gear, while about 100 showed up at the counterprotest. The Proud Boys were joined by members of the Hiwaymen, a neo-confederate group. One person was detained afterward two blocks west of the rally.

NM Senators welcome investigation into admin’s use of eminent domain for border wall

New Mexico’s U.S. Senators said an internal government watchdog will provide answers about how the Trump administration seized land to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee blocked an amendment one of those Senators, Tom Udall, introduced to the defense funding bill that would bar Trump from diverting money from military projects to fund the wall. In August, Udall and New Mexico’s other Senator, Martin Heinrich, signed onto a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois asking for an investigation into the use of eminent domain to take land for the border wall. All four senators are Democrats. GAO wrote to the four Senators last week saying they would begin the review the Trump administration’s eminent domain efforts. 

“At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about three months,” the GAO official wrote.

City of Rio Rancho offices, city’s schools shutting down on day of Trump rally

The City of Rio Rancho and Rio Rancho Public Schools will shut down Monday in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the Albuquerque suburb. City officials announced Monday that while all public safety services will remain available, City of Rio Rancho offices, which are near the Santa Ana Star Center where Trump will appear, will be closed. The city says the rally “could attract several thousand people” to the area in northwest Rio Rancho. And the city’s schools will also be closed that day. Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent Sue V. Cleveland said the decision was not taken lightly.

Trump headed to NM this month for a campaign rally

President Donald Trump is headed to New Mexico later this month. The Republican president will make his first appearance in the state as president. He will travel to Rio Rancho, a conservative suburb of Albuquerque, and hold a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center, a 6,000-seat arena that holds 7,500 for concerts according to his campaign website. The rally comes over a year before the general election and nine months ahead of New Mexico’s primaries, which come late in the campaign cycle. Trump is facing two primary opponents, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh, but is likely to win the primary with overwhelming numbers.

$125 million in NM military projects being diverted to fund border wall

Two projects at military bases will see their funding sent to fund the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. In all, the federal government is diverting the funds from 127 military projects totaling $3.6 billion toward the construction of the wall. The U.S. Department of Defense says the diversion will be temporary. The projects in New Mexico that saw their funding eliminated, at least temporarily, are $85 million for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) training facility for  at Holloman Air Force Base and $40 million originally slated for an information systems facility at White Sands Missile Range. U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who represents the area and sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said she was “appalled at the Administration’s decision to divert military construction funds allocated for projects essential to our national defense to build a fiscally irresponsible border wall.”

Trump administration’s latest asylum rule allowed to stand in Texas, New Mexico

“Trump administration’s latest asylum rule allowed to stand in Texas, New Mexico” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Asylum-seeking migrants who cross into Texas or New Mexico can be barred from receiving asylum protection if they passed through another country before arriving at the U.S. border, a federal court ruled Friday. The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a partial victory for the Trump administration, which announced a policy last month that would disqualify most asylum seekers from receiving protection in the United States if they crossed through another country and didn’t first apply for asylum there. A federal district judge in San Francisco initially halted the measure, aimed at blocking asylum claims from Central Americans, but Friday’s decision by the 9th Circuit let the policy stand in Texas and New Mexico while halting it in Arizona and California, which are in the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction. The ruling could change the fate for thousands of people waiting to apply for asylum in Mexican border cities like Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.