Poll: 77% of Americans trust Federal government to handle COVID-19

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

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UPDATED 6:45 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

A recent survey found a majority of Americans trust the federal government to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, 77 percent of Americans are either very confident or somewhat confident the government has the ability to stop the spread of the virus in the U.S.

The findings show Americans are more confident in the government to handle the spread of the virus than with previous health scares. For example, 64 percent of Americans said they trusted to the government to fight the Zika virus in 2017 and that number was at 61 percent for Ebola in 2014.

Meanwhile, four Americans who tested positive for the coronavirus are being treated in a hospital in Spokane, Washington.

In a press briefing on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the four former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend.

Spokane County health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said the hospital was chosen for these patients, “because of its secured airborne infection isolation rooms.”

“The risk to the general community about this particular process is zero,” he stated. “I mean, because of the resources that have been brought to bear to ensure the safety of these individuals were brought from the airport to this facility, again there was no risk to the general population — I emphasize that as much as I possibly can.”

Dr. Lutz went on to reaffirm health care workers at the hospital have been specifically trained to handle this type of scenario.

RELATED: Six coronavirus cases discovered in north Italy, hundreds to be tested

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President Trump: Federal government will step in if Calif. cities can’t clean up streets

FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, a woman walks past a homeless man sleeping in front of recycling bins and garbage on a street corner in San Francisco. Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for better mental health care to help treat the state’s large homeless population as he addresses one of the state’s most pressing problems in his second State of the State speech to be given Wednesday, Feb. 19. 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

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UPDATED 8:52 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

President Trump warned if California can’t clean up its streets, the federal government will. He made those remarks during a briefing on preparations for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Tuesday.

The president then said California’s big cities have needles and other unhealthy substances on the streets, which ends up on the beaches as well as in the ocean. He said he’s already told members of his administration they have to get involved in cleaning up the Golden State.

“…if they can’t do it themselves, we are going to do it, the federal government is going to take it over,” he stated. “We are working right now with L.A., in particular….it’s not thinkable what they have allowed to have happened to these cities, incredible.”

President Trump said his administration is also in talks with officials in San Francisco regarding the issue.

Homelessness has led to several public health issues in California’s big cities, including outbreaks of hepatitis. About half of the nation’s homeless population resides in the Golden State.

RELATED: Schwarzenegger thanks President Trump for combating homelessness

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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo says he’s cooperating with federal authorities

FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2019 file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a bill signing ceremony in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

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UPDATED 5:37 PM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

President Trump took to Twitter ahead of his meeting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Thursday, the president said Cuomo must put national security above politics and stop the city’s unnecessary lawsuits against him.

His comments came after the governor called the president’s move to ban the expedited reentry program “politically motivated.”

Cuomo said he will give the federal authorities access to New York’s DMV database if President Trump rolls back the Trusted Traveler Program ban.

He said he is prepared to take legal action against the president should he not comply with that offer.

“We already announced that we will sue the federal government, because I believe it’s illegal,” said the governor. “If it turns out to be ‘just politics,’ I believe that’s an abuse of government power.”

Cuomo added this is something the president cannot legally penalize New Yorkers for.

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President Trump may withdraw support for Federal Reserve nominee

President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Federal Reserve, Judy Shelton, appears before the Senate Banking Committee for a confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 4:29 PM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

President Trump may withdraw his support for one of his Federal Reserve nominees after she faced bipartisan criticism from senators. Judy Shelton appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, where she faced questions over some of her controversial remarks and stances on monetary policy.

Shelton apologized for her past comments comparing a convicted counterfeiter to civil rights icon Rosa Parks. She also backtracked on her past support for returning to the gold standard.

This came after Republican Sen. Richard Shelby pressed her on her support of the idea.

“I would not advocate going back to a prior historical monetary arrangement,” stated Shelton. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge that the power to regulate the value of U.S. money is given to Congress by our Constitution.”

Republicans said Shelton is facing an uphill battle to her confirmation. Conservatives only have a one-seat advantage on the banking committee. If any GOP member votes against her nomination, the decision will likely result in a tie.

RELATED: Trump Fed Nominee Shelton Hits Bipartisan Skepticism In Senate Hearing

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U.S. charges suspected El Paso shooter with federal hate crimes

El Paso Walmart mass shooter Patrick Crusius was arraigned Thursday, Oct., 10, 2019 in the 409th state District Court with Judge Sam Medrano presiding. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP,Pool)

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UPDATED 1:45 PM PT — Friday, February 7, 2020

On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a 90 count indictment for 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who has been accused of initiating a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart last August.

“We and the grand jury allege that the defendant committed these federal hate crimes…to frighten and intimidate the Hispanic community,” stated Civil Rights Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “This will not stand.”

Federal prosecutors said he posted a manifesto online before the attack.

“In that manifesto, he called the attack a response to ‘the Hispanic invasion of Texas,'” said Texas attorney John Bash. “He claimed to be defending the United States from ‘cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by the invasion.'”

The indictment also cited the targeted mass shooting of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, as Crusius’ alleged inspiration for the attack.

Walmart employees gather outside the Walmart store for a reopening event, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Briana Sanchez/The El Paso Times via AP)

Eight Mexican nationals were among the 22 people killed. Dozens of survivors continue to recover from the shooting.

The alleged shooter has pleaded not guilty and prosecutors are considering the death penalty.

The Walmart store in El Paso was popular among shoppers from nearby Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The store reopened in November following a renovation and a memorial in the parking lot, which honored the victims of the shooting.

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American Samoans should be recognized as US citizens, federal judge decides

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People born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday, in a hard-fought legal battle spanning decades.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups also ruled that American Samoans should be issued new passports reflecting his ruling. The disclaimer on their passports currently reads: "The bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen."

"This court is not imposing 'citizenship by judicial fiat,'" Waddoups said in his decision. "The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent."

American citizens are defined as people "born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

American Samoa became a U.S. territory in 1900, but those born there are only recognized as U.S. nationals, preventing them from being able to vote, run for public office or sponsor family members for immigration to the U.S.

Its status separates itself from other U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that ruled the Constitution doesn't confer citizenship to those born in American Samoa.

The lawsuit was brought last year by three people — John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli — who were born on the cluster of islands southeast of Hawaii and currently reside in Utah. They claimed they faced restrictions from traveling abroad and were subject to fees that don't apply to American citizens.

It was not clear if Thursday's ruling applies outside of Utah. The Justice Department and State Department didn't immediately return Fox News requests for comment.

“The takeaway from the ruling is that people born in American Samoa living in Utah are now U.S. citizens, and they have all the same rights as other Americans, including the right to vote,” said Neil Weare, president of Equally American and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “These individuals can now go and register to vote and participate in state, federal and local elections.”

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli'i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli'i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

American Samoans can apply for U.S. citizenship but have to pay the $725 application fee, in addition to any legal fees they incur to help them navigate the process.

Fitisemanu said his employment prospects have been diminished because of his rejection from jobs that specify U.S. citizenship as a requirement. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, he said he avoided political conversations because he couldn't vote.

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After the ruling, Fitisemanu said he plans to register to vote. The American Samoan government claims automatic U.S. citizenship would undermine local traditions and practices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend millions in military funds on border wall construction

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Democrats call out Trump for lack of progress on border wall

National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd on President Trump's border wall progress.

A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion earmarked for the military to fund border wall construction.

District Court Judge David Briones, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled in an El Paso court Tuesday that the money cannot be diverted to build 175 miles of steel barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights sued the administration in October, claiming President Trump overstepped his authority when he issued a national emergency declaration to get additional funds for the wall — his signature 2016 campaign promise.

IN SAN DIEGO, OFFICIALS SAY NEW WALL IS HELPING BRING BORDER NUMBERS DOWN

Acting CBP commissioner says new border wall gives Border Patrol a 'fighting chance'Video

Congress had already given him $1.375 billion for wall construction.

Briones ruled in October to temporarily halt the president's plan to use the Pentagon funds. His Tuesday ruling only applies to the $3.6 billion, not other money available to the administration, including funds from counter-drug operations.

In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed off on spending the $3.6 billion, provoking outcry from Democrats and immigration-rights advocates.

Kristy Parker, an attorney with the nonprofit group Protect Democracy who represented the plaintiffs, described Trump's declaration as a power grab.

Supreme Court clears way for Trump administration to use Pentagon funds for border wall constructionVideo

"Today’s order affirms that the president is not a king and that our courts are willing to check him when he oversteps his bounds," Parker said in a statement. "This is a huge win for democracy and the rule of law.”

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Earlier this year, the Supreme Court paved the way for the administration to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to replace existing fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal Tuesday's decision.

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