National security and immigration are at the forefront for this Sunday’s State of the Union. We’ll be following the new information coming out of House hearings about NSA surveillance programs and tracking the progress of immigration reform as it reaches a final vote. It’s the end of a long, hard-fought battle for the Senate Gang of Eight, and last minute compromises are being made to grab the needed votes. The Director of the NSA said on Tuesday that as many as 50 terrorist plots have been stopped by the surveillance programs that leaker Edward Snowden claims are invasions of privacy for Americans. Obama returns this weekend from Germany and departs next week for Africa, but Candy Crowley will be here in Washington on Sunday to talk about the nation’s news with lawmakers and a panel of experts.
Obama Abroad: President Obama spoke this week in Berlin advocating the reduction of nuclear facilities worldwide, but only vaguely touched on the slew of scandals and issues he faces stateside While Obama acknowledged the need for strict control of “new technology like drones” and noted the importance of “balancing security with privacy," his sweeping speech avoided any direct mention of the NSA leaks, U.S. aid to Syrian rebels, or the embattled immigration bill. Next week, the Obama family heads to Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa in an effort to promote emerging democracies, global health, and economic growth in the region. While the President travels from Germany back to DC and then on to Africa, State of the Union will be covering all of the controversies and conversations that await him in Washington.
The Final Stretch for Immigration: A final vote on immigration reform is expected next week, and passage of the bill hinges on border security. CNN broke news that a bipartisan group of senators will be presenting a border security agreement on Thursday, which could garner enough support for the bill to pass The Gang of Eight has continued to work for compromises that will persuade holdouts to vote for the contentious landmark bill.
NSA Hearings: In House hearings on Tuesday, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, revealed that since 9/11 more than 50 terrorist plots were thwarted with the help of controversial surveillance programs. Alexander said the leaks from Edward Snowden have caused “irreversible and significant damage to this nation.” All this as Snowden continues to speak out from an unknown location, though speculation is that the former CIA employee is hiding out in Hong Kong on a tourist visa. A new CNN/ORC International poll shows that 52% disapprove of Snowden’s actions. 54% of those questioned think that Snowden should be brought back to the U.S. for prosecution, but what will become of Snowden is largely speculation at this point.
All Eyes on the Supreme Court: And finally, with just one week left in June, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court awaiting their decision on four potentially influential cases. The court will decide cases on affirmative action, voting rights, and two same-sex marriage cases.
All this and more will be the focus of this Sunday’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET.