Federal judge blocks Trump’s third travel ban

The following article by Matt Zapotosky was posted on the Washington Post  website October 17, 2017:

Passengers come and go around airport gates at San Francisco International Airport. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE)

A federal judge on Tuesday largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the president’s controversial travel ban, setting up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch’s powers when it comes to setting immigration policy.

The decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii is sure to be appealed, but for now, it means that the administration cannot restrict the entry of travelers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information that the United States wanted to vet their citizens.

The latest ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of Wednesday, barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Watson’s order stops it, at least temporarily, with respect to all the countries except North Korea and Venezuela. Read More

Trump Is the Reason the Constitution Has an Anti-Corruption Clause

The following article by Sam Berger was posted on the Center for American Progress website October 17, 2017:

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting, September 21, 2017. Credit: Evan Vucci, AP

The investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Russian attack on the U.S. election system has garnered significant attention. But, more quietly, another effort to limit foreign influence over our government continues apace.

On Wednesday, a federal district court in New York will hear arguments in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Trump, in which the plaintiffs argue that President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, an anti-corruption clause that prohibits government officials from receiving anything of value from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. While these cases are just beginning, the ongoing investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia have made clear that the problem of foreign influence in this administration is both very real and very dangerous. Read More

Trump Joked That Pence Wants To ‘Hang’ Gays

The following article by Chris Riotta of Newsweek was posted on the National Memo website October 17, 2017:

Donald Trump loves reminding his underlings who is in charge, and gets a kick out of joking about Mike Pence’s bigoted, anti-gay ideologies to his face.

Those are just two examples from an inside look at the pair’s relationship, as well as the vice president’s rise to the White House, published in a bombshell New Yorker article Monday morning. The report, written by Jane Mayer, suggests the president openly mocks Pence’s attitude toward the LGBT community ever since the 2016 presidential campaign and during briefings with legal experts.

Trump and Pence sat in on a meeting to discuss a range of issues, from abortion to gay rights. When the conversation moved to the latter, the president pointed toward Pence and said: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!” Read More

The White House Says It Doesn’t Keep A List Of Mar-a-Lago Visitors. Experts And Visitors Are Skeptical.

The following article by Leora Smith Derek Kravitz was posted on the ProPublica website October 16, 2017:

Credit: Don Emmert, AFP/Getty Images

Seven members and guests of Mar-a-Lago say the U.S. Secret Service checks names of visitors.

Last month, the Trump administration said it could not comply with a court order to disclose the names of people who met with the president at Mar-a-Lago in part because they do “not maintain any system for keeping track” of them.

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HUMAN RIGHTS Trump Is Restoring the Darkest Elements of Bush’s War on Terror

The following article by Karen Greenberg was posted on the AlterNet website October 15, 2017:

The Trump administration just classified its first American prisoner from the battlefields of Syria an “enemy combatant.”

Credit: Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock.com

Eight years ago, when I wrote a book on the first days of Guantanamo, The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days, I assumed that Gitmo would prove a grim anomaly in our history.  Today, it seems as if that “detention facility” will have a far longer life than I ever imagined and that it, and everything it represents, will become a true, if grim, legacy of twenty-first-century America.

It appears that we just can’t escape the perpetual pendulum of the never-ending war on terror as it invariably swings away from the rule of law and the protections of the Constitution.  Last month, worries that had initially surfaced during the presidential campaign of 2016 over Donald Trump’s statements about restoring torture and expanding Guantanamo’s population took on a new urgency.  In mid-September, the administration acknowledgedthat it had captured an American in Syria.  Though no facts about the detained individual have been revealed, including his name or any allegations against him, the Pentagon did confirm that he has been classified as an “enemy combatant,” a vague and legally imprecise category. It was, however, one of the first building blocks that officials of George W. Bush’s administration used to establish the notoriously lawless policies of that era, including Guantanamo, the CIA’s “black sites,” and of course “enhanced interrogation techniques.“  Read More

This Is How Much Average Americans Will Pay for Trump’s Tax Cuts for the 1 Percent

The following article by Rachel West, Katherine Gallagher Robbins and Melissa Boteach was posted on the Center for American Progress website October 16, 2017:

CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

On the heels of their humiliating health care debacle, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are stepping up efforts to push a tax plan designed to benefit the wealthy. The plan makes vague and unspecific overtures when it comes to provisions that could benefit working- and middle-class taxpayers, but it is crystal clear about the benefits it would bestow on rich individuals and wealthy corporations.

For example, the plan removes taxes on extremely wealthy estates, slashes the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, and abolishes the alternative minimum tax, which ensures that higher-income households—which are often able to take advantage of lucrative deductions and credits—contribute at least some modicum of taxes. It also gives a special low tax rate to owners of pass-through businesses, who are already able to avoid corporate taxes by instead paying personal tax rates on their portion of the businesses’ profits, allowing them a lower effective tax rate. All of these provisions would benefit the wealthiest Americans, including Trump himself.

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Candidate Trump attacked Obama’s executive orders. President Trump loves executive orders.

The following article by Andrew Rudalevige was posted on the Washington Post website October 17, 2017:

President Trump signed an executive order on the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 12. With the order, he directed federal agencies to rewrite regulations on selling a certain type of health insurance across state lines. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As he campaigned for the presidency, Donald Trump argued that Barack Obama’s frequent use of unilateral administrative tools made Obama a weak leader. “We have a president that can’t get anything done,” Trump told an interviewer in January 2016, “so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place.”

That spring he added, Read More

The Memo: Trump keeps beating 2016 drum

The following article by Niall Stanage was posted on the HillI website October 16, 2017:

President Trump isn’t letting the 2016 election go.

Twice on Monday — on Twitter and then at his Rose Garden news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — the president jabbed at his vanquished opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The attacks irk Democrats and independent critics, who note that past presidents have generally avoided public gloating about their victories after Election Day. Read More

Trump’s claim that Obama ‘didn’t make calls’ to families of the fallen

The following article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website October 16, 2017:

During a news conference on Oct. 16, President Trump said he has an “outstanding” relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and defended his handling of the situation in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I am able to do it.”
—President Trump, news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Oct. 16, 2017

President Trump had an unusually long news conference in the Rose Garden and he was called out by a reporter for this statement, in which he claimed that Barack Obama did not call the families of fallen troops when Obama was president. Trump made this claim while explaining why he had not yet made a statement about the four U.S. Special Forces members who died on Oct. 4 in Niger during a deadly ambush by dozens of Islamist extremists. Read More

Criticized for not commenting on soldiers killed in action, Trump falsely says Obama did even less

The following article by Philip Bump was posted on the Washington Post website October 16, 2017:

During a news conference at the White House on Oct. 16, President Trump claimed that “most” American presidents, including Barack Obama, didn’t call families of soldiers who were killed in action. Former members of the Obama administration said this is false. (Reuters)

Four U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed earlier this month while on patrol in Niger. President Trump’s silence on their deaths has been notable, with 10 days having passed without any comment from the White House — 10 days during which Trump visited his golf club in Sterling, Va., five times.

During an impromptu news conference in the White House Rose Garden on Monday afternoon, Trump was asked why he hadn’t yet made a public comment on the fatalities. Read More