Wednesday, February 22, 2017
622 Days until Election Day 2018
1,350 Days until Election Day 2020
Good morning! Reporting from WUTP world HQ (in my bedroom), I'm Gabe Fleisher: this is your wake up call.
White House Watch
- The Trump Administration: What's Next? The Trump Presidency is now one month old, and has already been one of the busiest (and chaotic) Administrations in recent memory. What is the President planning for the next few days and weeks?
- Immigration A pair of Department of Homeland Security memos were released on Tuesday, providing a blueprint for how the Trump Administration will enact the President's executive orders on immigration and border security.
- The memos show that the Administration is ready to hand more authority to federal immigration agents, allowing them to detain and deport any immigrants with a criminal record. This gives broad power to immigration officials, as well as state and local law enforcement officials, to remove violent criminals and those who commit less serious crimes (like driving without a license).
- Any immigrant who "in the judgment of an immigration officer...pose[s] a risk to public safety or national security" could be "subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States." the guidance states.
- While the focus remains on criminal aliens, the DHS made clear that they will not avoid deporting immigrants without serious criminal records, the practice of the Obama Administration. "The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," reads the memo.
- The DHS also noted that officers will "no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents," limiting the court process an immigrant will be afforded before deportation to enact "expedited removal."
- The memos also introduce an end to "catch-and-release," which allowed undocumented immigrants to be released while their asylum requests were processed.
- One silver lining for immigration advocates: in a conference call with reporters, DHS officials sought to emphasize that former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain intact, keeping protections for DREAMers (children who were brought to the U.S. illegally at a young age) in place.
- Travel Ban 2.0 After President Trump's so-called "travel ban," ending immigration to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim nations, was put on hold by two federal courts last week, the Justice Department announced that the President would "rescind...and replace" the executive order.
- However, confusion remains as to what the new order will look like, and how it will differ from the original, as well as if the White House will truly "rescind" the original. According to a statement by White House spokesman Michal Short, the Administration is "finalizing a revised policy tailored to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling," although White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in his daily briefing that the original will stay in place.
- According to CNN, the crafting of the new executive order includes heightened involvement from White House Counsel Don McGahn and GOP congressional aides, and less from White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, to ensure the order's legality and support. The first order, which was written by Miller and Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon, without much consultation of other Executive Branch officials, immediately caused trouble at airports and faced issues in court, as well as among GOP lawmakers.
- A new order could be announced as early as today
- The President's Schedule President Trump spends his day at the White House today, taking meetings focused on the budget. Trump is coming off one of his better days since taking office; he gained positive press on Tuesday with a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which gave him the opportunity to condemn racism and recent acts of anti-Semitism. "Taken as a whole, this was the best day the Trump Administration has had since Jan. 20," the Washington Post's Chris Cilliza tweeted on Tuesday.
- At 10:30am today, the President will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office.
- At 11:30am, he will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who travels later today to Mexico City along with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. The two Cabinet officials will meet with the Mexican president and others to "discuss border security, law enforcement cooperation, and trade, among other issues."
- At 12:30pm, President Trump will have a working lunch in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the federal budget. According to Roll Call, the Trump Administration hopes to release its first budget request, for Fiscal Year 2018, on March 14.
- At 1:35pm, the President will hold an Oval Office meeting with his senior staff to discuss the federal budget.
- Finally, at 4pm, Trump will lead a "legislative affairs strategy session," focused on tax reform, health care, and the Supreme Court confirmation process
Capitol Hill News
- Top Reads: Congress in Recess As WUTP reported on Tuesday, Congress is currently on recess, returning home to loud protests from constituents demanding answers. Here's a roundup of good summaries to read from town halls across the country:
- New York Times: "At Town Halls, Doses of Fury and a Bottle of Tums"
- Associated Press: "GOP members of Congress face Trump foes at town halls"
- Today's Question George Washington's birthday would be today. He holds the highest rank in U.S. military history. What is it? Email me with the answer (firstname.lastname@example.org); correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's newsletter!
- Yesterday's Answer On Tuesday, I tried a poll to see how many days people thought the U.S. house is scheduled to be in session this year.
- The answer: 145 days, which is a two-week increase from last year, and about 40% of the 365 days in a year.
- Over 100 readers answered, and many were in the correct range. 33.7% of you answered 100-150 (which was correct), followed by 26.7% who answered 150-200, and 21.8% who said 50-100.
- 6.9% of you think Congress barely convenes at all (0-50), while the rest had their hopes too high: 5.9% said 200-250, 4% said 250-300, and 1% said 300-350.
- Great job! Thanks to everyone for participating.
*All Times Eastern
For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.