Monday, February 6, 2017
638 Days until Election Day 2018
1,366 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.
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- Travel Ban Update: States of Washington and Minnesota v. Donald Trump A Seattle-based federal judge halted enforcement of President Donald Trump's travel ban on Friday, setting up a high-stakes legal fight over the controversial executive order.
- “The court concludes that the circumstances that brought it here today are such that we must intervene to fulfill the judiciary’s constitutional role in our tri-part government,” U.S. District Judge James Robart said on Friday, before issuing a written order to "[prohibit] enforcement" nationwide of the sections of Trump's order that ban travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, temporarily shut down the refugee program, and permanently shut down the Syrian refugee program.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, suing the government along with his Minnesota counterpart, celebrated the ruling: "The Constitution prevailed today. No one is above the law - not even the President," he said on the courthouse steps.
- Following the judge's order, Customs and Border Protection told U.S. airlines to go "back to business as usual," boarding individuals who meet the pre-Trump requirements. The Department of State announced that it had reversed the cancellation of the 60,000 visas revoked due to the order, while the Department of Homeland Security also announced plans to comply with the decision. "In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order," a department spokesperson said, continuing later: "DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure."
- The travel ban was dealt another blow on Sunday, when the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected a Justice Department request to reinstate the travel ban during court proceedings, granting more time to those who would be affected by the order. The Department had filed an appeal arguing that the executive order was within the President's authority.
- "The [ruling] contravenes the constitutional separation of powers; harms the public by thwarting enforcement of an Executive Order issued by the nation's elected representative responsible for immigration matters and foreign affairs; and second-guesses the President's national security judgment," the Department argued. The appeal was denied, granting those affected by the executive order more time to legally travel to the U.S.
- Instead, the court ordered both sides to file their arguments by 6pm today. Washington and Minnesota have already submitted a brief, arguing that reversing the Seattle judge would "unleash chaos." In addition, 97 tech companies (including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and Uber) filed a "friend of the court" brief this morning, arguing that the executive order "makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees.” A number of former government officials, including former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also filed a brief arguing that the order "undermines" national security and will "endanger U.S. troops in the field."
- A number of former government officials, including former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also filed a brief arguing that the order "undermines" national security and will "endanger U.S. troops in the field."
- Meanwhile, as the legal battle continues to play out, President Trump's response to the judicial challenge has become a controversy of its own. The initial White House response came from press secretary Sean Spicer, who called the ruling "outrageous" (before issuing an updated statement removing just that word). "The President's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," Spicer said.
- Over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter multiple times to register his disapproval. The President tweeted on Saturday: "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Criticism came from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers over the message, which was seen as an affront to the indpendent judiciary.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Donald Trump wakes up at his "Winter White House," the Mar-a-Largo estate in Palm Beach, Florida today, after spending the weekend there with his family. While in Palm Beach, the President golfed at Trump International Club, attended the Annual International Red Cross Ball, watched the Super Bowl with family and staff, among other activities.
- At 10:40am today, the President will depart Palm Beach for MacDill Air Force Base, just south of Tampa Bay, Florida, where he will arrive at 11:30am.
- At 11:45am, President Trump will receive a briefing from the leaders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, which are headquartered at MacDill. Trump will be joined by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
- At 12:30pm, the President will have lunch with enlisted personnel at MacDill.
- At 1:15pm, he will address the service members before departing for Washington, D.C. at 2:20pm.
- Palace Intrigue A trio of fascinating stories packed with details about life inside the Trump White House were published over the weekend:
- The Wall Street Journal on Friday: "Trump’s First Weeks Leave Washington— and the White House Staff—Panting"
- The Washington Post on Saturday: "‘We’ll do better’: Trump’s White House tries to gain a sense of order amid missteps"
- The New York Times on Sunday: "Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles"
- Here are the top takeaways from the articles:
- All three articles portray a President unhappy with the reaction to his travel ban and first weeks in office. Trump was not happy with the reaction to the travel ban. "This has to go better," he told his staff in a meeting last week (WSJ).
- Two camps are emerging in the staff: chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy director Stephen Miller, urging a "rapid-fire series of executive orders"), vs. chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, who prefer "to move more deliberately"(WSJ).
- Trump is attempting to clarify the White House chain of command, placing chief of staff Reince Priebus firmly at the top. "Reince is in charge. He’s the chief of staff. Everything has to go through him," Trump announced (WaPo).
- However, Bannon "remains the president's dominant adviser," while Conway also exerts influence, retaining desired Oval Office walk-in privileges (NYT). Bannon is apparently "the big thinker," while Conway is taking a "big-picture, behind the scenes role shaping communications strategy" (WaPo).
- The President clearly remains a micromanager. Trump (known to pride his Time covers) is inquiring into Bannon's debut on the magazine's cover (WaPo). The President also watches Sean Spicer's press briefing on his newly-installed TV and then giving the press secretary feedback, and going over news clips with Spicer at night (NYT).
- Trump is now demanding to be "looped in on the drafting of executive orders much earlier in the process," angry that he wasn't briefed on an order that placed Bannon on the National Security Council's Principals Committee (NYT).
Capitol Hill News
- Today in Congress Both houses of Congress are in session today.
- The Senate will convene at 12pm; following Leader remarks, the chamber will continue debate over the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education. Procedural votes on the nomination are possible today, ahead of the expected confirmation vote on Tuesday.
- Meanwhile, the House will meet at 12pm today. Votes on seven bills, all boasting bipartisan support, are scheduled: six of them are focused on national parks, the final one would require court-issued warrants for the government to access emails or social networking messages from cloud providers (such as Google or Yahoo) for communications older than 180 days, according to the National Law Review. Currently, such warrants are only required for communications 180 days old or less.
*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.