Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions

President Trump with Attorney General Jeff Sessions at an event on Capitol Hill last month. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Few Republicans were quicker to embrace President Trump’s campaign last year than Jeff Sessions, and his reward was one of the most prestigious jobs in America. But more than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump accused Mr. Sessions’s department of devising a “politically correct” version of the ban — as if the president had nothing to do with it.

In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.

Behind-the-scenes frustration would not be unprecedented in the Oval Office. Other presidents have become estranged from the Justice Department over time, notably President Bill Clinton, who bristled at Attorney General Janet Reno’s decisions to authorize investigations into him and his administration, among other things. But Mr. Trump’s tweets on Monday made his feelings evident for all to see and raised questions about how he is managing his own administration.

Read the complete article on The New York Times news site.

 

Sally Yates gives Ted Cruz a lesson during exchange over Trump’s travel ban – video

From The Guardian:

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates has come out on top after Texas senator Ted Cruz attempted to corner her during a discussion about Donald Trump’s travel ban. Cruz cited a portion of US code that allows presidents to prevent immigrants from entering the country if their arrival would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States’. But Yates was unflustered, quickly replying with a quotation from another statute that says visas cannot be denied due to someone’s race, nationality or place of birth.

Hey Ted Cruz. Listen up. Never ask a question for which you don’t already know the answer.

Homeland security intelligence finds little evidence to back Trump travel ban

The Department of Homeland Security was asked to draft a ‘comprehensive report’ on the issue of terror threats from citizens of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

The Department of Homeland Security was asked to draft a ‘comprehensive report’ on the issue of terror threats from citizens of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Analysts at homeland security’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.

A draft document obtained by the Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the seven countries have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the US since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.

Trump cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason he signed the sweeping temporary travel ban in late January, which also halted the US refugee program. In early February, a federal judge in Washington state blocked the government from carrying out the order. Trump said on Friday that a new edict would be announced soon. The administration has been working on a new version that could withstand legal challenges.

A homeland security spokeswoman, Gillian Christensen, on Friday did not dispute the report’s authenticity, but said it was not a final comprehensive review of the government’s intelligence.

“While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you’re referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing,” Christensen said. “The … report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete.”

The homeland security report is based on unclassified information from justice department press releases on terrorism-related convictions and attackers killed in the act, state department visa statistics, the 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment from the US intelligence community and the State Department Country Reports on Terrorism 2015.

The three-page report challenges Trump’s core claims. It said that of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to carry out or try to carry out an attack in the United States, just over half were US citizens born in the United States. The others were from 26 countries, led by Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan. Of these, only Somalia and Iraq were among the seven countries included in the ban.

Of the other five countries, one person each from Iran, Sudan and Yemen was also involved in those terrorism cases, but none from Syria. It did not say if any were Libyan.

Read the complete article on The Guardian newspaper web site.

 

Why Trump’s travel ban didn’t include a 9/11 terrorist country

Donald Trump’s failed Muslim ban involved no countries with terrorist connections to 9/11. We now know why Trump failed to include in the Muslim ban one country with ties to the terrorist attack on 9/11. It begs the question of Trump and ethics.

I wrote in an earlier article that hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda. Yet 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the others were from the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt and Lebanon.[1]

None of those countries were mentioned in Trump’s original attempt at a Muslim ban. We now know why one of those countries in particular, the United Arab Emerates, wasn’t mentioned in the travel ban.

Eric Trump (second from left) and Donald Trump Jr. (second from right) attended an an invitation-only ceremony Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.

Eric Trump (second from left) and Donald Trump Jr. (second from right) attended an an invitation-only ceremony Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.

Billionaire Hussain Sajwani’s DAMAC Properties partnered with the Trump Organization to build the golf course at the heart of a development of villas and apartment blocks called DAMAC Hills. Among them are some 100 Trump-branded villas selling from 5 million dirhams ($1.3 million) to over 15 million dirhams ($4 million).

Ties between the Trumps and Sajwani remain strong. One of the Trump Organization’s subsidiaries received from $1 million to $5 million from DAMAC for running the golf club, according to a U.S. Federal Election Committee report submitted in May.

Sajwani and his family also attended a New Year’s Eve celebration at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where Trump referred to them as “the most beautiful people from Dubai.”

Trump days later told journalists that DAMAC had offered the Trump Organization $2 billion in deals after his election, something DAMAC also confirmed.

The Trump Organization has said it won’t make new foreign deals while its namesake is president. A previously planned Trump-branded golf course designed by Tiger Woods is still being built by DAMAC further down the road.

It would appear that $2 billion in deals after the election between Trump’s companies and a country with terrorist ties to 9/11 keeps you off any Muslim travel ban.

It would certainly would appear to go against Trump’s assertion of no new deals while he is president.

As Trump would say, “No problem I can see”. That’s the problem. Donald doesn’t see the chaos going on in the White House, doesn’t see the chaos his idiotic travel ban caused, and doesn’t see the problem with tweeting threats to foreign countries.

Trump chastised Obama and Clinton for notifying foreign powers in advance of any potential event like retaliation or military action. Now Trump is doing exactly the same thing on Twitter. If Trump does it then it’s okay. If anyone else does it, then it’s bad.

Read more in ABCnews article here.

 

Travel ban ruling: judges refuse to reinstate Trump’s order

Travel ban: US appeals court rejects White House request to reinstate executive order

Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, on Saturday where he told reporters: ‘For the safety of the country, we’ll win.’ Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, on Saturday where he told reporters: ‘For the safety of the country, we’ll win.’ Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The US appeals court has denied the justice department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.

The ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco made the ruling early on Sunday morning, and asked those challenging the ban to respond to the appeal filed by the Trump administration late on Saturday night, and the justice department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.

“Appellants’ request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied,” the ruling said.

The justice department had earlier filed an appeal against a judge’s order lifting the ban, as the new administration’s flagship immigration policy threatened to unravel after one week.

The higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means legal battles over the ban will continue into the coming week at least.

After the appeal was lodged on Saturday, Trump told reporters at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida: “We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win.”

The president’s comments followed a personal attack on US district judge James Robart, the Seattle-based justice who made the court ruling on Friday that questioned the constitutionality of Trump’s order banning entry to the US by people from seven mainly Muslim countries.

But the justice department filing warned that Robart’s ruling posed an immediate harm to the public, thwarted enforcement of an executive order and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of (non-citizens) and the best means of minimizing that risk”.

The filing also criticised Robart’s legal reasoning, saying it violated the separation of powers and stepped on the president’s authority as commander-in-chief. The appeal said the state of Washington lacked standing to challenge the order and said Congress gave the president “the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of visitor”.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump had unleashed a Twitter assault on Robart. “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump tweeted.

Trump, who has said “extreme vetting” of refugees and immigrants is needed to prevent terrorist attacks, continued to criticise the decision in tweets throughout Saturday.

“The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” he tweeted.

Read the complete article in The Guardian newspaper here.

Kellyanne Conway blames refugees for ‘Bowling Green massacre’ that never happened

Kellyanne Conway had already faced derision for her claim that the White House was offering ‘alternative facts’. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway had already faced derision for her claim that the White House was offering ‘alternative facts’. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, has come in for criticism and ridicule after blaming two Iraqi refugees for a massacre that never happened.

Conway, the US president’s former campaign manager who has frequently faced the press to defend his controversial moves, cited the fictional “Bowling Green massacre” in an interview in which she backed the travel ban imposed on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Kellyanne Conway’s interview on MSNBC

Conway compared the executive order issued by Trump in his first week in the White House to what she described as a six-month ban imposed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

This claim has been debunked by commentators who have pointed out that the 2011 action was a pause on the processing of refugees from Iraq after two Iraqi nationals were arrested over a failed attempt to send money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Conway told Matthews: “I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.

“Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

It didn’t get covered, many are now pointing out, because there was no such massacre.

The two Iraqi men arrested in 2011 did live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and are currently serving life sentences for federal terrorism offences. But there was no massacre, nor were they accused of planning one. The US department of justice, announcing their convictions in 2012, said: “Neither was charged with plotting attacks within the United States.”

Read the complete article on The Guardian web site here.