Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good morning, it's 6 february 2017

Commentary on the continuing possibility of constitutional crisis; Mr. Trump makes it clear he considers Russia a peer; a pretty amazing New York Times story on the first two weeks, interally, including a statement saying that Mr. Trump wasn't being fully briefed on the EOs he's signing - particularly the one appointing white supremacist Bannon to the NSC; bill introduced to shutter the EPA entirely; a lot of amicus briefs filed on the Trump most-we-could-get-away-with-for-now-Muslim-Ban; Bremerton councilwoman arrested in DC; Canada trying to figure out what to do w.r.t. Mr. Trump's ban.

----- 1 -----
Canadian lawyers help those with U.S. travel ban at airports
One Toronto lawyer says: 'We have a responsibility to work for justice'
By Natalie Nanowski, CBC News Posted: Feb 05, 2017 7:02 AM ET

[The immediate appeal of the stay was denied; document here ]

A number of Canadian lawyers have been volunteering their time at airports to help those affected by U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

In Toronto, hundreds of lawyers have been helping anyone who gets turned away at U.S. security checkpoints inside Pearson International Airport.

Corey Shefman, a Toronto-based Indigenous rights lawyer, said there have been volunteer lawyers at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. He was at Pearson this past week, but declined to have his face shown in photos.

"People are glad to see us offering our help. They're concerned about the ban."

On Friday a judge in Washington State froze the ban, which affects people from seven Muslim majority countries.

The Trump administration moved Saturday night to appeal the judge's decision in a bid to have the ban reinstated, but that request was denied by a federal appeals court Sunday morning. In the meantime, people from the seven countries affected can travel to the U.S.

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Trump’s criticism of judge shows limits of staff’s influence
President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday at "this so-called judge" who put a nationwide hold on his executive order denying entry to the U.S. to refugees and to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The ruling set in motion another weekend of confusion and chaos around the country.
By JULIE PACE, AP | The Seattle Times

Originally published February 4, 2017 at 6:53 am Updated February 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Late Friday night, some of President Donald Trump’s top advisers huddled on the phone to craft a response to a court ruling that blocked the White House’s refugee and immigration ban.

The White House statement slammed the order as “outrageous.” But the president’s lawyers quickly raised objections to that wording, according to a White House official. About 10 minutes later, a new statement was sent without the fiery characterization of the ruling.

The lawyers’ warnings don’t appear to have made their way to the president. On Saturday morning, Trump lashed out on Twitter at the “so-called judge” and called the judge’s decree “ridiculous.”

Later Saturday, Trump followed that tweet with another: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”

The episode illustrated just how little ability anyone in the White House has when it comes to restraining the president — not his lawyers, his aides or his family. Not even at a time when Trump’s views of judicial independence could complicate the looming confirmation fight for his nominee to the Supreme Court, which holds one of the ultimate checks on presidential power.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, said Saturday that Trump’s tweet “shows a disdain for an independent judiciary” and “raises the bar even higher” for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch.

----- 3 -----
‘I misspoke one word’: Kellyanne Conway calls her critics ‘haters’ after Bowling Green fiasco
By Avi Selk February 5 at 10:06 AM
The Washington Post

Kellyanne Conway wishes her critics would let the “Bowling Green massacre” thing go.

Chelsea Clinton, in particular, it seems.

“I misspoke one word,” President Trump's campaign manager-turned-presidential adviser told Fox News's Howard Kurtz, according to a preview of a yet-to-air interview. “The corrections in the newspapers that are attacking me are three paragraphs long every day.”

Conway endured a day of mockery after she defended Trump's refugee ban to MSNBC's Chris Matthews by raising the specter of “the Bowling Green massacre.”

“Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered,” Conway told Matthews. There was no massacre at Bowling Green. Conway's comment instantly inspired memes.


The gaffe might seem ironic for Conway, who — like other White House aides and Trump himself — have attacked reporters at length over mistakes.

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Constitutional crisis? What happens if Trump decides to ignore a judge’s ruling.
The Washington Post
By Aaron Blake February 5 at 8:00 AM

President Trump has spent the better part of the past 24 hours bashing a U.S. district judge's decision to temporarily halt his travel ban executive order.

First came a White House statement calling the ruling “outrageous” (the word was later taken out). Then came Trump's many tweets, which were scattered throughout the day Saturday and actually seemed to question the judge's authority. And then, in its appeal, the Trump administration said the lower-court judge shouldn't be “second-guessing” the president.

The administration is complying with the order. But Trump's increasingly alarming tweets and this type of rhetoric about the judge's authority leads us to a question: What if it didn't? What if Trump — or any president — decided too much was at stake or that he didn't recognize “this so-called judge's” authority?

It's something experts on executive authority have been chewing over. Given Trump's populist campaign, admiration for authoritarian leaders and expressed skepticism toward the political establishment, some think it's possible he takes on the judicial establishment, too.

“They're spoiling for a fight, and that’s what populists do,” said Daniel P. Franklin, a professor at Georgia State University. “And I think that’s the way it plays out — maybe not on this issue, but on something.”


If Trump were to ever go down this road, Franklin said, the ultimate arbiter would be the other branch of government. He said Trump could be held in contempt of court, and it would then be up to the House of Representatives.

"[Contempt of court], in my opinion, is a 'high crime or misdemeanor' in the meaning of the Constitution, and he would be subject to impeachment,” Franklin said. “Whether or not the House of Representatives would see it that way is another question. It is at that point their call.”

----- 5 -----
H.R.861 - To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.115th Congress (2017-2018)
Rep. Gaetz, Matt [R-FL-1] (Introduced 02/03/2017)

[No text received yet]

Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

----- 6 -----
PREVIEW: Trump Tells O'Reilly He 'Respects' Putin in Super Bowl Interview
4 February 2017

On Sunday, Bill O'Reilly will hold a special Super Bowl pre-game interview with President Trump at 4 p.m. ET on your local FOX broadcast station.

In a special preview, Trump revealed his plans for dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

O'Reilly asked Trump whether he "respects" the former KGB agent:

"I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people," Trump said, "That doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him."

Trump said he would appreciate any assistance from Russia in the fight against ISIS terrorists, adding that he would rather get along with the former Cold War-era foe than otherwise.

"But, [Putin] is a killer," O'Reilly said.

"There are a lot of killers," Trump responded, "We've got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country's so innocent?"

----- 7 -----
5 Things Donald Trump Attacked Hillary Clinton Over—But Is Currently Doing Himself
February 3, 2017 8:48 PM by Michelle Ruiz

The Trump presidency thus far has been a bona fide progressive nightmare, but at the very least, the new commander in chief has been widely credited with delivering on his campaign promises—seemingly, all of his campaign promises. Among them: ordering the much-hyped wall on the Mexican border (thus alienating a longstanding U.S. ally), enacting a sweeping travel ban on Muslim-majority countries (that treads on U.S. law, if not the Constitution), and nominating a conservative pick for the Supreme Court (and conveniently ignoring the overly qualified and unfairly stymied Merrick Garland).

Still, sorry/not sorry, Sean Spicer, but Donald Trump doesn’t deserve a cookie just yet: Upon closer look (and Trump’s actions usually warrant one), the president is simultaneously going back on the fiery words of his campaign. After hurling nasty base attacks at Hillary Clinton over everything from her alleged failing health to conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation, Trump is currently engaged in at least five of the same exact behaviors he had attacked his opponent over. Hypocritical? Sure! Sexist? Definitely. Read on.

----- 8 -----
Bremerton councilwoman arrested in D.C.
Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun
6:49 p.m. PT Feb. 1, 2017

WASHINGTON D.C. — Bremerton City Councilwoman Leslie Daugs was arrested Tuesday for shouting an expletive at a confirmation hearing for one of President Donald Trump's cabinet nominees.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee debated the merits of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Daugs, a Democrat and critic of the Trump administration, said she yelled, "This is bull----," incurring the attention of the Capitol Police. She was escorted out, cuffed and taken to a station. After about four hours, she was released.

Daugs said she was provoked by two men who she said were "strong supporters" of Trump and who were "high-fiving and fist-bumping" while Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, spoke highly of Sessions. So Daugs said she blurted out her own feelings.

"All their little antics went unnoticed," Daugs said. "And my antic was noticed."

----- 9 -----
After 2 Weeks, Trump’s Bungles Have Aides Rethinking Strategy
The New York Times - FEB. 5, 2017

"Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council"

"To pass the time between meetings, Mr. Trump gives quick tours to visitors, highlighting little tweaks he has made after initially expecting he would have to pay for them himself."

WASHINGTON — President Trump loves to set the day’s narrative at dawn, but the deeper story of his White House is best told at night.

Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit. In a darkened, mostly empty West Wing, Mr. Trump’s provocative chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, finishes another 16-hour day planning new lines of attack.

Usually around 6:30 p.m., Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.


This account of the early days of the Trump White House is based on interviews with dozens of government officials, congressional aides, former staff members and other observers of the new administration, many of whom requested anonymity. At the center of the story, according to these sources, is a president determined to go big but increasingly frustrated by the efforts of his small team to contain the backlash.


Mr. Priebus bristles at the perception that he occupies a diminished perch in the West Wing pecking order compared with previous chiefs. But for the moment, **** Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, **** a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.


To pass the time between meetings, Mr. Trump gives quick tours to visitors, highlighting little tweaks he has made after initially expecting he would have to pay for them himself.

----- 10 ----
Trump threatens to defund ‘out of control’ California
By Sean Cockerham | McClatchy DC
February 5, 2017 7:16 PM

President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from “out of control” California if the state declares itself a sanctuary state.

“If we have to, we’ll defund,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl. “We give tremendous amounts of money to California, California in many ways is out of control, as you know.”

Trump was responding to a question from O’Reilly about efforts by Democratic state legislators to make California a de-facto “sanctuary state” that would restrict state and local law enforcement, including school police and security departments, from using their resources to aid federal authorities in immigration enforcement.


Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco are sanctuary cities and have said they will will challenge in court any attempt by Trump to withhold federal funds from them. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he doubted the 10th amendment to the Constitution, which reserves power to the states, would allow Trump to defund.

----- 11 -----
Trump: 'If something happens blame' the judge
By Eric Bradner and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
Updated 8:40 PM ET, Sun February 5, 2017

President Donald Trump spent the weekend at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, disconnected from White House staff and once again tweeting attacks on a federal judge.

His ire was aimed at US District Judge James Robart, who last week put a nationwide hold on Trump's executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.

----- 12 -----
On Twitter
5 February 2017 - Brian Goldman
97 companies, including @Apple, @facebook & @Microsoft, have just filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the travel ban.
[Link to images of document]
[Full document: ]
Hawaii explains its unique interests in joining Washington & Minnesota in the challenge: [link to images of document]
[See also
Linked to from: ]
Amicus brief filed in WA v. Trump by Law Professors and Clinicians:
Amicus brief filed in WA v. Trump by the Fred T. Korematsu Center:

----- 13 -----
Why a Muslim Ban is Likely to be Held Unconstitutional: The Myth of Unconstrained Immigration Power
By Adam Cox | Just Security
Monday, January 30, 2017 at 10:21 AM

Over the last few days, constitutional debates around the executive order President Trump signed on Friday have focused on two very different questions. The first is whether the policy amounts to blatant religious or racial discrimination of the sort that, ordinarily, would clearly violate the Constitution. The second is whether those clear constitutional rules would give way because the discrimination appears in an immigration policy, rather than in domestic legislation—the theory being that immigration policies are somehow immune from constitutional scrutiny.

To see the stakes sharply, assume that David Cole’s argument in Just Security is correct: that Trump’s executive order contravenes black letter Establishment Clause doctrine both because the order is motivated by invidious intent to discriminate against Muslims and, even were it not, violates what Cole describes as the principle of denominational neutrality. Many other legal experts share Cole’s view, seeing the order as constitutionally indistinguishable from the policy Trump initially proposed as a candidate: a flat ban on entry to the United States by Muslims.

Ordinarily, a government policy that deliberately singles out members of a religious faith for unfavorable treatment because of their beliefs is obviously unconstitutional. Yet many have wondered whether the order, even if its amounts to such a discriminatory policy, is immune from attack because it is an immigration policy. Even a straightforward ban on Muslim immigration would be constitutionally permissible, Peter Spiro argued prominently in a New York Times Op-ed, citing the doctrine of “immigration plenary power” as the basis for his conclusions.

The so-called “plenary power” is too often assumed to spell death for any constitutional claim brought by immigrants seeking admission. That assumption is simply wrong. The “plenary power doctrine” is more of a rhetorical trope than a coherent judicial doctrine. So we should be suspicious of any argument that invoking the plenary power leads to clear black-letter consequences in law. That said, we can be confident that the plenary power does not stand for two things that it is often mistakenly claimed to stand for:

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Tags: fascism watch, political
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