Day: February 7, 2017

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Ivanka Trump shares photo of her and baby son in White House


Ivanka Trump shared a photo of herself and her smiling 10-month-old son Theodore in the White House on Tuesday.

“Making a call in the White House with my personal assistant Theodore,” the caption reads.


It’s the second post in recent weeks that Trump has shared of her youngest son in the White House.

In late January, Trump shared a video of Theodore crawling in the White House for the very first time.

“There were so many incredible milestones this past weekend — including one for baby Theodore who crawled for the very first time in the White House!” she wrote.


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Civil rights groups deliver 1 million anti-Sessions signatures to Senate


Despite the opposition from various groups, the Alabama Republican is expected to be confirmed Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Senate on Tuesday received 1 million petition signatures calling for senators to reject Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general.

“He decides whom to charge and perhaps not to charge, and which laws to enforce most vigorously, and perhaps which not. And that comes to my central complaint and my reason for opposing Senator Sessions,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., when delivering the signatures.

Blumenthal sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved Sessions’ nomination last week.

The petition signatures were collected by various civil rights groups such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Voto Latino.

According to Jessica Reeves, Voto Latino’s COO, Sessions would simply “allow President Trump’s radical agenda to fly through the Justice Department” as the nations’ top law enforcement official.

Despite the opposition from various groups, the Alabama Republican is expected to be confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday.

Trump immigration ban showdown: How the lawsuit breaks down

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Federal appeals court will rule on executive order, which may then be taken up by Supreme Court.

02/07/17 1:50 PM

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Kelly: Crime database will speed deportations


President Trump’s team plans to use a database of crimes committed by people who entered the country illegally as a roster for facilitating deportations, according to the head of the Department of Homeland Security.

John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who was one of Trump’s first two cabinet nominees to receive Senate confirmation, told lawmakers that the office managing the database will report directly to him. In the early years of the administration, the staff will coordinate with the families of crime victims to keep them apprised of the perpetrator’s case.

“And you can bet that my people will be standing there when he is paroled to take him into custody and send him back to wherever he came from,” Kelly told a House Homeland Security subcommittee panel.

Trump cited individual examples of such crimes during the presidential campaign to punctuate the need for additional border security, although the federal government currently lacks data to to say how many take place annually.

“The rate of murder may be lower or higher than other groups, but when we are talking about people, violent crime is never zero,” the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota, whose organization favors stricter immigration policies, told Politifact last year. “By the same token, it cannot be thousands every year. But adding up a few years then it has to be in the ‘thousands.’ There are a lot of murders in America and there are a lot illegal immigrants, so the statement has to be true.”

The anecdotes dominated political debates about immigration in the 2016 elect cycle, particularly after a San Francisco woman was shot by a man who had previously been deported but returned to the sanctuary city. Congressional Republicans eventually invited the parents of individuals killed by people who took refuge in sanctuary cities to testify about their experiences.

“I am not a one-story mother,” Laura Wilkerson, one of those witnesses, told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a recent CNN townhall. “This happens every day because there are no laws enforcing the border.”

Kelly said his team would work with the victims’ families while the cases are prosecuted as well. “Those people could expect from us, if they call and say how’s that case going — the person who murdered my daughter with a gun, or ran over my son with an automobile, or killed a police officer on the side of the road — how is that going?” he said. “So we will be able to give a description of what it is.”

Graham: Attack against Sessions is an 'attack on conservatism'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Sen. Lindsey Graham argued Tuesday that Democratic attacks against Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be the next attorney general are really just attacks against conservatism, because Democrats don’t think any Republican is qualified to lead the Department of Justice.

“The bottom line is that most of things said about Jeff Sessions and the way he acted as a senator could be said about almost all of us on this side who consider themselves conservative,” Graham, R-S.C., said on the Senate floor.

He noted that the NAACP has a scorecard that puts all Republicans at 25 percent or lower when it comes to upholding that group’s values. Democrats, in contrast, score 100 percent or in the high 90s.

“Not only did Jeff Sessions

02/07/17 4:43 PM

Trump immigration ban showdown: How the lawsuit breaks down

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Federal appeals court will rule on executive order, which may then be taken up by Supreme Court.

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Obama makes 'first major endorsement' since leaving White House


Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he supports the re-election of Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In a news release, the Garcetti campaign described it as Obama’s “first major endorsement” since leaving the White House.

“As mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti has delivered by raising the minimum wage, creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity,” Obama said. “This past November, Eric led the campaign to pass the largest transportation infrastructure measure in our nation’s history. Eric is my friend, loyal ally and a great and visionary mayor of Los Angeles. I strongly endorse Eric Garcetti for a second term as mayor of Los Angeles.”

In a statement, Garcetti said: “I am honored and humbled to be endorsed by my friend and ally in making LA work for everyone, President Barack Obama. President Obama led us from the great recession, extended healthcare to millions of people and brought millions more closer to equality. Our work together helped create jobs, build infrastructure and lift people from poverty all across our city.”

The Democratic primary is set for March 7. Garcetti has 10 challengers.

Trump immigration ban showdown: How the lawsuit breaks down

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Federal appeals court will rule on executive order, which may then be taken up by Supreme Court.

02/07/17 1:50 PM

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California sheriffs back Sessions' stance on immigration


Six sheriffs from some California’s biggest counties met with Sen. Jeff Sessions Tuesday on Capitol Hill to back his nomination for attorney general, just a day before his expected Senate confirmation, and as President Trump is threatening to withhold federal funding to cities that shelter illegal immigrants.

Sheriff John McMahon of San Bernardino, the site of the December 2015 terrorist attack that killed 14 people, was strongly enthusiastic about Sessions.

“He wants to bring law enforcement together with the U.S. attorney general’s office and [have] everybody meet and talk about collaborative solutions to problems that we’re all facing locally, not only just in California but across the entire nation,” McMahon told the Washington Examiner. “And a good, close relationship with the attorney general’s office makes a big difference in what we’re able to do every day.”

After their meeting, the sheriffs said they are seeking Sessions’ support once he becomes attorney general as expected on Wednesday. That includes working together on several California-specific problems that are tying their hands when it comes to keeping illegal immigrants convicted or charged with major crimes detained in order to work with federal immigration authorities.

The sheriffs said they are already severely limited in how long they can hold illegal immigrants before they are forced to release them. California lawmakers also are advancing measures that would further restrict their ability to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain illegal immigrants charged but not convicted of crimes.

“Everyone in this room has the same issue,” McMahon said.

When inmates are booked into county facilities, local authorities send their fingerprint to ICE to determine whether they are wanted for deportation based on their charges and past records. If ICE wants to come pick them up, they have a very short window — less than 48 hours — in order to do so.

“If our bus goes to the place to release them and ICE is not there, that person walks off the bus and is back in the community — we no longer have the ability to hold them for 48 hours like we used to,” McMahon said. He was referring to a court decision which said holding these people violates their 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizures.

“All we’re asking, and not just here but all over, is a process to allow a warrant, a probable cause declaration, some type of judicial review that will give us the ability to hold them for up to 48 hours so ICE has time to come pick them up,” he said.

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Geoff Dean, the sheriff of Ventura County, said many of the immigrants in question are either convicted or face charges for serious crimes such as murder, rape and assault with deadly weapon.

“They are a small percentage in my county in Ventura, .08 percent of our total inmate population. It’s not like we’re deporting a lot of people — last year it was people charged with homicide to multiple DUIs, rapes, everything,” he said. “It seems common sense. I’m not sure anybody would want someone who has someone who has committed a murder, rape, or child molests in the country illegally to stay.”

Others who participated in the meeting were Sheriffs Steve Freitas of Sonoma County, Scott Jones of Sacramento County and David Livingston of Contra Costa County, and Undersheriff Don Barnes of Orange County.

The meeting between Sessions and the California county sheriffs came amid a war of words between Democratic leaders in the state and Trump.

During an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Sunday, Trump said California “in many ways is out of control as you know.”

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He specifically said the state’s consideration of legislation to create statewide sanctuary for people living in the country illegally is “ridiculous” and threatened to withhold federal funds as a result.

“I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state,” Trump said. “If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly. that would be a weapon.”

Leaders of the state Legislature pushed back Monday, pointing to the state’s economy and strong job growth as important contributions to the nation, according to the Associated Press.

“If this is what Donald Trump thinks is ‘out of control,’ I’d suggest other states should be more like us,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount.

Trump immigration ban showdown: How the lawsuit breaks down

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Federal appeals court will rule on executive order, which may then be taken up by Supreme Court.

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White House confident Obamacare replacement will come this year


"We continue to be optimistic about getting this thing [Obamacare replacement] completed by this year," Spicer said. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Trump expects to have an Affordable Care Act alternative introduced in Congress by the end of the year, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

“He’s working with Congress,” Spicer said of Trump’s progress on an Obamacare replacement plan. “I think he’s been very clear that he owes the American people a result that’s going to lower costs and provide more access.”

Spicer said Trump is focused more on the “end result” of a healthcare plan than the ins and outs of how Republicans would fix Obamacare.

He said the president has worked closely with congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to shape the Obamacare alternative.

“We continue to be optimistic about getting this thing completed by this year,” Spicer said. “We don’t want to end up with the same result that Democrats did.”

Trump immigration ban showdown: How the lawsuit breaks down

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Federal appeals court will rule on executive order, which may then be taken up by Supreme Court.

02/07/17 1:50 PM

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Cotton, Purdue offer details of bill to cut legal immigration by 50 percent


Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., want to cut legal immigration into the U.S. in half.

Roughly 1 million foreigners are granted green cards annually, which the senators want to take down to 500,000 to align better with “historic” norms, the duo said Tuesday.

“It’s like adding the population of Montana every year, or the population of Arkansas every three,” Cotton said. “Only 1 of every 15” green cards granted are for work purposes.

The immigration system is “not working for American workers,” Cotton said.

Their Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act would eliminate the “diversity” lottery — through which 50,000 immigrants enter the U.S. annually — while dropping the number of refugees admitted to 50,000.

Calling the current immigration system “unthinking,” Cotton said he spoke to President Trump Tuesday about the bill and that the president supports the legislation’s goal.

Both Cotton and Perdue said they are not trying to overhaul the entire immigration system but rather “fix” one component.

They think a “piecemeal” approach can achieve consensus more easily and possibly attract Democratic votes.

Today’s system just sort of happened, Cotton said. “No one ever voted for [it], and most people actually don’t like” it, he said.

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The RAISE Act is not a “sweeping fix to everything” but a “rational, compassionate approach” to changing the nation’s immigration laws, Perdue said.

The lawmakers say they support allowing highly skilled foreigners to emigrate to the U.S. but that tweaking the laws governing employment-based immigration is a matter for separate legislation.

Betsy DeVos confirmed, VP Pence casts tiebreaking vote

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The dramatic vote followed an all-night Senate floor session by Democrats who argued against DeVos.

02/07/17 12:30 PM



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Senate advances Sessions' nomination, sets up Wednesday vote


The Senate voted Tuesday to end debate on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general.

The Senate voted 52-47 to end debate, and Sessions abstained. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has been a vocal supporter of Sessions and was the only Democrat to vote yes.

Under Senate rules changed by Democrats in 2013, only 51 votes are needed to advance Cabinet and other nominees, except for Supreme Court picks.

The vote sets up 30 more hours of debate, after which a final vote on his confirmation on Wednesday evening.

Just moments earlier, the Senate narrowly approved Betsy DeVos to be Trump’s education secretary. The 50-50 tie was broken by Vice President Mike Pence. All of Trump’s nominees so far have been confirmed, and Sessions’ confirmation is expected to follow.

Betsy DeVos confirmed, VP Pence casts tiebreaking vote

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The dramatic vote followed an all-night Senate floor session by Democrats who argued against DeVos.

02/07/17 12:30 PM

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Hoyer backs calls for probe into Russian blackmail of Trump


House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., backed calls by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday for an investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia and the possibility that he has been compromised by the Russians.

Hoyer told reporters during his weekly pen and pad that it would be a “dereliction of duty” on the part of House Republicans not to investigate the alleged ties to the Russians, pointing to Republican-led investigations from the 1990s into the Clinton administration and into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the Benghazi terror attack in 2012.

“Let me say that I think it’s very important for us…to investigate allegations that the president of the United States might be compromised in some way,” Hoyer said, calling also for investigations into Russia’s role in the election and the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. “I think those are all legitimate objectives for the Congress, as the representative of the American people, to pursue.”

“One need not look back more than 20 years to see the Republicans vigorously investigated almost every tangential allegation, which did not rise to the importance of the three prongs that I just mentioned,” Hoyer said. “Mr. Chaffetz and his predecessors have been unceasingly in their investigation and expenditure of money on investigations, which clearly were not worthy of such investigation.”

The longtime Maryland Democrat also said that he has “no idea” how valid the claims made in the dossier, which made unverified allegations claiming ties between Trump and the Kremlin. However, he argued that Republicans would be quick to launch an investigation if the same thing had happened to Clinton.

“I have no idea of the truth of the…dossier allegations at all,” Hoyer continued. “But there is no doubt in my mind — zero — that if those allegations had been made about Mrs. Clinton and she had been elected president of the United States, that Mr. Chaffetz and Republicans, generally in the Congress of the United States, would be unceasing in their investigatory zeal.”

Pelosi made her original comments on Sunday, telling “Meet The Press,” telling host Chuck Todd “I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump.”

“I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump. I think we have to have an investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia and we want to see his tax returns so we can have truth in the relationship [with] Putin, whom he admires,” Pelosi said.

Betsy DeVos confirmed, VP Pence casts tiebreaking vote

Also from the Washington Examiner

Vice President Pence saved Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be education secretary on Tuesday, by using his constitutional power to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republicans jumped ship and voted with Democrats against her confirmation.

Two centrist Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, followed through on their plans to vote against DeVos, citing opposition from teachers and parents who fear DeVos’ school choice advocacy will hurt public schools.

That created a 50-50 tie in the Senate, forced Pence to break the tie and confirm her in a 51-50 vote. It was the first time ever a vice president has broken a tie for a Cabinet slot.

02/07/17 12:30 PM

Betsy DeVos confirmed, VP Pence casts tiebreaking vote

Top Story

Vice President Pence saved Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be education secretary on Tuesday, by using his constitutional power to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republicans jumped ship and voted with Democrats against her confirmation.

Two centrist Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, followed through on their plans to vote against DeVos, citing opposition from teachers and parents who fear DeVos’ school choice advocacy will hurt public schools.

That created a 50-50 tie in the Senate, forced Pence to break the tie and confirm her in a 51-50 vote. It was the first time ever a vice president has broken a tie for a Cabinet slot.

02/07/17 12:30 PM



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Democrats: Attorney General fired by Trump is a 'role model'


More than a dozen House Democrats have put forward a resolution commending former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce President Trump’s executive order on immigration, which promptly led Trump to fire her last week.

The resolution from Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., praised Yates for deciding to “faithfully uphold the Constitution by refusing to carry out orders that are contrary to our laws, ideals, and founding document.”

Yates declared last week that she believed Trump’s executive order temporarily banning all refugee admittance and immigration from seven countries was a violation of the law. But she made that decision on her own, without a court ruling, and Trump fired her.

Clarke’s resolution said Yates “faithfully upheld the Constitution and defended American values of tolerance, compassion, and respect for diversity.”

It also held that Yates’ actions “fulfill her commitment to the Senate Judiciary Committee to refuse to carry out orders that are unfaithful to the Constitution.”

“Ms. Yates will stand as a role model of professional ethics for men and women across the nation for years to come,” it added.

Democrats have said Trump’s order violates the Constitution because it targets immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the Trump administration has argued that those seven countries were identified by the Obama administration as countries of concern because of the presence of terrorist countries there.

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DeVos is perhaps the most reviled pick among Trump’s Cabinet and administration selections.

02/07/17 10:29 AM



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