Day: February 11, 2017

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Federal Election Commission calls on Trump to share evidence of voter fraud


A member of the Federal Election Commission is calling on President Trump to share any evidence he may possess of voter fraud during the 2016 election after it was reported that Trump blamed illegal votes for costing him and a Republican senator a victory in New Hampshire.

“According to widespread news reports circulating today, President Trump has alleged an astonishing voter-fraud scheme that he claims denied him and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte victory in the state of New Hampshire in the 2016 elections. The scheme the President of the United States alleges would constitute thousands of felony criminal offenses under New Hampshire law,” read a statement Friday from FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub.

“As a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I am acutely aware that our democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections,” Weintraub continued. “The President has issued an extraordinarily serious and specific charge. Allegations of this magnitude cannot be ignored. I therefore call upon President Trump to immediately share his evidence with the public and with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities so that his allegations may be investigated promptly and thoroughly.”

Trump held a closed-door meeting with 10 senators Thursday about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte was present at the meeting too, now serving as Trump’s liaison to Congress on Gorsuch.

A participant said that the president brought up the election, according to Politico, claiming he and former Ayotte, who lost her re-election bid, would have beaten their opponents in New Hampshire were it not for “thousands” of illegal voters people who were “brought in on buses” from Massachusetts.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.

Trump lost New Hampshire’s four electoral votes to Hillary Clinton by just under 3,000 votes. Ayotte was defeated by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan by a scant 743 votes.

Trump has repeatedly stated he believes millions of illegal immigrants voted in the election, costing him the popular vote. Voters gave Clinton a 2.8 million-vote advantage, but Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes, while Clinton received 227 votes.

Despite Trump’s repeated assertions of mass voter fraud, there isn’t much in the way of evidence to back those claims, even after recount efforts by the Green Party’s Jill Stein in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. After the president called for a “major investigation” into illegals vote last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan said there is “no evidence” of voter fraud.

Exclusive: Internal poll says Dems can sway voters against Gorsuch

Also from the Washington Examiner

The summary of the poll said there is “limited initial support for Gorsuch.”

02/11/17 12:54 AM

Still, Trump said during an interview broadcast last weekend that he would put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of a commission to examine possible voter fraud during November’s election “very, very carefully.”

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Report: White House talking to candidate for one of Spicer's press jobs


Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and one of the first supporters of President Trump during his campaign, on Friday said he has spoken with a few White House officials about taking over one of Sean Spicer’s jobs as press secretary or communications director.

“Well, I can say that I’ve offered my services,” Higbie told the Washingtonian. “I haven’t heard back from the administration yet. I’m honored to be even considered for this.”

Later Friday evening, Higbie tweeted, “FOR THE RECORD: in last few weeks I spoke to some in admin regarding communications or spox positions, NO formal interviews.”

Earlier this week, news broke that the White House was looking to give Spicer some extra help in the communications office. Spicer has been working double-time since Jan. 20, serving as both White House press secretary and communications director.

Higbie previously worked as spokesman for the Great America PAC.

No one in the Trump administration has ever stated publicly that Spicer is underperforming in his job, but comments he has made from the podium have received more pushback from the media than other administrations’ press secretaries.

Spicer is a former colleague from the Republican National Committee to now-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Priebus “vouched for Spicer and against Trump’s instincts,” one source told CNN.

According to that report, Trump “regrets it every day and blames Priebus” for the place Spicer has put the Trump administration in as a result of his briefings, so it may make sense that the White House is considering a replacement.

Immigration officers go after criminal aliens in six states, deny sweeps or checkpoints

Also from the Washington Examiner

Claims that people have been targeted at checkpoints and community sweeps are “false, dangerous and irresponsible.”

02/10/17 9:31 PM

The full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling

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Judge has asked for a vote on whether the entire federal appeals court should rule on the restraining order.

02/10/17 6:37 PM



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Immigration officers go after criminal aliens in six states, deny sweeps or checkpoints


Federal immigration officers launched a blitz of raids across six states on Thursday and Friday, seizing an unknown number of illegal aliens, according to multiple reports.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Gillian Christensen confirmed agents have raided homes and workplaces in and around Atlanta, Los Angeles and other cities, according to the Washington Post.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said claims, as the Post also reported Friday, that people have been targeted at checkpoints and community sweeps are “false, dangerous and irresponsible.”

“These reports create mass panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support,” ICE said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

“ICE regularly conducts targeted enforcement operations during which additional resources and personnel are dedicated to apprehending deportable foreign nationals. All enforcement activities are conducted with the same level of professionalism and respect that ICE officers exhibit every day. The focus of these surges no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis.”

Activist groups who work for those in the U.S. illegally said they have heard about activity in Vista, Pomona and Compton, Calif.; Austin, Dallas and Pflugerville, Texas; Alexandria and Annandale, Va.; Charlotte and Burlington, N.C.; Plant City, Fla.; the Hudson Valley region of New York; and Wichita, Kan.

ICE said the majority of those detained were adult men.

The move comes two weeks after President Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 26 for federal agents to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act and go after illegal aliens who had previously not been deemed the focus of the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program.

Last January, Obama’s DHS launched a number of raids targeting hundreds of illegal immigrants who had entered the U.S. since 2014 and evaded deportation orders.

Report: White House talking to candidate for one of Spicer's press jobs

Also from the Washington Examiner

Spicer has been working double-time since Jan. 20, serving as both press secretary and communications director.

02/10/17 9:11 PM

“As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values,” former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson had said at the time of the sting operations.

Trump has promised to deport all criminal aliens.

The full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling

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Judge has asked for a vote on whether the entire federal appeals court should rule on the restraining order.

02/10/17 6:37 PM



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Immigration officers launched bust blitz across six states this week


Federal immigration officers launched a blitz of raids across six states on Thursday and Friday, seizing an unknown number of illegal aliens, according to multiple reports.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Gillian Christensen confirmed agents have raided homes and workplaces in and around Atlanta, Los Angeles and other cities, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which oversaw the busts, legally refers to the activity as “routine” immigration enforcement actions, not raids.

Activist groups who work for those in the U.S. illegally said they have heard about activity in Vista, Pomona and Compton, Calif.; Austin, Dallas and Pflugerville, Texas; Alexandria and Annandale, Va.; Charlotte and Burlington, N.C.; Plant City, Fla.; the Hudson Valley region of New York; and Wichita, Kan.

ICE said the majority of those detained were adult men. It has not responded to a request for additional information.

The move comes two weeks after President Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 26 for federal agents to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act and go after illegal aliens who had previously not been deemed the focus of the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program.

Last January, Obama’s DHS launched a number of raids targeting hundreds of illegal immigrants who had entered the U.S. since 2014 and evaded deportation orders.

“As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values,” former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson had said at the time of the sting operations.

Trump has promised to deport all criminal aliens.

Report: White House interviewing for Sean Spicer's press secretary gig

Also from the Washington Examiner

Spicer has been working double-time since Jan. 20, serving as both press secretary and communications director.

02/10/17 9:11 PM

The full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling

Top Story

Judge has asked for a vote on whether the entire federal appeals court should rule on the restraining order.

02/10/17 6:37 PM



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Report: White House interviewing for Sean Spicer's press secretary gig


The White House conducted multiple interviews this week with one candidate it is considering to replace current press secretary Sean Spicer.

Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and one of the first supporters of President Trump during his campaign, on Friday said he has spoken with a few officials about the job and was interviewed for it.

“Well, I can say that I’ve offered my services,” Higbie told the Washingtonian. “I haven’t heard back from the administration yet. I’m honored to be even considered for this.”

Earlier this week, news broke that the White House was looking to give Spicer some extra help in the communications office. Spicer has been working double-time since Jan. 20, serving as both White House press secretary and communications director.

Spicer was expected to keep his job as the press liaison and give up his gig as communications director, making Higbie’s interview for press secretary even more surprising. Higbie previously worked as spokesman for the Great America PAC.

No one in the Trump administration has ever stated publicly that Spicer is underperforming in his job, but comments he has made from the podium have received more pushback from the media than other administrations’ press secretaries.

Spicer is a former colleague from the Republican National Committee to now-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Priebus “vouched for Spicer and against Trump’s instincts,” one source told CNN.

Accordint to that report, Trump “regrets it every day and blames Priebus” for the place Spicer has put the Trump administration in as a result of his briefings, so it may make sense that the White House is considering a replacement.

Haley: UN appointment of Palestinian leader 'unfairly biased'

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies,” Nikki Haley said.

02/10/17 8:34 PM

The full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling

Top Story

Judge has asked for a vote on whether the entire federal appeals court should rule on the restraining order.

02/10/17 6:37 PM



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Haley: UN appointment of Palestinian leader 'unfairly biased'


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley rebuked the international organization’s decision to put the former leader of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, in charge of its U.N. Mission in Libya, during a statement made at the New York City headquarters on Friday.

“The United States was disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the U.N. Mission in Libya. For too long the U.N. has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” Haley said.

“The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies,” Haley finished.

Haley’s challenge of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres was one of the harshest statements a U.S. official has made against Palestine in recent years.

Haley stepped into her post last month after serving as governor of South Carolina.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting the U.S. next week.

The full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling

Top Story

Judge has asked for a vote on whether the entire federal appeals court should rule on the restraining order.

02/10/17 6:37 PM



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President Trump, repeal and replace your order


What do you do when a sloppy court ruling blocks a poorly written and incompetently defended executive order?

That’s the question before the President Trump this weekend. The right answer is to rewrite the executive order substantially, to eliminate the genuine legal issues and moral concerns that buttressed ersatz arguments against it. This must be done while still addressing the central security concerns that the order was intended to address.

Trump has not lost his authority to keep known, suspected or potential terrorists out of this country, as is clearly prescribed by the Constitution and in current immigration law. His order has been shot down not because national security has suddenly been yanked out of the proper grip of the president, but because it raised wider constitutional concerns that a proper consultative process could and should have been completed before the order was published.

“We are going to do whatever is necessary to keep our country safe,” Trump said in a press conference on Friday. If that’s his priority, the White House should craft a new executive order immediately, with three main differences in process and scope.

In its ruling, the three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals all but invited this course of action. It declined to reconstrue the meaning of Trump’s order according to the terms of a follow-up memo by White House Counsel Don McGahn. “[I]t is not our role,” the judges wrote, “to try, in effect, to rewrite this executive order. The political branches are far better equipped to make appropriate distinctions.” This could be taken as a strong hint that if Trump wants the order interpreted in a particular way, he should reissue it with written language that says what it’s supposed to say.

The president should get more input from all the agencies that will be involved in enforcing it. Half the problem with the original order was the chaos it caused when no one seemed sure to whom it applied.

There is a proper interagency process that goes beyond having the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel approve it for form and legality. The Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security need to be involved at an early stage. Without them the White House risks sloppy enforcement that invites confusion and abuse.

The new order should also explicitly exempt those holding visas and green cards. There is always a problem with retroactive lawmaking, for it makes reasonable people feel cheated. If they have green cards and visas, they already did what prevailing law required them to do. Changes in the law should look forward not backward.

The state of Washington might not have even been granted standing to bring this case, except for the executive order’s possible violation of due process to permanent residents and visa holders. This was the argument that clearly prevailed. The court seemed far less willing to credit the state’s argument that the order was discriminatory by religion, although it reserved the right to do so later.

Trump claims illegal voters cost him New Hampshire

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president has repeatedly stated he believes millions of illegal immigrants voted in the election.

02/10/17 6:15 PM

A new order that covers only foreigners seeking to come to America from abroad will be much easier to defend in court or challenge on the streets, while still serving the original security purpose. Arguments for giving Washington or any other state standing to sue on behalf of people who have never been to the U.S. will be extraordinarily flimsy.

Third, most of what the original order sought to accomplish is in the provision barring, for 90 days, all new entrants from seven countries of extra concern. The temporary freeze of the refugee program, for all the press coverage it got, is almost insignificant in comparison. The White House should consider scrapping it if, after consulting the State, Defense, and Homeland Security Departments, it is satisfied that vetting is now sufficiently tight — terrorists have entered the U.S. as refugees in the past — that citizens can be genuinely reassured that refugee status cannot be used as cover by jihadis.

Trump clearly feels that his executive order is necessary to keep America safe. As president he has, and should have, vast authority to control admissions into this country. That is part of his constitutional duty to protect the country from enemies foreign and domestic. How best to do that? Already, on Twitter, the president appears to have resolved to continue the legal fight. A quicker route to victory, and one that would beef up national security sooner, would be to produce a new order. That will allow Trump’s administration, when it is inevitably taken to court again by its most determined opponents, to defend its best effort not its worst.

Trump says he might sign 'brand new order' on immigration

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“We’ll be doing something very rapidly, having to do with additional security for our country,” Trump said.

02/10/17 5:22 PM



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Full 9th Circuit may review Trump immigration ban ruling


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will vote next week on whether the full federal appeals court should vote on whether to lift a block on President Trump’s immigration ban.

A three-judge panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to keep the ban in place while the courts consider the merits of Washington state’s case against the ban.

“We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay,” the panel ruled.

However, an unnamed appeals court judge on Friday asked for a vote by the court on the ruling. Now, both sides must file briefs by Thursday at 2 p.m. EST on whether they think a full review, called “en banc,” is needed.

The larger size of the 9th Circuit, with 29 active judges, makes its en banc hearing and rehearing processes different from other circuit courts. In other federal appeals courts, en banc includes all active judges, but the 9th Circuit convenes a “limited en banc court” that features the chief judge and 10 other active judges chosen at random.

Trump immediately ripped the three-judge panel’s decision on Twitter Thursday night, saying, in part, ‘WE’LL SEE YOU IN COURT.”

On Friday, he said that he might sign a “brand new order” next week, while a senior White House official said that Trump did not plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Trump says he might sign 'brand new order' on immigration

Top Story

“We’ll be doing something very rapidly, having to do with additional security for our country,” Trump said.

02/10/17 5:22 PM



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