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President Trump on Friday signed two national security-related executive actions on Friday, while attending the swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis.

One action is focused on rebuilding the military, something Trump has frequently promised to do.

The other is aimed at stepping up screening measures for people entering the country from areas besieged by terrorism. Trump has repeatedly called on the government to implement “extreme vetting” with individuals entering the U.S. from terror-filled insecure regions.

Trump promised “a great rebuilding of the armed services” as he signed an executive action focused on beefing up the military.

The president said the action would provide for “new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform.”

Last fall during the campaign, Trump laid out his plan to increase the size of the military that included building toward a Navy of 350 ships, an Air Force with 1,200 fighter jets and a Marine Corps with 36 battalions.

Plans of that kind will have an eager audience on Capitol Hill, especially with Sen. John McCain, who has proposed increasing the defense topline to $640 billion for fiscal 2018. That’s $54 billion more than what President Obama had forecast for the fiscal year, and $90 billion more than the fiscal 2017 defense budget.

Trump’s second executive action set out stricter standards for screening immigrants from terror-ravaged nations, a move he said would keep terrorists from entering the country.

“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said. “We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”

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01/27/17 5:48 PM

Trump said he hoped the new measures would prevent people who hate American values from entering the country, citing “the lessons of 9/11.”

“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Trump said.

The president also paid tribute to “the heroes who have lost their lives at the Pentagon,” calling them “the best of us.”

Trump’s “extreme vetting” measures have been met with criticism from progressive and civil liberties groups that claim such policies could lead to profiling of and discrimination against Muslim immigrants.

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“‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims,” American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero said Friday. “Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment.”

Secret Service puts agent who decried taking 'a bullet' for Trump on paid leave

Top Story

The Secret Service has placed the senior special agent who wrote a Facebook post decrying “taking a bullet” for Trump on administrative leave while the agency investigates her social media activities.

An agency spokeswoman on Friday afternoon informed the Washington Examiner of the management action, which takes the agent off the job with pay while the investigation proceeds.

The move is a sign that the agency is taking the investigation against Kerry O’Grady, the agent who wrote the Facebook post, seriously. Critics, however, question why it took the agency three months and a report in the Examiner earlier this week for it to initiate the probe.

01/27/17 5:40 PM



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