“A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to reinstate President Trump’s targeted travel ban, delivering the latest and most stinging judicial rebuke to his effort to make good on a campaign promise and tighten the standards for entry into the United States,” the New York Times reports.
“The ruling was the first from an appeals court on the travel ban, and it was focused on the narrow question of whether it should be blocked while courts consider its lawfulness. The decision is likely to be quickly appealed to the United States Supreme Court.”
“That court remains short-handed and could deadlock. A 4-to-4 tie in the Supreme Court would leave the appeals court’s ruling in place.”
Trump responds: See you in court. The security of our nation is at stake!
Captain America v. David Duke. I know who I am rooting for.
Speaking from the White House press briefing room, Kellyanne Conway told Americans they should “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” following reports that many retailers are dropping Ivanka Trump’s eponymous clothing line, The Week reports. Said Conway: “I’m going to give it a free commercial here; go buy it today.” However, it appears Conway violated a ban on Federal employee using public office for endorsement of product. Which lead to this:
Politico says that being President is tougher than Trump thought: “In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.”
“Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals and personnel. And, when discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to ‘seem in control at all times,’ one senior government official said — or direct questions about details to his chief strategist Steve Bannon, his son-in-law Jared Kushner or House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump has privately expressed disbelief over the ability of judges, bureaucrats or lawmakers to delay — or even stop — him from filling positions and implementing policies.”
Hopefully the job is so hard he will resign in frustration.
“The White House is probing ongoing leaks of President Trump’s private conversations with foreign leaders, including a report Thursday that he criticized a 2011 U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty during last month’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the Washington Post reports.
Said White House press secretary Sean Spicer: “We’re looking into the situation, and it’s very concerning… the idea that you can’t have a conversation without that information getting out. . . . We’re trying to conduct serious business on behalf of the country.”
A senior administration official tells the Wall Street Journal that Trump has been bothered by the leaks, which the White House finds “very concerning.”
Matt Zapotosky on Donald Trump’s huge lose in court yesterday: “The ruling, though, is critically important — as Trump’s ban on refugees lasts only 120 days, and his ban on visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen lasts only 90 days. The judges also said that while the states of Washington and Minnesota had made serious allegations — and the impact of the order was “immediate and widespread” — the government had not pointed to any substantive evidence to support its need for the ban.
“The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the judges wrote. “Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.” […]
Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidency to Trump in November, posted on Twitter simply, “3-0.”
Associated Press: “The president’s advisers have tried to curb his cable news consumption during the workday. But there are no limits when the president returns to the residence. During another recent telephone conversation, Trump briefly put down the phone so he could turn up the volume on a CNN report. When he returned to the call, he was complaining about ‘fake news.’”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) warned that the country is heading toward a “constitutional crisis,” after President Trump attacked him for sharing Judge Neil Gorsuch’s concerns with the president’s attacks on judges, The Hill reports.
Said Blumenthal: “We’re careening, literally, toward a constitutional crisis. And he’s been nominated by a president who has repeatedly and relentlessly attacked the American judiciary on three separate occasions, their credibility and trust is in question.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “So much of what happens next year in the House will be determined by the national environment. But Republicans can take heart that as they go into a midterm under a Republican president, they are not nearly as overextended in the House as Democrats were going into 2010. In that election, Democrats were defending 48 seats that John McCain carried in 2008, and they ended up losing the House. Republicans today are only about half as overextended, and it’s an open question as to whether Democrats can legitimately contend for many of these Clinton-Republican seats. And Republicans should have at least a few appealing targets of their own, such as some of the Trump-Democratic districts.”
“Then again, going into the 2006 midterm, Democrats were defending 40 seats that George W. Bush won two years earlier, while Republicans were only defending 18 seats that John Kerry had won in 2004. So the Democrats were overextended based on the previous presidential results in these districts, but it didn’t stop them from taking control of the House.”
Politico: “Republican leaders want to get their Obamacare repeal effort back on track. There’s a big problem, though: They’re neck-deep in competing plans to replace the law. Nearly a half-dozen plans have been introduced or are coming — none with the broad support needed to get through Congress and win over the public. And that’s making it far more difficult to repeal a law the GOP has spent six years trying to kill.”
“There’s no agreement on how much of Obamacare can be replaced through the budget reconciliation process in the Senate and only the murkiest of timelines when it comes to scrapping the law. The GOP wants to find a proposal that the whole party can get behind, but for now there are merely disparate ideas and warring factions fighting for attention.”
College Republicans at Central Michigan University handed out Valentine’s Day cards mocking Jews who died in the Holocaust. “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.”
President Trump tore into Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Twitter, saying McCain’s concerns with a raid that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL “emboldens the enemy.”
Said Trump: “Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy!”
He added: “He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in – bogged down in conflict all over the place.”
Amy Walter: “Donald Trump has never been well liked. His unfavorable ratings hovered in the 60 percent range for the entirety of the campaign. He was the most unpopular person elected president in modern history. Of course, his opponent was almost equally as unpopular. In the end, lots of voters had to make a choice between two people they disliked. Trump won that fight.”
“But, that won’t be the choice for voters in 2018. Hillary Clinton won’t be on the ballot. It will be a referendum on Trump. The more unpopular he and/or his policies are, the harder it is for his party to succeed in 2018. The good news for Trump today, his unfavorable ratings are 18 points lower than they were in June of 2015. The bad news, he’s still underwater.”
In his first call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, Reuters reports.
“When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was… Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia.”
“Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.”
This is stupid: Politico: “A painful Democratic rift over Barack Obama’s political legacy is finally bursting into the open. For years, the former president’s popularity among Democrats stifled any public critiques of his stewardship of the party — a period in which the party suffered tremendous losses at the state and local levels.”
“But now that Obama and the political operation that succeeded his campaign, Organizing For Action, have expressed interest in playing a role in the task of rebuilding, it’s sparking pitched debates over how much blame he deserves for the gradual hollowing out of a party that now has less control of state elected positions than at any other time in nearly a century.”
Yes, he deserves blame. Not all of it. Progressive purists who want their pony also deserve blame for not voting in 2010 and 2014 and 2016. Everyone is to blame. Everyone must come together to rebuild. So knock it the fuck off and rebuild.
Playbook: “If feelings in the Senate remain this contentious, business will remain slow and keeping government functioning will be nearly impossible this year. Consider this week. Republicans will have ended four contentious confirmation battles: Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be HHS secretary and Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary.”
“But the following positions remain unfilled: Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, EPA, HUD, Interior, Labor, Small Business, Veterans Affairs, OMB, director of national intelligence and U.S. trade representative. This could slow the Senate down for weeks, if not months. So the process will continue to be gummed up.”
Judge Neil Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that he was “demoralized” and “disheartened” by the President Trump’s recent attacks on the judiciary but Rick Hasen thinks it was “a smart political move” likely planned in advance.
“And this is the perfect response politically. It expresses disappointment with restraint. It is not, as some have said, that the president’s attacks on the judiciary are ‘dangerous’ or ‘unprecedented’ or poised to precipitate a constitutional crisis. This is about the least he could get away with saying while still criticizing. And any more could undermine his standing with the President. So it puts him in the sweet spot.”
Reuters: “Burning passions over Donald Trump’s presidency are taking a personal toll on both sides of the political divide. Three months after the most divisive election in modern U.S. politics fractured families and upended relationships, a number of Americans say the emotional wounds are as raw as ever and show few signs of healing, including one California couple who have called it quits after 22 years of marriage.”
“The rancor has not dissipated as it has in the aftermath of other recent contentious U.S. elections. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows it has worsened, suggesting a widening of the gulf between Republicans and Democrats and a hardening of ideological positions that sociologists and political scientists say increases distrust in government and will make political compromise more difficult. The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 6,426 people, taken from Dec. 27 to Jan. 18, shows the number of respondents who argued with family and friends over politics jumped 6 percentage points from a pre-election poll at the height of the campaign in October, up to 39 percent from 33 percent. Sixteen percent said they have stopped talking to a family member or friend because of the election – up marginally from 15 percent.”