Trump, Week 2: Friday, 27 January – Thursday, 2 February 2017 (Days 8 – 14)


Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.



Friday, 27 January 2017, Day 8


Statement by the President on International Holocaust Remembrance Day,, Friday, 27 January 2017: “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.” See also, Trump’s statement marking Holocaust remembrance leaves out mention of JewsThe Washington Post, Abby Phillip, Friday, 27 January 2017: “A statement from President Trump marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism, a departure from recent bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents. The statement calls for remembrance of ‘victims, survivors, heroes,’ but nowhere does it ­mention the millions of Jewish people killed during the ­Holocaust, nor does it mention the ideology of anti-Semitism that led to the killings.” See also, Reince Priebus Defends Holocaust Statement that Failed to Mention JewsThe New York Times, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, defended the language in a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press,’ telling the host, Chuck Todd, ‘I don’t regret the words.’ Mr. Priebus continued, ‘I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad.’ He added: ‘If we could wipe it off of the history books, we would. But we can’t.’… The White House statement…drew strong criticism from Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s running mate. ‘This is what Holocaust denial is,’ Mr. Kaine said on ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘Many Holocaust deniers acknowledge: ‘Oh yeah, people were killed, but it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren’t targets.’” See also, Spicer: Trump ‘went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust,’ The Hill, Rebecca Savransky, Monday, 30 January 2017: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday defended President Trump amid backlash over a statement the White House released on Holocaust Remembrance Day that didn’t reference Jews or anti-Semitism. ‘The president went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust and the suffering that went through it and the people that were affected by it and the loss of life, Spicer told reporters Monday [30 January 2017]. ‘And to make sure that America never forgets what so many people went through, whether they were Jews or gypsies, gays, disability.'” See also, White House nixed Holocaust statement naming JewsPoliticoJosh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf, Nahal Toosi and Michael Crowley, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “The State Department drafted its own statement last month marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that explicitly included a mention of Jewish victims, according to people familiar with the matter, but President Donald Trump’s White House blocked its release.”

Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,, 4:42 pm, Friday, 27 January 2017.  Trump’s executive order banning refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. See also, Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim CountriesThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper, Friday, 27 January 2017: “President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries. In an executive order that he said was part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out ‘radical Islamic terrorists,’ Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims…. Earlier in the day [Friday, 27 January 2017], Mr. Trump explained to an interviewer for the Christian Broadcasting Network that Christians in Syria were ‘horribly treated’ and alleged that under previous administrations, ‘if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible. I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them,’ the president said. In fact, the United States accepts tens of thousands of Christian refugees. According to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year. The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ‘to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.’ The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen…. Announcing his ‘extreme vetting’ plan, the president invoked the specter of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Most of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa., were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on Mr. Trump’s visa ban list…. See also, President Trump’s Immigration Order, Annotated, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “The order prioritizes Christian refugees:

Upon the resumption of USRAP [U.S. Refugee Admissions Program] admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.

As a general matter, this will give priority to Christian refugees over Muslim ones. Though framed in a neutral way, this part of the order may raise questions of religion-based discrimination. Mr. Trump has said that he means to favor Christian refugees. That violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, according to David Cole, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘One of the critical questions with respect to the validity of executive action challenged under the Establishment Clause is its intent and effect,’ he wrote in a blog post. ‘If intended to disfavor a particular religion, it violates the Establishment Clause.'”

Brody File Exclusive: President Trump Says Persecuted Christians Will Be Given Priority As Refugees, Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody, Friday, 27 January 2017:

BRODY: Persecuted Christians, we’ve talked about this, the refugees overseas. The refugee program, or the refugee changes you’re looking to make. As it relates to persecuted Christians, do you see them as kind of a priority here?

TRUMP: Yes. 

BRODY: You do?

TRUMP: They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.


Continue reading Week 2, Friday, 27 January – Thursday, 2 February 2017:

FACT CHECK: Trump’s Tweets On Christians, ISIS And Vetting Miss The Bigger PictureNPR, Domenico Montanaro, Larry Kaplow, Michele Kelemen, and Alice Fordham, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “It’s true that 99 percent of the 12,587 refugees from Syria admitted in 2016 to the U.S. were Muslim and less than 1 percent were Christian. That would outpace Muslims’ population in Syria, which is 93 percent. But that’s based on 2010 numbers. With the civil war going on and the millions who have been displaced, it’s nearly impossible to tell exactly what the most current percentages are…. What’s more, if the implication is that the U.S. is not admitting Christian refugees or that the U.S. is making it difficult, that’s not true at all. In fact, the number of Christian refugees to the U.S. in 2016 was almost equal to that of Muslim refugees — 37,521 to 38,901, according to the Pew Research Center, which is basing its numbers on figures from the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services.”


Saturday, 28 January 2017,        Day 9:


Travelers stranded and protests swell over Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. 

Protest Grows ‘Out of Nowhere’ at Kennedy Airport After Iraqis Are Detained, The New York Times, Eli Rosenberg, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “It began in the morning, with a small crowd chanting and holding cardboard signs outside Kennedy International Airport, upset by the news that two Iraqi refugees had been detained inside because of President Trump’s executive order. By the end of the day, the scattershot group had swelled to an enormous crowd. They filled the sidewalks outside the terminal and packed three stories of a parking garage across the street….”

Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry WorldwideThe New York Times, Micahel D. Shear, Nicholas Kulish and Alan Feuer, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “A federal judge in Brooklyn [Ann Donnelly] came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic scenes across the globe. The judge’s ruling [just before 9:00 pm] blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions…. The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States. In a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United States would need a case-by-case waiver to return…. In a statement released early Sunday morning, the Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to enforce all of the president’s executive orders, even while complying with judicial decisions. ‘Prohibited travel will remain prohibited,’ the department said in a statement, adding that the directive was ‘a first step towards re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.’… Earlier in the day, at the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off the sense of anxiety and disarray, suggesting that there had been an orderly rollout. ‘It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,’ he said. ‘It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.’… The A.C.L.U.’s legal case began with two Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, the named plaintiffs in the case. One was en route to reunite with his wife and son in Texas. The other had served alongside Americans in Iraq for a decade…. Shortly after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter who worked for more than a decade on behalf of the United States government in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back and miming handcuffs…. Before the two men were released, one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, a supervising attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project, asked an official, ‘Who is the person we need to talk to?’ ‘Call Mr. Trump,’ said the official, who declined to identify himself.”

Ruling of Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Darweesh v Trump OrderThe New York Times, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “1. The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and others similarly situated violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution; 2. There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017 Executive order.”

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to Trump, tweeted at 10:03 am on Saturday, 28 January 2017: “Get used to it. @POTUS is a man of action and impact. Promises made, promises kept. Shock to the system. And he’s just getting started.”

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, tweeted at 3:20 pm, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

Governor Mike Pence (Republican, Indiana) tweeted at 10:30 am on 8 December 2015: “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” Be sure to note the date of Pence’s tweet is December 2015.

Presidential Memorandum [on] Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council,, Saturday, 28 January 2017.  See also, Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for GeneralsThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “The whirlwind first week of Donald J. Trump’s presidency had all the bravura hallmarks of a Stephen K. Bannon production. It started with the doom-hued inauguration homily to ‘American carnage’ in United States cities co-written by Mr. Bannon, followed a few days later by his ‘shut up’ message to the news media. The week culminated with a blizzard of executive orders, mostly hatched by Mr. Bannon’s team and the White House policy adviser, Stephen Miller, aimed at disorienting the ‘enemy,’ fulfilling campaign promises and distracting attention from Mr. Trump’s less than flawless debut. But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the ‘principals committee’ of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers.” See also, What Trump’s Changes Mean for the National Security CouncilThe New York Times, David E. Sanger and Mark Landler, Monday, 30 January 2017: “President Trump announced on Monday that he would add the director of the Central Intelligence Agency to the National Security Council after critics questioned a memorandum released last weekend that also gave a seat to his chief political strategist…. [The Presidential Memorandum has] raised concerns about the influence Mr. Bannon would exert over national security…. The council is no place for political creatures, many have argued. It is the place where the nation’s deepest intelligence secrets, its fluctuating hierarchy of national interests and its jockeying-for-power cabinet members combine as policy differences are hashed out. It is the forum where decisions about war, from Vietnam to Iraq; drone strikes in Pakistan; and conflicts in cyberspace have unfolded over endless hours of meetings. Of course, with stakes that large, it has always been about politics — from grand strategy to petty scorekeeping.”

Trump’s tweets attacking The New York Times and The Washington Post8:04 am on Saturday, 28 January 2017: “The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!” And at 8:08 am: “Thr [sic] coverage about me in the  and the  gas [sic] been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its…. And at 8:16 am: …dwindling subscribers and readers.They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will. DISHONEST” New York Times tweeted at 8:57 amSaturday, 28 January 2017: “.@realDonaldTrump Fact check: @nytimes subscribers & audience at all-time highs. Supporting independent journalism matters.” See also, Trump: New York Times is ‘fake news,’ Politico, Rebecca Morin, 28 January 2017: “Despite Trump’s statements that the Times apologized about their coverage, the organization has not. In November, a letter was sent out to subscribers thanking them for their loyalty and promising continued strong coverage of Trump. The letter, however, also stated they underestimated Trump during the election.”

Uber triggers protest for collecting fares during taxi strike against refugee ban, The Washington Post, Faiz Siddiqui, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Uber became the center of a political battleground Saturday after hundreds of Twitter users rallied behind the #DeleteUber hashtag to protest the company’s decision to continue operating while taxis decided to strike — refusing to pick up passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in opposition to President Trump’s refugee ban. By Sunday morning, rival Lyft had quickly seized on the issue, pledging to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully fought for a stay of the ban and secured the release of refugees who had been stranded in transit. Lyft drivers also gave rides during the strike, but #DeleteUber began trending after Uber tweeted it was lifting surge pricing at JFK International Airport, where thousands had gathered to demonstrate against the ban…. Customers took it as evidence the company was trying to profit off of striking workers…. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a member of President Trump’s economic advisory group and has repeatedly pledged to work with the president to solve issues related to urban mobility, drawing the ire of activists who say such attitudes enable Trump’s actions…. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents more than 19,000 workers, held the strike in solidarity with the demonstrations, citing its ‘largely Muslim’ membership. The strike was planned to last from 6 to 7 p.m.; Uber’s tweet went out about 30 minutes later. ‘Today, drivers are joining the protest at JFK Airport in support of all those who are currently being detained at the airport because of Trump’s unconstitutional executive order,’ read a statement from the union. ‘We stand in solidarity with all of our peace-loving neighbors against this inhumane, cruel, and unconstitutional pure act of bigotry.’… Following Lyft’s announcement of a contribution to the ACLU, Uber said Sunday it would establish a $3 million fund to assist drivers affected by the refugee ban. Kalanick announced the fund in a Facebook post, where he decried what he called Trump’s ‘wrong and unjust immigration ban,’ a day after customers began fleeing with the hashtag #DeleteUber.” See also, Uber C.E.O. to Leave Trump Advisory Council After Criticism, The New York TimesMike Isaac, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Uber was under attack — unfairly, many staff members believed — after people accused the company of seeking to profit from giving rides to airport customers in New York during weekend protests against President Trump’s immigration order. But there was another matter disturbing the employees [at a meeting on Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017]: Mr. Kalanick [Uber C.E.O.] himself. He had joined Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council in December. After the immigration order against refugees and seven Muslim-majority countries, many staff members wondered why Mr. Kalanick was still willing to advise the president. ‘What would it take for you to quit the economic council?’ at least two employees asked at the Tuesday meeting. On Thursday, Mr. Kalanick gave his answer, stepping down from Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council. ‘There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration, but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that,’ Mr. Kalanick wrote in an email to employees obtained by The New York Times…. Outside of the internal pressure, Uber faced other fallout from Mr. Kalanick’s stance. More than 200,000 customers had deleted their accounts.”

Trump asked for a ‘Muslim ban,’ Giuliani says–and ordered a commission to do it ‘legally,’ The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Former New York mayor Rudy W. Giuliani said President Trump wanted a ‘Muslim ban’ and requested he assemble a commission to show him ‘the right way to do it legally.’ Giuliani, an early Trump supporter who once had been rumored for a Cabinet position in the new administration, appeared on Fox News late Saturday night [28 January 2017] to describe how Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees came together…. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked Giuliani whether the ban had anything to do with religion. ‘How did the president decide the seven countries?’ she asked. ‘Okay, talk to me.’ ‘I’ll tell you the whole history of it,’ Giuliani responded eagerly. ‘So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ Giuliani said he assembled a ‘whole group of other very expert lawyers on this,’ including former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.). ‘And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger — the areas of the world that create danger for us,’ Giuliani told Pirro. ‘Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on.'”


Sunday, 29 January 2017, Day 10:


Travelers Stranded and Protests Swell Over Trump’s Order Banning People from Seven Predominantly Muslim Countries, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Dozens of protests were held across the country Sunday as Americans denounced President Trump’s immigration executive order. From New York to Phoenix, tens of thousands of people voiced their solidarity with refugees and Muslims. Travelers were stranded around the world, protests escalated in the United States and anxiety rose within President Trump’s party on Sunday as his order closing the nation to refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries provoked a crisis just days into his administration. The White House pulled back on part of Mr. Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from seven countries by saying that it would not apply to those with green cards granting them permanent residence in the United States. By the end of the day, the Department of Homeland Security formally issued an order declaring such legal residents exempt from the order. But the recalibration did little to reassure critics at home or abroad who saw the president’s order as a retreat from traditional American values. European leaders denounced the order, and some Republican lawmakers called on Mr. Trump to back down.” See also, Highlights: Reaction to Trump’s Travel BanThe New York Times, Andy Newman, Sunday 29 January 2017: “At airports and town squares, in the shadow of the White House and on the lawns of state capitals, tens of thousands of Americans chanted and shouted their opposition to the Trump administration’s travel ban — and their solidarity with refugees and Muslims — at more than 40 protests across the country. New York Times correspondents sent dispatches from many of them.”

How Trump’s Rush to Enact an Immigration Ban Unleashed Global Chaos, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Ron Nixon, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “As President Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Friday, shutting the borders to refugees and others from seven largely Muslim countries, the secretary of homeland security was on a White House conference call getting his first full briefing on the global shift in policy. Gen. John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, had dialed in from a Coast Guard plane as he headed back to Washington from Miami. Along with other top officials, he needed guidance from the White House, which had not asked his department for a legal review of the order. Halfway into the briefing, someone on the call looked up at a television in his office. ‘The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing,’ the official said, stunned. The global confusion that has since erupted is the story of a White House that rushed to enact, with little regard for basic governing, a core campaign promise that Mr. Trump made to his most fervent supporters. In his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed other executive actions with little or no legal review, but his order barring refugees has had the most explosive implications…. Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, oversaw the writing of the order, which was done by a small White House team, including Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s policy chief. But it was first imagined more than a year ago, when Mr. Trump, then a candidate for the Republican nomination, reacted to terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., by calling for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ In the months that followed, Mr. Trump’s campaign tried to back away from the proposal… But Mr. Bannonwho believes in highly restrictive immigration policies and saw barring refugees as vital to shoring up Mr. Trump’s political basewas determined to make it happen…. Jim Mattis, the new secretary of defense, did not see a final version of the order until Friday morning, only hours before Mr. Trump arrived to sign it at the Pentagon. Mr. Mattis, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations, was not consulted by the White House during the preparation of the order and was not given an opportunity to provide input while the order was being drafted. Last summer, Mr. Mattis sharply criticized Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration as a move that was ‘causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system.’ Customs and Border Protection officers were also caught unaware…. It was not until 3 a.m. on Saturday that customs and border officials received limited written instructions about what to do at airports and border crossings. They also struggled with how to exercise the waiver authority that was included in the executive order, which allowed the homeland security secretary to let some individuals under the ban enter the country case by case.”

Jihadist groups hail Trump’s travel ban as a victory, The Washington Post, Joby Warrick, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Jihadist groups on Sunday celebrated the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the new policy validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam.”

Shooter Behind Quebec City Mosque Attack is Radical White Nationalist, Democracy Now!, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “In Canada, more news is emerging on the massacre at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City during evening prayers on Sunday [29 January 2017], which killed six worshipers and wounded eight others. Multiple media outlets originally reported that multiple gunmen were behind the attack. In fact, there was only one gunman behind the attack: white nationalist Alexandre Bissonnette. He is well known online as a supporter of Donald Trump and far-right wing French politician Marine Le Pen, whose visit to Quebec City last year appears to have inspired him to begin voicing extremist anti-refugee, anti-immigrant and anti-woman views. He was charged Monday with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. The information about Bissonnette comes after multiple news outlets falsely reported the attack was inspired not by white nationalism but by Muslim extremism, claiming falsely one of the shooters was a Muslim Moroccan man. In fact, this man was not a shooter but was one of the worshipers at the center who called 911 during the attack. On Monday night, mourners had a vigil outside the Islamic Cultural Centre.” See also, Donald Trump fails to mention white man who killed six Muslims in QuebecThe Independent, Rachael Revesz, Saturday, 4 February 2017: “Donald Trump has failed to give a [public] statement in one week about the white man who burst into a mosque in Quebec and shot dead six Muslims.”

Raid in Yemen: Risky From the Start and Costly in the EndThe New York Times, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, published on Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Just five days after taking office, over dinner with his newly installed secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Trump was presented with the first of what will be many life-or-death decisions: whether to approve a commando raid that risked the lives of American Special Operations forces and foreign civilians alike. President Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended. With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner. As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando [Chief Petty Officer William Owens] killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.” See also, Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old SisterThe Intercept, Glenn Greenwald,  published on Monday, 30 January 2017: “In 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate — the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out — another drone killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention. Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The U.S. eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely ‘collateral damage.’ Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post ‘to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,’ which explained: ‘Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies. His Facebook page shows a typical kid.’… The U.S. assault on Yemeni civilians not only continued but radically escalated over the next five years through the end of the Obama presidency, as the U.S. and the U.K. armed, supported, and provide crucial assistance to their close ally Saudi Arabia as it devastated Yemen through a criminally reckless bombing campaign. Yemen now faces mass starvationseemingly exacerbated, deliberately, by the U.S.-U.K.-supported air attacks. Because of the West’s direct responsibility for these atrocities, they have received vanishingly little attention in the responsible countries. In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed. But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki. As noted by my colleague Jeremy Scahill — who extensively interviewed the grandparents in Yemen for his book and film on Obama’s ‘Dirty Wars’ —  the girl ‘was shot in the neck and killed,’ bleeding to death over the course of two hours. ‘Why kill children?’ the grandfather asked.”


Monday, 30 January 2017,        Day 11:


Trump’s tweet about his banning citizens and refugees of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, 8:31 am, Monday, 30 January 2017: “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”

Where people who attack the US actually come fromThe Atlantic, Uri Friedman, Monday, 30 January 2017: “Nationals of the seven Muslim countries singled out by Donald Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015. Zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack in the United States. Every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident. Like his border wall, which will be erected to stop a mass Mexican migration that no longer exists, Trump’s immigration ban is a solution that misdiagnoses the actual problem….”

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,, Monday, 30 January 2017. For “every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination….”

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates directs top lawyers at the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s travel banThe New York Times, “Letter From Sally Yates,” Monday, 30 January 2017: “Sally Yates, the acting attorney general and a holdover from the Obama administration, sent [a] letter on Monday to top lawyers at the Justice Department, directing them not to defend the White House’s executive order on immigration during her remaining time at the department.” From the letter: “My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful.” 

Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Who Defied HimThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Mark Landler, Matt Apuzzo and Eric Lichtblau, Monday, 30 January 2017: “President Trump fired his acting attorney general on Monday night, removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from [seven] predominantly Muslim countries [Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen]. In an escalating crisis for his 10-day-old administration, the president declared in a statement that Sally Q. Yates, who had served as deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, had betrayed the administration by announcing that Justice Department lawyers would not defend Mr. Trump’s order against legal challenges. The president replaced Ms. Yates with Dana J. Boente, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, saying that he would serve as attorney general until Congress acts to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. In his first act in his new role, Mr. Boente announced that he was rescinding Ms. Yates’s order.”

From the White House: Statement on the Appointment of Dana Boente as Acting Attorney, Monday, 30 January 2017: “The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”

Official: Trump, Giuliani TV interviews influenced Yates’s decision to defy presidentThe Washington Post, Sari Horwitz, 31 January 2017: “As acting attorney general Sally Yates struggled to figure out how or whether to defend President Trump’s immigration order last weekend — while protests erupted at airports nationwideimmigrants were denied entry to the United States and civil rights lawyers rushed to court — two events helped crystallize her decision. The first was a television appearance by Trump on the Christian Broadcasting Network. In an interview, he said that Christians in the Middle East who were persecuted should be given priority to move to the United States because they had been ‘horribly treated.’ The second was late Saturday night when former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appeared on Fox News. Giuliani said Trump wanted a ‘Muslim ban’ and asked him to pull together a commission to show him ‘the right way to do it legally.’ ‘Those two things put the order in a very different light,’ said a senior Justice Department official familiar with her decision. ‘Trump’s executive order appeared to be designed to make distinctions among different classes of people based on their religion.’… A one-sentence letter on White House stationery was delivered to her Justice Department office at 9.15 p.m. Monday with a curt message: You’re fired. Fifteen minutes earlier, the Trump administration had sworn in Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia…. ‘She could have resigned,’ said Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who was solicitor general under Obama. ‘But my sense is that Sally thought there was something more at stake than just her own integrity. It was the integrity of the Department of Justice. We probably would have been a lot better off as a country if the attorney general in the 1940s had said, ‘I’m not going to allow the department to defend the internment of the Japanese.’ I think Sally thought this was a comparable situation. And I think she was right to think that.'”

Trump appoints new Immigration and Customs Enforcement director [Thomas D. Homan] noted for his work deporting illegal immigrants, The Washington Post, Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 30 January 2017: “A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said that Daniel H. Ragsdale, the acting director, will continue to serve as the deputy director of ICE.”

Obama, Out of Office 10 Days, Speaks Out Against Immigration BanThe New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Monday, 30 January 2017: “Former President Barack Obama spoke out on Monday against President Trump’s efforts to seal the United States borders against people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, siding with protesters around the country outraged at Mr. Trump’s crackdown on immigration. ‘President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,’ said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, in a statement issued after a weekend of protests against Mr. Trump’s executive order. ‘Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.’ Mr. Obama, the statement added, ‘fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.'”

Tuesday, 31 January 2017,        Day 12:


State Department Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 SignaturesThe New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “It started out in Washington. Then it went to Jakarta. Then across Africa. One version even showed up on Facebook. Within hours, State Department dissent cable, asserting that President Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries would not make the nation safer, traveled like a chain letter — or a viral video…. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the letter had attracted around 1,000 signatures, State Department officials said, far more than any dissent cable in recent years. It was being delivered to management, and department officials said more diplomats wanted to add their names to it. The State Department has 7,600 Foreign Service officers and 11,000 civil servants. The letter had been evolving since this weekend, when the first draft emerged. It was edited as it moved along, with some diplomats adding words and others striking out passages.” See also, State Dept. Officials Should Quit if They Disagree With Trump, White House [press secretary Sean Spicer] Warns, The New York Times, Mark Landler, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “The White House on Monday warned State Department officials that they should leave their jobs if they did not agree with President Trump’s agenda, an extraordinary effort to stamp out a wave of internal dissent against Mr. Trump’s temporary ban on entry visas for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries…. ‘These career bureaucrats have a problem with it?’ Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters. ‘They should either get with the program or they can go.'” See also, At State Department, ‘Dissent Channel’ In High Gear With Refugee Ban Protests, NPR, Michele Kelemen, Monday, 30 January 2017: “The Dissent Channel was set up during the Vietnam War era as a way for foreign service officers and civil servants to raise concerns with upper management about the direction of U.S. foreign policy, without fear of retribution.”

Parliament to debate Trump state visit after 1.6m sign petition opposing an official state visit by Trump to the UKThe Guardian, Rowena Mason, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: The petition reads: “Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen. ‘Donald Trump’s well-documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official state visit.'”

Trump transportation secretary pick Elaine Chao confirmed in Senate, with some top Democrats balking, The Washington Post, Michael Laris, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “On Tuesday, Chao was confirmed as transportation secretary, bringing extensive government experience to a Trump administration seeking to spur a major infrastructure effort and shake up Washington’s ways. It was a big step for a familiar Washington figure with friends on both sides of the aisle. But unanimity was not to be. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) voted no, as did his fellow Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). President Trump’s executive order to temporarily block people from seven majority-Muslim countries and refugees from entering the United States undercut the chummy atmosphere that prevailed during Chao’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which voted unanimously last week in support of her nomination. On Monday, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) sent a letter asking Chao if she agreed with the order, whether her advice had been sought on it, and how she, as secretary, would approach ‘any further travel restrictions’ and the resulting disruptions, among other questions. Nelson said Tuesday that he waited all day Monday for an answer but did not receive one. So he called her and ‘lo and behold, the transition team for the secretary of transportation had not even given her the questions,’ he said…. ‘What I found out in the conversation was the nominee to be secretary of transportation had not been consulted by the White House, not in advance, not during, not after the implementation’ of Trump’s order, Nelson said.”

White House ices out CNNPolitico, Hadas Gold, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “Trump administration refuses to put officials on air on the network [CNN] the president called ‘fake news.’”

Trump administration [Department of Homeland Security] says 872 refugees will be allowed to enter the U.S. this weekThe Washington Post, Mark Berman, Tuesday, 31 January 2017. “The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it would allow more than 800 refugees to enter the United States this week, an announcement that comes amid widespread anger and confusion following President Trump’s sweeping immigration order. Trump’s order temporarily bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and halts refugee resettlement for a 120-day period. However, officials said at a briefing Tuesday afternoon that they would allow 872 refugees into the country. These refugees were ready to travel and would face ‘undue hardship’ if not able to do so, Kevin K. McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said at a briefing Tuesday afternoon. ‘They will be processed with waivers through the end of the week,’ he said.”

Trump Cancels Trip to Milwaukee Amid Massive Planned ProtestsDemocracy Now!, reported on Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Donald Trump has canceled his planned trip to Milwaukee amid mass planned protests. The White House announced Tuesday [31 January 2017] Trump will not tour a Harley-Davidson factory on Thursday [2 February 2017] as scheduled. In response, the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump said, ‘Trump’s unpopular policies have ignited an unprecedented resistance movement that will block his every move. We hope our success in Milwaukee sets the tone for the rest of Trump’s Presidency, wherever he goes, there will be resistance!'”

Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme CourtThe New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Mark Landler, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “President Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, elevating a conservative in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia to succeed the late jurist and touching off a brutal, partisan showdown at the start of his presidency over the ideological bent of the nation’s highest court.” See also, Neil Gorsuch, the Nominee for a Stolen SeatThe New York Times, Editorial, Tuesday, 31 January 2017: “It’s been almost a year since Senate Republicans took an empty Supreme Court seat hostagediscarding a constitutional duty that both parties have honored throughout American history and hobbling an entire branch of government for partisan gain. President Trump had a great opportunity to repair some of that damage by nominating a moderate candidate for the vacancy, which was created when Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. Instead, he chose Neil Gorsuch, a very conservative judge from the federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit whose jurisprudence and writing style are often compared to those of Justice Scalia. If Judge Gorsuch is confirmed, the court will once again have a majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents, as it has for nearly half a century. For starters, that spells big trouble for public-sector labor unions, environmental regulations and women’s access to contraception. If Trump gets the chance to name another justice, the consequences could be much more dire.” See also, Neil Gorsuch could be the most conservative justice on the Supreme CourtThe Washington Post, Ryan Black and Ryan Owens, Wednesday, 15 February 2017: “Last week, President Trump pleased conservatives when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.  He looks to have made good on his promise to appoint a conservative justice to the Court. Court watchers are now left to wonder: how conservative will Gorsuch be? Our analysis suggests that if confirmed, Gorsuch might be the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court.”


Wednesday, 1 February 2017, Day 13:


Rex Tillerson Is Confirmed as Secretary of State Amid Record OppositionThe New York Times, Gardiner Harris, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Rex W. Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday in a 56-to-43 vote to become the nation’s 69th secretary of state just as serious strains have emerged with important international allies. The votes against Mr. Tillerson’s confirmation were the most in Senate history for a secretary of state, a reflection of Democratic unease with President Trump’s early foreign policy pronouncements that threaten to upend a multilateral approach that has guided United States presidents since World War II…. Mr. Tillerson, 64, a Texan, earned an engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin, got a job at Exxon in 1975 and climbed his way to the top, leaving only last year. Neither a diplomat, soldier nor politician, he is an unconventional choice for the job, but has vast international experience. With operations on six continents, Exxon Mobil is in some ways a state within a state. As its chief executive, Mr. Tillerson struck deals with repressive governments — in at least one case, against the advice of the State Department. Environmentalists largely opposed his nomination. But his views on international affairs are in many ways more conventional than those of Mr. Trump, which is why even Democratic-leaning foreign affairs experts said they welcomed his selection in hopes he would bring ballast to a turbulent administration.” See also, Rex Tillerson’s Record on Climate Change: Rhetoric vs. RealityInsideClimate News, Neela Banerjee, Thursday, 22 December 2017: “As Exxon’s chief executive, Rex Tillerson has acknowledged the reality of climate change, but he has opposed climate action.” See also, Rex Tillerson, From A Corporate Oil Sovereign To The State Department, The New Yorker, Steve Coll, Sunday, 11 December 2016: “The news that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Rex Tillerson, the chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State is astonishing on many levels. As an exercise of public diplomacy, it will certainly confirm the assumption of many people around the world that American power is best understood as a raw, neocolonial exercise in securing resources. Tillerson figures prominently in “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power,” a book I wrote about the corporation that came out in 2012.… Tillerson’s life has been shaped to a profound extent by two institutions: ExxonMobil and the Boy Scouts of America…. In public appearances, he comes across as sophisticated, yet his life is rooted in environments that are fundamentally nostalgic for imagined midcentury virtues and for the days when burning fossil fuels did not threaten to trigger catastrophic climate change. Tillerson once listed his favorite book as “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel that has become a touchstone for libertarians and promoters of unbridled capitalism…. Tillerson’s success within Exxon was attributable in part to the work he has done in Russia. He has forged close relations with both President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, the close Putin ally who runs Rosneft, one of Russia’s oil-and-gas giants…. If Tillerson is confirmed, he would be in a position to benefit the corporation where he spent his career, by, for example, advocating for the easing of Russian sanctions. In general, Tillerson and ExxonMobil have argued against economic sanctions as an instrument of American foreign policy…. The main themes of “Private Empire” involved the ways that ExxonMobil saw itself as an independent, transnational corporate sovereign in the world, a power independent of the American government, one devoted firmly to shareholder interests and possessed of its own foreign policy.… The goal of ExxonMobil’s independent foreign policy has been to promote a world that is good for oil and gas production.”

Trump Says ‘Go Nuclear’ as Democrats Gird for Gorsuch Fight in the Senate, The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “President Trump, seeming to relish a fight with Democrats over his nominee [Judge Neil M. Gorsuch] to the Supreme Court, encouraged the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, on Wednesday to invoke the so-called nuclear option and abandon the 60-vote threshold for confirmation. ‘If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, “If you can, Mitch, go nuclear,” the president said.”

Statement by the National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, on officially putting Iran on notice, whitehouse.govWednesday, 1 February 2017: During a surprise visit to the daily press briefing, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announced that the Trump administration is putting Iran ‘on notice’ after Iran conducted a ballistic missile test. “Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East. The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran ‘not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.’…  President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama Administration, as well as the United Nations – as being weak and ineffective. Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened.  As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” See also, White House puts Iran ‘on notice,’ won’t rule out military force, Politico, Louis Nelson and Matthew Nussbaum, Wednesday, 1 February 2017.

United Nations Secretary-General António Gutteres Rebukes Trump Over Travel BanForeign Policy, Colum Lynch, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a sharp rebuke of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying it is more likely to endanger Americans than shield them from future terrorist attacks. ‘This is not the way to best protect the United States or any other country in relation to the serious concerns that exist about the possibility of terrorist infiltration,’ he told reporters Wednesday at U.N. headquarters. ‘I think these measures should be removed sooner rather than later.'”

House Democrat Stephanie Murphy (Florida) introduces a bill to remove Steve Bannon from the National Security CouncilThe Hill, Cristina Marcos, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (D-Fla.) bill would ensure that no person whose ‘primary or predominant responsibility is political in nature’ could be designated as a member of the Security Council or be allowed to regularly attend its meetings. It would also express a sense of Congress that the Director of National Intelligence and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shouldn’t be limited from attending Security Council meetings.”

Republican-led Federal Communications Commission drops court defense of inmate calling rate capArs Technica, Jon Brodkin, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “FCC lawyers [are] no longer authorized to defend intrastate calling caps. The Federal Communications Commission’s new Republican leadership has decided not to defend FCC inmate calling rules that place a cap on intrastate calling rates. Chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly repeatedly opposed attempts to cap the phone rates charged to prisoners while Democrats held the FCC’s majority. Republicans argued that the FCC exceeded its authority, and commission attempts to enforce rate caps have been stymied by a series of court decisions.”

Trump’s Black History Month Talk: From Douglass to Media Bias and Crime, The New York Times, Jacey Fortin, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: Trump says Frederick Douglass ‘is being recognized more and more,’ speaking about him in the present tense, as if he were still alive. “Mr. Trump…made a special mention of Frederick Douglass, which caused critics to conclude that he believed the iconic abolitionist, writer and speaker was still alive. Douglass died in 1895. Mr. Trump spoke of him in the present tense: ‘I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Rev. King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.'”

Trump’s tweet about the US taking in “illegal immigrants” from Australia: Tweeted at 10:55 pm, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!” See also,  Trump’s Harsh Talk With Malcolm Turnbull of Australia Strains Another AllianceThe New York Times, Jane Perlez, published on Thursday, 2 February 2017: “President Trump’s combative phone call with Australia’s prime minister over a refugee agreement has set off a political storm in that country, one that threatens to weaken support for a seven-decade alliance with the United States just as many Australians say they want closer ties with China. Enthusiasm for the alliance in Australia, one of America’s closest partners, which hosts American spy facilities and rotations of American Marines, had already been under pressure from China, with which Australia conducts the most trade. Reports that Mr. Trump had scolded Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday, before abruptly ending the call, are likely to further undermine confidence in the United States, Australian analysts said…. The phone call on Saturday became contentious after Mr. Turnbull pressed Mr. Trump to honor a deal in which the United States had agreed to take in up to 1,250 refugees being held by Australia at offshore detention centers. Under the terms of the deal, hurriedly worked out by Mr. Turnbull and former President Barack Obama in New York last year, Australia would also accept Central American refugees staying in a Costa Rican detention facility.” See also, ‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull [on Saturday, 28 January 2017], The Washington PostGreg Miller and Phillip Rucker, published on Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it. At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.” See also, McCain calls Australian ambassador to express support after Trump exchangeThe Hill, Jordain Carney, published on Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that he spoke to the Australian ambassador to express support for the nations’ relationship after a heated call from President Trump. ‘I called Australia’s Ambassador to the United States this morning to express my unwavering support for the U.S.-Australia alliance,’ McCain, who’s frequently criticized Trump, said in a statement.”

Homeland Security Inspector General Opens Investigation of Muslim Ban, Orders Document PreservationThe Intercept, Ryan Devereauz, Murtaza Hussain, Alice Speri, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Following a request from Congress [from Illinois Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin], the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security has directed personnel to preserve all documents related to the implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries last weekend as part of an internal investigation into the order’s chaotic rollout, according to an internal document obtained by The Intercept. In an agency-wide directive sent to DHS staff early Wednesday afternoon, the IG’s office wrote, ‘All agency personnel must preserve any document that contains information that is potentially relevant to OIG’s investigation, or that might reasonably lead to the discovery of relevant information relating to the implementation of this Executive Order. For the duration of this hold, any relevant information that is within your possession or control must be preserved in the exact form as it currently exists.’ The department’s IG office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the investigation.”

Mike Pence Recognized Black History Month By Honoring A White Man, The Huffington PostLilly Workneh, published on Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Vice-President Mike Pence posted a tweet on Wednesday in which he recognized the beginning of Black History Month by honoring a white man. The tweet acknowledged President Abraham Lincoln and his work around the [abolition] of slavery, but fails to mention the contributions of any black trailblazer. Mike Pence tweeted about Black History Month at 9:00 pm on Wednesday, 1 February: As #BlackHistoryMonth begins, we remember when Pres. Lincoln submitted the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, to the states #NationalFreedomDay.”

Trump tweeted about Iran at 10:06 pm, Wednesday, 1 February 2017: “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”


Thursday, 2 February 2017,           Day 14:


Trump tweeted about Iran being formally PUT ON NOTICE at 6:34 am: “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” And at 6:39 am: “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”

Trump to Mexico: Take care of ‘bad hombres’ or US might, Associated PressVivian Salama, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “President Donald Trump warned in a phone call [on Friday, 27 January 2017] with his Mexican counterpart that he was ready to send U.S. troops to stop ‘bad hombres down there’ unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press. The excerpt of the call did not detail who exactly Trump considered ‘bad hombres,’ nor did it make clear the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s response. Mexico denies that Trump’s remarks were threatening. Still, the excerpt offers a rare and striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors. Trump’s remarks suggest he is using the same tough and blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.” [Mexico denies these remarks were made.]

New C.I.A. Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, Had Leading Role in Torture, The New York TimesMatthew Rosenberg, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “As a clandestine officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand…. Over the past eight years, C.I.A. leaders defended dozens of agency personnel who had taken part in the now-banned torture program, even as they vowed never to resume the same harsh interrogation methods. But President Trump has said repeatedly that he thinks torture works. And the new C.I.A. chief, Mike Pompeo, has said that waterboarding and other techniques do not even constitute torture, and praised as patriots’ those who used such methods in the early days of the fight against Al Qaeda. Ms. Haspel, who has spent most of her career undercover, would certainly fall within Mr. Pompeo’s description. She played a direct role in the C.I.A.’s ‘extraordinary rendition program,’ under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel. The C.I.A.’s first overseas detention site was in Thailand. It was run by Ms. Haspel, who oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.”

Republicans in the House and Senate Vote to Ease Restrictions on Coal Mining Near StreamsThe New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Republicans on Thursday took one of their first steps to officially dismantle Obama-era environmental regulations by easing restrictions on coal mining, bolstering an industry that President Trump has made a symbol of America’s neglected heartland. Using an obscure law that allows Congress to review regulations before they take effect, the Senate voted to reverse the Stream Protection Rule, which seeks to protect the nation’s waterways from debris generated by a practice called surface mining. The Interior Department had said the rule would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests by keeping coal mining debris away from nearby waters. The Senate vote was 54 to 45, following a House vote for repeal on Wednesday [228-194].”

House Votes To Overturn Obama Rule Restricting Gun Sales To the Severely Mentally IllNPRJessica Taylor, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill. The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama’s regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act. According to NPR’s Susan Davis, the measure being blocked from implementation would have required the Social Security Administration to send records of some beneficiaries with severe mental disabilities to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. About 75,000 people found mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs would have been affected.”

U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid that took place on Sunday, 29 January 2017, Reuters, Ayesha Rascoe, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “The U.S. military said on Wednesday [1 February 2017] it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief. U.S. Navy SEAL William ‘Ryan’ Owens was killed in the raid on a branch of al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, in al Bayda province, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed. U.S. Central Command said in a statement that an investigating team had ‘concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed’ during Sunday’s raid. It said children may have been among the casualties. U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.”

Yemenis Close Bodegas and Rally to Protest Trump’s Travel BanThe New York Times, Liam Stack, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “Thousands of Yemeni-Americans and their supporters rallied in Brooklyn on Thursday to denounce President Trump’s executive order on immigration, hours after hundreds of Yemeni-owned bodegas and grocery stores around New York closed to protest the order…. Yemeni-owned bodegas are institutions in many New York neighborhoods, selling coffee and bagels, groceries, umbrellas and many other items. Organizers said several hundred had closed from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday in protest, which Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, told the crowd, sent ‘a loud and clear message to America.’… Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed support for the protesters on Twitter. ‘New York City’s bodega owners are bravely shutting their doors to oppose the president’s shameful executive order,’ Mr. de Blasio wrote. ‘I stand with them.’”

Kellyanne Conway Admits ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ Error, The New York Times, Joe Coscarelli, published on Friday, 3 February 2017: Kellyanne Conway, the adviser to President Trump who coined the phrase “alternative facts,” is facing another round of criticism and fact-checking after she falsely spoke of a “Bowling Green massacre” by Iraqi refugees. She acknowledged and corrected her statement Friday morning on Twitter. Ms. Conway made the comment during an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ on Thursday night [2 February] as she discussed with the host, Chris Matthews, the executive order by Mr. Trump that suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. ‘I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,’ she said. ‘Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.’ In fact, no ‘Bowling Green massacre’ ever happened.” See also, Kellyanne Conway’s ‘Bowling Green massacre’ wasn’t a slip of the tongue. She has said it before, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Monday, 6 February 2017. See also, When the [US] Government Really Did Fear a Bowling Green Massacre—From a White Supremacist,” ProPublica (co-published with The New York Times), A.C. Thompson, published Wednesday, 8 February 2017: “Assault rifles, body armor, a possible kill list, but not much attention when feds arrested a white man they said was bent on ‘race war.’ The year was 2012. The place was Bowling Green, Ohio. A federal raid had uncovered what the authorities feared were the makings of a massacre. There were 18 firearms, among them two AR–15 assault rifles, an AR–10 assault rifle and a Remington Model 700 sniper rifle. There was body armor, too, and the authorities counted some 40,000 rounds of ammunition. An extremist had been arrested, and prosecutors suspected that he had been aiming to carry out a wide assortment of killings. ‘This defendant, quite simply, was a well-funded, well-armed and focused one-man army of racial and religious hate,’ prosecutors said in a court filing. The man arrested and charged was Richard Schmidt, a middle-aged owner of a sports-memorabilia business at a mall in town. Prosecutors would later call him a white supremacist. His planned targets, federal authorities said, had been African-Americans and Jews. They’d found a list with the names and addresses of those to be assassinated, including the leaders of NAACP chapters in Michigan and Ohio.”

Trump Vows to ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements by Churches, The New York Times, Mark Landler and Laurie Goodstein, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “President Trump vowed on Thursday to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to evangelicals, a voting bloc he attracted to his campaign by promising to free up their pulpits. Mr. Trump said his administration would ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. ‘Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us,’ Mr. Trump told religious leaders at the National Prayer Breakfast. ‘That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.’ Repealing the law would require approval by Congress [it is part of the tax code], which could prove challenging given that Democrats, and even some Republicans, would resist what many view as an erosion of the separation between church and state.” See also, Trump vows to ‘totally destroy’ restrictions on churches’ support of candidatesThe Washington Post, John Wagner and Julie Zauzmer, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “… several experts said Thursday that the effect of a repeal could be far broader, allowing churches of any political leaning to pour their financial resources into campaigns of like-minded candidates. ‘It’s less about a minister speaking out from the pulpit, and more about deep church coffers,’ said Beth Gazley, a professor of public affairs at Indiana University.”

Schwarzenegger to Trump After Trump’s Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast: ‘Why Don’t We Switch JobsThe New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “President Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger were embroiled in a long-distance feud on Thursday after the president used a prayer breakfast speech to taunt the action star about his reality show ratings, and Mr. Schwarzenegger fired back in a video posted on Twitter. To be clear, this is actually happening. The fireworks began on Thursday morning, when Mr. Trump used the typically solemn occasion of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington to needle Mr. Schwarzenegger as ‘a total disaster’ on ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice,’ the latest incarnation of the NBC reality franchise that catapulted Mr. Trump to national stardom. ‘They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place, and we know how that turned out,’ Mr. Trump said, as Mark Burnett, the ‘Apprentice’ creator who has become an active champion of Christian causes, listened a few feet away. ‘The ratings went right down the tubes,’ Mr. Trump continued. ‘Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again. And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.’ Minutes later, Mr. Schwarzenegger responded in a 15-second video posted to his Twitter account. ‘Hey Donald, I have a great idea — why don’t we switch jobs?’ said Mr. Schwarzenegger, his face filling the screen. ‘You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job. And then people can finally sleep comfortably again,’ Mr. Schwarzenegger added, with an impish grin.”

Donald Trump gave a doozy of a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, including saying that the US is being taken advantage of by every nation in the worldThe Washington Post, Chris Cillizza, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out. Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it. They’re tough. We have to be tough It’s time we’re going to be a little tough folks. We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore. It’s not going to happen anymore.”