Ban on the run
One way or another, the courts are going to get out of the way of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, predicted Stephen Miller, a primary author of the executive order that went off the rails in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week.
The senior White House policy adviser, who decried the “judicial usurpation of power” during interviews on four Sunday morning shows, said, “We are considering and pursuing all options.”
Those included seeking an emergency stay in the Supreme Court, further proceedings within the Court of Appeals, going to trial on the case or new presidential “executive actions.”
“The president’s powers here are beyond question,” Miller said of Trump’s plan to halt U.S. entry from seven Muslim-majority nations.
“As we begin to take further actions,” Miller said, it will be shown in the end “that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
Brands on the run
Sears Holdings and its subsidiary Kmart are dropping online sales of Trump Home items.
The move is part of a “streamlining” to “focus on our most profitable items,” a Sears spokesman told Reuters.
Last week, Trump complained on Twitter that Nordstrom treated his daughter Ivanka “unfairly” by deciding to stop selling her fashion line. Nordstrom cited declining sales.
Justin Trudeau, the liberal prime minister of Canada, was slated to visit Trump on Monday at the White House.
Judicial branch meets chain saw
Legal experts across the political spectrum worry that Trump’s attacks on judges are “corrosive” to the constitutional system of checks and balances and could have a long-term impact on respect for the rule of law, reports Newsday’s Yancey Roy.
Trump’s comments rarely focus on the law or judicial reasoning, but instead question a judge’s legitimacy or motives. Rule against Trump University? Trump says it’s because the judge is Mexican. Question his travel ban? Trump says the judge is threatening Americans’ safety.
The take-away: Follow the orders
Aside from the travel ban, Trump has issued a flurry of executive orders setting big goals with little detail, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
On law enforcement, he demanded agencies create task forces to probe and fight crime, anti-police violence and international drug cartels. It’s up to them to figure out how.
During the campaign, Trump said he had a plan to defeat ISIS. Once in office, he directed the Defense Department to come up with one.
Flynn twisting in wind?
The White House punted Sunday when asked if Trump still has confidence in national security adviser Michael Flynn amid reports he discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration — and then misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversation.
Miller, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the administration did not give him “anything to say” about the situation. He called it a “sensitive matter,” report Newsday’s Emily Ngo and David M. Schwartz.
“The knives are out for Flynn,” said one administration official in a Washington Post story Sunday night, while a New York Times report described National Security Council operations as erratic and politicized since Trump took office, alarming career staff.
It’s Miller time
Miller also repeated, vehemently and fact-free-ly, Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that voter fraud — busloads of people from Massachusetts — tipped the Election Day results in New Hampshire against him.
Challenged repeatedly by ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos for evidence, Miller gave none.
Veteran New Hampshire Republican operative Tom Rath tweeted: “Allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless, without any merit. It’s shameful to spread these fantasies.”
Miller’s tour of the shows — a role filled on prior Sundays by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — won praise from the boss, who tweeted: “Congratulations Stephen Miller on representing me this morning. ... Great job!”
The hospitality business
Trump’s golf-and-diplomacy weekend with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meant more exposure for Trump’s Palm Beach resort properties.
Unethical? No, son Eric Trump told The New York Times, comparing Mar-a-Lago to the Crawford, Texas, ranch where former President George W. Bush hosted foreign leaders. The analogy fails in that Bush’s hideaway wasn’t also looking for paying customers.
Eric and Donald Trump Jr. also said their plans to boldly expand the Trump Organization will pose no conflicts of interest.
What else is happening
- Trump’s disapproval rating is up to 55% in a Gallup Poll. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted a complaint: “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!”
- Trump and GOP lawmakers have launched the most aggressive campaign against government regulation in a generation, The Washington Post reports.
- Trump greeted Sunday morning by renewing a Twitter feud with billionaire critic Mark Cuban, saying “He’s not smart enough to run for president!” Cuban said he wasn’t sure what set off Trump, but tweeted: “Isn’t it better for all of us that he is tweeting rather than trying to govern?”
- Opponents of Trump’s call to scrap a law that limits political activities by churches and charities say it could create a backdoor way for big-money donors to anonymously pump millions of tax-deductible dollars into campaigns, Newsday’s Roy reports.
- About 20,000 people marched in Mexico City protests against Trump. One sign in English read: “Trump, pay for your own wall!” the Los Angeles Times reported.
- Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “a few” of his Republican colleagues have privately shared concerns with him about Trump’s mental health because of suspicions that “he lies a lot.”