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Trump immigration plan offers bigger dream, for a price

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd upon

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd upon his arrival at the Economic Forum meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Davos, Switzerland. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Fabrice Coffrini

Doubling down, and then some

The Democrats’ plan to protect the Dreamers would have protected 690,000 young immigrants now covered by DACA from deportation. Now President Donald Trump is ready to go bigger.

The White House said Thursday its immigration plan would provide a path to eventual citizenship for 1.8 million of those here illegally, including hundreds of thousands who were eligible for the Obama-era DACA program but never applied.

In return, Trump wants dramatic restrictions on legal immigration going forward. That would include elimination of the visa lottery and limiting sponsorship of family members to spouses and children.

He is demanding a $25 billion trust fund for Mexican border security, including a wall. Immigration advocates denounced that as a “ransom” for the Dreamers and are expected to pressure Democrats to reject the plan.

But by offering a plan that includes citizenship — a big step beyond what he’s been willing to accept before — Trump also is drawing the wrath of hard-liners who favor mass deportations of immigrants in this country illegally. The right-wing Breitbart news site gave him a nickname: “Amnesty Don.”

Fire Mueller? He tried

Trump ordered the firing last June of special counsel Robert Mueller, but ultimately backed down after White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive, The New York Times reported.

Trump argued the special counsel had conflicts of interest, including a dispute over fees from when Mueller was a member of a Trump golf club in Virginia.

McGahn maintained that firing Mueller would have a catastrophic effect on Trump’s presidency and raise more questions about whether the White House was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Vague ‘denial’

From Davos, where he’s appearing at an annual global economy summit, Trump gave his customary “fake news” jeer regarding the Times report but did not specify what he was talking about or offer a firm denial.

The Times report is consistent with public voices from Trump’s own camp.

Presidential friend and adviser Chris Ruddy told PBS last June “I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel.” On Thursday, Trump ally Sean Hannity said on Fox News that “we have sources that say... yeah, Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for a conflict...” but didn’t.

Spinning the globe

Trump adjusted his populist disdain for “globalist elites” on his first day at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

“When I decided to come to Davos, I didn’t think in terms of elitists or globalists, I thought in terms of lots of people who want to invest lots of money and they’re all coming back to the United States.” Trump told CNBC.

In advance of his speech Friday, Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, calling accounts of strains between them a “false rumor.” It’s not false — Trump has irritated British leaders with his comments after terrorism attacks and by retweeting a far-right U.K. group’s anti-Muslim videos.

U.S. and British officials are working on arranging a long-delayed visit by Trump to Britain later this year.

What in the world

Critics, including former top U.S. diplomats, have seen little consistency and much contradiction in the talk, tweets and actions that make up Trump’s foreign policy.

The president’s defenders say the mark of his foreign policy has been strength, resolve and finally leading from the front. Newsday’s Emily Ngo looks back on the first year of America’s place in the world under Trump and where it may be heading.

Janison: Singing the blue

Trump-trashing is seen as good blue-state politics by New York Democrats, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Mayor Bill de Blasio outdid Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this week by going to Washington and then announcing he wouldn’t attend a White House meeting as a protest against “racist” immigration policies.

Cuomo has raged against Trump/GOP rule in Washington as “a government of zealots and ideologues.”

For Chuck Schumer, as Senate minority leader, tangling with Trump is part of the job description. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attained the badge of a Trump antagonist when he personally insulted her on Twitter.

Delete two conspiracy theories

The Justice Department said it found a way using “forensic tools” to recover missing text messages from two FBI officials whose 2016 exchanges criticizing Trump fueled complaints by the president and his allies about bias in the bureau.

The initial disappearance, blamed by Justice on a technical glitch that affected thousands of phones, spawned speculation of a sinister plot.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) backed down from his claim that one of the texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page revealed existence of an anti-Trump “secret society” within the FBI. It turned out to be an apparent joke referring to a gag gift.

But House Intelligence Committee Republicans on Thursday moved ahead on a plan to make public their secret memo that they say shows FBI and Justice abuses of spying power against Trump — an attack Schumer called “delusional.” See Tom Brune’s story for Newsday.

Oprah and out?

Oprah Winfrey said in an interview with InStyle magazine that she wasn’t interested in running for president. “I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. ... I don’t have the DNA for it,” the TV and entertainment mogul said.

The interview, published online Thursday, was conducted three weeks before her speech at the Golden Globe awards on overcoming injustice set off a groundswell of “Oprah 2020” excitement.

What else is happening

  • In an unusual interview with Piers Morgan, Trump kind-of-sort-of offered an apology for retweeting deceptive anti-Muslim videos launched by a far-right British faction.
  • First lady Melania Trump, who skipped the Davos trip, visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington Thursday and then flew to Florida.
  • A federal judge in Maryland hinted that he may take up a case questioning whether Trump’s business empire violates the “emoluments” clause of the Constitution. If the case proceeds, it could reveal much about Trump’s business and personal finances, The Associated Press reported.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders met with this top political advisers last weekend to discuss the feasibility of a 2020 presidential run, Politico reports. No decision yet.
  • Three private Chinese investigators — hired by a New York labor activist group to examine conditions at factories in China that make Ivanka Trump-branded shoes — were arrested and thrown in jail for 30 days, The Associated Press reports.
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said he wants to release the transcripts soon of closed-door testimony by Donald Trump Jr. and others who attended a campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower.
  • The Guggenheim museum in New York turned down a White House request to borrow a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for the Trumps’ living quarters, The Washington Post reports. Instead, the museum offered a fully functional 18-karat solid gold toilet. The White House had no comment.

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