Travel ban 3.0?
President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his call for a travel ban -- this, as the second version of his controversial executive order remains tied up in multiple federal lawsuits.
In an early morning tweet storm, Trump said the Justice Department, which he has control over, “should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court -- & seek much tougher version!”
For months, White House officials have been careful not to label the executive order a “travel ban” as a number of ongoing federal lawsuits claim the measure violates the Constitution by looking to prohibit entry on the basis of religion.
But Trump made it clear what he thinks the order should be called: “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!
For more on Trump’s latest social media missives and his second round of shots against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, read Emily Ngo’s recap in Newsday.
As Comey prepares to testify
White House officials say Trump won’t block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying Thursday in an open Senate session.
Debate centered on whether Trump would invoke executive privilege to prevent Comey, whom he ousted on May 9, from sharing with the Intelligence Committee the pair’s private conservations.
On Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that although “the president’s power to assert executive privilege is very well established,” he would forego the move.
Legal scholars have said they believe Trump’s case for executive privilege was weakened because the president has already talked and tweeted about his conversations with Comey, reports Newsday’s Ngo.
Trump kicked off his weeklong campaign to rally support for a massive infrastructure spending plan by calling for the privatization of the federal air traffic control system.
At a White House news conference, Trump said the move would save money and modernize the system currently operated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We’re proposing reduced wait times, increased route efficiency and far fewer delays,” Trump said. “Our plan will get you where you need to go quickly, more reliably, more affordably, and yes, for the first time in a long time, on time.”
Reuters reports that “opponents of the plan, including Delta Air Lines, say the U.S. system is so large that privatization would not save money, and would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk.”
The take-away: Prognosis negative
Despite a Rose Garden celebration after the House passed the Trumpcare bill in early May, the legislation appears to be a long way from becoming a reality, writes Dan Janison. Weak presidential approval ratings and divisions among Republican lawmakers and governors aren’t helping matters, either.
As a result the meaning, if any, of an early Tuesday Trump tweet that glanced at the topic was as fuzzy as ever: "Big meeting today with Republican leadership concerning Tax Cuts and Healthcare. We are all pushing hard -- must get it right!"
NSA report details hack
Russian intelligence operatives hacked a U.S. voting software supplier weeks before the 2016 presidential election, according to a classified National Security Agency report leaked to online news outlet The Intercept.
According to the report dated May 5, Russian agents attempted to dupe more than 100 local election officials via email by posing as electronic voting vendors. Their aim was to get officials to open an attachment bearing malware “that could give hackers full control over the infected computers,” according to the report.
NSA officials did not comment for the story, but did ask for parts of the report to be redacted.
Reality check: Leaker arrested
The NSA contractor who leaked the report to The Intercept was arrested Saturday and charged with espionage, according to Politico.
The arrest marks the Trump administration’s first attempt to bring a case under the U.S. Espionage Act.
Reality Leigh Winner, an NSA contractor with top secret clearance, appeared in federal district court on Monday and admitted leaking the documents.
Her arrest comes as Trump has vowed to crack down on the stream of leaks coming from the White House and other federal agencies.
What else is happening
- The acting U.S. ambassador to China resigned Monday in response to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, reports Politico.
- The Senate passed a resolution urging Trump to move ahead on his campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
- In his latest complaint, Trump early Tuesday tapped out: "The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out."
- EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has been spreading fake news about job gains in the coal industry.