Cracking down on illegal immigration was a “Day One” promise for President Donald Trump. But he put off a decision about the Dreamers — the nearly 800,000 young people brought into the United States as children and given a reprieve from deportation by former President Barack Obama.
The clock is running out. The deadline is Tuesday to answer Republican state lawmakers who sued to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In February, he told a news conference: “It’s one of the most difficult subjects I have. ... You have some absolutely incredible kids.” He also told an interviewer in January, “They shouldn’t be very worried.” But other statements were tougher.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Thursday denied a Fox News report that Trump had made a decision to end DACA, letting those young people holding two-year work permits stay until they expire. She said he stands by his pledge to treat Dreamers with “heart.”
Trump’s pledge for Harvey
Trump will make a $1 million personal donation for Harvey relief, but hasn’t settled on a recipient, Sanders said.
The president and first lady Melania Trump will return Saturday to Texas, likely touring the Houston area. See Newsday’s story by Emily Ngo.
The take-away: Dog days
The end of August hasn’t been the worst week of the Trump presidency, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison, but his list of problems didn’t get any shorter, either.
Chief among them: the Russia investigation, with special counsel Robert Mueller now joining with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to probe former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort. In a state-level probe, Trump has no pardon power to dangle in front of witnesses who might face pressure to flip.
Trump lawyers have met several times with Mueller in recent months and submitted memos arguing that the president didn’t obstruct justice by firing former FBI chief James Comey, The Wall Street Journal (pay site) reported.
The president’s legal team also attacked Comey’s reliability as a potential witness, the report said. Trump has given conflicting explanations for firing Comey. One was that it was because of the Russia investigation — a reason that raises an obstruction question.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports a Mueller grand jury heard secret testimony from Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who attended a June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr.
Trump’s eldest son agreed to the meeting after being told the Russian government was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
He’s getting restless
When he took over as White House chief of staff, John Kelly set up controls over access to the president as part of a mission to bring order to chaos.
But now Trump is growing resentful — he misses the parade and doesn’t like the idea of being “handled,” The Washington Post reports. Some Trump loyalists who think Kelly is acting morally superior deride him as “the church lady.”
Lock the doors
When the Kremlin ordered cuts to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia, Trump said thanks — “We’re trying to cut down our payroll.”
But Trump Thursday approved retaliation, directing the closing of Russian facilities in New York, Washington and San Francisco, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune.
What else is happening
- Mueller has recruited agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit for his investigation, The Daily Beast reports.
- The Department of Homeland Security selected four companies to build prototypes for Trump’s yet-to-be-funded Mexico border wall.
- It’s early, but the field of Democratic prospects in 2020 falls into two categories, according to Politico — well-known figures who are or will be in their 70s, and younger pols few people have ever heard of.
- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said his policy statements giving different shadings than Trump’s have been “misinterpreted” as major differences. “Right now, if I say ‘six’ and the president says ‘half a dozen,’ they’re going to say I disagree with him, so let’s just get over that,” Mattis said.
- The Trump administration is slashing funding to help Americans sign up for Obamacare during open-enrollment season. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called it an effort “to sabotage our health care system.”
- Gregory Cheadle, a California Republican who Trump pointed out in a rally crowd last year as “my African-American,” tells the Los Angeles Times he isn’t much of a fan these days. “I would like for him just to show an interest in black people,” Cheadle said.