Donald Trump Archives - Page 7 of 204 - SaintPetersBlog

History provides a bit of assurance between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler

When current events became too depressing, I turned to history for possible reassurance. It came from what might seem an unlikely source, Volker Ullrich’s excellent 2016 biography, “Hitler Ascent 1889-1939” published in translation by Alfred A. Knopf.

There are sound reasons to hope that what happened there won’t happen here, as even though it threatens to.

There are of course many similarities between the Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump phenomena, starting with the basic facts that neither new ruler had any prior experience in public service, did not win a majority vote in a fair election, and would sooner lie than speak a truth. Hitler’s megalomania, craving for adulation and contempt for criticism were rooted, as Trump’s seem to be, in a deeply rooted personal insecurity. Hitler had no respect for independent courts or a free press.

Neither does Trump.

Both campaigned as demagogues, owed their success largely to bigotry, promised to make their countries great again, claimed they alone could “fix it,” and gave clear warning that they would attack civil rights. Both harbored worldviews that could — and in Hitler’s case did — lead their countries into massive cruelty and war. With Hitler, it was his determination to rid Germany and then Europe of all Jews and to wage a “decisive” battle against Bolshevism. With Trump it’s the demonization of Mexican immigrants and a craving to do battle with Islam, as whetted by his personal Darth Vader, Steven Bannon.

Trump doesn’t have an organized army of brownshirt thugs, as Hitler did. But he does have followers who don’t need orders to harass Jews, Muslims and foreigners, desecrate cemeteries and commit occasional murders. The list goes on.

But it’s in the dissimilarities that I found strong basis for hope that America won’t go the way the Third Reich did.

Organized dissent virtually disappeared in Germany as soon as President Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor in the mistaken belief that he could harmonize a Reichstag paralyzed by multiple parties. People who should have known better thought they could control Hitler better, and use him, if he were in the government rather than screaming at it from outside. And to an extent, a similar self-serving folly characterizes the Republicans in our Congress.

The German population, long inured to authoritarian rule under the Wilhelmine royalty and infested with anti-Semitism, welcomed Hitler.

“It was astonishing not just how quickly, but how easily Germany was turned on its head,” Ulrich writes. He quotes Victor Klemperer, a professor and Jewish diarist who survived against odds: “All counterweights to his power were quickly swallowed up and disappeared.”

Public opinion flipped so quickly that even Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, was contemptuous of it.

“Now, everyone is a Nazi. It makes me sick,” he said.

But in our United States, there have been massive protests nearly everywhere you look and the anti-Trump, anti-Republican demonstrations vastly overshadow those in support of our potential führer. The Congress reports unprecedented traffic in phone calls, emails and letters. The newspapers Trump hates the most are gaining subscribers handily. The polls show his approval under water; he’s the most unpopular new president since records have been kept.

Let’s keep it up, people.

The Weimar Republic, which was only 14 years old when Hitler accomplished his design to destroy it, had no resilient traditions such as ours of free speech, free press and freedom of petition. It was still possible to censor newspapers and the radio, ban the activity of opposition parties and prohibit their leaders from speaking. Under Hitler, that was expanded to jail and even to kill them on his whim.

Hitler exploited the burning of the Reichstag building — which was blamed on the Communists but which the Nazis welcomed and are still suspected of having caused — to pass emergency measures that extinguished what was left of liberty in Germany. We need to take care here that the next act of terrorism — the question is not whether but when — doesn’t incite Trump to unconstitutional repression. The wholesale deportations and the attempted banning of immigrants and refugees from selected Muslim nations give fair warning that he knows no bounds. Here, at least, we have courts that can stop him. Protecting the independence of those courts is the paramount present responsibility of the Senate Democrats.

Here we still have free elections, but nearly every Republican state legislature has passed or is considering voter suppression laws that clearly target Democrats, and our new attorney general, a lifelong opponent of civil rights, is withdrawing the federal government from the battle. Both parties are guilty of rampant undemocratic gerrymandering, which at the moment heavily favors the Republicans. Here again, the courts will be crucial as to which path America follows.

Hitler used creative accounting to finance his massive arms buildup and extravagant public works projects. Debt and inflation would have destroyed Germany had the war not done so first. Here, Trump is similarly inventive in claiming that Mexico would pay for his great wall and that economic growth will finance his excessive military budget. There should be enough genuine conservatives in Congress to put the lie to that. Thank God for the filibuster.

The most astounding difference between Germany then and the United States Nov. 8 is painfully ironic.

Germans knew almost nothing about Hitler’s personal life before or after he became chancellor. He had been in no business, except for selling his artwork, and so there had been no bankruptcies, no cheated workmen and contractors. There was no Hitler University. There had been the seeds of scandal in the suicide of his niece, Geli Raubal, who lived with him, but he wasn’t present and wasn’t blamed. He was deeply misogynistic in private, once saying that intelligent men should “make sure they get a primitive, stupid woman.” However, he took pains to hide his mistress, Eva Braun, from the public, “to maintain the myth,” as Ulrich puts it, “of the Führer sacrificing himself day and night for his people.” He had never been accused of rape or boasted of groping women in ways that could have gotten him arrested. Nor had there been any massive tax evasion, although he would exempt himself entirely later.

Contrast that to the mountain of Trumpian sleaze, much of it from Trump’s own mouth, that was known to the American public before the election. It helps to explain why nearly 10 million more people voted for candidates not named Trump than voted for him. But for the intervention of a foreign enemy and FBI director James Comey’s October surprise, he likely would have lost the electoral college too. Fixing that anachronism, which has now crowned the trailing candidate five times, ought to be an urgent national priority. Democracies don’t deserve losers.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Jeff Sessions says he shouldn’t investigate campaign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he should not be involved in investigating a presidential campaign he had a role in.

Sessions made the comment at a Thursday news conference where he announced he will recuse himself from any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The move came after revelations that Sessions twice spoke to the Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign.

Sessions rejected any suggestion that he tried to mislead anyone about his contacts with the Russian, saying, “That is not my intent. That is not correct.”

But he says he “should have slowed down and said ‘but I did meet with one Russian official a couple of times.’ “

Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente will handle any matters related to investigation.

Reprinted with the permission of the Associated Press.

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More Republicans say AG Jeff Sessions should recuse himself

The Latest on Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ talks with the Soviet ambassador (all times local):

11:25 a.m. attorneyAttorney

The top House Democrat says Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath when he told the Senate Judiciary that he had no contacts with the Russian government and says he should resign.

Nancy Pelosi says, “Perjury is a crime.”

In the meantime, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida joined a growing chorus of Republicans calling upon Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation on contacts between the Russians and President Donald Trump‘s campaign last year. Graham says, “Somebody other than Jeff needs to do it.”

Graham also tells reporters he is meeting Thursday with FBI Director James Comey and will demand to know whether there is an investigation into the Russia contacts.

___

10:58 a.m.

A growing number of Republicans want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election and ties to the Trump campaign.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says in a statement that Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, “but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe.”

Portman joins congressmen Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa and Tom Cole in calling for Sessions to recuse himself,

Other Senate Republicans are rallying around Sessions, saying they trust him and that it’s up to Sessions whether to recuse himself.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says, “I trust Jeff Sessions to make that decision.”

___

10:33 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins other Democrats in calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. She says there should be an independent special prosecutor named to oversee an investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Warren has clashed repeatedly with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans. The Massachusetts senator reacted in a series of tweets to reports that Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador during the presidential campaign, conversations that seem to contradict sworn statements Sessions gave to Congress during his confirmation hearings.

The White House says Sessions met with the diplomat in his capacity as a then-U.S. senator, not a Trump campaign adviser.

___

10:25 a.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.

Several Republicans and Democrats have called for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election following the revelation he talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign.

The conversations seem to contradict sworn statements Sessions gave to Congress during his confirmation hearings.

Schumer says a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the allegations of Russian interference and also look into whether the investigation has already been compromised by Sessions.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has accused Sessions of “lying under oath” and demanded that he resign.

___

10:25 a.m.

Another congressional Republican says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia meddling in the election and links to the Trump campaign.

In a statement, congressman Darrell Issa of California joined House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz in calling on Sessions to recuse himself now.

Issa says, “We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions.”

It is members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who typically meet with foreign ambassadors, not Armed Services Committee lawmakers whose responsibility is oversight of the military and the Pentagon. Congressional contact with Russian officials was limited after the invasion of Crimea and due to Moscow’s close relationship with Syria, a pariah for much of the West.

___

9:15 a.m.

A Republican committee chairman says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Utah’s Jason Chaffetz chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He tells MSNBC that Sessions “is going to need to recuse himself at this point.”

The Justice Department has confirmed Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign, a seeming contradiction to sworn statements he gave to Congress.

Chaffetz told MSNBC that Sessions “should further clarify.”

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri called on Sessions to resign, and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said he should recuse himself.

___

8:30 a.m.

A Democratic senator says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step aside from any role in the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Minnesota’s Al Franken tells MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Sessions’ statements about his contacts with Moscow have been “contradictory.”

At Session’s confirmation hearing in January, Franken asked the then-Alabama senator what he would do if there was evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the 2016 White House race.

Sessions replied he was “unaware of those activities.” But the Justice Department has confirmed that Sessions had two conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Franken is calling for an “independent prosecutor” to investigate any links the Trump campaign may have had with the Russian government and says Sessions must “come forward with the truth.”

___

8:15 a.m.

A Kremlin spokesman says all the attention given to Jeff Sessions’ meetings with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the U.S. presidential campaign last year could affect improved ties between the countries.

Sessions — who’s now President Donald Trump’s attorney general — was a senator and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign at the time of the meetings with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Dmitry Peskov is the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Peskov tells reporters that he didn’t know about the meetings. But he says it’s normal for Russian diplomats to meet with U.S. lawmakers.

The White House says Sessions met with the diplomat in his capacity as a senator, rather than as a Trump campaign adviser.

Peskov is characterizing reaction to the news of the meetings as “an emotional atmosphere (that) leads to resistance to the idea of some kind of U.S.-Russia dialogue.”

___

7:10 a.m.

A White House spokeswoman is assailing reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice talked to Russia’s ambassador to the United States during last year’s presidential campaign.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the reports “the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats.”

She says Sessions “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony” to the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing in January.

Referring to questions on this issue that Sen. Al Franken raised with Sessions at that hearing, she said, “It’s no surprise Senator Al Franken is pushing this story immediately following President Trump’s successful address to the nation.”

___

7:00 a.m.

A prominent Russian lawmaker close to the Kremlin is playing down the revelation that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russia’s ambassador during the American presidential campaign.

The news that then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was a policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, had discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak has added fuel to the controversy over whether Russia was improperly involved with Trump’s campaign. It spurred calls in Congress for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Alexei Pushkov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament and former head of the lower chamber’s foreign affairs committee, said Thursday on Twitter: “It turns out that almost the entire US elite has ties to Russia … Paranoia knows no bounds.”

___

2:37 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign season, communications that spurred calls in Congress for him to recuse himself from a Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump and a policy adviser to the Republican candidate, did not disclose those discussions at his confirmation hearing in January when asked what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with officials of the Russian government.

Sessions replied that he had not had communication with the Russians.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Wednesday night that “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”

Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Kathy Castor says Jeff Sessions should resign

Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor joins the chorus of Democrats who are calling for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions following published reports surfacing that he met twice with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign last year.

The former Alabama senator had said as recently as last month that he had not done so.

“Lying to a congressional committee while you are under sworn oath is illegal,” Castor said Thursday morning. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign and at the very least must recuse himself from the investigation into illegal collusion between Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. President Trump’s failure to release his tax returns (unlike any other presidential candidate or President) continues to be a cloud over his Administration.”

“An open and transparent review of his tax returns could answer questions related to whether or not he or his company have ties to Russia,” she added.

Shortly before Castor released her statement, her fellow Democratic colleague across Tampa Bay, Charlie Crist, was also calling on Sessions to resign.

“As the former Attorney General of Florida, I find Attorney General Sessions’ actions inexcusable, and call for his immediate resignation,” Crist said. “How can we have faith that the duties of the office of the Attorney General will be carried out when the chief legal officer of the country doesn’t tell the truth under oath to the United States Congress.”

At his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Sessions denied ever having met with Sergey Kislyak, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during the presidential campaign. However, a report in The Washington Post said that Sessions had met with him twice during the presidential campaign.

Sessions said Thursday that he would consider recusing himself from any investigation that the Justice Department could be conducting related to any ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

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Charlie Crist calls for Jeff Sessions to resign after reports of meeting with Russian ambassador surface

St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, a day after published reports surfaced that Sessions met twice with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the president campaign last year, and yet said last month that he had not done so.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that one of the meetings between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race. Sessions did not disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was asked about ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

“As the former Attorney General of Florida, I find Attorney General Sessions’ actions inexcusable, and call for his immediate resignation. How can we have faith that the duties of the office of the Attorney General will be carried out when the chief legal officer of the country doesn’t tell the truth under oath to the United States Congress,” said Crist. “It is clear that we need to establish an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate this administration’s Russian connections. The American people demand answers, and we have a responsibility to get to the truth of this Russian imbroglio.”

Crist had previously said that there should be a 9/11-style commission to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Earlier on Thursday, the man Crist lost to in the race for U.S. Senate in 2010, Marco Rubio, would not even go as far as to say that Sessions should recuse himself from any investigations regarding the potential Russian-Donald Trump campaign connection.

“We’re not at that stage yet,” Rubio said speaking with Steve Inskeep Thursday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. “Let’s take this one step at a time, but this is certainly a relevant story. I want to learn more about it, and I want to learn more about it, and I want to hear from him directly.”

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Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian envoy in 2016, Justice Dept says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign, the Justice Department confirmed, communications that spurred calls in Congress for him to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump‘s candidacy and a policy adviser to the Republican, did not disclose those discussions at his Senate confirmation hearing in January when asked what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with officials of the Russian government.

Sessions replied that he had not had communications with the Russians.

In a statement late Wednesday, Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Wednesday night that “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”

That statement did not satisfy Democrats, who even before Wednesday had sought his recusal from the ongoing federal investigation and had raised questions about whether he could properly oversee the probe.

Sessions said Thursday in a brief interview with NBC, “I have said that, when it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier called the disclosure of the talks with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, “the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats.” She added that Sessions “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused Sessions of “lying under oath” and demanded that he resign. Other Democrats called on him to step aside from the investigation.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, appearing Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, “I just think he needs to clarify what these meetings were.” The California Republican said it isn’t unusual for members of Congress to meet with ambassadors, but he added that if a question arose about the integrity of a federal investigation, “I think it’d be easier” for an attorney general to step away from the probe.

Sessions had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors last year in his role as a U.S. senator and senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and had two separate interactions with Kislyak, the department confirmed.

One was a visit in September in his capacity as a senator, similar to meetings with envoys from Britain, China, Germany and other nations, the department said.

The other occurred in a group setting following a Heritage Foundation speech that Sessions gave during the summer, when several ambassadors — including the Russian ambassador — approached Sessions after the talk as he was leaving the stage.

Revelations of the contacts, first reported by The Washington Post, came amid a disclosure by three administration officials that White House lawyers have instructed aides to Trump to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian meddling in the American political process.

The officials who confirmed that staffers were instructed to comply with preservation-of-materials directions did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the memo from White House counsel Don McGahn.

On the Sessions revelation, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said: “If reports are accurate that Attorney General Sessions — a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump — met with Ambassador Kislyak during the campaign, and failed to disclose this fact during his confirmation, it is essential that he recuse himself from any role in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to the Russians.”

Asked by reporters Monday about the prospect of a recusal, Sessions had said, “I would recuse myself from anything that I should recuse myself on.”

At the confirmation hearing in January, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota asked Sessions about allegations of contact between Russia and Trump aides during the 2016 election. He asked Sessions what he would do if there were evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the campaign.

Sessions replied he was “unaware of those activities.”

Then he added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have, did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Flores, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said that response was not misleading.

“He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” she said in a statement.

Franken said in a statement he was troubled that the new attorney general’s response to his question was “at best, misleading.” He said he planned to press Sessions on his contact with Russia.

“It’s clearer than ever now that the attorney general cannot, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately,” Franken said.

Separately in January, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Judiciary Committee Democrat, asked Sessions in a written questionnaire whether “he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day.”

Sessions replied simply, “No.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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TRUMP TAJ MAHAL

Seminole Tribe buys former Trump Taj Mahal casino in NJ

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is expanding its gambling holdings to the Garden State.

Hard Rock International, which the Tribe controls, Wednesday announced it had bought the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino on Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk from billionaire Carl Icahn. The deal includes two New Jersey investors.

The sale comes four months after Icahn closed it amid a crippling strike. A sale price was not disclosed.

The Tribe operates the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.

“We are excited to be part of this revitalization of Atlantic City creating thousands of jobs to help local employment,” Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and and Seminole Gaming CEO, said in a statement.

“We are 100 percent convinced Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be a success,” he added.

Hard Rock International, which will be majority owner, is in partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families of New Jersey. The investment group said they “will invest more than $300 million to purchase, substantially renovate and re-open the casino,” according to the statement.

The Tribe last year consolidated its control over the rock ‘n’ roll-themed Hard Rock hotel and casino brand, buying out remaining rights from the owner-operator of Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

President Donald Trump opened the Trump Taj Mahal casino in 1990 but lost control of it in a bankruptcy filing. Icahn bought it last year from a separate bankruptcy, but closed it in October amid a strike by its main casino workers’ union seeking restoration of employee health insurance and pension benefits that Icahn deemed unaffordable.

Icahn, who also owns Atlantic City’s Tropicana, said he only wanted to operate one casino in town. He’s still trying to sell the also closed former Trump Plaza casino, also closed.

The Morris family, led by Edgewood Properties CEO Jack Morris, has experience in redeveloping gambling properties. Edgewood led the redevelopment of Cherry Hill, New Jersey’s former Garden State Park racetrack into a mixed-use “town center” with retail and residences.

Firms controlled by the Jingoli family “specialize … in industrial, health care, education and gaming,” the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this post, reprinted with permission. 

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Airports, legal volunteers prepare for new Donald Trump travel ban

Airport officials and civil rights lawyers around the country are getting ready for President Donald Trump‘s new travel ban — mindful of the chaos that accompanied his initial executive order but hopeful the forthcoming version will be rolled out in a more orderly way.

The new order was expected as soon as Wednesday. A draft suggested it would target people from the same seven predominantly Muslim countries but would exempt travelers who already have visas to come to the U.S.

Since last month’s ban, which courts have put on hold, a section of the international arrivals area at Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital has been transformed into a virtual law firm, with legal volunteers ready to greet travelers from affected countries and ask if they saw anyone being detained.

Similar efforts are underway at other airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International, where officials have drawn up plans for crowd control after thousands crammed the baggage claim area to protest the original ban.

“The plan is to be as ready as possible,” said Lindsay Nash, an immigration law professor at Cardozo School of Law in New York who has been helping prepare emergency petitions on behalf of those who might be detained.

Trump’s initial action, issued Jan. 27, temporarily barred citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya from coming to the U.S. and halted acceptance of all refugees. The president said his administration would review vetting procedures amid concerns about terrorism in those seven nations.

Protesters flooded U.S. airports that weekend, seeking to free travelers detained by customs officials amid confusion about who could enter the country, including U.S. permanent residents known as green-card holders.

Attorneys also challenged the order in court, including officials from Washington state. That lawsuit, which Minnesota joined, resulted in a federal judge temporarily blocking the government from enforcing the travel ban, a decision unanimously upheld by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Many civil rights lawyers and activists have said they don’t believe a new order would cure all the constitutional problems of the original, including the claim that it was motivated by anti-Muslim discrimination.

Trump has said he singled out the seven countries because they had already been deemed a security concern by the Obama administration.

In his first address to Congress Tuesday night, Trump said his administration “is taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism” and is working on improved vetting procedures.

“And we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe — and to keep out those who would do us harm,” Trump said.

Last week, analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries pose a terror threat to the United States.

“It’s not enough to just tweak an order and not change the nature of why it was issued in the first place,” said Rula Aoun, director of the Arab-American Civil Rights League in Dearborn, Michigan, which sued over the initial ban and is prepared to do the same with the rewrite if necessary.

In New York, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said the organization was ready to go to court if the administration tries to immediately enforce its new order.

“The primary focus is being able to respond immediately to any request by the government to lift any of the injunctions, before the courts have had a chance to examine the new order,” he said.

Activists and airport officials alike said they hoped it would be phased in to give travelers fair warning, which might preclude any detentions from arriving flights.

“We are prepared and willing,” said Rebecca Sharpless, who runs the immigration clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. “But it’s unlikely to cause the same kind of chaos of last time.”

At Dulles, Sea-Tac, Minneapolis-St. Paul and other airports, legal volunteers have greeted arriving travelers in shifts every day since the initial ban, wearing name tags or posting signs in different languages to identify themselves.

The legal-services nonprofit OneJustice was ready to send email alerts to 3,000 volunteers in California if needed, deploying them to San Francisco and Los Angeles airports for people affected by any new order, chief executive Julia Wilson said.

In Chicago, travelers have been signing up for an assistance program started by the local Council on American-Islamic Relations office to ensure swift legal help if they’re detained.

Groups urged those arriving at 17 other airports, including Miami, Atlanta and San Diego, to register with Airport Lawyer, a secure website and free mobile app that alerts volunteer lawyers to ensure travelers make it through customs without trouble.

Asti Gallina, a third-year student at the University of Washington Law School, volunteered at Sea-Tac for the first time Tuesday. It was quiet, she said.

“An essential part of the American narrative is the ability to come to America,” Gallina said. “Any infringement of that is something that needs to be resisted.”

Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.

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Marco Rubio kicked out of Tampa office because of protesters

In the new year, it’s been the go-to spot for those who are part of “The Resistance” – activists against Donald Trump and GOP establishment now in control of all branches of the federal government.

We’re talking about Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s Tampa District office in the Westshore area, where protestors have gathered on a weekly basis since early January.

But no more.

That’s because the landlords at the Bridgeport Center at 5201 Kennedy Blvd. – America’s Capital Partners – notified Rubio’s office on Feb. 1 that it will not renew his lease because the weekly protests are too disruptive to the other tenants and are costly for the company.

The story was originally reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

“Our lease has expired and the building management informed us they would not be renewing it,” Rubio spokeswoman Christina Mandreucci said in a statement sent to SPB. “We are actively looking for new office space, and our goal is to remain accessible and continue providing prompt and efficient service to all Floridians. Until we find a permanent new home in the Tampa Bay area, we will have a representative from our Tampa Bay office available to assist constituents on a daily basis and reachable at 1-866-630-7106.”

Not only has the small sidewalk in front of Rubio’s Tampa office been the site of regular protests against the Florida Senator, it’s where protestors went to back on the night of January 28 to protest President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning citizens from some predominantly Muslim nations from coming to the United States. Those activists had originally gone to Tampa International Airport, where similar protests were taking place across the nation, but we’re told that they could not protest on private property.

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Joe Negron, Pulse mother and doctor, a DREAMer, among guests for Donald Trump’s address to Congress

As is traditional, Florida’s congressional delegation is using its invite tickets to President Donald Trump‘s first address to a joint session of Congress mostly to make points, although U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is maybe making his points with his wife.

Each member of Congress gets one SOTU invitation to pass out. Democrat Nelson’s goes to his wife of 44 years, Grace Nelson.

Republican U.S. Sen Marco Rubio‘s bringing Florida Sen. President Joe Negron, who is in Washington this week for meetings with Rubio and other state legislators regarding federal-state issues.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando is bringing Christine Leinonen, mother of Christopher Leinonen, who was one of the 49 victims killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Leinonen has been sharply critical of Trump for using the June 12, 2016, Pulse shooting to justify an immigration crackdown, particularly on Muslims.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park is bringing Dr. Marc Levy, Orlando Regional Medical Center surgeon who saved the lives of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting last summer. Levy has called for more scientific and medical research on gun violence – from root causes to improved medical treatment.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando is bringing a potential DREAMer, a recent graduate of the University of Florida named Jose who migrated from Honduras to the United States at the age of 11 with his parents. Jose is seeking to avoid deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policies of former President Barack Obama, which Trump stated he intends to rescind.

No word yet on what Republican U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis, Bill Posey and Daniel Webster intend to do with their tickets.

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