nevertheless, she persisted...
The Ban, continued
On Friday a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked President Donald J. Trump’s immigration ban, after the states of Washington and Minnesota brought a suit against the order. US District Judge James Robart’s decision came shortly after a federal judge in Boston ruled against the temporary stay on the ban. On Saturday and Sunday, Trump pushed back against the Seattle decision in a series of tweets, writing, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump later expanded his criticism to include the judiciary system as a whole, tweeting, “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.”
On Thursday night, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously to uphold Judge Robart’s ruling. The Trump administration will likely appeal to the Supreme Court.
At Mother Jones, Ben Dreyfuss explains why Trump’s attack on the courts could trigger a constitutional crisis.
Cabinet Controversy #1
Betsy DeVos is confirmed as Secretary of Education after the closest vote on a Cabinet nominee in Senate history, despite 24 straight hours of entreaties by Democrats in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote, calling it “the easiest vote I ever cast.”
Click here to see the vote breakdown on POLITICO.
For more on Betsy DeVos and how the controversy surrounding her nomination might actually help the public school system, take a look at this essay in the Atlantic.
Cabinet Controversy #2
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
On Tuesday Republican senators voted to silence Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for “impugning” fellow Senator and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. Warren had been reading from a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986 critical of Sessions’ record on civil rights as a US attorney in Alabama. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s explanation of the incident – “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” – was quickly coopted as a rallying cry by progressives. Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon all read from the letter following Warren’s silencing. Despite the controversy, Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General Wednesday night. The 52-47 vote split nearly along party lines, with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin the lone Democrat to vote in favor of Sessions’ confirmation.
Alternative Facts 2.0
During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway referenced the “Bowling Green massacre” in defense of President Donald J. Trump’s immigration ban: “Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.” She later clarified her comments on Twitter, claiming she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists,” in reference to the two Iraqi men who’d been granted asylum in Bowling Green but were later arrested and convicted of terrorism charges after the FBI discovered that one of the men had built improvised roadside bombs in Iraq.
To learn more about the “Bowling Green terrorists” and Kellyanne Conway’s interview gaffe, take a look at this article from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog.
The power of protests
Following nearly a week of massive street protests across the country, Romania’s government trashed a bill that would have, if enacted, decriminalized corruption. As CNN reports, “the law would have freed some officials imprisoned for corruption, halted all investigations for pending corruption offenses and prevented further cases related to these offenses from being brought to justice.”
Iran responds after Trump administration institutes new sanctions…Trump vows to roll back Dodd-Frank banking regulations…on a business trip to Uruguay, Eric Trump wastes $97,830 of taxpayer money and reignites controversy over Trump business interests…during an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump again praises Vladimir Putin while criticizing the US…the Kremlin demands on apology from O’Reilly for calling Putin “a killer”...Trump claims, without evidence, that “the media” doesn’t report acts of terrorism…Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch calls Trump’s verbal attacks on judiciary “demoralizing”…after Nordstrom’s pulls Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores, Donald Trump complains on Twitter and Kellyanne Conway urges Americans to buy Ivanka’s clothes…a series of eight tornadoes sweep through southern Louisiana, causing severe damage...early Friday morning, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a major opponent of the Affordable Care Act, is confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services - the final vote, 52-47, was along party lines.