All posts tagged Donald Trump
Posted by Pete George on February 24, 2017
Donald Trump is following through on his promise to get even tougher than Barack Obama on deporting illegal immigrants.
The Trump administration has issued tough guidelines to widen the net for deporting illegal immigrants from the US, and speed up their removal.
Undocumented immigrants arrested for traffic violations or shop-lifting will be targeted along with those convicted of more serious crimes.
All 11 million or so undocumented foreigners in the US could be affected.
But the plan leaves in place Obama-era protections for immigrants who entered the US illegally as children.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly moved Tuesday to implement a host of immigration enforcement changes ordered by President Trump, directing agency heads to hire thousands more officers, end so-called “catch-and-release” policies and begin work on the president’s promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“It is in the national interest of the United States to prevent criminals and criminal organizations from destabilizing border security,” Kelly wrote in one of two memos released Tuesday by the department.
The memos follow up on Trump’s related executive actions from January and, at their heart, aim to toughen enforcement by expanding the categories of illegal immigrants targeted for deportation.
The memos cover a sprawling set of initiatives including:
- Prioritizing criminal illegal immigrants and others for deportation, including those convicted or charged with “any criminal offense,” or who have “abused” any public welfare program
- Expanding the 287(g) program, which allows participating local officers to act as immigration agents – and had been rolled back under the Obama administration
- Starting the planning, design and construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall
- Hiring 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and officers
- Hiring 5,000 Border Patrol agents
- Ending “catch-and-release” policies under which illegal immigrants subject to deportation potentially are allowed to “abscond” and fail to appear at removal hearings
It’s unclear what timelines the secretary is setting for some of these objectives, and what budgetary and other constraints the department and its myriad agencies will face.
In pursuing an end to “catch-and-release,” one memo called for a plan with the Justice Department to “surge” immigration judges and asylum officers to handle additional cases.
This is attempting to fulfil campaign promises, but risks major disruption of families and communities and could impact significantly on companies relying on immigrant labour.
Posted by Pete George on February 22, 2017
I’m sure it’s been said before that US Intelligence is an oxymoron. They have somewhere around 20 intelligence agencies for a start (including the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the armed forces), with conflicting jurisdictions, and with rivalries and a lack of systems that prevents comprehensive consolidation of intelligence.
US intelligence agencies have long clashed with their democracy, notably in the Nixon era. Recently Director James Comey inserted the FBI into the presidential election, quite possibly swinging the result.
There have been controversial claims by multiple intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the presidential election, and that Donald trump’s campaign team had ongoing contact with Russian interests.
And now that Trump is president things seem to be getting worse, with ongoing leaks from intelligence agencies that conflict with and and undermine the presidency.
There are some claims that intelligence agencies won’t tell Trump things for fear of their methods being passed on to Russia.
Salon covers much of this in Trump vs. the Deep State: This death match of American political power will forever change history -President Trump escalates his battle with the U.S security apparatus.
The firing of Gen. Michael Flynn has popularized the concept of the “Deep State” across the political spectrum.
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak attacks the disloyal “Deep State #Resistance” to President Trump, while conservative pundit Bill Kristol defends it.
“Obviously [I] strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics,” Kristol tweeted Tuesday. “But if it comes to it, [I] prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”
And the conflict is deepening. The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump wants to bring in Wall Street billionaire Stephen Feinberg “to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies.”
The idea is reportedly provoking “fierce resistance” from intelligence officials who fear it “could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.”
They describe ‘Deep State’:
The Deep State is shorthand for the nexus of secretive intelligence agencies whose leaders and policies are not much affected by changes in the White House or the Congress. While definitions vary, the Deep State includes the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the armed forces.
The leaders of these agencies are generally disturbed by Trump’s cavalier treatment of their intelligence findings and particularly worried about contacts between Trump’s entourage and Russian intelligence officials.
There are known facts plus many claims and accusations that are at least partially unsubstantiated.
As Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire noted, the undisputed facts are accumulating:
- Multiple U.S. intelligence services believe that Russian operatives, at Putin’s directions, tried to help Trump get elected. The FBI is investigating contacts between Russian officials and at least three people connected to Trump’s presidential campaign: Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
- There were “continuous” contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence officials. At least some of the claims made in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official have been confirmed, though none of the more salacious details.
- Trump has had many financial dealings with Russian oligarchs, as shown in an investigation by the American Interest.
As a result, the intelligence agencies are withholding sources and methods from the president out of fear they will leak to foreign powers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Senior officials are also leaking the results of the ongoing investigation into Trump to reporters at The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The leaking of classified information, which Trump welcomed during the 2016 campaign, is indeed a felonious violation of the law, although it has been standard procedure for Washington power players since the passage of the National Security Act in 1947.
It is a serious threat to US democracy, and a serious threat to Trump’s presidency:
Vanity Fair calls the crisis of Trump’s presidency Watergate 2.0. The historical analogy is apt because the Watergate scandal that engulfed President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s was also a struggle between the White House and the intelligence agencies. But today’s crisis is more accurately described as Trump vs. the Deep State.
It is the death match of American political power and it will determine the fate of Trump’s troubled presidency.
It could be said that Trump is a serious threat to his presidency and to the US, but his clash with ‘Deep State’ is particularly ugly, and is likely to make more of a mess of US democracy.
More on ‘Deep State’:
Posted by Pete George on February 21, 2017
Claims of immigration related crime in Sweden isn’t new online, but it does appear to be new when the US president makes claims about it that seem to have no factual basis (about another country, Donald Trump seems to lack a factual basis to many things he talks about in the US).
U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Sweden experienced an immigration-related security incident prompted a baffled response from the Scandinavian country on Sunday as diplomats asked for an explanation and citizens responded with amusement.
Trump cited Sweden as a country that had experienced problems with immigrants in remarks at a rally on Saturday.
“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump said. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
That appeared to confuse the Swedish government, which asked the U.S. State Department to explain what the new president meant.
“We are trying to get clarity,” Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said.
Swedish news sources made no mention of a recent terrorism attack or other high-profile crime in the country.
“Nothing spectacular happened in Sweden on Friday,” wrote the Local, an English-language website in Sweden.
Fox News ran a report on Friday night about alleged migrant-related crime problems in the country.
Sweden’s crime rate has fallen since 2005, official statistics show, even as the country has taken in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.
Trump has apparently ‘clarified’ where he got his information – Fox News.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also questioned Trump’s claims.
“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” he tweeted.
This would seem to be the Fox News item: What the US could learn from Sweden’s refugee crisis
Feb. 17, 2017 – 6:15 – Sweden has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees and rape and violence has since skyrocketed. A journalist took a close look at Sweden’s refugee crisis and at what ‘extreme vetting’ really means #Tucker
I think there is some debate about crime statistics in Sweden, especially in relation to immigration.
It also seems to be new that a US president bases commentary of foreign issues in Fox News coverage.
Posted by Pete George on February 20, 2017
Donald trumps problems with media reports deteriorate as even Fox News slams him and raises serious issues about Michael Flynns contact with Russia.
President Trump was given a comprehensive summary of the contents of his former-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador prior to Flynn’s resignation, a source told Fox News.
Trump did not see the actual transcript of the communications, but the summary was delivered by people outside the White House. Trump has maintained that he believes Flynn did nothing wrong.
“Mike was doing his job,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday. “He was calling countries and his counterparts … I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job.”
Flynn was forced to resign Monday over discussions he had with Russian officials before Trump took office.
Flynn denied in an FBI interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, contradicting transcripts of intercepted communications between the two men, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
And someone asked by trump to replace Flynn has turned down the position for ‘personal reasons’.
President Trump’s first choice to succeed the departed Michael Flynn as national security adviser has turned the job down due to family reasons, sources close to the situation told Fox News late Thursday.
One source told Fox that retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward “really wanted” to do the job, but ultimately decided that he could not.
A senior administration official said that Harward’s acceptance of the national security adviser post was contingent on the agreement of his family. The official said Harward’s wife and other family members wanted him to remain in the private sector.
I’m not surprised his family didn’t want him involved.
The ones achieving the most in the Trump administration are ‘sources’.
Posted by Pete George on February 17, 2017
There is a lot of buzz about Donald Trump’s media conference – or more like a media condemnation.
US President Donald Trump has gone on the defensive over his presidency, accusing America’s news media of being “out of control” at a White House news conference, vowing to bypass the media and take his message “straight to the people.”
Nearly a month into his presidency, Trump said he had “inherited a mess” but his new administration had made “significant progress” and took credit for an optimistic business climate and a rising stock market. He pushed back against widespread reports of a chaotic start to his administration marked by a contentious executive order – now tied up in a legal fight – to place a ban on travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” Trump declared on Thursday (Friday NZT).
That’s not how it appears. It’s not just problems with the media, Trump has ongoing problems with the Courts and had a senior appointee resign.
During the news conference, Trump made a number of misstatements. He said for the third time in two days that he had won 306 Electoral College votes in his election. The correct number was 304. He called it “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan,” when in fact his predecessor, Barack Obama, won 334 electoral college votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008.
When pressed on the figures, Trump said that he meant he achieved a bigger Electoral College victory than any Republican since Reagan in 1980 and 1984 but a reporter pointed out that wasn’t true either as George Bush senior brought in 426 electoral votes in the 1988 election.
When further challenged on this claim, Trump said, “I was given that information. I don’t know. I was just given it. We had a very, very big margin.”
While this may seem like nit picking over numbers it is symptomatic of Trump’s ego problem and his looseness with basic facts. Perhaps those who supply him with information are tardy with facts – or perhaps this is a deliberate strategy to divert from things that really matter.
“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,” Trump said.
This is a standard Breitbart/Bannon tactic – accuse opponents of what you are guilty of, in this case deliberate dishonesty.
The president announced that he would announce a “new and very comprehensive order to protect our people.”
Perhaps this time they will consult with people with a knowledge of the law and experience with drafting legal orders.
Reaction from an undeterred ‘fake news’ organisation:
Another ‘dishonest media’ report: Trump blasts ‘out of control’ media, defends agenda, administration
President Trump’s feud with the media turned into an all-out war Thursday afternoon.
His early presidency beset by damaging leaks and a burst of staff turmoil, Trump used a hastily called press conference to blast the media’s coverage of his administration in his strongest terms yet. He claimed the press is “out of control,” reports on his team’s ties to Russia are “fake,” and news outlets are attacking him because they oppose his agenda.
“The media’s trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on the pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it,” Trump declared at the White House.
The president spoke and took questions for over an hour, even joking with some reporters toward the end and saying he was having fun. In a bid to preempt negative coverage of his remarks, Trump insisted he was not “ranting and raving.” But he lamented that the “tone” of coverage of his administration is one of “such hatred.”
“The public doesn’t believe you people anymore,” he said.
Posted by Pete George on February 17, 2017
Donald Trump has had talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on possible peace deals between Israel and Palestine.
US President Donald Trump has said that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine can be a one-state or two-state solution as long as both sides agree on it.
“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump said, replying to questions during a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Benjamin Netanyahuin Washington on Wednesday.
The problem is that they haven’t come close to an agreement that both parties like.
“The United States will encourage a peace and really a great peace deal … We will be working on it very, very diligently. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement,” Trump said.
That’s right, both the Israelis and the Palestinians need to negotiate.
A two-state solution – the idea of Israel and Palestine living side-by-side and at peace – has been the bedrock of US diplomacy for the past two decades.
So Trump is taking a markedly different approach. Solutions haven’t been forthcoming so a changed approach could be a good thing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he wanted to focus on “substance” and not “labels,” when asked about support for a two-state solution.
“Rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance,” Netanyahu said during a news conference with President Donald Trump at the White House.
“There are two prerequisites for peace. First the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state … Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River,” he said.
That sounds more like intransigence than negotiating.
Trump said that Washington was working to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I would like to see that happen. We are looking at it very very strongly. We are looking at it with great care. Let’s see what happens.”
That could be seen as deliberately provocative and may make it difficult for the US to “encourage a peace and really a great peace deal”, in fact it could be seen as opposite to that.
If Trump is serious about solutions he will be even handed and will now meet with the Palestinians.
Posted by Pete George on February 16, 2017
It seems that lying to the American people is fine but lying to the President of Vice President crosses a line.
Gordon Campbell: Out like Flynn
So Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn – the guy who had the cosiest links to Putin’s Russia – has been asked by Trump to resign, under pressure on all sides for lying to (a) the American people and (b) his boss. Only the latter is a sackable offence in Washington, and we can safely assume that Trump’s new Attorney-General Jeff Sessions won’t be prosecuting Flynn for committing a criminal offence under the Logan Act.
Presumably, not prosecuting Flynn will be the quid pro quo for Flynn keeping his mouth shut about whether he’d been merely acting under orders from Trump, when Flynn made contact with the Russian ambassador to re-assure Putin that the US sanctions on Russia would be lifted once the new administration had settled into the White House.
RealClear Politics: National Security Council
- White House Says “Erosion of Trust” Led to Flynn Being Dismissed
- Trump Was Told Weeks Ago That Flynn Withheld Truth on Russia
- Defiant Flynn Insists He Crossed No Lines, Leakers Must Be Prosecuted
- How Yates May Have Gotten the Ball Rolling on Flynn’s Resignation
- The Flynn Crisis Isn’t Over, It’s Just Beginning
I haven’t been following things in the US but even the headlines sound not very flash.
If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the vice president. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday: “Misleading the vice president really was the key here.”
That sounds about as credible as when the president told CIA employees that the media had invented the story about his enmity toward the spy agency, not even two weeks after he had taken to Twitter to compare the CIA to Nazis. It’s about as credible as President Donald Trump’s insistence that it didn’t rain during his inauguration. Or that millions of people had voted illegally in the election he just won.
The point here is that for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it’s strange that Flynn’s “lie” to Pence would get him fired. It doesn’t add up.
In the end, it was Trump’s decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. “First it’s Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus,” he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.
The Trump train wreck continues.
Posted by Pete George on February 15, 2017
It has been obvious that Donald Trump has been struggling with things like the concept of government and separation of powers.
Some business practices can be successfully applied to governing, but some can’t. Becoming president doesn’t equate to being owner of a business – you become responsible for many organisations and businesses with many competing interests.
The new president’s allies say he has been surprised that government can’t be run like his business.
Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy.
In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.
The administration’s rocky opening days have been a setback for a president who, as a billionaire businessman, sold himself to voters as being uniquely qualified to fix what ailed the nation. Yet it has become apparent, say those close to the president, most of whom requested anonymity to describe the inner workings of the White House, that the transition from overseeing a family business to running the country has been tough on him.
Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals and personnel. And, when discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to “seem in control at all times,” one senior government official said — or direct questions about details to his chief strategist Steve Bannon, his son-in-law Jared Kushner or House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Trump has privately expressed disbelief over the ability of judges, bureaucrats or lawmakers to delay — or even stop — him from filling positions and implementing policies.
Did no one try to explain to him how being President worked? It’s far different to being president of a company. Perhaps someone tried and he wasn’t interested in listening. There was always a big dollop of naivety apparent with Trump.
For all his frustrations, Trump has reveled in the trappings of the presidency. He has taken a liking to the Oval Office, where he spends much of his time working. Following a recent gathering of business leaders, he brought the group into the storied room and showed them around.
But he has also sought refuge from the pressures of the presidency, frequently calling up old friends and sounding them out about golf.
So what happens if he gets too frustrated with the job? Will he bankrupt the country and start another one up?
Posted by Pete George on February 11, 2017
It’s no surprise to see that Donald Trump is irked by challenges to his supremacy and authority as President. It didn’t take long for critics to recognise that Stephen Bannon was a likely achilles heel for Trump – both in the risks Bannon posed by trying to overreach with White House actions, and with doubts about who was pulling the White House strings.
The president appears especially irked by the growing narrative of Bannon as the real power in the White House.
President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out via Twitter at a series of news reports revealing the turmoil inside the White House, leaning on his crutch of “fake news” as he struggles to control a hardening narrative about a dysfunctional West Wing.
One of his missives came from Air Force One en route to Tampa, Fla., as Trump panned a New York Times report that detailed the friction inside his administration and its early stumbles.
“The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!” Trump tweeted at 11:32 a.m., ignoring the fact that many of his top advisers were quoted by name in the story.
Trump seemed particularly incensed by reports and parodies about chief strategist Steve Bannon being the actual decision-maker in the White House.
It comes as The New York Times released an unflattering portrait of Trump’s nights at the White House.
It suggested he spends much of his time watching cable news and wasn’t fully briefed before signing an executive order elevating Stephen Bannon to the National Security Council.
The message came at 7:01 a.m., 52 minutes after Joe Scarborough, whose MSNBC morning show the president is known to watch religiously, had suggested that “maybe Bannon’s calling all the shots.”
Being super sensitive about anything threatening his ego always looked like being a weakness for Trump.
Trump is also grumpy about negative polls (is he happy with positive polls?).
CNN/ORC poll released on Sunday found that 53 per cent of American respondents opposed Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out that Trump tweeted about “fake” polls about 30 minutes after the network revealed the poll results.
Posted by Pete George on February 7, 2017