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El Supremo

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House GOP 'incensed' to learn Trump used their own staff to craft stupid, controversial travel ban
By Hunter
Tuesday Jan 31, 2017 6:01 PM CST
125 Comments (125 New)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks about the house's passage of the USA Freedom Act during a press conference at the Capitol on May 22, 2014 in Washington, DC. The act would increase Congress's oversight of intelligence-gathering programs and prohibit the bulk collection of data. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Rep. Goodlatte isn't answering questions

Daily Kos

The entire House Republican caucus is melting down before our eyes, part the whatevereth:

At a private GOP conference meeting, Goodlatte (R-Va.) tried to calm fellow Republicans who were incensed to learn that some of his aides helped craft Trump's immigration directive without telling him or GOP leaders or about it. Publicly, Goodlatte and his staff refused to answer further questions about the arrangement, which was first reported by POLITICO on Monday. [...]

On Tuesday, panel aides refused to say how specifically the staffers contributed to the executive order, why they did not tell Republican leaders about their work and whether they took a leave of absence from their official duties to help the transition team.

Once again, this is something Republicans would lose their rattlin minds over in most other circumstances; they've spent every point in modern history that hasn't featured a Republican president in constant terror over perceived slights to their authority by the executive branch. The notion that Trump stole staff members out from under their own noses to author a policy that they weren't allowed to tell House leaders about until Trump sprung it on them out of nowhere is, indeed, one hell of a revelation.

Did the work take place in House offices? Using House resources? Did it violate House rules? Did it violate federal law? We don't know, and Goodlatte is apparently refusing to say.

But even though other Republicans are melting down over the news that this humiliating, bungled executive order was crafted in part by their own paid staffers, you can always count on one Republican to proclaim that none of it matters and you shouldn't even be bringing it up:

Republicans, for the most part, seemed eager to move past the drama. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) seemed annoyed by a question about the matter at a news conference, telling a reporter, As you know, we werent involved in this.

That's Paul Ryan, the man whos snuggled up so close to Trump that Trump can wear him like a sweater. I'm not sure there's ever been a Republican quite so willing to lose his dignity to Trump, except perhaps for Chris Christie. And Newt Gingrich. And Marco Rubio. And Ted Cruz. And Rick Perry. And we can't forget Mitch McConnell. And ...
Post Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:37 pm 
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El Supremo

US threatens Iran, but what comes next?
Stephen Collinson Profile
By Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 3:22 AM ET, Thu February 2, 2017

Source: CNN

National security adviser: Iran is 'on notice' 02:27
Story highlights
Flynn fires off dramatic warning but Trump team yet to frame options on Iran
Sharp tone marks departure from Obama dialogue
Washington (CNN)The Trump administration is getting tough with Iran -- but can't yet say how it will back up its rhetoric.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn made a surprise, first-on-camera appearance Wednesday, using the authority of the White House briefing room to send a strong message to the leaders of the Islamic Republic and the wider Middle East.
"As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice," Flynn said, in a statement condemning a recent Iranian ballistic missile launch and attacks on Saudi and Emirati vessels by Yemeni-based Houthi rebels, which are backed by Iran.
Flynn also spoke of threats to the US and allied shipping in the Red Sea, in remarks that left little doubt that an era of dialogue between the Obama administration and Iran, which thawed more than 30 years of boiling antagonism and proxy warfare, is now over.
Donald Trump and Iran: the one thing to know

Donald Trump and Iran: the one thing to know 01:44
Flynn intended to make clear that the new management in the White House would not tolerate what it sees as Iran's destabilizing activity throughout the wider Middle East, following Republican claims that the last White House did just that to shield its legacy-enhancing nuclear deal.
"The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran's malignant actions, including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms," said Flynn. "The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk."
White House national security adviser: Iran is 'on notice'
WH National Security Advisor Michael Flynn: Iran is 'on notice'
Tony Blinken, the former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, said that Iranian missile tests were a serious issue and that a mechanism existed at the UN to address any infringements.
Blinken, now a CNN contributor, added: "I am not sure what putting Iran 'on notice' means."
Flynn argued that the test-firing of the missile on Sunday was a breach of a UN Security Council resolution. Iran denied that the launch infringed the resolution, which bars the testing of nuclear-capable missiles.
White House officials were careful to say that the new, rugged US approach to Iran stood apart from the international deal to put a lid on the Iran's nuclear program.
But the statement was a clear sign that the new White House intends to make a sharp change of course from the Obama years and is willing to be more proactive in confronting Iran's projection of power that it believes threatens its Middle East allies.
The day's events were also a study in the pitfalls of a new administration enacting its stated determination to strike a tougher, more steely posture on the world stage, before it has formulated its policy options and is able to say what steps it will take to enforce its warnings.

US rips 'irresponsible' Iran after missile test

Several hours after Flynn spoke, three administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss White House policy, conducted a briefing for reporters but offered little to illuminate Flynn's warning.
"There are a large number of options available to the administration, we are going to take appropriate action. And I will not provide any further information today relative to the question," one of the senior officials said.
Pressed by reporters on whether he envisaged military, economic or other action, the official declined to elaborate.
"We are considering a whole range of options, we are in a deliberative process," the official said. "The important thing here is we are communicating that Iranian behavior needs to be rethought by Tehran, that we consider these actions to be inherently destabilizing and a treat to our friends and allies."
The official said that the new administration was considering such behavior in a "different perspective" than the previous administration, while a second official warned that the Trump team would not be "shy" in responding to Iran on issues of state-sponsored terrorism for instance.

US Defense Chief Mattis: Only North Korea need fear THAAD missile defense

But after Flynn's warning and Trump's promise in his campaign that his tough leadership style will win new respect from US enemies, the lack of specifics could risk leaving Tehran with the impression that the administration is not yet ready to respond to any escalation.
For now, the White House seems to be hoping that words will be enough.
"It is our sincere hope that Iran will heed this notice today and will change their behavior," the first official said.
Wednesday's word of warning from Flynn were his first chance to flex his authority since he was selected to the post by Trump.
The former general had to endure intense criticism after he was named, and warnings by former colleagues that he lacked the temperament, experience and knowledge for the role.
But Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who met with Flynn Wednesday, backed the new tone coming out of the White House.
"I am very encouraged by the seriousness with which President Trump is approaching the full range of threats Iran poses to American interests," Corker said in a statement. "It is clear that Iran will no longer be given a pass and will be held accountable for its illicit behavior."
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:39 am 
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El Supremo

Trump immigration ban puts $20 billion in Boeing aircraft sales...

2 days ago ... President Donald Trump's immigration action puts in jeopardy $20 billion worth of Boeing sales to Iran and Iraq, according to an ... also a risk that President Trump's tough talk on China trade could threaten aircraft sales to the ...
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:41 am 
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El Supremo

Trump immigration ban puts $20 billion in Boeing aircraft sales to Iran, Iraq at risk
Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca
Monday, 30 Jan 2017 | 2:40 PM ET

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, January 27, 2017.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, January 27, 2017.
Around $20 billion worth of Boeing commercial aircraft orders to foreign countries could be at risk due to President Donald Trump's immigration action targeting countries such as Iran and Iraq.

"We think the president's travel ban could have negative implications for orders from Iran and Iraq," said James Corridore, an aerospace analyst at CFRA Research. "We see these contracts as vulnerable to cancellation, though we also think it possible that the current injunction against the travel ban will be upheld, which could lessen the impact."
In announcing the Boeing deal on Dec. 11, Boeing said the new orders will support nearly 100,000 new jobs. Boeing is in the midst of cost-cutting in its commercial aircraft division and is facing tough competition from Airbus.

In December, Boeing announced a $16.6 billion agreement for the state-owned Iran Air to buy 50 of its narrow-body 737 passenger jets and 30 of the wide-body 777 aircraft. Separately, Iraq has firm orders to buy 10 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft and another 18 of the 737s.
Corridore noted that list prices value the combined contracts at about $20 billion.

That said, the analyst believes "Boeing's order book is strong enough to withstand potential cancellations."
Then again, there's also a risk that President Trump's tough talk on China trade could threaten aircraft sales to the communist nation and result in sales going to Airbus.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg was asked last week on the aerospace and defense giant's earnings call about trade tensions rising with China and responded that "it's really important for all of us to understand that healthy trade relationships between the U.S. and China are important. I'm very confident that the incoming administration understands that."

A Boeing spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.

Shares of Boeing were recently down about 2 percent in intraday trading. The drop comes as the broader market also is lower Monday.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:49 am 
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El Supremo

Iran Is Threatened With U.S. Reprisals Over Missile Test - The...

6 hours ago ... The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that .... with the headline: U.S. Threatens Iran With Reprisals Over Missile Test.

Iran Is Threatened With U.S. Reprisals Over Missile Test


President Hassan Rouhani, left, on Wednesday in Tehran at an exhibition of Irans achievements in space technology. Credit Office of the Iranian Presidency, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON The Trump administration on Wednesday fired a warning shot at a perennial adversary, declaring that it was putting Iran on notice after a recent ballistic missile launch, and threatening the Iranian government with unspecified reprisals.

As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice, said Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, making his debut in the White House briefing room to read a terse statement that was almost as critical of the Obama administration as it was of Iran.

The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East, and place American lives at risk, he said.

Mr. Flynn said the missile test was the latest in a series of provocative actions by Iran and violated a United Nations Security Council resolution restricting its ballistic missile program something the Iranians deny. Mr. Flynn did not specify how the United States would respond, although other officials have said the White House is weighing sanctions and other measures to counter Iranian initiatives throughout the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

His blunt tone and lack of specifics offered an early sign of how President Trump plans to deal with Iran: pushing back against Tehran on multiple fronts and leaving all options, including military action, on the table.

Mr. Flynn singled out Irans support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, who recently attacked a Saudi naval vessel.

To that end, Defense Department officials said they have been directed to explore ways the United States can challenge Iran in Yemen, where the Houthis have been battling Saudi Arabia and other American allies.

In these and other similar activities, Mr. Flynn said, Iran continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region.
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At a subsequent official briefing, a senior administration official said the White House was considering a range of options and he did not rule out military force. But he also said the administration, in its second week, did not want to be premature or rash in how it confronted Tehran.

The challenge for the administration in contemplating economic pressure is that it would be all but impossible to reassemble the international coalition that imposed draconian sanctions on Irans oil and banking industries and drew Iran into negotiations that resulted in the agreement limiting its nuclear program.

Mr. Flynn pinned much of the blame for Irans aggressiveness on former President Barack Obama, saying his administration failed to respond adequately to Tehrans malign actions including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms.

He also noted that Mr. Trump had criticized agreements between Iran and the Obama administration as weak and ineffective. During the campaign, Mr. Trump spoke of ripping up the Iran nuclear agreement, though his aides now say their focus is less on abrogating that deal than on constraining Irans behavior in the region.

In Yemen, for example, the Pentagon is considering stepped-up patrols and perhaps even airstrikes, aimed at preventing Iranian weapons from getting to the Houthis. In addition, Saudi officials are pushing for more support for their air campaign in Yemen, an administration official said. But officials said on Wednesday that there had been no change in the militarys posture.

While the Obama administration targeted Houthis and conducted airstrikes against forces aligned with Al Qaeda in Yemen, current and former officials say Mr. Obama was wary of deepening American support for the Saudi air campaign because of concerns about the accuracy of targeting and the large number of civilian casualties.

Obama said all the time, Aim before you shoot, said Derek Chollet, who served in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department during the Obama administration. Anytime there was one of these heated discussions, and people said, Weve got to do something, he said, O.K., what does the intel say, and where will this take us?

The Trump administration, however, said it would continue to criticize and draw distinctions with its predecessor.
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This president is seeking to make the country safer, stronger, more prosperous, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said. I think the president, when it comes came to the Iran nuclear deal, was very, very adamant in his opposition to the deal and to its implications.

Mr. Flynns tough words left some Iran analysts troubled.

Cliff Kupchan, a political risk analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, said the tone was very worrisome. He and others also questioned how Irans missile test had violated the Security Council resolution in question, in which Iran is called upon to refrain from missile tests but is not forbidden to conduct them.

Its all Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller right now, Mr. Kupchan said in an email, referring to the national security adviser and two other hard-line Trump aides. The revolutionaries are running the Trump administration.

Other analysts, however, said the stiffer tone was overdue.

It was very sensible for the administration to early on warn Iran of its malign activities, said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The fact is that Iran is probably testing the administration to see if there is any pushback. Over the past few years they have not been given too many stern warnings.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran confirmed that it had recently conducted a missile test, but it rejected accusations that the launch had violated a Security Council resolution.

The confirmation by the Iranian defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, was the first by an official there since the country was accused of violating the 2015 resolution because the test involved a ballistic missile that could theoretically carry a nuclear warhead.

His remarks came a day after President Hassan Rouhani disparaged Mr. Trump for his order barring refugees, as well as citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries including Iran. Banning visas for other nations is the act of newcomers to the political scene, Mr. Rouhani said.

Mr. Dehghan emphasized that the missile test did not, in Irans view, violate the resolution, or the 2015 nuclear agreement that preceded it. No country will be allowed to interfere in Iranian domestic affairs, he said, adding that tests would definitely continue. Our nation has tested itself in this path, Mr. Dehghan said.

The United States called an urgent meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Youre going to see us call them out as we said we would, and you are also going to see us act accordingly, Nikki R. Haley, the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday.

Follow Thomas Erdbrink on Twitter @ThomasErdbrink.

Mark Landler reported from Washington, and Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran. Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York, and Helene Cooper from Washington.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:01 am 
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El Supremo

Middle East
Questions Cloud U.S. Raid on Qaeda Branch in Yemen

Officials, including Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, left Washington for Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to meet the family of an American commando killed in Yemen.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
WASHINGTON Just five days after taking office, over dinner with his newly installed secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Trump was presented with the first of what will be many life-or-death decisions: whether to approve a commando raid that risked the lives of American Special Operations forces and foreign civilians alike.
President Barack Obamas national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.
With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navys SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the worlds most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner.
As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chiefs watch.

The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. There are allegations which the Pentagon acknowledged on Wednesday night are most likely correct that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children. The dead include, by the account of Al Qaedas branch in Yemen, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda leader who was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2011.
Mr. Trump on Sunday hailed his first counterterrorism operation as a success, claiming the commandos captured important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world. A statement by the militarys Central Command on Wednesday night that acknowledged the likelihood of civilian casualties also said that the recovered materials had provided some initial information helpful to counterterrorism analysts. The statement did not provide details.
But the missions casualties raise doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation during the Obama administration and whether the right questions were raised before its approval. Typically, the presidents advisers lay out the risks, but Pentagon officials declined to characterize any discussions with Mr. Trump.
A senior administration official said on Wednesday night that the Defense Department had conducted a legal review of the operation that Mr. Trump approved and that a Pentagon lawyer had signed off on it.
Mr. Trumps new national security team, led by Mr. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a retired general with experience in counterterrorism raids, has said that it wants to speed the decision-making when it comes to such strikes, delegating more power to lower-level officials so that the military may respond more quickly. Indeed, the Pentagon is drafting such plans to accelerate activities against the Qaeda branch in Yemen.
But doing that also raises the possibility of error. You can mitigate risk in missions like this, but you cant mitigate risk down to zero, said William Wechsler, a former top counterterrorism official at the Pentagon.
In this case, the assault force of several dozen commandos, which also included elite soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, was jinxed from the start. Qaeda fighters were somehow tipped off to the stealthy advance toward the village perhaps by the whine of American drones that local tribal leaders said were flying lower and louder than usual.

Through a communications intercept, the commandos knew that the mission had been somehow compromised, but pressed on toward their target roughly five miles from where they had been flown into the area. They kind of knew they were screwed from the beginning, one former SEAL Team 6 official said.
With the crucial element of surprise lost, the Americans and Emiratis found themselves in a gun battle with Qaeda fighters who took up positions in other houses, a clinic, a school and a mosque, often using women and children as cover, American military officials said in interviews this week.
The commandos were taken aback when some of the women grabbed weapons and started firing, multiplying the militant firepower beyond what they had expected. The Americans called in airstrikes from helicopter gunships and fighter aircraft that helped kill some 14 Qaeda fighters, but not before an MV-22 Osprey aircraft involved in the operation experienced a hard landing, injuring three more American personnel on board. The Osprey, which the Marine Corps said cost $75 million, was badly damaged and had to be destroyed by an airstrike.
The raid, some details of which were first reported by The Washington Post, also destroyed much of the village of Yakla, and left senior Yemeni government officials seething. Yemens foreign minister, Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi, condemned the raid on Monday in a post on his official Twitter account as extrajudicial killings.
Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni fellow for Reprieve, a London-based human rights group, said he spoke by phone to a tribal sheikh in the village, Jabbr Abu Soraima, who told him: People were afraid to leave their houses because the sound of choppers and drones were all over the sky. Everyone feared of being hit by the drones or shot by the soldiers on the ground.
After initially denying there were any civilian casualties, Pentagon officials backtracked somewhat on Sunday after reports from the Yemeni authorities begin trickling in and grisly photographs of bloody children purportedly killed in the attack appeared on social media sites affiliated with Al Qaedas branch in Yemen.
Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday that some of the women were combatants.
The operation was the first known American-led ground mission in Yemen since December 2014, when members of SEAL Team 6 stormed a village in southern Yemen in an effort to free an American photojournalist held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the raid ended with the kidnappers killing the journalist and a South African held with him.
That mission and the raid over the weekend revealed the shortcomings of secretive military operations in Yemen. The United States was forced to withdraw the last 125 Special Operations advisers from the country in March 2015 after Houthi rebels ousted the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Americans main counterterrorism partner.
The loss of Yemen as a base for American counterterrorism training, advising and intelligence-gathering was a significant blow to blunting the advance of Al Qaedas branch in the country and keeping tabs on their plots. The Pentagon has tried to start rebuilding its counterterrorism operations in Yemen, however; last year, American Special Operations forces helped Emirati troops evict Qaeda fighters from the port city of Mukalla.
Follow Eric Schmitt @EricSchmittNYT and David E. Sanger @SangerNYT on Twitter.
Sean D. Naylor contributed reporting.
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Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:22 am 
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El Supremo

Bipartisan politics
Home Corruption Federal Election Commission Accuses President Trump Of Stealing $12.8 Million (DETAILS)

CorruptionDonald TrumpElection 2016PoliticsTop Stories

Federal Election Commission Accuses President Trump Of Stealing $12.8 Million (DETAILS)
By Eliza Mayhew -
February 1, 2017

Most of America suspected there was some ulterior motive behind Donald Trumps run for president in a bid most considered unlikely. According to the Federal Election Commission, it looks as though that motive was filling his wallet.

The FEC report shows that millions of dollars meant for Donald Trumps campaign were filtered into his business ventures, including two million to Trump Tower Commercial LLC for rent, utilities and wages. From the time Trump launched his presidential bid, money began flowing into his many businesses. POLITICO reported Wednesday that:
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Everything from office suites and hotel stays to payroll, security and office supplies [was paid for by Trumps campaign].

The concerns over conflicts of interest revolving around Trump never end, it seems. The level to which his businesses and politics were integrated was unprecedented, according to the report.

It is true however that Donald Trump contributed $66 million of his own pocket money into the campaign, and that campaigns are legally required to charge fair-market value for anything acquired or used. That said, given the breadth of Donald Trumps business ventures, he essentially exploited this regulation and his right to chose where press conferences etc. were held, to make bank.

According to the regulations, this does include businesses which the campaign heads or candidates own. So while not directly in violation of campaign rules, this flood of money is certainly in violation of normal ethical and moral standards.

There is also the issue of whether or not Trump businesses were reimbursed above and beyond fair-market value. Due to pitifully limited information provided about the financial and legal structures of Trumps business ventures it is nearly impossible to determine how much excess was leaked back to his personal account.

While the details are being combed through, things certainly smell fishy.

Among the Trump businesses that benefited directly from his campaign are: his new Pennsylvania Avenue hotel minutes from the White House, Mar-A-Lago Palm Beach mansion, Eric Trumps vineyard, Trump Virginia Acquisitions, Trump golf courses, Trump Restaurants LLC, Trump Grill, Trump Caf and Trump Ice.

Trump Ice?! Trump Ice, otherwise known as Trump Natural Springwater was paid $3,400 for meeting beverages and office supplies.

Facility rental, catering and lodging seems to be his go-to excuse for the money funneling in to various businesses, with a total of just over 1.3 million going towards this purpose. Specifically, $37,000 went to his Washington hotel and more than $400,000 to Trump hotels overall, $435,000 to Mar-A-Lago and $398,000 to his golf courses. $32,000 was paid to Eric Trumps vineyard and $2,300 went to Trump Virginia Acquisitions.

An additional $78,703 went to meals and catering alone at Trump Restaurants LLC, Trump Grill and Trump Caf. That is excluding $141,000 that was paid to the Trump restaurant company for rent and utilities. Whether rent and utilities end up being an acceptable use of campaign funds remains to be seen.

According to the FEC, Donald Trump even paid his own family for appearances. Donald Jr., Eric Trump and his wife Lara went on some kind of lovely spending bender totaling $56,000 for which they were reimbursed by the campaign. This cost was claimed to be associated with travel and meal expenses above and beyond what Trump had already funneled out the campaign for those purposes.

The campaign reported paying the hotel about $37,000 for facility rental, catering and lodging, according to FEC data, which shows total payments to Trump hotels of more than $400,000.

The grand total of money that went to Trumps businesses from his campaign is estimated around $12.8 million.

Unfortunately, this isnt the end of this saga of financial and political conflicts for Donald Trump. We know this because Trump refused to follow the advice of ethical governing bodies and did not properly divest from his business holdings for the presidency.

Feature Image via Getty Images/Brian Blanco.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:39 am 
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El Supremo

Rick Ponsetto

To my conservative Trump supporting acquaintances: You have been given a gift. The gift is this: Your guy won, your team has the house and the senate. And it's going....not great. My charge to you: figure out how you want to be represented in history. You are on the cusp of being the party that rose up and fought for what you told us you stood for, or you can be the people we have to explain to our children, when they asked why no one fought the breakdown of our democracy.
If you voted for the president or a republican senator because you believe in fiscal conservatism, you should be furious that your tax dollars are going to build a wall that will have zero impact on the effects of immigration.
If you hate the left because of "Political Correctness," you need to be asking yourself if you're okay with the President censoring communications from MULTIPLE government organizations like the National Park Service, the EPA and more.
If you voted because you hated Secretary Clinton's email server, I expect you to be calling your representatives to ask why Steve Bannon and others continue to use their unsecured personal emails and why your president is using an unsecured android device still.
If you voted because you believed they would be better protection against terrorists, you need to ask yourself why it's okay that your president just took away $130 million in anti-terror funds from New York with his punishment of Sanctuary Cities.
If you are angry that your insurance is too expensive, you should ask why your senators are repealing ACA without a replacement, an action that will leave 20 million people without insurance at all.
If you believe the Clinton initiative provided unequal treatment to countries that supported their foundation, you should be livid that your president has moved to block visas from Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, but not places where he has business ties like Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
This is an opportunity to prove that you voted for the reasons you told me you did. I am taking you seriously, I am taking you literally.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:06 am 
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El Supremo

Predictable as it has been reported Trump turned off the recorder during his conversation with Putin.

World News | Thu Feb 2, 2017 | 12:33pm EST
U.S. eases sanctions on Russian intelligence agency

By Joel Schectman and Dustin Volz | WASHINGTON

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday eased sanctions on

Russian intelligence agency FSB put in place by former President Barack Obama last year over accusations that Moscow launched cyber attacks to try to influence the U.S. presidential election.

The Treasury Department said in a statement it would allow U.S. companies to make limited transactions with the intelligence service that are needed to gain approval to import information technology products into Russia.

The broader significance of the sanctions exemptions were not immediately clear. The Treasury Department often issues general licenses such as the one announced on Thursday to help U.S. companies overcome unintended business consequences of sanctions.

U.S. intelligence agencies accused the FSB of involvement in hacking of Democratic organizations during the election, won by Republican Donald Trump.

The agencies and private cyber security experts concluded the FSB first broke into the Democratic National Committees computer system in the summer of 2015 and began monitoring email and chat conversations.

They say FSB was one of two Russian spy agencies believed to have been involved in a wide-ranging operation by top-ranking individuals in Russias government to discredit Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the election.

In December, Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and put sanctions on two Russian spy agencies. He also sanctioned four Russian intelligence officers and three companies that he said provided material support to Russian cyber operations.
Also In World News

Trump adopts aggressive posture toward Iran after missile launch
Khamenei ally says useless for U.S. to threaten Iran over missile test: Fars

Trump has said he wants better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Editing by Alistair Bell)
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:27 pm 
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El Supremo

At mosque, religious leaders, mayors speak out against Trump orders
Niraj Warikoo , Detroit Free Press 7:19 p.m. ET Feb. 1, 2017
636215732441042262-Interfaith-020117-02-MW.jpgBuy Photo

(Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Religious leaders and local mayors gathered today at a Dearborn Heights mosque to speak out against bigotry and condemn President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and refugees, saying the orders violated American and faith values.

"We're fighting for the soul of America," said the Rev. Ed Rowe, a Detroit pastor with the Methodist Federation for Social Action. "If we don't stand up for Muslims, we will be next. ... This is a time for you to step up."

Rowe was joined by about 30 other clergy and elected officials at the Islamic House of Wisdom. Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. and Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko, whose cities have sizable Arab immigrant populations, also attended the press conference.

The orders "violate the teachings of many of our faiths," said the Rev. Fran Hayes of Littlefield Presbyterian Church in Dearborn. "It's a moral issue. ... How we treat the stranger is central to our faith."

Citing verses from the Bible, Rev. Hayes said "we are to care for those who are foreigners."

"We have so much more in common than differences."

The religious leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, who was born in Iran, said Trump's order will hurt many educated immigrants from Iran and the other six nations Trump is restricting immigration from.

"It's amazing the absence of common sense," Elahi said. He said the executive orders are the "greatest gift for ISIS...a relief and victory of the terrorists" because they alienate the U.S. from foreign countries and make it appear hostile.

Imam Mohammad Mardini of the American Moslem Center in Dearborn said the early settlers in the U.S. came to "enjoy freedom from religious persecution." He and others are concerned that the executive orders appear to target Muslims.

Robert Bruttell of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit said "we need to stand together. ...We are all called to lift each other up."
Members of the interfaith community assemble as PastorBuy Photo

Members of the interfaith community assemble as Pastor Fran Hayes of the Littlefield Presbyterian Church in Dearborn speaks during a press conference Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017 at the Dearborn Heights Islamic House of Wisdom regarding President Trump's order on immigrants. (Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Local Jewish groups, including the Michigan Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Jewish Family Services also put out statements this week criticizing Trump's orders. The board of rabbis said in their statement, quoting from Exodus: "We hold dear the Torahs frequent reminder that we Jews understand what it is like to be considered the stranger, and thus we hold aloft the teaching, 'And you shall not wrong a stranger, neither shall you oppress them; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.'"

Dearborn Mayor O'Reilly, whose city is about 42% Arab-Americans, said he's been meeting with Arab-American and Yemeni-American leaders to hear their concerns. O'Reilly said he's concerned about how the orders were suddenly implemented without input from Congress and others.

"The people who are being hurt are the honest people," immigrants who follow the law, O'Reilly said. "The rules can't change midstream."

Wali Altahif, a Yemeni-American community leader in Dearborn, said Yemeni immigrants are being hurt, especially since there's a war in Yemen that already makes it difficult to connect with family. Yemen is one of the seven nations in the Trump order.

"The community is very nervous," he said.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792. Follow him on Twitter @nwarikoo
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:27 pm 
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El Supremo

Obama Admin: Trump Lying About Raid That Killed Navy Seal

Groopspeak ... Latest News ... Obama Admin: Trump Lying About Raid That Killed Navy Seal ... As you may have heard by now, President Trump's first military operation as commander in chief has left about 30 people dead, including at least ...

Obama Admin: Trump Lying About Raid That Killed Navy Seal

The Former Deputy Assistant to President Obama has just come out against the Trump administrations recent claims on Yemen, saying that President Obama was never briefed on this particular raid. Trump alone was responsible for it.

As you may have heard by now, President Trumps first military operation as commander in chief has left about 30 people dead, including at least 15 women and children. At least one of the dead was an 8-year-old girl.
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The US Central Command is still trying to determine if the civilian death toll is higher than that. They said their current assessment seeks to determine if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties in the ferocious firefight.

U.S. officials say that the al Qaeda base was located as a target before President Obama left office, but that the former president wanted to hold off approving the raid until he learned more information. President Trump decided to go through with it. Now, in addition, to the civilian deaths, a Navy Seal is also dead.

Trumps administration tried to underscore these claims by saying that the raid was all but approved and that President Obamas defense secretary even signed off on it.

However, new information shows that President Trump himself is solely responsible for all the decision-making in the botched raid, especially in the final hours. An operation like this has so many moving parts, its just not how operations like these work. President Obama couldnt have made a determination to go into Yemen so quickly. He was waiting for Trump to make that decision.

The decision was made to leave it to the incoming administration, partly in the hope that more and better intelligence could be collected, that official said.

Still Trumps White House is trying to say that the raid was a done deal before he even became president trying to pass off the blame for the casualties.

Here are the fact-filled tweets President Obamas Former Deputy Assistant pushed back with, claiming the Trump White House isnt being truthful:

Colin Kahl:
1. DOD worked up a general proposal for OVERALL set of expanded authorities for ll type of raids at end of Obama administration.
2. Broad package discussed in the interagency in the closing weeks of the Obama term. This particular raid was not discussed.
3. Moreover, no recommendation was made other than a recommendation to provide the next administration with the necessary information.
4. The idea was for the next team to run a deliberative process to assess risks.
5. And, critically, Obama made no decision on this before leaving office, believing it represented escalation of U.S. involvement in Yemen.
6. And, therefore should not be something he decided a few days before leaving office. Obama thought the next team should take a careful look and run a careful process.
7. From what I've read and heard, however, Team Trump didn't do a careful vetting of the overall proposal or raid.
8. Instead, Trump apparently had dinner with Mattis/Dunford and greenlit the op I've heard there was a Deputies meeting the next day, but DC was brief and basically irrelevant since the decision was made the night before.
9. So, in a nutshell, Trump and his team owns the process and the ultimate decision and the consequences.

While unnecessary civilian deaths arent unheard of in U.S. military operations, officials told Reuters that Trump approved the covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient background intelligence. When the Navy Seals went on to the al Qaeda base unprepared, they found it defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected group of heavily armed Islamist militants.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the raid was a glowing success, despite the few mishaps:

Knowing that we killed an estimated 14 AQAP members and that we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil is something that I think most service members understand, that thats why they joined the service.

President Trump made an unannounced visit to Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to pay his respect to the fallen US service member killed, Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens the first person in the military to die under his administration.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:27 am; edited 2 times in total
Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:30 am 
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El Supremo


Donald Trump Jr. Claims Quebec Shooter Was Muslim Because Christians Arent Allowed To Kill

Written by Lea Vat Kens February 1st 2017

Donald Trump Jr. liked a post on Twitter extolling the tremendous spike in political capital his father, President Donald Trump, will receive once its revealed that the Quebec shooting terrorists are Muslims. The original tweet was posted Monday by John Cardillo, a former NYPD officer and syndicated radio host, who incorrectly posited that the attacker was a Muslim. In fact, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, the lone suspect in the attack that left six people dead and eight wounded Sunday night, is an anti-Muslim, far-right Trump supporter. Carillos tweet links the Sunday night Mosque massacre to Trumps executive order restricting immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

However, in a Tuesday interview with The New York Times, the presidents eldest son argued that the shooter in the Quebec massacre was, in fact, Muslim and that Bissonnette is being framed. I can certainly understand why this is all happening after all, the political climate is ideal for trying to frame a terrorist attack on a non-Muslim, Trump Jr. said. He also added that his fathers executive order restricting immigration was not aimed at Muslims, but that unfortunately, thats what its being mistaken for worldwide, and especially in the Middle East. As a result, a man is being framed for something he didnt do. And its up to us to shine some light on the matter and make sure that the real culprits are revealed and then punished, he also said.

Asked to elaborate on whether he has proof that would corroborate his theory in any way, Trump Jr. argued that hes sure of it, because Christians just arent allowed to kill anyone. So, you see, it must be that the shooter was a Muslim, he added. More precisely Christians are not allowed to murder anyone. Killing in self-defense and a few other instances is probably okay, though Im not a man of the church, nor am I a connoisseur when it comes to the Bible, so I cant really specify what is and isnt considered a righteous kill, so to speak. But the whole murder thing yeah, that Im pretty sure of.

On the other hand, if you look at the Muslim world and the Quran, theyve got the Jihad, the Holy War or whatever it is theyre calling it. So, its literally written in their holy scripture that theyre supposed to go after and persecute and murder so-called infidels, which is to say non-Muslim individuals, he asserted. So, on one hand, youve got Christians who are, by default, a peaceful bunch; the whole turn the other cheek philosophy and all that. On the other, youve got a religion thats based on exterminating those who dont agree with it, and theyve got those orders in writing. How does it happen, then, that the Quebec shooting, which, by the way, happened at a Mosque a Muslim house of prayer is being blamed on a non-Muslim?

Even a blind person can see that this is a setup, I mean, there are so many movies out there with a similar plot that its becoming ridiculous. We ought to be better than this, smarter than this. There is no way in hell the shooter wasnt Muslim, Id be willing to stake my life on it. Just take a look at whats going on in our country for a moment its been almost two weeks since my dad was inaugurated and there havent been any racial or religious murders, not one in the whole country. And you want to tell me that has nothing to do with the fact that Barack Hussein Obama, who advocated bringing in more Muslims to America, is no longer president? Come on, Trump Jr. concluded.
Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:00 am 
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El Supremo

White House, Pentagon Defend Trump's Yemen Raid | Time.com

U.S. government officials on Thursday said a Special Forces raid in Yemen on Sunday, the first major military mission authorized by President Donald Trump, was

The White House and the Pentagon Are Defending the Yemen Raid
Feliz Solomon
9:31 AM Central

U.S. government officials on Thursday said a Special Forces raid in Yemen on Sunday, the first major military mission authorized by President Donald Trump, was successfuleven though it resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL commando and likely several civilians.

The New York Times reports that Trumps press secretary, Sean Spicer, and Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, briefed reporters with a detailed chronology of Sundays mission, during which Navy SEAL Team 6 came under attack as it neared the home of a suspected al-Qaeda collaborator.

Some reports suggest that the Trump administration moved rashly on the decision to carry out the mission, and that it may have been a risky one. However, This was a very, very well-thought-out and executed effort, the Times quoted Spicer as saying.

According to the Times, planning for the operation began last year under the administration of former President Barack Obama, and it was authorized by Trump last Thursday during a White House dinner with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, several other officials, the Presidents son-in-law Jared Kushner and his close aide Steve Bannon,

The timeline laid out by Spicer on Thursday suggested that the operation had already been vetted and approved by Obama.

The operation was laid out in great extent, Spicer reportedly said.

The Times also conceded that "the missions casualties raise doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation during the Obama administration."

Members of Obamas security team cited by the Times, however, dispute this narrative, claiming that Trump inherited notes that emphasized the potential risks. Colin Kahl, a national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, has tweeted his contention that Spicer's account is inaccurate.

"Obama made no decisions on this before leaving office, believing it represented escalation of U.S. involvement in Yemen," was one of a number of Kahl's responses on social media. The Times reports that Kahl's colleagues support his statements that the operation had not been given the greenlight by Obama.

Meanwhile, multiple reports about the operation claim that it did not go smoothly; the convoy, a joint force of American commandos and troops from the United Arab Emirates, reportedly came under heavy fire as it approached the target, a heavily guarded home that it was hoped would yield valuable data.

Militants may have used women and children as human shields when the Special Ops unit fired back, and by some accounts women took up arms and began firing, as well. U.S. air reinforcement was then called in to support the team, according to a statement by the U.S Central Command.

The statement said that civilians were likely killed in the aerial firefight, and that those casualties could include children. Al-Qaedas branch in Yemen has reportedly claimed that an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed by U.S. forces in 2011, was among those who died on Sunday.

Trump has defended the value of the operation, the Times reports, which he says gleaned intelligence that could help the U.S. and allies prevent future terror attacks.
Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:49 am 
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El Supremo

If you only News.com

By Jameson Parker NewsFebruary 2, 2017
Heres What Trump Was Tweeting About The Morning After Learning He Got A Navy SEAL Killed (VIDEO)

Theres a reason many former military officers think Trump isnt fit to shine the shoes of servicemembers. The president who distinguished himself during Vietnam by avoiding the draft five times and mocked John McCain for being a prisoner of war has never shown much interest in or compassion for the military unless he thought they could look good during a PR stunt.

So with that in mind it was probably too much to expect Trump to handle his first military disaster with even a modicum of grace.
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In an explosive admission, Trumps Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump was not in the Situation Room when his administration made the decision to ignore numerous warning signs and send a Navy SEAL team into hostile territory.

U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.

As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.

The result of that mission was a hopeless firefight. A dead Navy SEAL. A dead American girl. And a downed helicopter. An all-in-all disaster.

Trying to spin it, Spicer said when you look at the totality of what was gained to prevent the future loss of life it is a successful operation by all standards. What standards does the White House have any more if this is considered a success?

And where was Trump while this whole tragedy was unfolding? According to Spicer, he was holed up in the residency. The man whom insiders claim is addicted to television and wont take intelligence briefings could not be bothered to join his military commanders as they processed the unfolding situation.

As columnist Tommy Christopher points out, Trump was busy tweeting petty bullshit around the time he learned he had gotten just one week on the job one of Americas servicemembers killed during the bad call. At daybreak the next morning, Trump was busy settling scores to fill the void in his defective heart.

(Tweet) @realDonaldTrump someone with aptitude and conviction should buy the FAKE NEWS and failing @NY Times and either run it correctly or let it fold with dignity.

Vindictive smears on the New York Times for running a lengthy, well-sourced piece on what a trainwreck his administration had been. (Ironically, the article was published before news of the botched Yemen operation broke, so that wasnt included in the summary but could have been.)

One might expect the very first blood on a presidents hands would be a sobering, somber moment. As leader of the United States, there will be times that the president makes tough calls that result in peoples deaths. It comes with the territory. The scary part isnt that it happens, but that Trump seems incapable of getting past his own ego to mourn the dead or assess his own culpability in it.

Disgusting behavior from a boorish man.
Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:46 am 
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El Supremo


Feb 3 2017, 1:46 pm ET
Over 100,000 Visas Have Been Revoked by Immigration Ban, Justice Dept. Reveals
by Mary Emily O'Hara

At least 100,000 visas have been revoked in a single week in response to President Trump's executive immigration order, a lawyer for the Justice Department revealed in court Friday.
The number came to light in a Virginia courtroom as a federal judge granted the state's motion to join a lawsuit challenging the immigration ban that caused chaos at airports over the weekend.
"The number 100,000 really sucked the air out of my lungs," said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents two brothers from Yemen who were detained after arriving at Dulles Airport on Saturday and filed the original lawsuit that Virginia just joined.
Attorney Erez Reuveni, from the DOJ's Office of Immigration Litigation, announced the staggering number after Judge Leonie Brinkema pressed for the number of people who were detained and sent back from airports.

Reuveni at first said he didn't know, then said "over 100,000 visas have been revoked."
"I think you could almost hear the collective gasp in the courtroom when the government attorney stated that number," Sandoval-Moshenberg said at a press conference after the hearing.
In light of the President's order which banned Syrian refugees indefinitely, all other refugees for 120 days, and residents of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days multiple court orders have been issued that rolled back some of the ban's heavier restrictions.
In New York and Massachusetts, federal judges ordered CBP officers not to detain or deport travelers who had previously been authorized to enter the United States.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed the motion on January 31, requesting permission for the state to join the existing Aziz v. Trump suit, which was filed on behalf of roughly 60 people who are either lawful residents or visa holders, yet were denied entry to the U.S. in the days after the ban.
"As we speak, there are students at our colleges and universities who are unable to return to Virginia," said Herring at a press conference upon filing the motion. "We have professors, researchers, and employees at our colleges and universities and Virginia businesses who either cannot enter the country, or who will be barred from returning should they leave."
The original plaintiffs in the case, according to the lawsuit, are two Yemeni brothers with visas who were "handcuffed, detained, forced to sign papers that they neither read nor understood, and then placed onto a return flight to Ethiopia just two and a half hours after their landing" at Dulles on January 28.
President Trump has been named in at least 50 lawsuits since taking office January 21.
On Thursday, in a separate legal action, affiliates from ACLU chapters in all 50 states filed a coordinated Freedom of Information Act request demanding to know how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices are implementing President Trump's immigration ban affecting seven countries and the court orders that struck it down.

The government says that all 109 travelers originally detained at airports last weekend have been released. But ACLU attorneys insisted that number is low; citing media reports and other evidence of more people being deported and simply disappearing somewhere between airports.
Now, at least they know how many visas have been revoked. And the number is higher than anyone imagined.
"Since this past weekend, CBP has demonstrated rank disregard for federal court orders limiting the January 27 Executive Order," Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney at the ACLU, told NBC News. "It is clear that CBP believes it can operate with impunity and continue treating innocent travelers with callous and inhumane disregard for their basic rights."
NBC News asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a response to the charge of ignoring court orders and continuing to detain and deport travelers, but was told "CBP does not comment on pending litigation."
While the FOIA request is aimed at CBP, it also seeks clarity regarding the overall implementation of the travel ban, citing the Department of Homeland Security's similar obscurity. DHS did not outright refuse to comply with court orders; its response was a confusing contradiction in terms.
"We are and will remain in compliance with judicial orders. We are and will continue to enforce President Trump's executive order humanely and with professionalism. DHS will continue to protect the homeland," read the January 29 statement on the Department of Homeland Security website.
The detailed request demands to see all agency communications regarding the executive order and following court orders. And it doesn't stop with email: the ACLU is asking to see every form of communication conceivably in use, from WhatsApp to Signal and direct messages sent on Twitter. That's going to be a whole lot of paperwork to sort through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has more than 60,000 employees, making it one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the world.
"This coordinated FOIA request is an effort to ensure that the American people understand just how CBP is ignoring judicial orders and fundamentally undermining our most basic democratic norms and institutions," Ebadolahi said. "This agency must be held publicly accountable for its unlawful conduct."
NBC Washington's Julie Carey contributed to this report
Post Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:05 pm 
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