Sunday, January 29, 2017

5 things you need to know now

A federal judge on Saturday evening issued an emergency stay temporarily and partially preventing the enforcement of President Trump's executive order banning visitors from seven Mideast nations. The ruling specifically applies to people, like the two Iraqi men detained at the airport in New York City, who have valid visas and were arriving or in transit to the United States when the order was issued. Similar rulings were later handed down in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington state. The Department of Homeland Security indicated it will comply with the orders. Both Iraqi men in New York have been released.
Source: CNN, The Hill
A White House official said Sunday that the multiple court rulings limiting enforcement of President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugee admissions do not defeat the order as a whole. "Saturday's ruling does not undercut the president's executive order," the official said. "All stopped visas will remain stopped. All halted admissions will remain halted. All restricted travel will remain prohibited. The order remains in place." The statement was similar to comments made by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in an interview on Fox News Sunday, in which she distinguished between enforcement of the order against travelers who already obtained legitimate visas before the order was signed (the specific province of the rulings) and those applying for U.S. entrance after the order was signed. The rulings do not "affect the executive order at all," Conway said, "because the executive order is going to be prospective — it's preventing, not detaining." However, some reportssuggest Customs and Border Patrol agents may be defying the judges' orders on direction of the White House.
Source: Politico, MSNBC
In a presidential memorandum issued Saturday night, President Trump gave a permanent seat on the National Security Council (NSC) to Stephen Bannon, chief White House strategist and the controversial former head of Breitbart News. The memo restructured the NSC, adding Bannon to "the principals committee" while removing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the director of national intelligence, who will now be limited to meetings "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday he finds the decision worrisome and a "radical departure from any national security council in history." Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice labeled the reorganization "stone cold crazy."
Source: ABC News, The Hill
Washington Democrats quickly castigated President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugee admissions, while the GOP mostly remained silent as criticism of the rule mounted. By Sunday, however, at least six congressional Republicans — two representatives and four senators — expressed varying degrees of public opposition. "Enhancing long term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed viewof radical Islamic terrorism," wrote Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in a brief post on Medium, "without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslims." Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) called the order "ridiculous" and a potential threat to "many innocent, vulnerable people," while Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted that it is "not lawful to ban immigrants on basis of nationality" and that the order "appears to be more about politics than safety." Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska all said the order is too broad. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended Trump's plan, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the courts should settle the issue.
Source: Vox, The Washington Post

One American was killed and three wounded in a firefight Saturday against al Qaeda militants in Yemen. Local reports say the raid killed about 30 people, including 10 women and three children. The U.S. commandos arrived by helicopter in the Yakla district of al-Bayda province to target a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, who was among those killed. Though the United States has long provided support for Saudi Arabia's coalition intervention in Yemen, including drone strikes, this is believed to be the first U.S. ground operation in Yemen's civil war.

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