Sunday, February 5th, 2017

16 days after the National Day of Patriotic Devotion

I did not see this coming:

“A federal appeals court early Sunday rejected the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request to restore President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco denied the DOJ’s request an emergency stay, pending full consideration of the motion.The Hill, 5 February 2017

I sincerely expected to see the appeals court knuckle under to Trump’s DOJ. Instead, the court issued a one-page ruling (quoted here in its entirety):

“The court has received appelants’ emergency motion (Docket Entry No. 14). Appellanets’ request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied. Appellees’ opposition to the emergency motion is due Sunday, February 5, 2017, at 11:59 pm PST. Appellants’ reply in support of the emergency motion is due Monday, February 6, 2017, at 3:00 pm PST.”

I especially like the bit at the end where they appear to be channeling the giant slug Roz from Monsters, Inc.: “You didn’t file your paperwork!”

In his first and only tweet of the day, Trump takes one more swipe at the judge who issued the stay on his immigration ban/it’s not a ban:

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” Donald Trump, 12:39 pm, 5 February 2017

Trump was the one who whacked that hornet’s nest in the first place. Trying to blame it on the courts with this and other tweets makes this whole mess look like something Trump wanted to smear on the judicial branch from the start.

This quotation from an interview with Trump by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly is amazing:

O’Reilly: Do you respect Putin?

Trump: I do respect him but —

O’Reilly: Do you? Why?

Trump: Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world – that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O’Reilly: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?

So much to unpack:

  • Trump says he respects Putin because Putin is the leader of his country, as if the idea that a vicious tyrant could rise to that position is not worth Trump’s consideration. Putin’s a leader, therefore he must be respected.

    I’m pretty sure that’s how Trump sees himself, by the way: He’s America’s leader, therefore he must be respected. It would explain why he’s so cranky about the protests and the criticism he gets.

  • Trump doesn’t know if he’s going to “get along with” Putin, whatever that means. Doing deals with Putin? Having coffee on Tuesday mornings with Putin? Forming an alliance with Putin? It’s one of the fuzzy, meaningless phrases Trump uses when he has to say something but doesn’t want it to be anything too concrete.

    To make it even fuzzier, his comment indicates he clearly wants to “get along with” Putin, but he says he has no clue if that’s going to happen. Fuzzy phrase + no commitment = easy to walk back.

  • Trump is not only perfectly comfortable with O’Reilly’s assertion that Putin’s a killer, he’s also perfectly comfortable with the idea that there are killers in our government. If that’s not what Trump’s talking about, if what he meant was there are a lot of killers in America like mobsters or gang members or people who fly off the handle and kill their spouses, then he failed to say that, and failed in a big way.

    O’Reilly specifically asked how Trump felt about Putin, the man at the peak of the Russian government, being a killer, and here I’m going to extrapolate a bit and assume that O’Reilly is referring to how a lot of Putin’s political opponents end up poisoned or shot in the head or otherwise assassinated. That is what most people seem to be referring to when they say “Putin’s a killer.” And Trump said, I’m okay with that. And then Trump matter-of-factly implied that there are killers at the peak of the American government, and O’Reilly shouldn’t be shocked by that.

    If Trump knows who those killers are, then congress really ought to subpoena him and every other person on capitol hill and grill them under hot lights until every one of those killers is rooted out and put on trial, because that’s a pretty serious allegation.

Trump has made a lot of comments that were poorly thought out, but this is one of the worst. When Mike Pence appeared on Face The Nation and Meet The Press this morning and was asked specifically to comment on Trump’s casual acceptance of killers in the highest corridors of government, Pence just chuckled in that way he has when asked about a subject he wants us to believe a question is unfounded and overblown, then strung a whole lot of weasel words together and wouldn’t say more. Killers in government but nothing to see here, move along.

“Up to 8 million people in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation … Far from targeting only “bad hombres,” as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches.” The Los Angeles Times, 5 February 2017

This oddly disturbing detail was buried in an otherwise ordinary story about Trump and his staff settling into the White House:

“[F]or the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.” The New York Times, 5 February 2017

What did I just read? Did The New York Times say that Trump signed an executive order that put Bannon on the National Security Council without knowing he was doing it? And if so, am I justifiably worried that Trump’s staff may be giving him executive orders to sign without telling him the full impact of those orders?

 

NDofPD Plus 16 | 12:01 am CDT
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