The Trump administration is reportedly in chaos trying to figure out how to implement the order reversing family separations
Implementation of President Trump's hastily crafted executive order reversing his administration's policy of separating families at the border reportedly has the executive branch in chaos. "It was policy based on a PR-messaging impulse," light on detail and heavy on speed, a source familiar with administration discussions told Politico.
Trump originally wanted to make comprehensive immigration law by fiat, a Friday night Washington Post story says, but was told by government attorneys that was not possible (or, as one unnamed official put it, "a pretty insane idea"). He then demanded the order on family separation be crafted in less than one day to quell public uproar, a quick solution Politico reports has left the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense unsure of how to proceed.
Especially uncertain, says ABC News, is how to reunite families already separated. All migrant children in the care of Customs and Border Protection have been returned to their families, but up to 3,000 are still held by the Department of Health and Human Services, and some have been shipped clear across the country.
"It's devastating because I already know when I meet [clients] for the first time, and they start telling me that they are [a] parent, that I'm not gonna have the answers that they want in any time that they should have," Texas immigration lawyer Erik A. Henshaw told ABC. "I don't know if I'll find them during their case. I don't know if it'll happen when you get to immigration proceedings. I don't know if you're going to be deported or removed and have never actually found and/or had contact with your child." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump on Saturday threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Congress does not appropriate funds for his much-promised wall construction along the southern border.
"We have to have borders, and we have to have them fast. And we need security. We need the wall. We're going to have it all," he said at a campaign-style rally in Michigan. "We come up again on September 28, and if we don't get border security we will have no choice: We will close down the country because we need border security."
On the campaign trail, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. Watch his comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian
Trump claims Dems support immigrants because "these people pouring across are vote for Democrats, they're not voting for Republicans..A lot of times they don't even know what they are doing or why they are doing it." Then threatens to "shut down country" unless his wall is funded pic.twitter.com/QdYLQRdiyl
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 29, 2018
President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents' Dinner for a campaign-style rally in Washington, Michigan, Saturday evening. "Is this better than that phony Washington White House correspondents thing? Is this more fun?" he asked his approving audience.
Trump's talk hit on familiar themes: the need to maintain GOP control of Congress ("We gotta go out, and we gotta fight like hell"); former FBI Director James Comey ("a liar and a leaker"); immigration ("We have the worst laws anywhere in the world"); and Kanye West ("He gets it").
The president spoke hopefully of further progress toward peace with North Korea, and the crowd chanted "Nobel!" in response, referencing the Nobel Peace Prize. "I had one of the fake news groups this morning. They were saying, 'What do you think President Trump had to do with [North Korea's pledge to work toward denuclearization]?'" Trump said. "I'll tell you what. Like, how about everything?"
On Twitter Sunday morning, Trump dubbed the night a win:
Great evening last night in Washington, Michigan. The enthusiasm, knowledge and love in that room was unreal. To the many thousands of people who couldn’t get in, I cherish you....and will be back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018
Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian
President Trump insists he wants to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the Russia probe, so NPR did a little digging into the president's many depositions past to get an idea of how that conversation may play out. A common theme in Trump's behavior was lack of preparation, as perfectly typified in this exchange from a 2016 deposition:
Baum: What did you do to prepare for the case today, for the deposition?
Trump: I would say virtually nothing. I — I spoke with my counsel for a short period of time. I just arrived here, and we proceeded to the deposition.
Baum: Thank you. So you didn't look at any documents or —
Trump: No, I didn't.
Baum: — anything. [NPR]
Trump also displayed a habit of disregarding his lawyers' advice, willingly and even boastfully answering questions to which they objected. His responses were sometimes contradictory: In one 2011 conversation, he first claimed to be involved in all the decision-making in his organization and then professed ignorance of individual decisions. Trump admitted inattention to pertinent legal documents, like the very deposition notice that had summoned him to appear.
The president was also rude to his interviewers. "I think they're stupid questions you're asking me," he said in the 2011 session. "I think you're asking very stupid questions." Perhaps the rumors that Trump is having trouble securing legal representation don't seem so stupid, though. Bonnie Kristian
He declared the Democratic counter-memo, published earlier that day, "really fraudulent" and its congressional authors worthy of investigation. Trump specifically targeted for critique Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who oversaw the counter-memo's creation and release, labeling him a "bad guy."
On guns, the president again proposed arming teachers as an antidote to school shootings. A mass shooter would be deterred by "some offensive power in there," Trump said, while "a gun-free zone is like target practice" and beloved of "bad guys."
And though he insisted "the generals would love" a military parade, the president seemed to back off from the idea by noting it could be too expensive. "We'll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost," he said. "If we can't, we won't do it." A Military Times poll found nine in 10 readers believed the parade is "a waste of money and troops are too busy."
Watch two excerpts of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian
President @realDonaldTrump on Dem FISA memo: "A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but the other side. And somebody should look into it because what they did was really fraudulent." pic.twitter.com/PgEyKLAYEM
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 25, 2018
President @realDonaldTrump on gun legislation: "Perhaps we'll do something on age...it doesn't seem to make sense that you have to wait [until] you're 21 years old to get a pistol but to get a gun like [Nikolas Cruz] used in the school, you get that at 18." pic.twitter.com/hNAni2iIot
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 25, 2018
When President Trump gave an interview to The New York Times on Thursday, no one on his staff knew it was happening. That's because the president is at the "Winter White House," his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where The Washington Post reports aides cannot maintain the structured schedule and information flow they have created for Trump in Washington.
"Nobody tells Donald Trump where he can and cannot go" at Mar-a-Lago, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone told the Post. "The president is able to get a lot of information that is normally blocked from getting to him," Stone continued. "You don't have the minders. There is no doubt that he makes more calls."
He interacts more freely with members of the public, too — well, members of the public who are also members of the Mar-a-Lago:
"At Mar-a-Lago, anyone who can get within eyesight changes the game," said a former White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss a sensitive subject, and referring to club members and guests who sometimes try the influence the president on policy, share an opinion on his administration or simply say hello. "Everyone who is angling for something knows to be there." [The Washington Post]
Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is an 1881 painting by impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir which is presently housed in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Therefore, it is not housed in President Trump's New York City penthouse.
That's relevant because Trump reportedly insists he owns the original work, as Vanity Fair recounts in a piece published Friday night:
Years ago, while reporting a book about a real-estate developer and reality-TV star named Donald Trump, Tim O'Brien accompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls — one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet — in the impressionistic style of Renoir.
Curious, O'Brien asked Trump about the painting: Was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. "No, it's not Donald," O'Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was. [Vanity Fair]
On the return flight, O'Brien said, Trump mentioned the painting "as if the conversation had never happened" and again announced it to be an original. Then, shortly after the 2016 election, Trump gave a 60 Minutes interview in his New York home. In the background, visible behind Trump and Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, was the faux Renoir.
Trump's long-term commitment to his claim that the painting is authentic is emblematic of the president's relationship to the truth, O'Brien told Vanity Fair. Trump "believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades," O'Brien argued, and he'll "tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump spent much of last week taking swipes at the news media, and CNN was a major target of Trump's ire on Twitter and at a closed-door campaign fundraiser, after the network retracted an article about one of his advisers and a Russian investment fund. But at the end of the week Trump drew more attention for personal attacks against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski.
"Some White House advisers said they were frustrated that the Brzezinski feud," The Washington Post reported late Friday, "overtook the president's fight with CNN, which seemed in their eyes to have clearer villains and heroes." Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a gif of himself body-slamming a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, drawing statements of concern from CNN and the Committee to Protect Journalists about promoting violence against journalists.
On Monday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who claimed credit for creating the original gif, he reported Tuesday, and right after he tried to contact him, the user, "HanA**holeSolo," posted an apology on the pro-Trump subgroup /The_Donald. The user told his fellow Redditors he is sorry for his "racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic" posts, called internet trolling an addiction and "nothing more than bullying a wide audience," and said the Trump-CNN "meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."
"HanA**holeSolo" then called and confirmed his identity, Kaczynski says, and he "sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family." Not everyone was sympathetic.
Guy who posted this is now "worried for his safety" &asking not to be identified. You couldn't ask for a better lesson in troll psychology. pic.twitter.com/EJkmQcyTdD
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 5, 2017
But CNN is honoring the request because the guy "is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," Kaczynski said, adding that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The White House won't say where Trump found the gif, but insists it wasn't at Reddit. Peter Weber