Trump says administration looking ‘seriously’ at ending birthright citizenship

President Trump on Wednesday said his administration is once again seriously considering an executive order to end birthright citizenship months after several lawmakers cast doubt on his ability to take such action.

“We’re looking at that very seriously,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Kentucky. “Birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby’s now a U.S. citizen.”

“We are looking at birthright citizenship very seriously,” he added. “It’s, frankly, ridiculous.”

The president proposed ending the practice that grants citizenship to those born in the United States during his 2016 presidential campaign. He revived the idea last year, saying he would sign an executive order to enact the change.

Numerous lawmakers, including several Republicans, quickly pushed back on the idea and argued Trump lacked the authority to make such a change using an executive order. They cited that birthright citizenship is a right enshrined under the 14th Amendment.

Trump responded to the criticism by saying birthright citizenship would be ended “one way or another.”

The president has sought various ways to crack down on illegal and legal immigration throughout his presidency.

His administration enacted and later reversed a “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families; Trump has sought changes to asylum laws to keep refugees in Mexico while they wait to be processed; and the White House last week rolled out a rule that would make it more difficult for some immigrants to obtain green cards.

The Trump administration announced earlier Wednesday it would unveil a new rule that would allow migrant families to be held indefinitely, ending a procedure known as the Flores Settlement Agreement that requires children to be held no longer than 20 days.

[The Hill]

Trump claimed Article 2 of the Constitution gives him the right to do ‘whatever I want as president,’ but that’s not true

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to suggestArticle 2 of the Constitution provides him with unlimited authority as president, which is not accurate. 

Speaking to a crowd of young conservatives at a Turning Point USA conference in the nation’s capital, Trump on Tuesday said, “Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

Trump was bashing the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference when he made the erroneous assertion. He’s made similar comments in the past. In aJune interview with ABC News, Trump said, “Article 2 allows me to do whatever I want. Article 2 would have allowed me to fire [Mueller].”

Throughout the Mueller probe, the prospect of Trump firing the special counsel constantly hung over the investigation and created anxiety in Washington. Trump’s critics, including congressional Democrats, warned he’d be obstructing justice if he went that route. But the president’s allies, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, have made the case Trump had the authority to do so.

Article 2 of the Constitution includes the ill-defined “executive Power” of the president, which some in the legal world – including Attorney General William Barr – interpret quite loosely. In short, they believe it gives the chief executive broad authority. 

“Constitutionally, it is wrong to conceive of the President as simply the highest officer within the Executive branch hierarchy,” Barr wrote in a controversial memo criticizing the scope of the Mueller probe to the Justice Department before becoming attorney general. “He alone is the Executive branch. As such he is the sole repository of all Executive powers conferred by the Constitution.”

But Article 2 also discusses how a president can be removed from office “via impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

In other words, it has an explicit reference to at least one check on the president’s authority, which is perhaps the most extreme and rarely employed example.

At the moment, there’s a heated debate occurring among House Democrats on whether to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president. Mueller’s report outlined 11 possible instances of obstruction committed by Trump, a topic the House Judiciary Committee continues to investigate.

Mueller is set to testify before the committee on Wednesday. Ahead of his testimony, Trump at Tuesday’s event once again decried the Russia probe as a “witch hunt.”

[Business Insider]

Trump Says Only Trump Supporters Deserve Free Speech

President Trump held a confab at the White House Thursday to promote his Orwellian notion of “free speech” online. It confirmed yet again the president’s implacable hostility to basic liberal freedoms.

Trump has repeatedly accused Facebook, Google, and Twitter of carrying out a secret agenda against him and his supporters, by hiding the president’s tweets and covertly banning his supporters. Trump presented his position as a defense of free speech against some secretive form of censorship, and warned, “I’m directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans.”

The simplest and clearest notion of free speech, as most scholars and courts have understood the concept, is that it doesn’t matter if Trump’s charges are true. The government has no business interfering with the expression of ideas by individuals or companies. Some media platforms use partisan or ideological standards to screen their speech (Fox News), while others have relatively neutral standards (Facebook), and others have no content standards at all (public spaces where people hold political demonstrations). By this logic, social media companies can screen out anybody they want, and if some political faction doesn’t like it, they can leave and form their own social media channels.

On the other hand, one might argue that Twitter, Facebook, and Google have attained some monopolistic power that negates this argument. If there’s no realistic way to challenge their reach or to create viable competitors, then the “marketplace of ideas” might not apply. This would be a valid argument for rooting out whether social media companies are engaged in some form of covert bias.

To be clear, Trump has produced no evidence whatsoever for this charge. I am merely describing a hypothetical argument that might support his position if his rather wild accusations were borne out.

But it turns out Trump cannot even defend this position, either. At the very same forum, he dismissed the free speech rights of independent media. “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” he insisted. “To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”

This is one of those statements that would be shocking if made by any normal president, but is almost banal with Trump. He barely disguises his admiration for dictators and their freedom to murder journalists who displease them. While his own powers of suppression are far weaker, Trump is happy to use government authority to punish independent media (like CNN and the Washington Post, whose owners he has punished with unfavorable regulatory actions) and even individuals. (Trump has boasted that he personally enforced the NFL blacklist of Colin Kaepernick for the offense of kneeling during the national anthem.)

Trump’s invocation of “free speech” is consistent: His entire goal is to promote supportive views and suppress hostile ones. And the willingness of virtually the entire conservative movement to support or tolerate his cynical conscription of free speech to intimidate the media reveals how little they, too, care about freedom.

[New York Magazine]

Trump says he’s considering executive order to force census question

Donald Trump told reporters he is “thinking of” issuing an executive order to force including a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, according to the White House pool.

Four days ago, the department that oversees the Census, the Commerce department, said it was printing Census forms without the question.

Chaos ensued.

The president said reports that this was happening were fake – even though the Commerce secretary said it was happening – and then a Justice department lawyer had to defend the president’s comment without anyone in the department apparently being briefed on it.

The judge presiding over the case of whether its legal to include a citizenship question in the Census is not happy about how things are playing out.

On Wednesday, just before the Fourth of July holiday, federal district court judge George Hazel convened a call with the attorneys and said:

If you were Facebook and an attorney for Facebook told me one thing, and then I read a press release from Mark Zuckerberg telling me something else, I would be demanding that Mark Zuckerberg appear in court with you the next time, because I would be saying I don’t think you speak for your client anymore.

[The Guardian]

Reality

This would be a constitutional crisis in two ways, first going around the courts, and second the power of the census is given to Congress in Article I while the presidential powers are spelled out in Article II. Trump has no constitutional authority over the census.

Trump Baselessly Claims to Tucker Carlson That Twitter is Stopping Him From Getting Followers: It’s ‘Possibly Illegal’

President Donald Trump baselessly claimed Twitter is stopping him from getting followers in his interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, calling the alleged conspiracy “possibly illegal.”

Carlson teed up Trump by claiming the Google is conspiring against him.

“Google, by some measures, the most powerful company in the world — all information flows through it — they’re against you,” Carlson said. “They don’t want you reelected. Can you get reelected if Google is against you?”

“I won. They were totally against me,” Trump said. “I won.”

He then leveled the allegation against Twitter.

“If you look at Twitter, I have millions and millions of people on Twitter and it’s — you know, it’s a very good arm for me. It’s great social media. But they don’t treat me right,” he said. “And I know for a fact, I mean, a lot of people try and follow me and it’s very hard. I have so many people coming up that they say, ‘Sir, it’s so hard. They make it hard to follow.’ What they’re doing is wrong and possibly illegal. And a lot of things are being looked at right now.”

Carlson did not question Trump’s claim. Jack Dorsey, the Twitter CEO, had to explain to Trump at a meeting earlier this year how followers on the social media platform work.

Trump continued by agreeing with Carlson that “Google is very powerful, but I won.” He added that his polling is at “54 or 55, and they do say you can add 10 to whatever poll I have, okay?” It’s unclear who told Trump he can add 10 points to his polling numbers.

“So when they say it’s the most powerful, it may be, but they were against me,” he continued. “Facebook was against me. They were all against me. Twitter was against me. Twitter — I’ve been very good for Twitter. I don’t think Twitter would be the same without what I do on Twitter.”

Following Trump’s suggestion that Twitter is breaking the law by thwarting his following, Carlson asked if the Justice Department should investigate.

“Well, they could be and I don’t want to even say whether or not they’re doing something, but I will tell you, there are a lot of people that want us to and there are a lot of people — all you have to do is pick up a newspaper and read it or see it or watch Fox or watch some other network,” Trump explained. “There are a lot of people that want us to take action against Facebook and against Twitter and frankly, against Amazon.”

“A lot of people want us to take action,” Trump said.

“Are you going to?” Carlson asked.

“I can’t say that, Tucker,” Trump replied. “That I can’t say.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump asks lawyers if they can delay 2020 Census in response to SCOTUS ruling

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he has asked lawyers to delay the 2020 Census in response to a Supreme Court decision that will temporarily block the administration from adding a citizenship question.

Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter. Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen. Only in America!

Why it matters: It’s unclear what power Trump has to delay the Census, but it’s significant that the White House is considering additional legal action in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Per the Constitution, the Census is required to occur every 10 years.

‘I don’t have to do it, legally’: Trump says he can invade Iran without Congress’ permission

On Monday, CNN reported that in a new interview, President Donald Trump said that he can invade Iran without congressional approval — and that although he would “like the idea” of keeping Congress in the loop, he doesn’t “legally” have to do so.

“I like the idea of keeping Congress abreast, but I wouldn’t have to do that,” said Trump. In response to the fact that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said he must obtain congressional approval first, Trump said, “I disagree. I think most people seem to disagree.”

“I do like keeping them — they are intelligent people,” added Trump. “They will come up with some thoughts. I actually learned a couple of things the other day when we had our meeting with Congress which I think were helpful to me. I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it, legally.”

[Raw Story]

Reality

https://www.lawfareblog.com/when-does-president-think-he-can-go-war-iran

Trump accuses NYT reporter of breaking the law by alerting FBI to Kushner meetings with Russians

President Donald Trump accused a New York Times reporter of breaking the law by tipping off the FBI to developments in the Russia investigation.

Times reporter Michael Schmidt alerted the FBI’s assistant director for public affairs in March 2017 that he and some colleagues had found out Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn had met in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who then set up a meeting between Trump’s son-in-law and a Russian banker.

Schmidt’s email was then forwarded to FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who was leading the bureau’s Russia investigation, and Jonathan Moffa, an FBI counterintelligence officer, reported the Washington Examiner.

Trump reacted with a pair of tweets suggesting that Schmidt had fed false information to the FBI.

“Just revealed that the Failing and Desperate New York Times was feeding false stories about me, & those associated with me, to the FBI,” Trump tweeted. “This shows the kind of unprecedented hatred I have been putting up with for years with this Crooked newspaper. Is what they have done legal?”

[Raw Story]

Trump calls newspaper report on Russia power grid ‘treason’

President Donald Trump has lashed out at The New York Times, saying it engaged in a “virtual act of treason” for a story that said the U.S. was ramping up its cyber-intrusions into Russia’s power grid.

The Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. has bored into Russian utility systems in an escalating campaign meant to deter future cyber activity by Russia. It comes as the U.S. looks for new ways to punish Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and prevent a recurrence.

The Times, in its official public relations account, called Trump’s accusation “dangerous” and said it had told officials about the story before it was published and no security issues were raised.

The newspaper, basing its reports on three months of interviews with current and former government officials, said this campaign was conducted under new cyber authorities granted by Trump and Congress. But it also reported that two administration officials believed the president had not been briefed in detail, fearing he might countermand the action against Russia or reveal sensitive information to foreign officials.

In a pair of tweets sent Saturday night, Trump asserted the story wasn’t true and denounced reporters as “cowards.”

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” he wrote.

The story reported the deployment of American computer code into Russia’s grid and other targets to act as a deterrent. The newspaper also said the U.S. Cyber Command, part of the Department of Defense, has explored the possibility that Russia might try to initiate selective blackouts in key states to disrupt the 2020 election.

In a second tweet, Trump added about the story: “ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The New York Times’ response also noted that the paper described the article to government officials before publication. “As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”

The paper said there was no evidence the US had actually activated the cyber tools.

[Associated Press]

Trump Cites AOC to Say He Shouldn’t be Impeached, AOC Responds: ‘I’ll Call Your Bluff’

President Donald Trump attempted to cite Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) to put down talk of impeachment, but the progressive lawmaker quickly responded “I’ll call your bluff any day of the week.”

Trump tweeted out a partial quote from AOC’s interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl Sunday morning, using it to argue against impeachment.

Her full quote was “I think that we have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we do not have a presidential candidate that is fighting for true transformational change in the lives of working people in the United States.”

Ocasio-Cortez herself later responded directly to the president via his favored medium.

“Opening an impeachment inquiry is exactly what we must do when the President obstructs justice, advises witnesses to ignore legal subpoenas, & more,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

[Mediaite]

1 2 3 14