Trump This Morning Angrily Calls To Reinstate Original Travel Ban

Attacks Courts, Lawyers, Justice Department, And By Inference, Himself

The President’s words would seem to confirm the “travel ban” is based on religion, not geography, after all, because he launched into his Tweetstorm before knowing the nationality of the attackers.

The Justice Department late last week asked the Supreme Court, ASAP, to overturn lower court rulings and let his second travel ban go immediately into effect, even before the court hears arguments in the case. In order to do that, justices would have to be convinced either not doing so could cause irreparable harm, or that their eventual ruling would would most likely allow the ban anyway.

This new form for visa applicants we told you about last week, is at least part of what Trump’s talking about. Immigration lawyers argue that it asks for so much detailed information, going so far into the past, that it almost guarantees applicants will make a small mistake or omission, thus giving the U.S. “legit” reasons to reject in almost every case. Among the details required: 15 years of biographical information, and 5 years of detailed information about use of social media, 5 years of email addresses and phone numbers.

The differences between the original, and revised travel ban (both of which have now been blocked by federal courts,) are mainly that the first version included Iraq, and thus impacted many who had worked alongside the U.S. during our prolonged war there. The original “ban” also made uncertain the status of green card holders and even U.S. citizens who happened to be out of the country at the time the ban went into effect. It also prioritized Christian refugees.

British Prime Minister Calls For Strict Internet Restrictions and New Powers

Theresa May is calling for steps to regulate the internet, both in Britain and internationally. That includes allowing police to access one year of browsing history, without any kind of warrant. She also suggested it’s time to establish laws which favor “pluralistic” British values, saying the country is too welcoming of extremism. British elections are scheduled for Thursday. [Washington Post]

Police say they now know the identity of the terrorists, (though at the time of publication of this newsletter have not yet revealed them.) They’ve also made numerous arrests. Without directly identifying him, numerous news organizations say local residents warned police about one of the terrorists prior to the attack, saying they felt he’d been dangerously radicalized.

7 people were killed and 48 injured in the attack which occurred on London Bridge and the nearby Borough Market. The BBC has a good and continually updating timeline of events.

The BBC also has a beautiful piece (must-read in our opinion), about some of the extraordinary actions taken by “everyday” people during the attack.

(Also, the London Bridge referred to in all these stories is not the iconic tourist attraction many Americans know as “London Bridge.” That’s actually called the “Tower Bridge” and while in the same general area, is one bridge away.)

Trump Lies About London Mayor

What London’s Mayor actually said is there is no reason for Londoners to be alarmed over an increased visible police presence. But in case you think we’re quoting out of context, here are his exact words: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.”

So Trump’s Tweet isn’t, as Salon characterized it, “largely out of context.” This isn’t a case where, as Reuters reports it: “Trump seized on comments by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.” It is baldfaced, unabashed deceit, deception, dishonesty, disinformation, not to mention slander. (Would the fact that the Mayor is Muslim come into play here? Of course not.)

Conservative Columnist Jennifer Rubin, has an excellent piece in the Washington Post.

Lame-duck US Ambassador to the UK Lewis Lukens jumped into the fray, and actually did manage to get the last word in. So we’ll give him the last word here too:

And There’s This…

As the Atlantic points out, British police were able to track down and kill the three terrorists in 8 minutes. Had the attackers had guns, it could’ve easily turned into a siege.

A Significant And Surprising Falling Out In The Mideast

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen today cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the tiny, but stable Mideast nation of “practices that strengthen terrorism”. A lot of it apparently has to do with Qatar’s leadership appearing to warm to Iran, and alleged financial links between Qatar and ISIS (which Qatar denies.)

The U.S. is inescapably tied into this dispute, since it is allies with both Saudi Arabia (where President Trump recently enjoyed a friendly visit,) and Qatar (which is home to the biggest U.S. military base in the Mideast.)

Bloomberg has a good summary of tensions that have been simmering. The BBC discusses immediate impact, which includes expelling all diplomats in the next 48 hours, cancelling flights and completely shutting down common borders.

(Not to diminish what could be a lasting rift, but some of the coverage in Europe quickly turned to soccer. Qatar’s due to host the 2022 World Cup.)

Thursday Is Comey Day…

Expect lots more hokum from the White House this week, as part of the build up to fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee. That’s scheduled for Thursday @ 10 AM EDT. Lots of talk over the weekend that the President might try to invoke something called “executive privilege” to muzzle Comey. But legal experts say it would be hard for Trump to argue conversations with Comey need to be kept secret, since Trump himself has talked about them in public so much already.

Of course, direct attempts to discredit Comey and/or claim Russia ties, even if true, don’t matter to a lot of the President’s base.

Another Diversion: “Infrastructure Week”

Trump kicks this off today with a Rose Garden event. (He seems to like the “optics” of that place and has been appearing there more and more.) First, he’s expected to announce plans to privatize air traffic control. He’s expected to be surrounded by the CEOs of major U.S. airlines, with one possible exception, Delta. It’s been the lone U.S. carrier critical of the move on the grounds that privatization is likely to drive up air traffic control costs: they’re up nearly 60% in Canada and 30% in the U.K. since those countries privatized their systems. The trick here for Trump, and Republicans who have wanted to do this for a while, is privatization gets air traffic control off their books. So even if it ends up costing consumers much more, it’ll won’t be an item in the federal budget anymore.

Then it’s on to locks and dams, as Trump travels on Wednesday to make a speech on the banks of the Ohio River. He’s expected to propose a mix of public and private investment in order to modernize waterways used for transportation by businesses. On his recent visit to the Mideast, Saudi Arabia pledged $40-billion to just these sorts of projects.

You Might’ve Missed This…(We Did)

The day before Trump dropped out of the Paris climate agreement, the EPA announced it was suspending some performance standards for the oil and gas industry for 90 days. During that time, producers will not have to comply with requirements under the Clean Air Act. After 90 days the EPA is expected to make recommendations about future rules. Particularly important are restrictions on what’s called “fugitive emissions” which are gas leaks from industrial activity. Fugitive emissions are a huge source of greenhouse gasses.

We are going to be keeping a very close eye on the EPA, and will be reporting a lot more on its activities in the coming days and weeks.

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