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Kelly Contemplating Laptop Ban on International Flights

May 29, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

POTUS visits DHS

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that he is considering a ban on passengers bringing laptops in their carry-on luggage on international flights arriving in the United States.

Kelly said he is considering such a prohibition due to the looming potential dangers of terrorist attacks on airplanes caused by electronic devices which could be detonated on such flights.

“It is a real sophisticated threat, and I’ll reserve that decision until we see where it’s going,” Kelly said, explaining that a laptop ban is still in the discussion phase.

Kelly added that no matter he and his agency decides, the Department of Homeland Security sees its role as making flying as safe and secure as possible all over the world. The agency works with all countries to reach this outcome.

“We’re still following the intelligence. The very, very good news is we are working with friends and partners around the world,” he said.

Kelly added: “We are going to raise the bar, generally speaking, for aviation security.”

Abbas to Meet Trump in May

April 20, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Mahmoud Abbas

President Donald Trump will meet with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas this coming May, according to a White House announcement.

Abbas will be in Washington, DC, on May 3, and will meet Trump to discuss the next steps needed to achieve a peace settlement with Israel. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the meeting at a news briefing on Wednesday.

“They will reconfirm the commitment of the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” Spicer said.

Trump met with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year. The US President has stated that he can “live with either” a one-state or two-state solution. Senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of Trump, was been designated to lead the US’s efforts to broker a peace deal between the parties.

Trump Asking for $4.1 billion Down Payment for Proposed Border Wall

March 16, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

Director of the Office of Management
and Budget

President Trump is steaming ahead with his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. His first step will be to request $1.5 billion in a supplemental spending bill. Next will be a request for $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2018. That is s total of $4.1 billion, just a small down payment for the estimated total price of the wall at $22 billion. Mike Mulvaney, the director or the White House Office Of Management and Budget said the president’s requests are quite a bit higher than what was originally proposed.

These budget line-items will be just a small piece in the puzzle to enhance security at the US-Mexico border in what Mulvaney says is a comprehensive “America First” budget.

“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he said to reporters over the phone. “We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers.”

Mulvaney said that the complete budget for defense and border security will be $30 billion. The budget requested by the president will also include upping the money available for Homeland Security by about 6 percent.

Parties Take Different Stands on Trump Wiretap Allegations

March 6, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California.

Republicans and Democrats had different reactions to the Presidential tweet-storm early last Saturday morning in which Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump’s campaign offices last October right before the presidential election.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California said that he would have the House Permanent Select Committee investigate that accusation as part of the larger look into the extent to which Russia interfered with the conduct and outcome of US elections.

“One of the focus points of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is the U.S. government’s response to actions taken by Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign,” Nunes said. “As such, the Committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.”

It is important to note here that although Nunes said that there will be an investigation into Russian interference, and that any wiretapping conducted would have been ordered by appropriate authorities, he did not say that the investigation is of former President Obama’s ordering of the wiretapping, which would have been illegal.

The Democratic response came next, made by Representative Adam Schiff, also from California, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff pointed out the undignified allegations made by Trump, beneath the dignity of the office of the president. Trump

Adam Schiff (D-CA), Member of the United States House of Representatives.

accused Obama without any proof, attribution, or explanation. He accused Obama of “McCarthyism” a reminder of the witch-hunts Congress led in the 1950s, and also referred to the Nixon-Watergate scandal that involved illegal wiretapping and the eventual resignation of President Nixon.

“Today, it became all the more clear that President Trump’s claim that he was illegally wire-tapped by President Obama was based on little more than Breitbart or other conspiracy-based news,” Schiff said. “For a President of the United States to make such an incendiary charge — and one that discredits our democracy in the eyes of the world — is as destructive as it was baseless.”