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Politics

Judge Declines to Limit Restraining Order on Trump Travel Ban

March 20, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics

Derrick K. Watson, District Judge

Last Sunday US District Court Judge Derrick Watson said no to a request by the Justice Department to narrow the parameters of the judge’s temporary restraining order on President Trump’s executive order travel ban.

The federal judge in Hawaii issued the temporary restraining order on crucial parts of the travel ban, including restricting travel to the US by citizens of six Muslim countries, as well as preventing refugees from entering the US from all over the world for 120 days. The executive order also caps the number of refugees entering the US at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017, and orders research into how refugees are vetted and how information is shared with foreign governments.

Judge Watson wrote in his restraining order:

“The Motion … asks the Court to make a distinction that the Federal Defendants’ previous briefs and arguments never did. As important, there is nothing unclear about the scope of the Court’s order. (“Defendants…are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order across the Nation.”) The Federal Defendants’ Motion is DENIED.”

The ruling allows the Trump administration to appeal the judge’s decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The State of Hawaii and the imam of the local Muslim association are the plaintiffs in the case, opposing the limiting of the judge’s restraining order.

The lawyers for the Imam Ismail Elshikh and Hawaii stated in a court filing on Saturday:

“The notion that the Court’s Order would preclude Executive Branch consultation or trench on executive prerogatives is meritless. The Court’s Order merely prevents executive branch action under the auspices of an illegal Executive Order. The Government could engage in appropriate consultations independent of this order; it simply cannot do so as part and parcel of effectuating the President’s promise to implement a Muslim ban.”

The justice department did not comment on the Watson’s ruling.

A spokesman for the Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin was happy with the ruling.

“We always believed the court’s order was clear and agree with its decision to deny the Department of Justice’s motion,” spokesman Joshua Wisch said.

Former CIA Chief and Defense Secretary Panetta Worried About White House Lack of National Security Preparedness

February 27, 2017 by Dan Kazan in Politics

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta responds to a reporter’s question during his first Pentagon press briefing on Aug. 4, 2011.

Leon Panetta, former defense secretary, said he is worried about the apparent chaos in the national security arm of the government, and the seeming lack of preparedness of the Trump administration to handle a crisis if one should arise.

Panetta voiced his concern on the Sunday news interview show “Meet the Press.”

“The thing that you worry about a great deal, particularly now with the loss of a national security adviser, you don’t have somebody in that place,” he said. “The National Security Council hasn’t even met formally.”

Panetta added that the system which is there to alert the President about the state of the country’s national security is “dysfunctional,” adding that the crucial White House system to deal with the nation’s security is broken.

“What happens if there’s a major crisis that faces this country? If Russia engages in a provocation, if Iran does something stupid, if North Korea does something stupid and we have to respond, where is the structure to be able to evaluate that threat, consider it and provide options to the president?”

“Right now, that’s dysfunctional, and that’s what worries me a great deal.”

Panetta also commented on Trump’s strange constant praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It’s a concern when the president continues to kind of apologize for the Russians and what they’re doing,” Panetta said. Panetta was also the director of the CIA while Barack Obama was president.

Panetta’s answer to the question about whether Russia should be considered a chief US adversary was a resounding “without question.”

“If he listens to the people that are closest to him now, and that are responsible for our foreign policy and our defense policy, he’ll understand that Russia is an adversary, it’s not a friend,” Panetta said. “Their main purpose is to destabilize the United States and Western democracies. And they’ve shown that in everything they’ve done.”

New Hampshire Irked Over False Voter Fraud Accusation

February 19, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media, Politics

Stephen Miller on June 18, 2016, at an event in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

 

Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy advisor, once again leveled the false claim that New Hampshire was involved in serious, widespread voter fraud during last November’s general election. Miller, who was once, for a short time, a part of the failed 2014 senate campaign for Scott Brown in New Hampshire, told ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos that voter fraud is rampant in New Hampshire as well as throughout the USA.

“Having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” Miller said. “It’s very real, it’s very serious.”

His false statement elicited an outcry from Democrats as well as fellow Republicans.

“For Mr. Miller to make up such an outrageous lie is unacceptable for anyone who works in the White House,” said Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “It’s an outrageous attack on the people of New Hampshire. We run among the finest operation in the first in the nation primary and in our general election.”

Despite the fact that the White House has never presented any evidence of large scale voter fraud, administration officials, including the President himself, have continued unabated to declare widespread voter fraud took place during the last elections. Outside experts and election officials have condemned the allegations, saying they have no basis in reality whatsoever.

Trump said during a private meeting with senators that “thousands” of people were bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, causing him to lose the vote of that state as well as stealing the win from Senator Kelly Ayotte. Clinton won New Hampshire by 3,000 votes, and Ayotte lost to Senator Maggie Hassan by a margin of only 743.