Trump’s use of Pentagon funds for US-Mexico border wall illegal, court rules | TheHill

A federal appeals court in California on Friday ruled that the Trump administration’s use of Pentagon funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is illegal.

Source: Trump’s use of Pentagon funds for US-Mexico border wall illegal, court rules | TheHill

Sunday Topics: Impeachment poll, Trump is triggering a geopolitical realignment, Dems’ internal troubles

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

Impeachment poll

A new CNN poll shows an increase in support for impeaching President Trump, but it also shows that Americans still resist impeachment even though they support the ongoing investigations of him by Democrats in the House of Representatives.

  • President Trump’s approval rating remains steady at 43% approve, 52% disapprove.
  • Support for impeachment increased over the last month to 41% predominantly among Democrats and college educated whites, while 54% oppose impeachment.
  • The percentage of people who say Democrats are overreaching in their investigations of Trump decreased correspondingly to 40% over the same period, and 53% say that Trump isn’t doing enough to cooperate with those investigations.
  • 47% agree that Democrats’ investigations of Trump are justified by the facts while 44% disagree.
  • 67% want Robert Mueller to publicly testify before Congress.
  • 66% believe that legislative cooperation between Congress and the White House is being negatively impacted…

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More than 50 ex-national security officials tell Trump his national emergency is not justified : NBC News

WASHINGTON — Fifty-eight former U.S. national security officials told the Trump administration in a letter on Monday that they are aware of “no emergency that remotely justifies” diverting funds to build a border wall.

The officials, who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who served in the Clinton administration, and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served in the Senate and the Obama administration.

Others include Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and director of the CIA; Gil Kerlikowske, former head of Customs and Border Protection; John Kerry, former secretary of state; and Nick Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.


Source: More than 50 ex-national security officials tell Trump his national emergency is not justified : NBC News

Fact-checking Trump’s speech declaring a national emergency to pay for border wall : NBC News

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in an effort to unlock money for his promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, delivering a freewheeling speech that included a number of false or misleading claims.

From the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump spoke and took questions from reporters for nearly an hour, touching on immigration, his emergency declaration, China and more as he pressed the need for a wall to counter what he asserted was an “invasion” threatening the southern border.

Here’s what the president said, and the facts.


Border fencing is essential “because we have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into the country,” Trump said Friday, later saying the country is facing an “invasion” of drugs.

“With a wall, it would be very easy” to stop drugs and crime from entering the U.S., he said.


Source: Fact-checking Trump’s speech declaring a national emergency to pay for border wall : NBC News

White House says Trump undecided on deal to avert another shutdown : Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has not yet decided whether to back an agreement hammered out by congressional negotiators to avert another partial government shutdown that includes funds for U.S.-Mexican border security but not for his promised wall, the White House said on Tuesday


Source: White House says Trump undecided on deal to avert another shutdown : Reuters

The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World | TheHill

Allies of President Trump are growing increasingly concerned about the political impact of the partial government shutdown, which has now entered its fifth week.

Trump evinces confidence that he will prevail in the battle to secure funding for the southern border wall he promised at almost every opportunity during his 2016 campaign.

But even some veterans of his own White House aren’t sure he fully grasps the odds he faces.

“The president jumped without looking first,” said one former White House official. “And can you imagine the humiliation the president would bring on himself if he caved and got little or nothing in return?”

Trump could yet reframe the whole debate when he makes a new statement on the crisis, scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday. So far, he has held fast to his insistence that he wants $5.7 billion in funding for a border well. Democrats have been adamant that they will not give it to him. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called the concept of a border wall an “immorality.”

The dispute took on a more personal — and petty — tone in recent days.

Pelosi made a power play by writing to Trump suggesting he postpone — or deliver in writing — his State of the Union address, currently scheduled for Jan. 29.

Trump hit back on Thursday, revoking permission at the last minute for Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers to use military planes for a scheduled trip to Belgium and Afghanistan. Trump suggested the Speaker and her party colleagues could use commercial planes to travel overseas if they wished.

The acrimony only increased on Friday, as Pelosi canceled the trip outright, with her aides accusing the White House of having fueled security concerns by leaking the details of the trip.


Source: The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World | TheHill

Mitch McConnell could end the shutdown. But he’s sitting this one out. – The Washington Post

President Trump is not the only person in Washington who could end this government shutdown now.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could bring a “clean” funding bill to the floor, free up his GOP caucus to support it and could quite possibly secure enough votes to override a presidential veto.

McConnell already did it once, when he believed he had Trump’s blessing. Before the holidays he allowed a vote to keep the government running until Feb. 8, to avoid a shutdown and buy more time to negotiate Trump’s demand for border wall funding. It passed easily.

But then Trump bowed to pressure from his base, House Republicans dared not challenge him, and the parts of the government that had not yet been funded were shut down.

Now it’s 21 days later and we’re teetering toward the longest government shutdown in American history, with no sense of how it will end. Many federal workers are missing their first paycheck Friday and are resorting to crowdfunding, side jobs and even selling their belongings to pay their bills. A advocate for veterans sounded a dire warning that financial insecurity is a leading cause of suicide. The FBI agents union said not paying agents amounts to a national security threat.

When Senate Democrats tried this week to bring up a House-passed bill to open parts of the government unrelated to border security, like the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Agriculture, McConnell batted it down, saying, “The last thing we need to do right now is to trade absolutely pointless show votes back and forth across the aisle.”

That from a politician who in December was saying confidently that Congress was going to avoid a shutdown.

Meanwhile, McConnell has left the shutdown public relations to other Republicans, skipping news conferences and keeping a low profile. He maintains the position that he won’t fracture the party and bring up a bill that Trump won’t sign, so he can argue this is a problem for Trump and House Democrats to figure out.

Public polling shows 51 percent of American adults blame Trump for the shutdown, 41 percent blame Democrats and 35 percent blame congressional Republicans, according to a HuffPost-YouGov poll released this week. But while Republicans may not be blamed for the shutdown, Americans are unimpressed with how they’ve handled it.

Congressional Republicans are also starting to grow weary of this drawn-out fight. Already some GOP senators up for election in 2020, such as Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Susan Collins (Maine), are deflecting, calling for an end to the shutdown regardless of the border wall money.


Source: Mitch McConnell could end the shutdown. But he’s sitting this one out. – The Washington Post

Resurfaced footage shows Trump giving a speech on how to ‘get to the other side of a wall’ | indy100

President Trump’s uncompromising dedication to his border wall is a topic that doesn’t look like it’s going to get sorted anytime soon.

Not only has the government been shut down over funding for the wall but he has also taken to giving speeches on the issue on live television, one of which were so bad, even Fox Newsfact checked it.

It’s obvious that Trump really likes walls and wants to build a construct that will be so effective that no one can get around it, over it or through it.

Yet, back in 2004 Trump was all for people being able to evade walls and even gave public speeches on how to get around them.

A clip recently shared by The Daily Show shows Trump at Wagner College on New York’s Staten Island passionately talking about a ‘concrete wall’ and how you must do everything in your power to get to the other side.


Source: Resurfaced footage shows Trump giving a speech on how to ‘get to the other side of a wall’ | indy100

Why Trump will likely lose the government shutdown : The Conversation

One of the biggest myths about government shutdowns is that presidents usually win.

This may explain why President Donald Trump threatened to continue the shutdown for months, even years. However, a poll conducted in the first week of January shows that 51 percent of adults believe Trump is to blame for the shutdown.

I’m a scholar of political science and often research presidential politics. I did an analysis of Gallup data, a group that does public opinion polling, from its Presidential Job Approval Center.


Source: Why Trump will likely lose the government shutdown  : The Conversation

Trump’s border wall ‘not a wall’, says outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly | The Independent

Build the wall! Build the wall!” was the auditorium-filling chant which soundtracked Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

But the US president’s core electoral promise of a concrete border wall, paid for by Mexico to keep out the “bad hombres”, will be neither paid for by Mexico nor a wall – even if funding for it is eventually approved by Congress.

And Mr Trump has known this since “early on in the administration”, according to outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly.

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Mr Kelly told the Los Angeles Times this weekend, in a wide-ranging interview published a day before his departure.

“The president still says ‘wall’. Oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward ‘steel slats’. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it,” Mr Kelly said.”


Source: Trump’s border wall ‘not a wall’, says outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly | The Independent