It’s a busy week, so here’s what has happened and what to expect:
President Trump was bound to use his first week in office to push his immigration priorities. Now we know that push is coming Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Before the end of the week, Trump is expected to sign multiple executive orders related to immigration, officials said Tuesday. The first day’s orders will enable construction of his proposed border wall and crack down on “sanctuary cities,” where leaders refuse to hand over undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.
As part of these actions, Trump may restrict access to the United States for some refugees, as well the issuance of U.S. visas to people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen while the government develops new visa policies.
These actions will come with typical fanfare. In addition to visiting the Department of Homeland Security, Trump plans to meet with a group of mothers whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants, according to several people familiar with the schedule.
With three straight days of action on immigration policy, Trump is signaling to supporters he is serious about fulfilling his campaign promises on immigration. Still, some of his plans remain unclear.
For example, will Trump end the program known as DACA, which prevents deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children? “It was not clear late Tuesday how DACA would be addressed as part of Trump’s immigration actions, if at all … because of differing views among Trump’s advisers and associates about the timing, scope and political benefits of ending the program or suspending it for new entries,” our colleagues wrote.
And will Trump enact a full ban on Muslim immigration, as he promised on the campaign trail? To start, Trump is expected this week to issue an executive order asking DHS and the director of national intelligence to examine how immigrants are screened for terrorism ties.
TRUMP TARGETS OBAMA’S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
If you support stricter environmental regulations, Tuesday was a disheartening day across the federal government.
First, Trump used his executive power to revive two oil pipeline projects — Keystone XL and Dakota Access — decried by environmental activists, Native American tribes and, since 2015, former president Barack Obama, who blocked them on the argument they would hasten climate change.
The decision was announced against the backdrop of unexpected media blackouts at a number of federal agencies that oversee environmental and scientific policy. The pattern raised concerns Trump’s White House is working to curb public communications from the government that might contradict the new president’s agenda.
During his campaign for the White House, Trump was not shy about expressing his distaste for “out-of-control” environmental regulation, which he views as a threat to manufacturing jobs. He continued to make this argument Tuesday morning during a meeting with executives from U.S. automakers, promising to roll back “unnecessary” rules that affect their industry.
“I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it, but it’s out of control,” he said, without providing detail.
TRUMP TWEETS ABOUT CHICAGO ‘CARNAGE’
Trump tweeted Tuesday night that he would “send in the Feds” if Chicago “doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on.” Last year, the nation’s third-largest city had its deadliest year in two decades. It’s unclear what sending in federal law enforcement would entail.
SUPREME COURT ANNOUNCEMENT SET FOR NEXT WEEK
Trump has narrowed his choices for the Supreme Court and says he will announce his pick next week.
As our colleague wrote, sources familiar with the process say a handful of potential justices have emerged as leading contenders: William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit in Denver, Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia and Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati.
WHITE HOUSE CITES DEBUNKED RESEARCH ON VOTER FRAUD
The White House did little Tuesday to walk back Trump’s baseless assertion that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton, a claim that, as our colleague wrote, “may have serious implications for [Trump’s] ability to govern.”
Trump, who believes without evidence that illegal voting prevented him from winning the popular vote, holds this view “based on studies that he’s seen,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday. Spicer then cited research that does not support Trump’s claim.
Reporters were shocked to hear these allegations rehashed from the White House podium. Spicer himself declined to say whether he agrees with Trump and did not answer a question about what massive voter fraud, if real, would mean for American democracy.
It is worth noting that Trump’s attorneys have stated there is no evidence voter fraud swayed the election. “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake,” they wrote in a court filing opposing a Michigan recount petition from Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
THE LATEST ON TRUMP’S CABINET CONFIRMATIONS
The process of confirming Trump’s Cabinet is keeping the Senate busy, and Tuesday was no exception. Here’s a look at what happened:
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) was confirmed as United Nations ambassador, becoming the fourth Trump nominee to cross the finish line.
- Three other nominees — Ben Carson for secretary of housing and urban development, Elaine Chao for transportation secretary and Wilbur Ross for Commerce secretary — advanced out of committee.
- Committee votes on three others — Rick Perry for energy secretary, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for Interior secretary and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general — were postponed. The Sessions vote will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
- Three other nominees — Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for secretary of health and human services, Linda McMahon for administrator of the Small Business Administration and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) for director of the Office of Management and Budget — received committee hearings. Price and McMahon each had one on Tuesday, while Mulvaney had two.