U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: January 22, 2017

Mario Tama/Getty Images


1. At least 1.6 million joined Women’s Marches against Trump
Official estimates of the crowds at Women’s Marches criticizing the Trump administration nationwide on Saturday put the events’ attendance at about 1.6 million collectively, CNN reports, with around 600,000 people in Washington, D.C., alone. March organizers’ estimates are higher, reporting about 5 million protesters across the United States, including 750,000 in Los Angeles, where the police assessment is just 100,000 marchers. Unknown thousands also marched in more than 20 countries abroad. By any tally, the march in Washington far exceeded initial projections of 200,000 attendees, and the D.C. Metro system reported it saw more riders by 11 a.m. on Saturday than on the day of the inauguration. The Washington rally featured remarks from speakers including America Ferrera, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Scarlett Johansson, Melissa Harris-Perry, and more. Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, did not attend but tweeted her support.

Source: CNN, Reuters

2. Trump pledges support for U.S. intelligence agencies and bashes press at CIA speech
President Donald Trump visited CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday and gave a speech pledging full White House support for the CIA, especially in counterterrorism projects. “I am so behind you,” he said, “you’re gonna get so much backing. Maybe you’re gonna say, please, don’t give us so much backing, Mr. President, please, we don’t need that much backing.” Trump also bashed the media for reporting election-era acrimony between himself and intelligence agencies. “I have a running war with the media, they are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth,” he said. “They sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. The reason you are the number one stop is exactly the opposite.”

Source: CNN, Politico

3. White House accuses media of lying about inauguration crowd size
The new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted Saturdaythat Friday’s inauguration hosted “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” He accused the media of “intentionally” framing photos of the event to make the crowd look smaller, “to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall.” “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” Spicer said. President Trump made the same accusation during his speech at CIA headquarters Saturday, saying the press reported 250,000 people attended rather than the “million and a half” he personally observed. Washington officials estimate 1.8 million people attended President Obama’s 2009 inauguration; images show a smaller crowd for Trump’s ceremony, which was expected to host about 800,000 people. An official estimate has not been released.

Source: CNN, The Washington Post

4. Justice Department: Trump can hire Kushner
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion Saturday saying President Trump’s plan to hire his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for a senior advisory role in the White House does not run afoul of federal anti-nepotism law. “We conclude that [the federal anti-nepotism statute] does not bar this appointment because the president’s special hiring authority … exempts positions in the White House Office” from the ban, the opinion tells Trump. The 14-page document was prepared by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel L. Koffsky, who is “a longtime career lawyer at Justice,” as Politico reports, and not a Trump appointee. Kushner’s appointment could still face an ethics challenge in court, though it is unclear how a plaintiff could demonstrate standing to sue.

Source: Politico, Time

5. Trump to meet with May, Netanyahu
President Trump will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington on Friday, she confirmed Sunday, to discuss the future relationship between Washington and London, specifically where free trade and NATO cooperation are concerned. May told the BBC she will not shy away from frank or even difficult conversation, referencing the Women’s Marches against Trump organized around the globe the day before. “When I sit down [with Trump], I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female prime minister,” she said. “Whenever there is something that I find unacceptable, I won’t be afraid to say that to Donald Trump.” Trump is also to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Sunday he will speak with the new president by phone Sundaynight.

Source: The Independent, Reuters

6. Merkel plans compromise, Le Pen calls for European nationalism
After initially opting for an art museum visit instead of tuning in to President Trump’s inaugural address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Saturday to seek opportunities for cooperation with the new American administration. The “trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years,” she said. “And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect.” Also on Saturday, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, predicted a coming shift in Europe in favor of her nationalist populism. “2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up,” she said, referencing Brexit and Trump’s win. “I am sure 2017 will be the year the people of continental Europe wake up.”

Source: BBC News, Reuters

7. Former CIA chief is ‘deeply saddened and angered’ over Trump’s Langley address
Former CIA Director John Brennan is “deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes,” said his former deputy chief of staff, Nick Shapiro. His displeasure with President Trump’s speech at Langley is reportedly shared by other current and former CIA officers who believe the president’s remarks were inappropriately political given their somber backdrop. It was “not quite a ‘this hallowed ground moment,'” one former official told NBC, while an active CIA source indicated to CNN than agents were uncomfortable with the president’s speculation about whether they voted for him.

Source: NBC News, CNN

8. 15 dead from severe weather in southern states
At least four people were killed and more injured after a tornado ripped through southern Mississippi Saturday morning, officials from the city of Hattiesburg reported on Twitter. Two of the deaths occurred in a trailer park, where impermanent structures offered less protection from the extreme weather. Another 11 people were killed in Georgia early Sunday in other severe weather events, possibly including additional tornadoes. More tornadoes may occur in the Southeast later Sunday as ongoing storms are anticipated.

Source: USA Today, Fox News

9. Rescue efforts continue at Italian hotel avalanche
Search and rescue efforts continue after an avalanche of snow buried a mountainside hotel in Italy earlier this week. Five people have been found dead so far and 23 remain missing. Nine people, including four children, have been successfully extracted from the wreckage. Rescue workers are hopeful that additional survivors may be trapped but safe in pockets of air below as much as 25 feet of snow. However, the precarious search is becoming increasingly dangerous as snowfall continues and another avalanche could be imminent.

Source: The Associated Press, Chicago Tribune

10. Defeated Gambian president admits election loss on threat of invasion
After threat of invasion from neighboring Senegal to enforce election results, former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia agreed Saturday to peacefully relinquish his post. Jammeh lost his race in December and initially conceded. Then, a week later, he announced he would not leave office but rather would continue his two-decade rule of the tiny West African nation. Jammeh first took power in 1994 after a military coup and once claimed he would rule Gambia for “a billion years.”

Source: CNN, The Week



U.S. Politics

‘America First’: A Phrase With An Anti-Semitic And Isolationist History

‘America First’: A Phrase With An Anti-Semitic And Isolationist History

 First Lady Melania Trump, United States President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence stand on the east front steps of the Capitol Building after Trump is sworn in at the 58th Presidential Inauguration on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC., U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/John Angelillo/Pool


WASHINGTON — At the center of his foreign policy vision, Donald Trump has put “America First,” a phrase with an anti-Semitic and isolationist history going back to the years before the U.S. entry into World War II.

Trump started using the slogan in the later months of his campaign, and despite requests from the Anti-Defamation League that he drop it, he stuck with it.

Friday, he embraced the loaded words as a unifying theme for his inaugural address.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said on the Capitol steps. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First. America First.”

Those words galvanized a populist movement against U.S. entry into the war in Europe, even as the German army rolled through France and Belgium in the spring of 1940.

A broad-based coalition of politicians and business leaders on the right and left came together as the America First Committee to oppose President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s support for France and Great Britain. The movement grew to more than 800,000 members.

While the America First Committee attracted wide support, the movement was marred by anti-Semitic and pro-fascist rhetoric. Its highest profile spokesman, Charles Lindbergh, blamed American Jews for pushing the country into war.

“The British and the Jewish races,” he said at a rally in September 1941, “for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.”

The “greatest danger” Jews posed to the U.S. “lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government,” Lindbergh said.

It is unclear whether Trump is bothered by the ugly history of the phrase. What is clear is that he is determined to make the words his own. He has used them to sell his promises to impose trade barriers, keep manufacturing jobs inside the U.S. and restrict illegal and legal immigration.

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump said in Friday’s inaugural speech.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs,” he said.

“It is such a toxic phrase with such a putrid history,” Susan Dunn, professor of humanities at Williams College and an expert in American political history, said in an interview.

Lindbergh and other prominent members of the America First organization believed democracy was in decline and that fascism represented a new future, Dunn said.

Those words “carry an enormous weight,” said Lynne Olson, author of “Those Angry Days,” a book about the clash between Lindbergh and Roosevelt over entering the war.

“That time was strikingly familiar to now,” Olson said. “There was an enormous amount of economic and social turmoil in the country; anti-Semitism rose dramatically as well as general nativism and populism.”

Shortly after Trump took the oath of office, White House aides posted a 500-word description of Trump’s approach to the world titled “America First Foreign Policy.”

“The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies,” the statement said. It added that defeating radical Islamic terrorist groups will be the “highest priority,” and that Trump’s administration would add ships to the Navy and build the Air Force back up to Cold War levels.

Trump also plans to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Trump appears to have first tried out the phrase “America First” during an interview with the New York Times in March, when he was asked if he was taking an isolationist, “America First” approach to foreign policy.

“Not isolationist, I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First.’ So I like the expression. I’m ‘America First,'” Trump said at the time. “We have been disrespected, mocked and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher.”

Brian Bennett
Tribune Washington Bureau

2015 GOP Senate Majority · U.S. Politics

Organizers at the Los Angeles Women’s March expected 80,000. 750,000 reportedly showed up.

Organizers at the Los Angeles Women's March expected 80,000. 750,000 reportedly showed up.

Image Credit: Getty Images


All across the U.S. — and around the globe — participants came out for women’s marches on Saturday. In Los Angeles alone, the turnout exceeded organizers’ expectations almost 10 times over.

Organizers expected 80,000 people to show up to march in Downtown LA, one NBC LA reporter said in a tweet. But the total was closer to 750,000, according to updates from the organizers.


Local outlet KABC reported that the LA march was one of the largest of the many women’s marches held across the U.S. The official “unity principles” of the marches may not mention President Donald Trump by name, but they read as a coded message of opposition to the new administration, explicitly outlining support for LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, reproductive health care access and criminal justice reform.

“I have to do something,” Alice Dryden, a participant at the march, told KABC. “I can’t just sit back and just let all of this happen around me, with all of the changes I’m seeing, all the lack of tolerance. So, if all I can do is stand up and physically be here and say ‘I don’t support this, and I’m going to keep supporting tolerance and rights for every American’ then, I’m going to be here.”

Organizers at the Los Angeles Women's March expected 80,000. 750,000 reportedly showed up.

Crowds gathered for the Los Angeles Women’s March.Source: ANGELA WEISS/Getty Images

Celebrities came out for the LA chapter of the march, too — Barbra Streisand, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Laverne Cox and Demi Lovato were all reportedly at the march.

The totals at the LA Women’s March may have even exceeded the numbers at the main event in Washington, D.C., where an estimated half a million people marched in the streets of the nation’s capital.

Anna Swartz

U.S. Politics

Trump’s real war isn’t with the media. It’s with facts.



Photo by Olivier Doulier – Pool/Getty Images


Trump needs to delegitimize the media because he needs to delegitimize facts.

Speaking at the CIA this afternoon, President Donald Trump said, “I have a running war with the media.”

Like much that Trump says, this isn’t quite true. His war isn’t with the media. Trump lives off media attention and delights in press coverage. His war is with facts. And it’s there that his tactical skirmishes with the press begin to make sense. Delegitimizing the media is important to Trump because delegitimizing certain facts is important to Trump.

The topic today — and trust me, it feels as strange to write this as it does to read this — is crowd size. Trump’s inaugural was sparsely attended compared with President Obama’s inaugural. We don’t have exact estimates yet, but aerial shots are clear on this point, as is secondary data, like Metro ridership and television ratings.

 Javier Zarracina/Vox

There is no great mystery to this. Trump lost the popular vote in the presidential election — and by a wide margin. Since the election, poll after poll has shown him to be unpopular. A lackluster response to his inauguration is precisely what you would predict in this situation.

But Trump has insisted that turnout was, well, yuge. Speaking at the CIA, he said he “looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.”

To be fair, the crowd might have looked much larger to Trump. Where you stand matters quite a bit in making these estimates:


But it soon came clear that this wasn’t an off-the-cuff comment from the new president. Trump then had press secretary Sean Spicer call an impromptu briefing in which Spicer lashed the press for estimating crowd size. “Nobody had numbers, because the National Park Service does not put any out,” he insisted. Seconds later, he said: “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, both in person and around the globe.”

This, along with much else Spicer said, was plainly untrue. But there’s a strategy at work here. The Trump administration is creating a baseline expectation among its loyalists that they can’t trust anything said by the media. The spat over crowd size is a low-stakes, semi-comic dispute, but the groundwork is being laid for much more consequential debates over what is, and isn’t, true.

Delegitimizing the institutions that might report inconvenient or damaging facts about the president is strategic for an administration that has made a slew of impossible promises and takes office amid a cloud of ethics concerns and potential scandals.

It also gives the new administration a convenient scapegoat for their continued struggles with public opinion, and their potential future struggles with reality. This kind of “dishonesty from the media,” Spicer said, is making it hard “to bring our country together.” It’s not difficult to imagine the Trump administration disputing bad jobs numbers in the future, or claiming their Obamacare replacement covers everyone when it actually throws millions off insurance.

Spicer ended the statement on a warning. “There has been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility of holding Donald Trump accountable. I am here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going hold the press accountable as well.”

U.S. Politics

Women’s marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office

Women's marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office

© Greg Nash


Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the nation’s capital and cities across the country Saturday in protest of Donald Trumpon the first full day of his presidency.

Dubbed the Women’s March on Washington, the event spurred by a Facebook page led to “sister marches” in major cities around the world, including Paris, London and Sydney.

More than 2.5 million people participated in marches across the U.S. on Saturday, according to a review of official and unofficial estimates from the nation’s largest cities.
Large turnouts were reported in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as organizers for the main rally and march in Washington, D.C., grappled with huge numbers of demonstrators.

A number of Democratic lawmakers also appeared at the rallies to speak in solidarity with the protesters in their home states.

“It was amazing, the energy, the numbers, the variety of people,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), the first lawmaker to say he’d boycott Trump’s inauguration, told The Hill.

“The people I met were marching for women’s rights or health care, or Planned Parenthood or civil rights or immigrants and refugees, but there was no division or discord. They were all united in supporting human rights and it was just wonderful.”

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), whose boycott of Friday’s inauguration ceremony spurred backlash from Trump and saw dozens of other House Democrats skip the event, spoke to demonstrators in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.

“I know something about marching,” the civil rights icon said to cheers from the crowd. “I marched from Selma to Montgomery. I’m ready to march again.”

Washington’s march drew such a large crowd – reportedly upwards of 500,000 – that the proposed route to travel past the White House was altered.

But demonstrators still marched past a barricaded White House on Trump’s first full day in office, as protesters carried LGBT flags and signs with messages supporting abortion rights, the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform, among others issues.

Trump, who was sworn into office on Friday, started the day by attending prayer services before trekking to the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., where he defended his support for the intelligence community.

During the CIA appearance, Trump boasted about the size of the crowds for his inauguration, dismissing media coverage that compared it to former President Barack Obama‘s 2009 inauguration.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer also made his first appearance behind the lectern in the White House briefing room on Saturday afternoon, where he scolded media for its “shameful and wrong” focus on the inaugural crowd size.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” Spicer claimed.

Media outlets quickly pointed to photos and video showing fewer people assembled on the National Mall on Friday than were there for Obama’s inauguration.

The combative showing came on the first full day of Trump’s presidency. On Friday, Trump’s first two Cabinet nominees were confirmed and sworn in and he signed an executive order targeting ObamaCare.

The D.C. Metro, which extended service to accommodate the influx of locals and out-of-town demonstrators taking part in the march, was packed with riders, many clad in pink, knitted hats.

The Saturday protests far outpaced the demonstrations in D.C. on Friday, when Trump was officially sworn in as commander in chief.

More than 200 people were arrested on the day of the inauguration and charged with rioting after trashcans were set on fire and storefront windows were smashed. Police vehicles were also damaged.

On Saturday, lawmakers and celebrities alike joined protesters in the District, with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) all making appearances.

Comedian Amy Schumer introduced Madonna, who made a surprise stop at the march to continue her criticisms of Trump.

“And to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, f–k you. F–k you,” the singer said in remarks carried live on MSNBC and CNN.

Multiple chants were repeated throughout the day, from “this is what democracy looks like” to “can’t build the wall, hands too small.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore also spoke at the rally, engaging the crowd by providing them a number to call Congress and having attendees repeat it back.

“It’ll take two minutes. Each day, I and others are going to be posting things for you to call Congress to do,” Moore said.

Many people were spotted gathering in front of the Trump International Hotel, booing and leaving their protest signs in front.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke to a crowd of marchers in the Boston Common, urging them to “fight back.”

“The fact is that the playing field has been tilted badly in favor of those at the top for a generation now,” Warren said. “And now, President Trump and the Republican Congress are ready to ram through laws that will tilt it even harder.”

– Rafael Bernal, Ali Breland, Sylvan Lane and Reid Wilson contributed

Updated: 8:06 p.m.

U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Elections Have Consequences


attribution: Apocalypse Now!

Daily Kos

On Friday, under dark clouds of suspicion, @realDonaldTrump took office as the leastpopular @POTUS in American history (but the most popular in Russian history).

Speaking before the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period (#FakeNews), Trump delivered a “Hitlerianaddress that he totally wrote all by himself—presumably while watching The Dark Knight Rises at Mar-a-Lago.

Following the pomp and circumstance, Trump immediately went about implementing the allegedlypopulistagenda that he outlined in his speech; and, to that end, his first order of business was to raise the cost of homeownership.

He then signed some “very meaningful documents” intended to deprive millions of Americans of healthcare coverage and halt all new government regulations.

And then it was time to celebrate—which Trump did by eating plagiarized cake, and awkwardly dancing with his wife.


Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Roundtable: Chris Matthews (MSNBC), Eliana Johnson (Politico), Radio Host Hugh Hewitt & Kristen Welker (NBC News).

Face The Nation: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Frank Luntz, Lanhee Chen (Hoover Institution), Susan Page (USA Today) & Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic).

This Week: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Alex Castellanos, Democratic Strategist Stephanie Cutter, “Independent” Strategist Matthew Dowd, Jonathan Karl (ABC News) & Cokie Roberts (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Senate Mjority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Roundtable: Bret Baier (Fox News), Democratic Strategist Mo Elleithee, Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal) & Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA); Roundtable: Democratic Strategist David Axelrod, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner (D) & Rep. Mia Love (R-UT).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: TBD.

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday-Friday: Reruns.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone);  Tuesday: Rapper Big SeanWednesday: Historian Heather Ann Thompson, Actress Bellamy YoungThursday: Actor Laurence Fishburne.



Maine Gov. Paul LePage tried to school civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights hero who once marched with Martin Luther King Jr., is no ally to President-elect Donald Trump. When he made that clear last week by calling Trump an “illegitimate” president-elect, Trump went on a rant on—you guessed it—Twitter in which he said Lewis is “talk, talk, talk,” “no action or results,” and “Sad!”

Now Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican and Trump ally who once suggested that people of color are “the enemy,” has also chimed in, telling Lewis that he should thank a cast of Republican white men for civil rights in America.

“How about John Lewis last week, criticizing the president,” he said on a Maine radio station. “You know, I will just say this: John Lewis ought to look at history. It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple thank you would suffice.”


Sheriff David Clarke went back in time to find just the right racial epithet.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a surrogate for Donald Trump, used the racist term “jigaboo” to refer to CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill on Tuesday.

During a panel discussion on CNN, Hill had blasted Trump for meeting with celebrities like Steve Harvey instead of black policy makers.

“It was a bunch of mediocre Negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo op for Donald Trump’s exploitative campaign against black people,” Hill said of Trump’s meeting with Harvey.

Several hours later, Clarke fired back on Twitter: “I am tired of this jigaboo telling black people who they should be, what they should do. He’s a lackey for Democrats.”

But, wait… there’s more!

Clarke also (allegedly) threatened a passenger on his plane for asking him a question.

Dan Black told local news station WISN that Clarke detained him in an airport when the plane landed due to Black expressing disapproval at Clarke wearing Dallas Cowboys gear. This was on the same day when the Green Bay Packers were playing to Cowboys in a playoff game, which the Packers won 34-31.

According to Black, while they were boarding the flight, he asked Clarke if he was the Milwaukee County Sheriff as he wasn’t wearing his trademarked cowboy hat. (Clarke has become a well-known national figure recently due to his outspoken opposition to Black Lives Matter and support of President-elect Donald Trump.) He then shook his head when Clarke acknowledged who he was. Black stated that Clarke asked him at that point if he had a problem, to which Black said no.

Once they landed, Clarke had several deputies take in Black for questioning and then escort him out of the airport. In response to the complaint, Clarke took to his office’s official Facebook page to deliver a response, indicating that the next time Black or someone else does something like this could lead to a physical confrontation.


– Trix