The Latest: New acting attorney general Boente sworn in

Jan 30th, 2017 | By | Category: Politics

Associated Press Updates 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local Monday night):

10:10 p.m.

Dana Boente has been sworn in as acting attorney general after Donald Trump fired Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his travel ban.

White House spokesman Michael Short says Boente was sworn in around 9 p.m. Monday.

The hastily arranged ceremony came after Trump swiftly fired Boente’s predecessor for instructing Justice Department lawyers to stop defending Trump’s travel and refugee ban.

Reporters and news photographers were not invited to witness the ceremony.

The White House says in a statement that Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enforce Trump’s order.

Boente has been serving as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

He’s expected to serve until Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for the position, is confirmed by the Senate.

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9:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she announced she would not defend his controversial immigration order.

He is naming Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve in her place.

The White House press office says in a statement Monday that Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

The statement calls Yates an Obama administration appointee “who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

Trump’s order from Friday temporarily suspends the U.S. refugee program and bars immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Trump has picked Sen. Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department, but he has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

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8 p.m.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats after the acting attorney general announced she would not defend his controversial immigration order.

Trump in a tweet accuses Democrats of “delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons.” He says, “They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.”

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, directed Justice Department attorneys Monday not to defend Trump’s controversial executive refugee and immigration ban.

Yates said she was not convinced the order was lawful.

Yates’ directive is temporary, given that Trump’s pick for attorney general will likely move to uphold the president’s policy. Sen. Jeff Sessions is awaiting Senate confirmation.

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7:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is considering an executive order that would target some immigrants for deportation if they become dependent on government assistance.

The Associated Press has obtained a copy of the draft order that calls for the identification and removal “as expeditiously as possible” of any legal immigrant who relies on certain kinds of public welfare benefits.

The order, if signed, would also focus the government’s efforts on blocking immigrants who are likely to become reliant on government benefits.

The White House did not immediately comment.

Immigrants already must prove financial independence before they are allowed into the United States. The draft order signals the administration is considering not only cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally, but also some living in country legally.

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7:35 p.m.

A huge crowd gathered in front of the Supreme Court as Democratic lawmakers led a rally protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees.

The lawmakers could barely be heard above the chants from the crowd, which included “Do your job” and “No ban, no wall.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York promised the crowd the Democrats would “fight with everything we have and we will win.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon led the crowd in a chant of “Tear down that ban.”

Hundreds carried signs with slogans like “Dissent Is Patriotic,” ”Impeach” and “This Is What Democracy Looks Like.”

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6:20 p.m.

House and Senate Democrats are protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

The lawmakers have gathered at the Supreme Court, across from the Capitol, to express their opposition to the order temporarily banning travel from specific Muslim-majority countries.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says what Trump did “is not constitutional, to many of us, it’s immoral.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling the order “evil” and says it goes against what the nation stands for.

The lawmakers are holding up candles.

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4:20 p.m.

Senate Republicans have blocked a Democratic effort to overturn President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York sought a vote Monday on legislation reversing the order. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas objected.

Republicans have expressed support for the vetting, but have questioned the rollout of the order. Chaos and confusion ensued in airports as officials initially barred permanent U.S. residents with “green cards” from re-entering the country, then said they would be allow to enter.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California called the order “unnecessary, unconstitutional and un-American.”

Late Saturday, a federal judge in New York issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from the nations subject to Trump’s ban.

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3:30 p.m.

The top Democrat in the Senate says the Trump administration’s implementation of the executive order on immigration “raises serious doubts” about its competence.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is criticizing the order that temporarily suspended all immigration for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, and he is vowing to reverse it. He calls it counterproductive, dangerous and un-American.

The order sowed chaos and confusion at airports as officials initially barred permanent U.S. residents with “green cards” from re-entering the country, then said they would be allow to enter.

Late Saturday, a federal judge in New York issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from the seven majority-Muslim nations subject to Trump’s travel ban.

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3:25 p.m.

The son of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan prime minister slain by a suicide bomber in 2007, is criticizing the Trump administration for restricting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

Bilalwal Bhutto, leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party, says it is discouraging to progressive Muslims to see the U.S. responding to “fear of the other.” He says it sends the wrong message to people fighting religious extremism.

Bhutto told the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington that the public outpouring of support for those affected by Friday’s executive order also shows a positive side of America to the world.

Trump’s order does not cover Pakistan, where al-Qaida is active.

Bhutto says adding Pakistan to the list would create hostility and indicate the U.S. is turning away from its own ideals.

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2:40 p.m.

A Republican senator is criticizing the Trump administration for failing to mention Jews in a statement remembering the Holocaust.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said over Twitter that “The Administration’s omission of the Jewish people in a Holocaust remembrance statement is an historical mistake.”

Trump administration officials have defended their statement, saying that it appropriately recognized the horrors of the Holocaust, which killed millions of people in addition to Jews.

Spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday accused critics of nitpicking and noted that the statement was written with the help of a person who is both Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust Survivors. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is both.

Nonetheless critics have said that omitting specific reference to Jews or anti-Semitism can be a form of Holocaust denial.

The Nazis specifically set out to exterminate all the Jews of Europe.

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2:29 p.m.

Major Wall Street banks are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees from several Muslim-majority countries.

Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat said the company is concerned about the message the executive order sends, and the impact immigration policies could have on the bank serving its clients and contributing to growth.

At Goldman Sachs, which has several former executives in the Trump administration, CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the ban is not something Goldman supports and it has the potential to disrupt the firm.

Executives at those and other banks say Trump’s order could unsettle their operations, break up families, and hurt the banks’ ability to do business outside the U.S.

Like the technology industry, Wall Street banks have operations on nearly every continent and from many countries.

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2:25 p.m.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the director of the CIA will be added to the White House National Security Council.

Spicer says President Donald Trump has decided to amend his recent memo restructuring the council to add CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the top circle of national security advisers. The restructuring also added White House senior adviser Steve Bannon to the council’s principals committee, which includes the secretaries of state and defense.

Trump’s move also directed the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to attend only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”

But Spicer says those individuals will be welcome to attend the meetings. He disputed that the reorganization was a significant change from past administrations.

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2:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump will welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo) to the United States next month.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Netanyahu will visit on February 15. He said Trump looks forward to “discussing continued strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation.”

Trump has signaled strong support for Israel. Netanyahu on Sunday said that the American embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, endorsing one of Trump’s campaign promises.

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2:05 p.m.

A spokesman for Barack Obama says the former president “fundamentally disagrees” with discrimination that targets people based on their religion.

The statement alluded to but did not specifically mention President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. The White House says the ban isn’t a Muslim ban because dozens of Muslim-majority countries aren’t affected.

Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis says Obama is “heartened” by the amount of engagement being seen across the country. He’s referring to protests against Trump’s order on immigration and refugees.

Lewis says “American values are at stake.” He’s praising citizens who are exercising constitutional rights to assemble and “have their voices heard.”

Obama has not weighed in on a political issue since leaving office on Jan. 20. He has said he plans to give Trump room to govern but would speak out if Trump violates basic U.S. values.

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2 p.m.

Six of President Donald Trump’s top campaign aides have banded together to start a nonprofit called “America First Policies” to back the White House agenda.

The group includes Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale, onetime deputy campaign manager Rick Gates and two advisers to Vice President Mike Pence, Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.

David Bossie and Katrina Pierson also will be involved, according to a forthcoming statement announcing the group.

Parscale said the group aims to “build something unique, just like we did with the campaign.”

America First Policies will conduct research into public policies and promote Trump’s favorite causes, such as dismantling and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law and changing immigration policies.

One of its first tasks is likely to be a vocal advocate for Trump’s Supreme Court pick, which the president said he would announce Tuesday night.

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1:31 p.m.

North Dakota’s two largest universities have cautioned their international students not to travel due to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Trump’s move temporarily bars refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. The order has sparked widespread protest.

North Dakota State University late last week emailed students from the seven countries, urging them to meet with an adviser if they have plans to travel outside the U.S. The email says, “most likely, it will be recommended you do not leave.”

The University of North Dakota in a weekend Facebook post cautioned international students not to travel, “even to Canada.”

UND International Programs Director Katie Davidson said in an interview that international staff and faculty also are being urged to stay put.

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1:05 p.m.

The Pentagon is compiling the names of Iraqis who’ve supported U.S. and coalition personnel to help exempt them from President Donald Trump’s decision to temporarily halt immigration from that Muslim-majority nation and six others.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the White House over the weekend gave the department the opportunity to submit names. He wouldn’t say if the Pentagon requested the change or if the White House did. He says the list would be used to inform immigration decisions.

Davis said Monday the list will include those who have tangibly demonstrated their commitment to supporting U.S. forces. It will include several categories of people, such as translators, drivers and Iraqi forces who may be training in the U.S.

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11:10 a.m.

Growing numbers of Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns about President Donald Trump’s executive order cracking down on immigration.

GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina say in a joint statement that “the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of the last few days.”

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania says that while he supports increased vetting, “Unfortunately, the initial executive order was flawed — it was too broad and poorly explained.”

And Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas says that he supports thorough vetting, but does not support restricting the rights of lawful permanent residents. Moran adds, “Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies.”

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11:05 a.m.

A number of U.S. diplomats have prepared a memo criticizing President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority countries.

In a so-called “dissent cable,” being drafted for State Department leadership, the diplomats say the ban will not make the U.S. safe, runs counter to American values and will fuel anti-American sentiment around the world. They say the ban won’t produce a drop in terror attacks in the U.S., but instead “a drop in international good will towards Americans.”

U.S. officials say several hundred diplomats have signed on and that the cable is expected to be formally submitted later Monday. The officials requested anonymity to disclose internal discussions.

Dissent channel cables are a mechanism for U.S. diplomats to register disagreement internally about U.S. policies.

— Vivian Salama and Matthew Lee

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10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive action aimed at significantly cutting regulations for small businesses.

The president was surrounded by small business leaders as he signed the order in the Oval Office Monday morning.

Trump says that the order is aimed at “cutting regulations massively for small business.”

He says it will be the “biggest such act that our country has ever seen.”

Earlier, White House officials called the directive a “one in, two out” plan. It requires government agencies requesting a new regulation to identify two regulations they will cut from their own departments.

The officials insisted on anonymity in order to detail the directive ahead of Monday’s formal announcement.

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10:05 a.m.

The Trump administration is defending its immigration order affecting seven majority-Muslim countries by comparing it to a 2011 policy on Iraqi refugees.

In 2011, President Barack Obama imposed more stringent checks on Iraqi refugees after two Iraqis were charged with terrorism offenses in Kentucky.

In an interview Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Trump aide Kellyanne Conway wrongly claimed that the 2011 policy “was never covered in the press.” She also falsely described it as Obama’s own “ban” on refugees.

The 2011 policy was reported by several media outlets, including the Associated Press. Unlike Trump’s order that imposed a 90-day ban on those from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Obama policy applied only to Iraqi refugees and never specifically prohibited entry.

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is signing an executive action Monday aimed at significantly cutting regulations.

White House officials are calling the directive a “one in, two out” plan. It requires government agencies requesting a new regulation to identify two regulations they will cut from their own departments.

Officials say the president is ordering that there be a zero dollar budget for new regulations through the rest of fiscal year 2017. The White House and agencies will work on a budget for regulations in upcoming years.

There are some exceptions in the executive action for emergencies and national security.

The officials insisted on anonymity in order to detail the directive ahead of Monday’s formal announcement.

-By Julie Pace

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9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is telling small business owners that the “American dream is back.”

At a White House breakfast Monday, Trump vowed to “create an environment for small business,” saying that he will end or limit regulations.

He said “this is not a knock on President (Barack) Obama” specifically, but on those before him, who Trump said did not do all that can be done for small businesses to prosper.

Trump said that a big segment of the American workforce is employed by small businesses, adding, “We want to make life easier for these small business owners.”

Attendees of the breakfast included Roger Campos from the Minority Business Roundtable, Dennis Bradford from the Genesis Group and Natalia Luis, head of the Luis Asphalt and Construction Company.

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9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his pick for the Supreme Court is someone “unbelievably highly respected.”

Trump made the comment Monday during a breakfast with small business leaders at the White House. He tweeted earlier in the day that he plans to announce his Supreme Court choice Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

The court has had eight justices since the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia. President Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland for the post, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take up the nomination.

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9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his decision to take swift action on his proposed travel ban, saying there are “a lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there.”

The president tweeted Monday that “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week.”

The president signed an executive order Friday to bar individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. The president has repeatedly said that the move is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and American interests.

The move prompted protests at airports across the country.

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8:50 a.m.

Virginia’s attorney general is requesting information on any detentions in Virginia resulting from President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement Sunday that his request includes anyone with lawful permanent resident status or work or student visas. The Democrat’s also requesting information about whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection is complying with an order giving lawful permanent residents detained at Dulles International Airport access to attorneys.

On Friday, Trump, a Republican, signed an order suspending refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely barring the processing of refugees from Syria. It also temporarily bars citizens of seven majority Muslim nations from entering the U.S., but there’s confusion and an apparent walk-back about how it applies to certain groups, like U.S. legal permanent residents.

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8:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he will announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Tuesday night. Trump tweeted Monday that he has “made my decision” and will announce it Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The court has been working with eight justices since the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia.

President Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland for the post, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take up the nomination.

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7:45 a.m.

Television personality Joe Scarborough says he and co-host Mika Brzezinski met with President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” tweets that he and Brzezinski “discussed outrage” over Trump’s immigration order and his changes to the National Security Council.

Trump’s executive order temporarily suspends immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. He also has decided to allow his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to attend regular meetings on national security and left in question the role top military and intelligence officials would play.

Brzezinski says she and Scarborough “urged compassion.”

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7:43 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s chief spokesman is defending the manner in which the White House rolled out the immigration restrictions.

Sean Spicer says officials were concerned about the possibility that doing it in a more open fashion would “telegraph what you’re going to do” to people who might have rushed to airports to beat the ban.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, Spicer also said officials’ highest priority was “to protect our own people” and said everybody in the government who needed to be consulted was consulted.

Spicer also says that Trump respects “people who are Muslim and peace-loving. But he also recognizes that certain countries and certain areas of the world produce people who seek to do us harm.”

The spokesman, asked about delays at airports experienced by travelers with valid papers, said that 109 of some 325, 000 travelers “were slowed down” in their trips, and called that “a small price to pay” for protecting the American people.

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7:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that “big problems” were created at airports by a Delta Airlines computer outage, “protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer.”

The president tweeted early Monday that only 109 out of 325,000 people “were detained and held for questioning” following his executive order to bar individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

A Delta systems outage Sunday night led to departure delays and cancellations of at least 150 Delta flights.

Protesters packed many of the country’s major airports over the weekend protesting the executive order.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted Friday that “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty” over the ban.

Trump also tweeted on Monday, “there is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country.”

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