Politics

Report: White House Cheered Trump Up With Travel Ban

| by Michael Allen

Senior White House officials reportedly tried to put President Donald Trump in a better mood by presenting him with their plans for a new travel ban.

According to sources cited by The Washington Post, Trump was furious over Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself on March 2 from investigations that pertained to the Trump campaign's alleged ties to the Russian government during the 2016 election; Trump defended Sessions only a few hours before Sessions announced that he was recusing himself.

After reportedly blowing up at his senior White House staff on the morning on March 3 because of what he saw as giving into attacks against Sessions by the media and other critics, Trump flew down to his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, for the weekend.

Trump went on Twitter on the morning of March 4, and accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 election, but did not offer evidence. Trump's accusation was denied by an Obama spokesperson.

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An unidentified White House official told The Washington Post that, in the evening, Trump had dinner in Florida with Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and some top White House advisers who tried to put the president in a better mood by discussing their new plans to ban travelers from foreign countries.

The new ban was released to the public on March 6, and includes banning people from six majority-Muslim countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- for 90 days, notes The Guardian.

The new ban will be implemented gradually over 10 days in an effort to avoid the mass confusion at airports that happened with the first ban, which was indefinitely blocked by a judge until the courts rule on it.

The new ban, like the original ban that was signed on Jan. 27, suspends the refugee program for 120 days, but does not ban Syrian refugees indefinitely. The new ban limits the number of refugees to 50,000 yearly.

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Civil rights groups plan to file legal challenges against the new ban.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on March 6: "With this order, President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe. As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continue to reevaluate and reassess the systems that we rely upon to protect our country."

The Associated Press noted on Feb. 24 that the original ban against seven Muslim majority countries -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- would not stop attacks in the U.S., per an unreleased report by analysts at the Department of Homeland Security.

The unreleased report said that citizenship of a specific country is an "unlikely indicator" of terroristic threats, and that few people from countries listed on the original ban have been involved in terrorism against the U.S. since 2011.

Sources: The Washington Post, The Guardian, AP / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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