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SCOTUS Rules Trump Travel Ban Can Proceed

Trump travel ban to take effect after Supreme Court ruling. NYT: “The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue. The decision was a victory for the administration after its mixed success before the court over the summer, when justices considered and eventually dismissed disputes over the second version. The court’s brief, unsigned orders on Monday urged appeals courts to move swiftly to determine whether the latest ban was lawful. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied the administration’s request to allow the latest ban to go into effect. The court’s orders mean that the administration can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim. For now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups of people from Venezuela.”

Tribes, Conservationists Sue Trump Over Reductions Of National Monuments

Environmental, conservation groups sue Trump over monument changes. CNN: “A group of environmental and conservation groups sued President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in federal court on Monday, alleging that Trump did not have the authority to dramatically shrink Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The lawsuit, which comprises The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and seven other groups as plaintiffs, argues that Trump’s decision to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante was ‘unlawful’ and ‘exceeds his authority under the US Constitution and the Antiquities Act.’… A group of Native American tribes in Utah was expected to file a similar suit against Trump and his administration in federal court on Monday over his decision to dramatically shrink Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument. The suit will come from representatives from the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, the Navajo Nation and the Ute Indian tribe, lawyers for the tribes said.”

Sen. Warren Challenges Deregulation Of Wall Street

Warren challenges deregulation of finance at key hearing. The Intercept: “During the debate over whether to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren, not yet a senator, famously said at a crucial moment that her first choice was a strong agency, and her second was ‘no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.’ She’ll get her chance Tuesday in the Senate Banking Committee. Warren was stymied from running the CFPB itself, lacking the votes to get Senate confirmation. So she now represents Massachusetts and has teed up 23 different amendments for a markup on S.2155, the ‘Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.’ The Orwellian-named bill would actually deregulate several parts of the financial sector and unravel consumer protections in a corrupt alliance between Republicans and pro-Wall Street Democrats… If some conservative Democrats want to ally with Republicans on this effort, Warren wants to make sure everybody knows their names and their priorities.”

Repeal of ACA Mandate Will Kill 15,000 Or More Per Year

Larry Summers said the Senate tax bill will kill 10,000 people each year. The truth is worse. ThinkProgress: “Harvard economist and former Obama and Clinton administration official Larry Summers warned that if the Senate tax bill becomes law, about 10,000 people will die every year who otherwise would have lived. If anything, his estimate isn’t pessimistic enough. The reason why is that the bill repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, an unpopular but necessary provision that stabilizes insurance markets and wards off something known as an “adverse selection death spiral,” which can cause entire insurance markets to collapse. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, if the individual mandate is repealed, 13 million fewer Americans will be insured by 2027.”

Legal Team Seeks To Shield Trump From Own Admissions

A bold new legal defense for Trump: Presidents cannot obstruct justice. WaPo: “The brazen assertion Monday by one of President Trump’s lawyers that a president cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice signaled a controversial defense strategy in the wide-ranging Russia probe, as Trump’s political advisers are increasingly concerned about the legal advice he is receiving. Trump tweeted over the weekend that he knew then-national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador before firing him in February — and before FBI Director James B. Comey said Trump asked him to be lenient while investigating Flynn. Experts said the president’s admission increased his legal exposure to obstruction-of-justice charges, one of the core crimes under investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.”

Trump Mulls Creating Private Spy Army

Trump White House weighs plans to create global network of private spies. The Intercept: “The Trump administration is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals… The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda. ‘Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,’ said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. ‘It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,’ this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. ‘The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.'”

Nevada’s Heller Ejects Cancer Patient From Town Hall For Asking About Health Care

Dean Heller ejects stage 4 cancer patient from Town Hall. Crooks and Liars: “Republican Senator, Dean Heller, sunk to an even more depraved and despicable level at a town hall this weekend in Nevada. We know that Republicans have been dodging their constituents for months now, both in DC and in their home states… Here’s what happened: during a town hall on Saturday, Laura Packard, a woman battling stage 4 cancer, asked Heller about the future of the Affordable Care Act. Within seconds of finishing her question, which was asked politely and without rancor, two men approached her and removed her from the room. At no point did she scream or yell. She didn’t have posters or signs. She was just asking questions.”

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