What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential newsletter. Logging the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
by @matt_kiser

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Day 19: Challenged.

1/ 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear challenge to Trump’s ban today. The issue in front of the court at the moment is whether the ban will remain suspended for now. The hour-long hearing, conducted by telephone among three West coast judges at 6 p.m. ET, will determine the immediate fate of the nationwide temporary restraining order against Trump’s travel ban. The three-judge panel is expected to rule this week. (CNN)

UPDATE:

Trump travel ban hearing liveblog. (Washington Post)

Related:

  • Trump: I’ll take “common sense” travel ban to the Supreme Court, if necessary. (Washington Post)
  • Justice Department urges appeals court to reinstate Trump’s travel ban, saying immediate action was needed to ensure the nation’s safety. (New York Times)
  • “If something happens”: Trump points his finger in case of a terrorist attack. President Trump appears to be laying the groundwork to preemptively shift blame for any future terrorist attack on U.S. soil from his administration to the federal judiciary, as well as to the media. (Washington Post)
  • Trump’s loose talk about Muslims gets weaponized in court against travel ban. The states of Washington and Minnesota, which sued to block Trump’s order, are citing the president’s inflammatory rhetoric as evidence that the government’s claims — that it’s not a ban and not aimed at Muslims — are shams. (Washington Post)

  • Trump’s real fear: The Courts. Over the past few days, he’s added an entire branch of the federal government to his enemies list. (New York Times)

2/ Betsy DeVos is confirmed as education secretary thanks to an unprecedented tie-breaking vote. The Senate voted 50-50 on Trump’s controversial pick to head the Department of Education, forcing VP Pence to cast a historic vote to break the tie. (BuzzFeed News)

UPDATE:

The senators who opposed DeVos represent 36 million more people than her supporters do. The 50 senators who opposed DeVos represent 179,381,386 people, while the 50 senators who supported her represent only 143,064,962 individuals. (Think Progress)

Related:

  • Franken: DeVos “fundamentally incompetent” to lead Education Dept. “During her hearing, Ms. DeVos proved beyond a shadow of a doubt not only that her ideology is fundamentally incompatible with the mission of the Department of Education, but that she is fundamentally incompetent to be its leader,” Franken said Monday from the Senate floor. (The Hill)
  • Live: Senate Vote on Betsy DeVos. She needs a majority of votes to be confirmed, though Vice President Mike Pence can vote if there is a tie. Here’s a full list of Senate confirmation votes. (New York Times)

3/ WH official: We’ll say “fake news” until media realizes attitude of attacking the President is wrong. Trump and his staff have repeatedly used the term “fake news” to discredit reporting on the administration, often offering no evidence to back up their disputes with those outlets’ stories. (CNN)

Related:

  • Trump claims media doesn’t cover terrorist attacks; archives say otherwise. Trump did not say why the media might not report on terrorist attacks but gave no examples of stories that went uncovered. (NBC News)
  • InfoWars is behind President Trump’s idea that the media is covering up terrorist attacks. Conservatives have long accused the media of obscuring the details and motivations of radical Islamic terrorists in an effort to downplay the role of religion. (Washington Post)
  • Librarians take up arms against fake news. Librarians have always helped people sort fact from fiction, reliable sources from deceptive ones. (Seattle Times)
  • Trump White House coaxes media into re-running terrorists’ greatest hits. (Washington Post)

4/ FBI axes FOIA requests by email, so dust off your fax machine. Starting next month, the FBI will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act requests by email. In lieu of its popular email service, the FBI suggests sending a fax or snail mail, a procedural change that has more to do with obstructing the law than a dearth of resources. (TechCrunch)

5/ Hundreds of current, former EPA employees urge Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the agency. The controversial nomination advanced out of a Senate committee last week after Republicans used their majority to suspend committee rules and approve Pruitt despite the absence of all Democrats, who boycotted the nomination vote partly because of his anti-regulatory bent. He could be approved by the full Senate as early as this week. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump’s White House tries to rehab its Hill outreach. The administration has been on a hiring spree to smooth congressional relations but some of the interactions are still rocky. (Politico)

7/ Melania Trump reveals plan to leverage presidency to ink “multi-million dollar” endorsement deals. The admission came in a defamation lawsuit the First Lady filed against the Daily Mail. (Think Progress)

8/ Europe must defend itself against a dangerous president. The United States president is becoming a danger to the world. It is time for Germany and Europe to prepare their political and economic defenses. (Der Spiegel)

9/ BuzzFeed vs. Trump. BuzzFeed News pushes further than its competitors, but can it handle the consequences? (Recode)

10/ Trump administration to approve final permit for Dakota Access pipeline. The deputy secretary of the Army will grant the final permit needed for completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, clearing the final bureaucratic hurdle standing in the way of the massive infrastructure project. (Washington Post)

11/ White House ramping up search for communications director after Spicer’s rocky start. Trump is disappointed in Spicer’s performance during the first two weeks of the administration. Spicer has served as both White House press secretary and communications director for the new administration. Those roles are typically filled by two staffers. (CNN)

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