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 34: Handcuffed.

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1/ Trump’s immigration crackdown will likely bring a flood of lawsuits. The Department of Homeland Security is pushing ahead with what the ACLU calls a “hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy.” The administration wants to unshackle Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who have been “handcuffed” by policies that determined who “could and couldn’t be adjudicated.” (Bloomberg)

  • Mexico calls Trump’s plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico both “hostile” and “unacceptable”. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are due to meet and “walk through” the implementation of Trump’s immigration orders with Mexico today. Sean Spicer said he expected it to be a “great discussion.” (Reuters)
  • Trudeau says Canada will continue to accept asylum seekers crossing illegally from the U.S., but will ensure security measures are taken to keep Canadians safe. If caught by police, asylum seekers are taken in for questioning. They are then transferred to the CBSA for fingerprinting and further questions. If people are deemed a threat or flight risk, they are detained. If not, they can file refugee claims and live in Canada while they wait for a decision. (Newsweek)
  • A “Refugees Welcome” banner was unfurled atop the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The stunt happened the same day the Homeland Security Department announced expanded immigration enforcement policies. (NBC New York)

2/ The Trump administration plans to roll back protections for transgender students, reversing federal guidance that required the nation’s public schools to allow children to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender identities. (Washington Post)

UPDATE:

Trump rescinds rules on bathrooms for transgender students, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. Under Obama, nondiscrimination laws required schools to allow transgender students to use that corresponded with their gender identity. (New York Times)

  • Trump pits Sessions and DeVos against each over draft order to rescind protections for transgender students in public schools. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order, telling Trump that she was uncomfortable with it. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent. The order must come from the Justice and Education Departments. Trump sided with Sessions, while DeVos, faced with the choice of resigning or defying the president, has agreed to go along. (New York Times)
  • Trump deportation threats could constrict the already-tight job market. One study suggests that removing all of the undocumented immigrants would cost the economy as much as $5 trillion over 10 years. (Bloomberg)

3/ GOP senator wants Flynn to testify on Russia ties before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Politico)

4/ John Podesta: “Forces within the FBI” may have cost Clinton election. Podesta did not offer any specific evidence to advance the argument, but the Clinton campaign has long pointed to Comey’s letter – 11 days before the election – as a turning-point in the election which may have caused their electoral college defeat. (Politico)

5/ Thousands of emails show that the E.P.A. chief worked to battle environmental regulation as attorney general of Oklahoma. Scott Pruitt, now head of the Environmental Protection Agency, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities, and political groups to roll back environmental regulations. (New York Times)

6/ Trump said his team has “enormous work to do” to assemble a federal budget that will bring down deficits and deliver on priorities such as a military buildup, public infrastructure investments, expansion of immigration enforcement, and tax cuts. Trump said he would release a health plan in early to mid-March, ahead of tackling his promised tax overhaul. (Bloomberg)

  • Congressional Republicans don’t expect Trump to offer his own health or tax plans. Instead, they anticipate he will simply align himself with theirs. (CNBC)
  • Trump officials weigh fate of birth-control mandate. The requirement that insurance companies cover contraception at no cost is believed to be on the chopping block now that Tom Price has taken over the Department of Health and Human Services. (The Hill)

7/ Maryland school asks teachers to take down pro-diversity posters because they’re “anti-Trump” and perceived as “political” after one staff member complained. The posters depicted Latina, Muslim, and black women were designed by Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the “Hope” posters from Obama’s 2008 campaign. The women are rendered in patriotic colors, with messages like “We the people are greater than fear.” The teachers put up the posters as a “show of diversity.” (Huffington Post)

8/ Trump aide calls Guantanamo Bay an “incredibly important intelligence asset”. The Obama administration and human rights groups spent eight years attempting to close the facility, calling it a stain on America’s reputation around the world. (ABC News)

9/ The Anti-Defamation League received a bomb threat to its New York headquarters, making it the latest in a series of threats targeting U.S. Jewish organizations. (The Atlantic)

10/ How Trump’s campaign staffers tried to keep him off Twitter. The trick? Ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up. (Politico)

  • Kellyanne Conway sidelined from TV after making statements that were at odds with the administration’s official stance. Sources said the administration is enjoying a reprieve from the controversy created by her appearances. (CNN)

11/ The White House recently deleted all of the data on its open data portal, which serves as the public clearinghouse for data on everything from federal budgets to climate change initiatives. Most of this data should still be available through an archived version of the portal. (The Hill)

poll/ Support for Obamacare is rising. Voters are now split evenly on the Affordable Care Act: 45% of registered voters approve of the law, and 45% disapprove. Before Trump took office, the poll showed only 41% of voters approved vs 52% who disapproved. (Politico)

poll/ Majority of Americans worried about war. Nearly two-thirds of Americans are worried that the U.S. will become engaged in a major war in the next four years; 62% think that U.S. should take into account the interests of its NATO allies, even if it means making compromises with them. (NBC News)

poll/ Americans overwhelmingly oppose sanctuary cities, believing that cities that arrest undocumented immigrants for crimes should turn them over to federal authorities. Hundreds of cities across the nation are refusing to do so. The top 10 sanctuary cities in the U.S. receive $2.27 billion in federal funding for programs ranging from public health services to early childhood education. Trump’s executive order directs Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to find ways to starve these cities of federal funding. (The Hill)

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