Friday 28 July 2017

Trump plans new curbs as travel ban is thwarted

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House

Nick Allen in Washington

US President Donald Trump is considering issuing a new travel ban executive order, he said last night, even as the White House announced that the administration does not plan to escalate a legal dispute over the president's original travel ban order to the Supreme Court.

The development came as it was reported by CNN that law enforcement sources believe some conversations detailed in a 35-page dossier on Mr Trump and Russia to be accurate.

The wide-ranging document, compiled by Christopher Steele, a British former intelligence agent, included the allegation that the Kremlin colluded with Mr Trump's presidential campaign and that the Russian security services have material that could be used to blackmail him.

Several law enforcement officers and intelligence sources told the US network that some conversations detailed in the dossier took place, but could not confirm if these related directly to Mr Trump.

In commenting on the new reports Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary said: "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting."

The news of Mr Trump's potential new travel ban came as the president condemned a "disgraceful decision" by an appeal court to block his original order banning entry to the United States by refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

Apology: Kellyanne Conway
Apology: Kellyanne Conway

Mr Trump said during a surprise visit with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida from Washington that he was considering "a brand new order" that could be issued as soon as Monday or Tuesday if the administration decides to move in that direction.

A White House official separately said: "We are actively considering changes or other executive orders that will keep our country safe from terrorism."

The official added: "The temporary restraining order, we would not take to the Supreme Court, but we are reviewing all options in the court system."

Speaking at the White House earlier in the day Mr Trump said: "We'll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You'll be seeing that some time next week."

Mr Trump said he had learned of threats "you could only learn of if you were in a certain position, namely president" and he would "not allow that to happen to our country".

If Mr Trump's ban were to be immediately taken to the Supreme Court, it could be looked at before Mr Trump could secure the appointment of his conservative Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to the bench, with Democrats set to delay that by filibustering in Congress.

Without Judge Gorsuch, the key vote in the Supreme Court would likely have been that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes joins the court's four liberals.

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Outside Washington, there were signs of protest movements mobilising with several Republican congressman facing rowdy town hall meetings in their constituencies.

Jason Chaffetz, a rising star in the Republican Party, was assailed by protesters shouting "Let them in" at a town hall in Utah.

Mr Trump's travel ban, which he argues is necessary on national security grounds, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, and all refugees for 120 days. Refugees from Syria were banned indefinitely.

It caused confusion at airports and protests around the world, and officials have indicated it could have been implemented in a more orderly way.

The states of Washington and Minnesota sued to block the ban and US District Judge James Robart, in Seattle, suspended it. That ruling was upheld by the appeal court in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump's close adviser Kellyanne Conway reportedly apologised to him yesterday following a TV appearance at the White House in which she urged viewers to buy Ivanka Trump's clothing line, which critics called a conflict of interest.

Mrs Conway later said she had spoken to Mr Trump and he "supports me 100pc".

Mr Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the White House yesterday.

Mr Abe's wife was left to tour a school alone; First Lady Ivanka Trump did not join her, in a break from protocol.

Mrs Trump was later seen with Mrs Abe, as they and their husbands boarded Air Force One to Florida. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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