10 things you need to know today: March 11, 2017
New Trump immigration order suffers narrow court setback, DOJ requests resignations from 46 Obama-era federal prosecutors, and more
New Trump immigration order suffers narrow court setback
A federal judge in Wisconsin on Friday ordered that President Trump's revised executive order pertaining to refugee admissions and immigration from six majority-Muslim countries cannot delay U.S. entry for the wife and only surviving child of a Syrian refugee who has already been granted asylum in the United States. The ruling only applies to this family and does not suspend broader implementation of the order. "[G]iven the daily threat to the lives to plaintiff’s wife and child remaining in Aleppo, Syria, the court further finds a significant risk of irreparable harm," wrote U.S. District Court Judge William Conley, who was appointed by President Obama. At least four other court challenges are scheduled before Trump's new order takes effect after midnight on Wednesday.
DOJ requests resignations from 46 Obama-era federal prosecutors
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced his request for the resignation of 46 federal prosecutors appointed by President Obama. While it is routine for incoming administrations to replace these attorneys, who are political appointees, the Justice Department's public announcement reportedly came before many of the prosecutors had been privately informed of their dismissal. The lack of warning led an unnamed law enforcement source to tell CNN "this could not have been handled any worse," but a DOJ representative said the decision is simply part of "a uniform transition" of power. Further complicating matters is a report that President Trump called at least two DOJ attorneys and declined to accept their resignations, asking them to remain at their posts. The Trump administration has not selected new nominees for all 46 positions.
Pence to stump for health-care overhaul in Kentucky
Vice President Mike Pence will go to Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday to make the Trump administration's case for modifying the Affordable Care Act with a health-care overhaul. Kentucky is home to Sen. Rand Paul, a leading Republican critic of the health-care bill now navigating the House, which Paul labels "ObamaCare-lite." Kentucky's Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said Friday he supports the repeal and replace plan but, like Paul, "is not impressed with what has currently been offered." Pence's trip will include a tour of an energy company with Bevin as well as a listening session with local business leaders.
Trump, Merkel set to meet for the first time next week
President Trump is set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday in the two leaders' first face-to-face meeting since Trump took office. They will confer at the White House for a discussion about the European Union, NATO defense spending, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and more. Trump has been "impressed by Merkel's leadership," U.S. officials said, and apparently wants her advice about how to handle Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump and Merkel have at times been on opposing ends of policy preference, and during the presidential campaign, Trump said Merkel was "ruining Germany."
GOP lawmakers consider changing Senate rules to pass health-care bill
Two of three relevant House committees have now approved the GOP's replacement plan for ObamaCare, the American Health Care Act, but some Republican senators say it will be "dead on arrival" in the upper chamber. That has led Republican lawmakers to consider changing Senate rules to ensure the bill's passage: Senate budget reconciliation rules would allow the AHCA to be passed with a simple majority; at issue is whether the Senate parliamentarian will agree the bill can be passed through the reconciliation maneuver. Some GOP lawmakers have suggested Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as presiding officer of the Senate, could override any unfavorable reconciliation ruling by the parliamentarian.
Trump team reportedly knew Flynn might register as a foreign agent
Attorneys representing Michael Flynn, President Trump’s ousted national security adviser, twice told Trump's team Flynn might have to register as a foreign agent, The Washington Post reported Friday. Also on Friday, the White House denied Trump had any such advance knowledge of Flynn's possibly registry. Trump's legal counsel were first informed before the inauguration and then again in the first few days of the new administration, the Post says. The information apparently "raised no alarms within Trump's team," the Post reports, "despite the unusual circumstance of having a top national security post filled by someone whose work may have benefited a foreign government."
The 235,000 jobs added in February are 'very real,' Trump says
The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, while the unemployment rate edged down to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent in January. Though President Trump in the past has slammed BLS unemployment numbers as "phony" and "one of the biggest hoaxes," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday he discussed the jobs report with Trump "and he said to quote him very clearly: 'They may have been phony in the past but it's very real now.'"
Turkish president calls the Dutch 'Nazi remnants' and 'fascists' after airplane dispute
The Netherlands on Saturday denied landing permission to a plane carrying Turkey's foreign minister as part of a dispute over a canceled political rally. In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the Dutch are "Nazi remnants" and "fascists" who "do not know politics or international diplomacy." "You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want," he said, "let's see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on." The quarrel began when the Netherlands canceled a rally to whip the votes of Turkish expatriates in advance of a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform. The Dutch government cited security reasons for the cancelation, but also opposes the constitutional changes. Erdogan previously leveled the Nazi charge at Germany over a similar dispute.
At least 40 killed in double suicide bombing near Damascus
At least 40 people, mostly Iraqis, were killed and another 120 wounded by a pair of suicide bombers near Damascus, Syria, on Saturday, local officials report. The attack happened near a Shiite shrine where pilgrims were gathered to pray, and though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident, the Islamic State has made similar attacks in the past. As Sunni extremists, ISIS members say Shiite Muslims are infidels. The second of the two blasts occurred ten minutes after the initial bombing, so first responders who rushed to help the victims were among those injured.
SXSW opens with world premiere of Terrence Malick's Song to Song
The annual South by Southwest Film Festival kicked off Friday in Austin, Texas, launching a week-long TV and movie screening lineup attended by movie industry insiders and cinephiles. The world premiere of Terrence Malick's Song to Song, starring Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, and Michael Fassbender, was the highlight of the opening day's schedule. Director Edgar Wright's crime thriller Baby Driver, starring Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm, will make its world premiere Saturday. Other highly anticipated premieres include David Leitch's Atomic Blonde led by Charlize Theron, Ben Wheatley's Free Fire starring Brie Larson and Armie Hammer, and Daniel Espinosa's Life featuring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film festival is part of a larger South by Southwest conference.