The Week on Planet Trump: Supreme Court Vacancy Gives Both Trump and Dems an Opportunity

Monday: Tweets Attack Due Process

President Donald Trump still wants to deny due process to unauthorized immigrants crossing the United States border, sending a pair of Monday morning tweets criticizing the idea of hiring more immigration judges to process cases faster.

“Hiring manythousands [sic] of judge, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go - will always be disfunctional [sic],” Trump tweeted, instead advocating for immigrants to be sent back en masse.

The president’s June 25 tweets followed a series of tweets over the weekend in which he characterized unauthorized immigrants as people trying to “invade” and “break into” the United States.

In response to the Trump administration’s prior policy of separating families at the border, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas recently introduced legislation to allow for the hiring of many more immigration judges. Cruz’s bill, the “Protect Kids and Parents Act,” would double the number of immigration judges from 375 to 750 so it would be possible for cases to be processed faster.

Ella Nilsen, Vox

Tuesday: Travel Ban Upheld

The Supreme Court has upheld President Trump's travel ban Tuesday. With a 5-4 vote, the court wrote in its opinion that the order is "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent that based on the evidence in the case "a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus." She said her colleagues arrived at the opposite result by "ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens."

Ryan Mace of Amnesty International USA said in a statement following the ruling that the policy is "a catastrophe all around."

Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said at a press conference that the Court's ruling was "extremely disappointing" to Muslims and "all people who believe in equal protection and equality."

CBS News

Wednesday: Another Seismic SCOTUS Vacancy

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a crucial swing vote on the Supreme Court, announced Wednesday he's retiring at the end of July, giving President Donald Trump another chance to fundamentally reshape the highest court in the land.

His departure could have massive effects on U.S. policy, particularly on abortion rights and gay rights nationwide. His announcement immediately raised questions about how long the court would stand by its earlier abortion rulings, including Roe v. Wade.

Replacing Kennedy with a conservative could have a massive long-term effect on the highest U.S. court. His decision to leave will have huge implications for the midterm elections, as Democrats and Republicans battle for control of the Senate. The chamber confirms Supreme Court justices.

A Supreme Court vacancy could serve to motivate voters, as a young justice would have a chance to serve for decades. Democratic control of the Senate may force Trump to make a more moderate choice for the seat.

Jacob Pramuk and Marty Steinberg, CNBC

Thursday: Putin Summit Fuels NATO Fears

President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, less than a week after what figures to be a tense meeting between the U.S. president and NATO allies.

"The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues," the White House said in formally announcing the summit after days of negotiating.

Those issues include the civil war in Syria, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and North Korea's nuclear weapons, said officials in both countries.

The U.S. president is at odds with NATO, saying members are not contributing enough to the mutual defense alliance; NATO members fear Trump will undercut western unity in confronting Russian aggression, from its incursion into Ukraine to cyber attacks.

The Trump-Putin summit also takes place in the midst of a U.S. special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including links between the Russians and Trump associates.

Trump has denounced the investigation as a hoax, doing so again Thursday on Twitter, and accepting Putin's claim that Russia was not involved.

Kim Hjelmgaard and David Jackson, USA Today

Friday: Tax Cuts Fall Flat

In a packed arena in Fargo, N.D., this week, President Trump's most ardent supporters roared with approval when he talked about protecting the U.S. borders, beating the Democrats and “respect for our great, beautiful, wonderful American flag.” When Trump pivoted to the tax bill, his top legislative accomplishment, the crowd clapped — but without the fervor they had shown for many of his other applause lines.

Trump signed the tax cut legislation just before Christmas. Six months later, it is losing popularity.

American families are unsure whether they are benefiting from the tax cut, and small businesses say they are confused by the complex changes affecting them. A recent poll from Monmouth University found 34 percent of adults approve of the tax cut now, a slide from January when adults were about evenly split between approving and disapproving. And about a third of families say they are better off because of the cuts, according to polls by Politico and the New York Times.

Companies are also giving more money to shareholders via fatter dividend payments, which likewise hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2018. These payments are expected to keep growing.

Heather Long, The Washington Post

Saturday: Thousands Protest Detentions

Americans young and old took to the streets of US cities Saturday to say "Families Belong Together" nearly two months after the Trump administration implemented its "zero tolerance" policy toward undocumented immigrants, prompting the separation of thousands of children from their parents.

The main rally was in Washington, DC, but hundreds of marches, protests and rallies took place across the country in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Miami, St. Louis, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where crowds called for the immediate reunification of migrant families and an end to family detentions and separations.

Attendees in Washington braved the summer heat and marched from Lafayette Square to the White House -- though the President is at his golf resort in New Jersey -- and down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Trump Hotel, where chants of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" broke out.

In Atlanta, demonstrators carried cages with dolls inside, and marchers in Chicago encouraged each other to "fight back."

Dakin Andone, CNN

Sunday: POTUS Doubles Down on Immigration and Trade

President Trump has gone on the attack against Democratic lawmakers who have called for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeking to seize political advantage on an issue that has put him on the defensive for weeks and offer a winning message for Republicans facing a forbidding midterm election.

“You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house,” Mr. Trump said in a wide-ranging interview that aired on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Mr. Trump also signaled during the interview that he would not back away from a brewing trade war between the United States and its allies, skewering trading partners and saying that he would wait until after the midterm elections to sign a new North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

But even as Mr. Trump encouraged the liberal embrace of abolishing ICE, he had promised earlier in the weekend on Twitter that there was “zero chance, it will never happen!”

Emily Cochrane, The New York Times



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