Trump wants suspensions for NFL players who kneel during anthem

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that National Football League (NFL) players who do not stand for the national anthem should be suspended for the season without pay.

The comments come a day after the NFL and the union representing its players said they were working on a resolution to the league’s national anthem policy.

The policy, which was announced in May, followed Trump’s denunciation of pregame protests which were intended to call attention to what critics say is often brutal treatment of minorities by U.S. law enforcement.

Trump and others have blasted the gesture as a sign of disrespect to the U.S. flag and the military.

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it!,” Trump said on Twitter.

“First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay.

“The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand,” he said in reference to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The players union, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), recently filed a grievance over the league’s new requirement that players stand for the national anthem or wait in their dressing rooms.

The NFLPA claimed the new policy was inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringed on player rights.

The NFL and NFLPA said on Thursday no new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while the confidential discussions are ongoing.

[Reuters]

Reality

Two days prior, Fox News begged Donald Trump to tweet something out to distract everyone from his failure in Helsinki. Trump took their advice.

Trump Declares ‘Much of Our News Media is Indeed the Enemy of the People’

President Donald Trump went after the media again this afternoon and once again used that “enemy of the people” line.

[Mediaite]

Trump Goes on Anti-Immigrant Rant: They’re ‘Changing The Culture’ of Europe

President Donald Trump, whose family once immigrated to the United States from Germany and Scotland, slammed immigrants coming into Europe for changing the continent’s “culture.”

Times editor Francis Elliott asked Trump about his remarks to The Sunthat Europe is “losing [its] culture” because of immigration.

“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago,” he told The Sun, the last remark presumably referring to the fabled “no-go zones” of London dreamt up by Breitbart bloggers.

In the presser with Theresa May, Trump doubled down, stating immigration has “been very bad for Europe.”

“You see the same terror attacks that I do,” he said. “I just think it’s changing the culture. It’s a very negative thing for Europe.”

“It’s not politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it, and I’ll say it loud,” he continued. “I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture. You are changing a lot of things.”

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, had a different response to the question.

“The UK has a proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution to our country,” she said. “We have a proud history of welcoming people who want to come to our country to contribute to our economy and contribute to our society. And over the years, overall immigration has been good for the UK. It’s brought people with different backgrounds, different outlooks here to the UK.”

“Of course what is important is that we have control of our borders, what is important is we have a set of rules that enable us to determine who comes into our country,” she added. “And of course that is what, as a government, we have been doing for a number of years and will continue to do in the future.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Whose Case Inspired Wildlife Refuge Takeover

President Trump on Tuesday pardoned a pair of Oregon cattle ranchers who had been serving out five-year sentences for arson on federal land — punishments that inspired the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in 2016 and brought widespread attention to anger over federal land management in the Western United States.

The case against the ranchers — Dwight L. Hammond, now 76, and his son, Steven D. Hammond, 49 — became a cause célèbre for an antigovernment group’s weekslong standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The occupation, led by the Bundy family, drew hordes of militia members who commandeered government buildings and vehicles in tactical gear and long guns, promising to defend the family.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump played to that sense of Western grievance, and the pardon of the Hammonds was a signal to conservatives that he was sympathetic. His pardon in August of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., was another such sign.

The Hammond pardons were the result of a monthslong push by agricultural groups like the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had been among the ranchers’ strongest supporters, according to the association’s executive director, Jerome Rosa.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Obama administration had been “overzealous” in pursuing the Hammonds. “This was unjust,” she said.

The pardons drew immediate criticism from environmental groups and their allies, who said they would imperil the rule of law on public lands.

“This is so very wrong,” Joan Anzelmo, a former superintendent of Colorado National Monument, said in a message on Twitter. “No one is safe from from felons with friends in high places. Terrible. Dangerous. Wrong.”

The federal government owns about half the acres in the West, and Obama administration policies there often angered ranchers and others who work and live on those lands. His administration blocked new coal leases, imposed moratoriums on uranium drilling near the Grand Canyon, and placed an unprecedented amount of land and sea under heightened federal protection.

Mr. Trump, in contrast, has struck a far more favorable tone toward those who want to loosen regulation on public land, and he has been aided by Mr. Zinke. In December, the president sharply reduced the size of two conservation areas in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. It was the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.

The Hammonds were prosecuted under a 1996 terrorism statute, passed after the Oklahoma City bombing, that imposed five-year mandatory minimum sentences for arson on federal property. Critics called the sentences too harsh.

“The Hammonds are multigeneration cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land,” Ms. Sanders said. “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.”

In a pointed criticism of the Obama administration, she added, “The previous administration, however, filed an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison.”

Dwight and Steven Hammond — who own about 13,000 acres of land in Eastern Oregon and once ran cattle on 26,000 acres of public land — have a history of conflict with federal officials, which indirectly led to the showdown in Oregon.

Both were convicted for a 2001 fire that burned more than 100 acres of federal land. While the Hammonds said it was devised to control invasive species, witnesses at their trial testified that it occurred after Steven Hammond and a hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer. The jury was told that Steven Hammond handed out matches and told allies to “light up the whole country on fire.”

He was also convicted of setting a second fire, in 2006, which he said was meant to manage the spread of other wildfires, a common practice.

The pair was convicted in 2012 and served a short time in prison. But a federal appeals court ruled in 2015 that they had been improperly sentenced and ordered them to return to prison.

Word of this second imprisonment soon reached the Bundy family, a sprawling ranching clan based in Bunkerville, Nev., that in recent years had emerged as a symbol of the most extreme version of the push against federal land control.

Angered by the Hammond case, two of the Bundy brothers, Ryan and Ammon, traveled to Oregon and stormed the Malheur wildlife refuge in what turned into a standoff with federal officials.

Many of those who joined the protest were members of unofficial militias who carried long guns and pistols and dressed as if at war. The occupation resulted in the death of a rancher from Arizona.

The Hammonds, however, never asked for the help of the Bundys or the militia members, and amid it all, quietly headed to prison.

The pardons will shave some time off the Hammonds’ sentences — Dwight Hammond has served three years and Steven Hammond has served four.

Ryan Bundy, one of the occupation leaders, hailed the president’s announcement of the pardons as a victory, the latest in a string of wins for his family. Mr. Bundy was ultimately acquitted for his role in the takeover, and is now running for governor of Nevada.

“Awesome, awesome, awesome,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s been a long time coming. That is good news.”

The move also drew praise from the cattlemen’s association.

“I had the opportunity to have a private meeting with him,” Mr. Rosa, the group’s executive director, said of Mr. Zinke. “I mentioned to him the Hammond situation. He was well aware of it, agreed that the Hammonds were good people, and said he would talk to the president and give his blessing to release the Hammonds from prison.”

Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, also lobbied aggressively for the pair’s release.

But some conservation groups strongly opposed the decision.

“Pardoning the Hammonds sends a dangerous message to America’s park rangers, wildland firefighters, law enforcement officers and public lands managers,” Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, said in a statement. “President Trump, at the urging of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, has once again sided with lawless extremists who believe that public land does not belong to all Americans.”

The Hammonds are the sixth and seventh people to receive pardons from Mr. Trump. In all his pardons, Mr. Trump bypassed the typical process (a five-year waiting period is required for requests to be made to the Justice Department) and passed over the more than 10,000 pardon and clemency applications. The president has the power to pardon anyone sentenced for a federal offense.

[The New York Times]

Trump Dismisses Missed Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Families: The Solution is Come Here Legally

The Federal government is all but certain to miss Tuesday’s court-imposed deadline for reuniting migrant families (via Vox). But President Donald Trump is downplaying the blown deadline — and, in fact, pinning the blame on migrants.

Speaking outside the White House prior to leaving for the NATO summit in Brussels, the president sounded off against illegal immigration when asked about the missed deadline.

“I have a solution,” Trump said. “Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do, come legally.”

He added, “I’m saying this, very simply. We have laws. We have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.”

The president went on to again make the baseless, erroneous assertion that Democrats are advocating for open borders.

“Democrats want open borders and they don’t mind crime,” Trump said. “We want no crime and we want borders where borders mean something. All right? And, remember this, without borders, you do not have a country.”

[Mediaite]

Trump returns to attacks on media: ‘These are really bad people’

President Trump attacked the media once again on Thursday, calling them “downright dishonest” and “really bad people” during a campaign-style rally in Montana.

“I see the way they write. They’re so damn dishonest,” Trump said. “And I don’t mean all of them, because some of the finest people I know are journalists really. Hard to believe when I say that. I hate to say it, but I have to say it. But 75 percent of those people are downright dishonest. Downright dishonest. They’re fake. They’re fake.”

“They make the sources up. They don’t exist in many cases,” he continued. “These are really bad people.”

Trump’s comments, made at a rally in Montana where he blasted incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), came a week after a gunman opened fire on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., leaving five people dead and several others injured.

The suspected shooter, who was identified as 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

While the attack was not determined to be politically motivated, it reignited criticism of Trump’s own rhetoric towards the press, which he has previously called the “enemy of the American people.”

After the shooting last week, Trump offered his condolences to the shooting’s victims and their families, and condemned the attack.

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” he said.

[The Hill]

Reality

Fox Business host Charles Gasparino pointed out Trump was his anonymous source for years.

Army discharging some immigrant recruits

The U.S. Army has begun quietly discharging some immigrant members, a move that could put those member’s immigration status at risk, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Immigration attorneys told the AP that they knew of more than 40 immigrant recruits and reservists who had been discharged from their service or whose status is now at question.

Some of the military members told the AP that they did not know why they were discharged. Others said they were told they were labeled a “security risk” because of relatives abroad and or because their background checks were incomplete.

Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army told the news outlet that they could not comment on the discharges or say if there have been any policy changes due to pending litigation.

The Defense Department told the AP in a statement that “[a]ll service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation.”

The immigration attorneys told the AP that many of the immigrants received an “uncharacterized discharge,” putting into question their ability to remain in the U.S.

Immigrant military members can obtain citizenship if they receive an honorable discharge. The AP reported that basic training has been delayed for discharged immigrant soldiers, which means they can’t become naturalized citizens.

Recruits must have legal status in the U.S. before enlisting in the Army. About 10,000 immigrants are currently serving in the military, with most going to the Army, according to the outlet.

The reports comes amid a Trump administration crackdown on immigration, including a “zero tolerance” policy mandating that all undocumented immigrants caught at the border face prosecution.

[The Hill]

Trump slams Dems for call to abolish ICE

President Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of “demeaning” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting that the criticism of the agency by some liberals could hurt the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

“When we have an ‘infestation’ of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elelments [sic] that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do! Nov.” he tweeted in an apparent reference to the November elections.

“How can the Democrats, who are weak on the Border and weak on Crime, do well in November,” the president asked in a second tweet. “The people of our Country want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!”

Trump’s tweets came as some Democrats have started to call for ICE to be abolished amid an intensifying controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy prioritizing the prosecution of people who cross into the U.S. illegally through Mexico.

That policy has caused thousands of migrant children to be separated from their parents at the border. Protesters gathered in cities across the U.S. over the weekend to demand an end to the practice.

While Trump signed an executive order last month intended to allow children to be detained with their parents, it remains unclear how the government expects to enforce it. A 1997 consent decree bars law enforcement from holding minors for longer than 20 days — a limit that does not apply to adults.

Days after that order was signed, a federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to work quickly to reunite migrant families that had been separated under the policy. However, it is not clear how officials plan to meet the deadlines imposed by the court.

[The Hill]

Reality

U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers show that they captured about 180 MS-13 members who crossed the border last year out of 187,000 illegal immigrants, this makes up 0.096% of those entering the U.S. illegally.

MS-13 is a threat, but Donald Trump is hyping their numbers and conflating vicious gangs with a typical immigrant to scare his supporters into fearing Hispanics.

President Donald Trump: ‘Our Laws are the Dumbest Anywhere in the World’

On the same day as immigration protests and marches were held throughout the nation, President Donald Trump called for those entering the country without proper paperwork to be immediately escorted “back out.”

“When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal maneuvering,” Trump opined in a midafternoon tweet.

He then added this about U.S. law: “Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want Strong Borders and no Crime. Dems want Open Borders and are weak on Crime!”

Trump’s tweet follows an earlier tweet where he claimed, “I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill.” Just a few days ago, however, he said just that.

[Mediaite]

Off-the-rails Trump rages at Democrats and accuses them of wanting to get rid of all law enforcement – even police

President Donald Trump was up bright and early and raging at calls for the breaking up of ICE — going so far as to say Democrats want to get rid of all law enforcement.

On Twitter he wrote, “The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen. I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!”

He then claimed, “To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements. So brave! The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!”

You can see the tweets below:

[Raw Story]

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