Through The Smog: Last Week’s Stories You Might’ve Missed
Trump’s Muslim Ban Halted & And His Appeal Rejected
On Friday, part of President Donald Trump’s Muslim immigration ban was halted by Seattle Federal District Court Judge James Robart. Robart, a judge who was appointed by President George W. Bush, placed a temporary restraining order that blocks the enforcement of two aspects of the executive order (EO), one of them being the main component:
After this, the Trump administration sent a brief seeking an emergency stay and reinstatement of the ban. It was denied.
To say President Trump was pissed would be an understatement:
The legal battle of this ban is far from over. The appeals court said it will reconsider the motion for a stay if the Federal Government sends in more briefs. They are expected to do so on Monday by 3 pm.
As The New York Times notes, the ban will likely have it’s final stand in the Supreme Court:
Will the case reach the Supreme Court? Almost certainly. The losing side will very likely ask the justices to review the appeals court’s ruling on the emergency stay. The ultimate decision on whether the executive order is lawful will not come quickly. That means people seeking to travel or settle here may be whipsawed until the case is finally resolved.
Trump Begins Rollback of Dodd-Frank And The Fiduciary Standard
President Trump signed an executive order beginning the process to scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory framework which was created in response to the housing crisis. What he signed orders the Secretary of the Treasury, yet to be confirmed Steve Mnuchin (a man who profited from the housing crisis and a Goldman Sachs alumni), to meet with various agencies and produce a formal review of the regulations created under Dodd-Frank within 120 days.
This move is in stark contrast with how our 45th campaigned during the election. It appears that while he may have promised to his supporters that he would “drain the swamp” what he really meant was that he’d be refilling it:
“We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because, frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine, that had nice businesses, they just can’t borrow money … They can’t borrow money because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank.”
President Trump also signed a memorandum seeking to roll back and review the fiduciary standard for financial advisors. This rule was set up, as a Forbes contributor notes, to:
“Make sure that, if you hired a financial advisor to help with your retirement planning and assets, the financial advisor acted in your best interest, avoided conflicts of interest when possible, and was transparent with you about his or her compensation and fees.”
Trump Hasn’t Fully Separated Himself From His Business
New records, made public by a Freedom of Information Act request from ProPublica, shows that President Donald Trump is still very closely tied to his business empire. In fact, the trust containing his assets is revocable, and ran by his son and CFO. The New York Times reports:
While the president says he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, two people close to him are the named trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son, Donald Jr., and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Mr. Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time.
What’s more, the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president. This trust remains under Mr. Trump’s Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned.
President Trump has made little effort to separate himself from his businesses. If he does not address this, his conflicts of interest will still plague him and he will continue to violate the constitution (emoluments).
The Ever Deepening Rabbit Hole Of Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest
GOP Votes To Allow Toxic Waste Into Streams
Donald Trump signed an executive order last week enacting a rule that says for every regulation that is put into place, two have to be identified to be pulled back. However, it’s extremely unclear if the regulations being pulled back will have detrimental affects to the American people. For instance, in the same week that the aforementioned executive order was passed, Seante Republican’s voted 54–45 to remove an Obama era environmental policy that required coal companies to cease from dumping their harmful, and in some cases quite literally toxic, waste into streams and other bodies of water. The reason? Jobs.
Republican lawmakers, and Donald Trump, believe that these types of regulations are responsible for the coal industry’s decline. When in actuality, the reason for the dwindling coal industry revolves around the U.S.’s high demand for cheap natural gas.
The GOP Voted To Allow Mentally Impaired Individuals Who Receive Social Security Benefits To Purchase Guns
The newly minted majority Republican House of Representatives voted on Thursday to end the rule instituted by the Obama administration to deny gun purchases to mentally impaired individuals who receive Social Security benefits. The vote was 235–180 and declared a success for the National Rifle Association.
The repeal of the rule would allow an individual with a history of mental illness, receiving Social Security, to buy a firearm without a background check. As The Guardian noted the rule would affect approx. 75,000 individuals.
This is one of many repeals being brought to the table by the Congressional Review Act in order to rescind legislation by the Obama administration before they go into affect.
It is another perfect example of party over everything that we are currently seeing from the Republicans. Instead of protecting the American people from an immediate threat to public safety, Republicans have once again chosen their allegiance to the National Rifle Association. In the nearly two decades since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, we have watched as thousands of Americans died wrongful deaths at the end of a gun in the hands of someone who should have never had one. The Republican relationship with the NRA has continually trumped their responsibility to the American people.