Trump order on refugees, Muslims sparks confusion, worry
WASHINGTON (AP) — Confusion, worry and outrage grew Saturday as President Donald Trump’s crackdown on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries took effect. Airlines blocked people traveling to the United States, legal challenges were underway and doubts abounded about whether the order would make America safer.
The immediate fallout from Trump’s order meant that an untold number of foreign-born U.S. residents now traveling outside the U.S. could be stuck overseas for at least 90 days — despite holding permanent residency “green cards” or other visas. And some foreign nationals who were allowed to board flights before the order was signed Friday were being detained at U.S. airports, told they were no longer welcome.
Trump billed his sweeping executive order as a necessary step to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S. Included is a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
Trump’s order singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, indefinitely blocking entry for anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war.
The directive did not do anything to prevent attacks from homegrown extremists who were already in America, a primary concern of federal law enforcement officials. It also omitted Saudi Arabia, home to most of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
Despair, confusion reign as Trump’s travel ban hits
An Iraqi pleaded for his life to President Donald Trump. A longtime New Yorker, born in Syria, wondered how he would get home from a trip abroad. Church groups, geared up to welcome refugee families, looked in dismay at homes prepared for families that may never arrive.
Despair and confusion set in Saturday among citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries who found themselves abruptly unable to enter the United States a day after Trump signed an executive order that he billed as a necessary step to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S.
Included is a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
An unknown number of travelers from those nations were detained at U.S. airports after their flights landed, including tourists, foreign students and people trying to visit friends and family.
“What’s next? What’s going to happen next?” asked Mohammed al Rawi, an Iraqi-born American citizen in the Los Angeles area, after his 69-year-old father, coming to visit his grandchildren in California, was abruptly detained and sent back to Iraq after 12 hours in custody. “Are they going to create camps for Muslims and put us in it?”
Trump, Putin discuss ‘mutually beneficial’ trade, security
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump had an hourlong discussion Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin — the first since Trump assumed office last week — raising questions over the fate of U.S. sanctions against Moscow and whether the two will look to enhance military cooperation against the Islamic State group.
The White House provided a thin readout on the call between the two leaders, saying it was “a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair.”
The two leaders discussed “a range in topics from mutual cooperation in defeating ISIS to efforts in working together to achieve more peace throughout the world including Syria,” the White House statement said, using an acronym for the militant group.
A White House official later said sanctions did not come up in Saturday’s call between Trump and Putin. The official said Putin brought up several times that Islamic terrorism was a “common foe” for the U.S. and Russia. The official was not authorized to disclose details of the call by name and insisted on anonymity.
Contrary to statements from the White House, the Kremlin said that the two leaders addressed the importance of “restoring mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between business circles of the two countries.”
Trump shuts door on refugees, but will the US be safer?
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his halt to immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations and ban on refugees is being done in the name of national security. But it’s not clear that these measures will help prevent attacks on American soil, and they could wind up emboldening extremists who already view the U.S. as at war with Islam.
The list of countries does not include Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from, and recent high-profile acts of deadly extremist violence have been carried out either by U.S. citizens or by individuals whose families weren’t from the nations singled out.
The admissions ban announced Friday also does not directly address a more urgent law enforcement concern: homegrown violent extremists already in the United States who plot their attacks without any overseas connections or contacts.
“The primary terrorism-related threat facing the U.S. today comes from individuals living here who become inspired by what they see on the internet who carry out attacks independent of any terrorist organization,” said John Cohen, a former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official who worked in government under Democratic and Republican administrations and who has been involved in refugee vetting policy.
The FBI has for years been concerned by the prospect of airplane bomb plots and terrorists dispatched from overseas to commit violence in America. But the ascendancy of the Islamic State, and the group’s ability through slick and easily accessible propaganda to reach followers in all corners of the country, has been a more immediate challenge — and a more realistic danger — for counterterrorism officials.
Key Till witness gave false testimony, historian says
NEW YORK (AP) — The woman at the center of the trial of Emmett Till’s alleged killers has acknowledged that she falsely testified he made physical and verbal threats, according to a new book.
Historian Timothy B. Tyson told The Associated Press on Saturday that Carolyn Donham broke her long public silence in an interview with him in 2008. His book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” comes out next week.
“She told me that ‘Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,'” said Tyson, a Duke University research scholar whose previous books include “Blood Done Sign My Name” and “Radio Free Dixie.”
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black tortured and killed in 1955 in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman, then known as Carolyn Bryant.
His murder became national news, was a galvanizing event in the civil rights movement and has been the subject of numerous books and movies. During the trial, Bryant said that he had grabbed her, and, in profane terms, bragged about his history with white woman. The jury was not present when she testified.
May’s mission to woo Trump a success, but makes some uneasy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May went to Washington, and President Donald Trump extended the hand of friendship. Literally.
May left Washington after a 24-hour visit as Saturday’s British newspapers splashed front-page photos of the two leaders touching hands as they walked at the White House before a strikingly collegial news conference.
May wanted her meeting, Trump’s first as president with a foreign leader, to revitalize the trans-Atlantic “special relationship.” She got her wish — delighting those who think Trump’s presidency will be good for Britain but alarming others who loathe the brash Republican populist.
She flew home — after a stop in Turkey Saturday to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — with Trump’s commitment not to abandon NATO, his praise for what he called “this most special relationship” and — a prize she had eagerly sought — the first steps toward an early trade deal with Britain once it leaves the European Union.
Britain can’t begin formal negotiations with other countries until it actually leaves the bloc, likely in 2019 at the earliest. But May’s office said Saturday that she and Trump had agreed to start high-level talks and joint working groups immediately to ensure “a seamless transition to a new bilateral relationship.”
Former neighbor recalls suspected killer as grieving widower
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Bob Evans sat at a picnic table outside friend Katherine Decker’s motorhome in 1986, sobbing that his wife had died when his then-5-year-old daughter, Lisa, was just a baby.
“He really did cry. He’d cry and blow his nose and everything when he talked about it,” Decker recalled. “I used to feel really bad all the time about it. Every time I saw him, I’d just feel sick.”
But Evans hadn’t been married to Lisa’s mother. She wasn’t his daughter, and her name wasn’t Lisa. He also told Decker his name was Gordon Jenson.
Three decades later, authorities say only one part of his story was true: The girl’s mother was dead. And they believe Evans killed her, along with at least five other women and children.
Evans — who over his lifetime had gone by different names — died in prison in 2010, eight years after he killed and dismembered his actual wife in Richmond, California. On Thursday, authorities linked him to five earlier killings — the mother of the girl he called Lisa, and a woman and three children whose bodies were found in barrels in New Hampshire. Those four have not been identified, but investigators say based on DNA evidence, one of the girls was Evans’ daughter.
Fashion police: Cops ease rules on tattoos, turbans, beards
NEW YORK (AP) — The Joe Friday look is out. Tattoos, turbans and beards are in.
Police departments, compelled by a hiring crisis and eager for a more diverse applicant pool, are relaxing traditional grooming standards and getting away from rules that used to require a uniformly clean-shaven, 1950s look.
More officers are on the job with tattoos inked on their forearms, beards on their chins or religious head coverings like hijabs and turbans in place of — or tucked beneath — their blue caps.
“My turban is a part of me,” said Mandeep Singh, among 160 Sikhs in the New York City Police Department who last month were allowed to wear navy blue turbans in place of the standard-issue police caps. “This opens a gate for other potential candidates who felt they could not be a police officer because they would have to choose either the job or their faith.”
That followed a 2014 move by the St. Paul, Minnesota, police to create a special hijab for its first female Somali Muslim officer.
Trump sets 5-year and lifetime lobbying ban for officials
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump acted Saturday to fulfill a key portion of his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, banning administration officials from ever lobbying the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government and imposing a separate five-year ban on other lobbying.
Trump has said individuals who want to aid him in his quest to “Make America Great Again” should focus on the jobs they will be doing to help the American people, not thinking ahead to the future income they could rake in by peddling their influence after serving in government.
“Most of the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work,” Trump joked, referring to an array of White House officials who lined up behind him as he sat at his Oval Office desk. The officials included Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior strategist Steve Bannon and counselor Kellyanne Conway. “So you have one last chance to get out.”
Trump said he talked about the ban a lot during the campaign and “we’re now putting it into effect.”
In a pair of separate actions, Trump took steps to begin restructuring the White House National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. He also gave Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president’s top military advisers, 30 days to come up with a plan defeat the Islamic State group. Scores of people have been killed in terrorist acts that IS has carried out overseas or has inspired on U.S. soil.
Conservatives feel happy about Trump’s Supreme Court options
WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservatives’ wishes for the next Supreme Court justice boil down to a few words: no more Souters.
The reference is to former Justice David Souter, dubbed by a White House aide as a “home run” for conservatives when he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to replace the liberal William Brennan. As it turned out, Souter generally was a liberal vote for most of his 18 years on the court.
But conservatives who care about the court say they have no such worry this time around. They feel confident that whomever President Donald Trump nominates for the Supreme Court, they won’t be looking back with regret in the years to come.
The leading contenders from a list of 21 names Trump rolled out during his campaign are three federal appeals courts judges who have met with Trump: Neil Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman and William Pryor, according to a person who is familiar with the process. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss about internal decisions.
Trump said he plans to announce his choice on Thursday, and told Fox News that he has basically settled on a nominee, “subject to change at the last moment.”
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