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Courts have temporarily blocked President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. Early this morning, lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota filed a brief with a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing against restoring Trump’s executive order banning people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States, saying that to reinstate the ban would “unleash chaos again.” This comes after, on Sunday, a California appeals court sided with a lower court in Seattle and refused to reinstate the travel ban. The Seattle ruling, issued by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday, imposed a nationwide temporary restraining order on the ban. Over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security began allowing visa holders affected by Trump’s order to board U.S.-bound flights, prompting many people to scramble to rebook flights. On Sunday, Roslyn Sinha, an Iraqi passport holder with a valid visa to live in the United States, was among those who was able to return. This is her speaking at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.
Roslyn Sinha: “As I was in the air, Donald Trump signed the executive order. That made all of us confused. The airlines couldn’t let me on board. The embassy couldn’t help us. Being banned over my parents’ heritage was an unfair treatment. It’s just—but when you see the activists, the lawyers, the people who were protesting to get us back home, you think that this country will always be great, no matter what.”
Robart’s ruling sparked multiple outbursts on Twitter by President Trump, who called Robart a “so-called” judge. Robart was appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2004. One of Trump’s tweets read: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” He also wrote, “The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” Trump’s Twitter rant sparked concern from lawmakers, including Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and said that Trump seems “intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis.” We’ll have more on the legal developments of Trump’s Muslim ban after headlines.
Trump’s pick to be the Army secretary, billionaire Vincent Viola, has withdrawn from the nomination process, citing his inability to disentangle himself from his business ties. Viola is the owner of the Florida Panthers and the founder of many companies, including the high-frequency trading company called Virtu. Critics have warned high-frequency trading threatens the stability of global financial markets.
Meanwhile, the full Senate is expected to vote today on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary—another billionaire who has faced accusations of conflicts of interest. DeVos is a longtime backer of charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools. She and her husband have also invested in a student debt collection agency that does business with the Education Department. DeVos’s confirmation is in doubt, after two Republican senators said they’d vote against her. If one more Republican switches, she will not be confirmed. So far, only five of Trump’s Cabinet nominations have been sworn in. Another 15 are awaiting confirmation.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has scheduled more than a dozen meetings with senators on Capitol Hill this week. The meetings come as more information is emerging about Gorsuch, including his right-wing writings and political views from his time as a student at Columbia University in the mid-1980s. While on campus, Gorsuch co-founded the right-wing campus newspaper the Federalist Paper. The Associated Press reports that in Gorsuch’s writing both for the Federalist Paper and the Columbia Daily Spectator, he criticized anti-apartheid protests, saying divestment could hurt the university’s endowment. He also criticized racial justice protests and black-led movements on campus, while he defended the Reagan administration during the Iran-Contra scandal.
Tens of thousands of people from coast to coast poured into the streets for anti-Trump protests throughout the weekend, demonstrating their opposition to everything from Trump’s Muslim ban and his Cabinet nominations to the multiple lies issued by the White House and top Trump officials last week. On Friday night in New York City, protesters gathered for a mock vigil criticizing counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway for having attempted to justify President Trump’s Muslim ban by citing a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that never happened. Protesters gathered outside the Bowling Green subway stop in Manhattan for a mock “commemoration” of the imaginary victims. This is one of the protesters.
Protester: “We’re commemorating the victims of Bowling Green. It never happened, so they were never commemorated. So, we feel that victims of all massacres should be commemorated. So, in this alternative fact world, this is something that needs to be commemorated, so that’s why we’re out here.”
Then, on Saturday in New York City, thousands of people poured into the streets around the Stonewall Inn for a rally supporting the LGBT community and opposing Trump’s crackdown against immigration, including the Muslim ban. This is one of the protesters.
Ishalaa Ortega: “My name is Ishalaa Ortega, and I am here fighting for our rights. As an immigrant transgender woman of color, as an atheist, as a person who had to run away from my own country, I am here to tell Donald Trump that we resist, and we’re not going to accept what he’s trying to do against us.”
We’ll have more voices from this rally later in the broadcast. Thousands of anti-Trump protesters also rallied Saturday outside the White House in Washington, D.C., for a “No Ban, No Wall” protest; in Philadelphia, for a “Sanctuary Everywhere” protest; and in West Palm Beach, Florida, where thousands marched on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, where he was spending the weekend. Hundreds more protested at the airport in Los Angeles, outside the courthouse in downtown Miami and at multiple protests in Denver, including one outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s office to demand he reject Betsy DeVos’s nomination for education secretary. More protests were held on Sunday from coast to coast, including in Paterson, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; and at the border near San Diego, California, where Mexican protesters shut down the San Ysidro Port of Entry during a “border boycott” protesting Trump’s anti-immigration executive orders, as well as a major fuel price hike across Mexico.
On Sunday, thousands also rallied in Los Angeles to protest the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, as well as the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump has moved to revive construction of both pipelines, which have faced massive resistance from indigenous nations, local white farmers and environmental activists. Meanwhile, at Standing Rock in North Dakota, agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs attacked and arrested at least three water protectors on Saturday. A shaky video shows a BIA officer beating one of the water protectors with a baton.
Trump’s newly appointed chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has begun to attack net neutrality rules and other consumer protections. In a series of actions last week, Pai blocked nine companies from providing affordable high-speed internet to low-income families, withdrew the FCC’s support from an effort to curb the exorbitant cost of phone calls from prison, and said he disagrees with the 2015 decision to regulate the internet like a public utility.
In France, far right-wing politician Marine Le Pen gave a much-anticipated speech launching her presidential campaign Sunday. She’s running on a xenophobic, nationalistic agenda that calls for France to crack down on immigration and leave the European Union. In the speech, she claimed the upcoming election is a “choice of civilizations,” and she said France must follow the path set by the Brexit vote in Britain and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.
Marine Le Pen: “Other people have shown the way: the British, who have made the choice to be free with the Brexit and who each day can congratulate themselves for their insolent and good economic growth; the Americans, who have chosen to give the priority to their national interest.”
Meanwhile, in Argentina, President Mauricio Macri has announced a slew of anti-immigration measures in recent days that many are comparing to those pushed by Donald Trump. The policies both speed up deportations and restrict new immigrants from entering. Macri is justifying the measures by accusing immigrants of causing crime, using skewed data about incarceration rates. Another right-wing congressmember in Argentina has called for the construction of a wall on the border with Bolivia.
Massive protests continue in Romania, where a half-million people took to the streets Sunday to continue protesting against government corruption. The demonstrations were initially sparked by the passage of an emergency ordinance that decriminalized misconduct by officials. On Saturday, the government rescinded that decree, but the mass protests continue. Many are now demanding the resignation of top politicians. Romania’s president is expected to give a speech later today.
The United Nations says civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose last year, particularly among children. In total, 923 children were killed amid the ongoing fighting between the Taliban, the U.S. and U.S.-backed Afghan security forces and ISIS militants. A total of 3,498 civilians died amid the fighting in 2016. The majority died in suicide bomb attacks. More than 100 died in airstrikes by international warplanes, including those from the United States.
People across the country took to social media Sunday to commemorate what would have been Trayvon Martin’s 22nd birthday. Instead, the unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed by white neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, sparking nationwide protests. On Tuesday, a new book written by Trayvon Martin’s parents will be published. It’s titled “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.”
And the New England Patriots scored a historic win during Sunday night’s Super Bowl, beating the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 28 after an unprecedented comeback. During the half-time show, Lady Gaga performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “Born This Way,” a song celebrating the LGBT community. A handful of the Super Bowl ads appeared to make political statements, such as an Audi ad demanding equal pay for women and an Anheuser-Busch ad that portrayed a fictionalized account of the co-founder’s immigrant story. But the most explicitly political ad designed for the Super Bowl was rejected by Fox. 84 Lumber’s original ad depicted the lengthy journey of a Mexican mother and daughter toward the United States, only to confront a looming wall at the border. After it was rejected, the company broadcast only the beginning of the ad and then directed viewers to see the rest of the ad on its website, which promptly crashed amid the traffic surge. This is part of the rejected ad, when the mother and her daughter first see the wall. And that’s the mother and her daughter discovering a wooden door built into the border wall—scenes from 84 Lumber’s original Super Bowl ad, which Fox refused to broadcast.