Alayna Treene

Federal judge blocks Trump's latest travel ban

An Iraqi family landed in the United States as a federal court blocked a travel ban in March. Photo: Felipe Dana / AP

A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked President Trump's third attempt at implementing a travel ban, which was set to go into effect Wednesday.

What's next: The administration is almost certain to appeal, meaning the revised ban could again reach the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now, the block means the administration cannot deny travelers from six of the eight countries officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide the information the U.S. requested for entry.

  • His quote: Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii, who issued a temporary restraining order against the administration, said the latest version of the ban, "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor."
  • What's in question: As with the previous versions, the underlying decision relies on whether the ban is based on animosity toward Muslims.
  • What makes this ban different from the previous versions: The latest order was only passed after the U.S. underwent extensive negotiations with other countries for more information that would vet their citizens. The list of countries affected by the ban also now includes North Korea and Venezuela, two countries that are not Muslim-majority. The other countries include Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, and Somalia.
  • What critics are saying: Challengers argue the additions are largely "symbolic," per the Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky, who writes that the new order would only impact" certain government officials from Venezuela, and very few people actually travel to the U.S. from North Korea each year."

Trump loses big in Forbes' richest Americans list

Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's net worth has fallen by $600 million over the past year from $3.7 billion to $3.1 billion, according to Forbes' 400 list ranking the richest people in America. Trump, who last year was ranked as the 156th wealthiest person in the country, now falls to No. 248, tied with Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel and others.

"Most notable loser:" Forbes, which has tracked Trump's wealth since the list first debuted in 1982, called Trump this year's "most notable loser," and blamed his losses on "a tough New York real estate market...a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign."

Key quote: "Trump did not campaign with the magazine in an effort to boost his ranking as he's done in years past" Luisa Kroll, Forbes magazine senior wealth editor, told CNBC. "We'll see if he tweets today. I know he cares a lot."

The top 10 members of America's most exclusive club:

1. Microsoft's Bill Gates is ranked at the top for the 24th-consecutive year, with a net worth of $89 billion in 2017.
2. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is second for the second-consecutive year, with a net worth of $81.5 billion in 2017.
3. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett is third for the second year in a row, after dropping in 2016 from his 15-year hold on the second spot. His net worth is currently $78 billion.
4. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was Forbes' "biggest gainer," with his net worth jumping $15.5 billion to $78 billion.
5. Oracle's Larry Ellison has a net worth of $59 billion.
6 & 7. Koch Industries' Charles Koch and David Koch tied. The brothers have a net worth of $48.5 billion each.
8. Bloomberg's Michael Bloomberg has a net worth of $46.8 billion.
9. Google's Larry Page shows a net worth of $44.6 billion.
10. Google's Sergey Brin has a net worth: $43.4 billion.


White House says Obama didn't call Kelly after his son's death

Trump and Kelly in the Oval Office. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

After President Trump essentially goaded reporters into asking the question, a senior White House official told Axios that Chief of Staff John Kelly "did not receive a call" from Barack Obama after his son was killed in Afghanistan.

Be smart: Trump is doubling down on a claim that is well outside the bounds of normal political attacks, and now he's bringing his chief of staff into it. Even after all his previous attacks on Obama, this is new territory for Trump.

Update: Kelly and his wife attended a 2011 White House event for Gold Star families, and sat at Michelle Obama's table.

Trump's comments

Defending his false claim that past presidents "didn't make calls" to families of soldiers killed in action, Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio Tuesday that reporters should ask Kelly whether Barack Obama made such a call to Kelly.

"To the best of my knowledge, I think I've called every family of somebody that's died," Trump told Kilmeade. "As far as other representatives, I don't know, I mean you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?"

Kelly's son, Marine Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, died after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. John Kelly, now a retired four-star Marine general, was a lieutenant general at the time.


Report: U.S.-backed forces recapture Raqqa from ISIS

A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighter runs in front of a damaged building as he crosses a street on the front line in Raqqa in July. Photo: Hussein Malla / AP

U.S.-backed militias said Tuesday that they have recaptured the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS, pushing the militant group's last stronghold out of what long had been considered their de facto capital, per Reuters.

Yes, but: Although the fighting is over, officers with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an American-backed militia group made up of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, said a formal declaration of victory wouldn't be made until they have finished clearing the area of mines and remaining militants. The U.S. military has also stopped short of declaring defeat, with a spokesman telling Fox News' Bret Baier that some fighting still remains.

Facts Matter Featured

The big picture on Puerto Rico

Jesus Soto Rosado puts his socks on after spending the night at a school-turned-shelter for residents left homeless by Hurricane Maria. Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP

Nearly four weeks after Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico, the island is still far from recovered. 86% of the island is still without power, 28% is without potable water, and 13% of grocery stores are still closed.

The official death toll has risen to 48, but the actual number is expected to be much higher as several parts of the island remain cut off from communication. Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) issued a request Thursday to audit the death count, stating that the misreported number is "distorting the grim realities facing the Island." Meanwhile, roughly 117 people are unaccounted for after last month's hurricane, per CNN.

What they're saying

  • President Trump, during a press conference today: "We now actually have military distributing food [in PR] — something that, really, they shouldn't have to be doing."
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-PR) warned that "this could become another Flint" in an interview with CNN. "We're talking about contaminants, toxins, material, oil that are in this water. You're telling me that this water can be used for — as drinking water? I don't think so."

The facts

The latest on what we know from Puerto Rico, per FEMA and the PR government site:

  • Boots on the ground: More than 20,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members, including more than 1,700 FEMA personnel, are on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • State help: 31 U.S. states are helping in PR, and 20 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Electricity: 13.7% of the island has power, up from 9% Friday. Roughly 43% of cell towers have been restored.
  • Food: Approximately 87% of grocery stores are open (396 of 456).
  • Gas: Roughly 79% of retail gas stations are operational (872 of 1,100).
  • Shelter: 5,037 people remain in shelters across the island, down from 5,602 Friday. 105 shelters are open and operating.
  • Transportation: Only 392 miles of Puerto Rico's 5,073 miles of roads are open. All commercial airports and federally maintained ports are open, some with restrictions.
  • Water and waste: Approximately 72% of Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) customers have potable water, up from 63% Friday. 56% of waste water treatment plants are working on generator power, the same as Friday.
  • Medical care: 95% (64/67) hospitals are open, down from 97% Friday. Many remain on backup power systems, and are without air conditioning. 95% (46/48) of Dialysis Centers are open, the same as Friday.
  • Banks: 50% of bank branches (157 of 313) are open and operating.
Go deeper: The storm has passed, but Puerto Rico's health faces prolonged recovery (STAT News); Sending Relief by Air and Sea to Puerto Rico From the Bronx (NY Times); Puerto Rico struggles with massive environmental crisis (Washington Post).
This post is being updated with the latest information on the Puerto Rico recovery efforts.

Trump says he and McConnell are "closer than ever before"

President Donald Trump gestures toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., after their meeting at the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held a surprise press conference following their lunch meeting at the White House Monday. Trump opened by stating, "McConnell and I have been friends for a long time. We're probably now, despite what you read, closer than ever before."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly attacked McConnell, both publicly and in private, for his failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This press conference is an effort to show a united front heading into key legislative fights.

Go deeper: Mike Allen on Trump and McConnell's "truce of necessity"

Trump on his agenda

  • Tax reform: "I would very much like to see it be done this year... but don't forget, it took years for the Reagan administration to get tax reform done... I could say the same for health care."
  • Health care: "We're getting close... we feel confident we have the votes... I feel Republican and Democrats are as we speak working very hard for an intermediate [health care] plan, a short term plan."
  • Judges: "We will set records for the number of judges we'll confirm... we have a tremendous number of judges under review by the Senate... the level of quality is extraordinary... we're getting really great reviews." (Go deeper: Trump privately predicts he will appoint four Supreme Court justices).

Trump on the Russia probe

  • Length of investigation: "They ought to get to the end of it because I think the American public is sick of it."
  • Will you consider firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller? "No, not at all."

Trump on U.S. efforts abroad

  • U.S. soldiers killed in Niger: "I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families... If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls." (When asked a follow-up question on whether the Obama claim was true, Trump said he didn't know if Obama made such calls. Former Obama aides on Twitter said Trump's statement was false. News reports from the time show Obama making such gestures. Here's a story about Obama visiting a military base for the return of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.)
  • Fighting in Iraq: "We don't like the fact that they are clashing. We're not taking sides, but we don't like the fact that they are clashing."
  • On illnesses of US government personnel in Havana: "I do believe Cuba is responsible."
  • "We now actually have military distributing food—something that, really, they shouldn't have to be doing."

More from Trump

  • NFL: "It is very disrespectful to our country when they take a knee... the American people are very angry... it is highly disrespectful — they shouldn't do it."
  • Bipartisanship: "I hope to have a relationship [with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi], but if we don't, we don't."
  • Bannon challenging Trump on primary candidates: "I like Steve a lot. Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing."
  • Clinton 2020? "Oh I hope she runs. Hillary, please run!"
  • Sexual assault allegations made against him resurfacing amid Harvey Weinstein fallout: "All I can say is it's totally fake news ... it's totally made up stuff."
  • On Tom Marino nomination for drug czar: "We are going to look into the report... We are going to be looking into Tom... We are going to take it very seriously," Trump said following the 60 Minutes/Washington Post report on the opioids. Trump also said he'll declare the opioid crisis a national emergency "next week"

More from McConnell

  • On his relationship with Trump: "We have the same agenda. We've been friends and acquaintances for a long time. We talk frequently, we don't give you a readout every time we talk... but we talk frequently about the issues before us."
  • Bannon challenging GOP on their endorsements of primary candidates: "Our operating approach will be to support our incumbents, and in open seats, to help nominate people who can actually win in November... That's the way you keep a governing majority."
  • Judges: "The single most significant thing this president has done to change America is the appointment of Neil Gorsuch."

Remnants of Hurricane Ophelia kill 3 in Ireland

The sky turns orange and yellow in Brittany Monday, Oct.16, 2017 in Chasne-sur-Illet, western France. Photo: David Vincent / AP

The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia slammed into Ireland's west coast Monday afternoon, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall to the region. So far three people have been reported dead as a result of the storm, per BBC.

Red alert: Met Éireann, Ireland's National Meteorological Service, put the entire country on red alert Sunday evening, warning that there was a "danger to life and property" due to the storm's "violent and destructive" winds. The alert will remain in place until Tuesday at 1 a.m. BST.

The latest:

  • About 360,000 homes and businesses in the Irish Republic, 1,800 in Northern Ireland, and 4,000 homes in Wales are without power, per the Belfast Telegraph.
  • The Irish government has deployed the army to aid emergency responses in coastal counties. Irish bus and tram services have been suspended, per the BBC.
  • "Violent and destructive" wind gusts of 109 miles per hour were recorded at Fastnet Rock, off the coast of Cork, according to Met Éireann.
  • In several areas throughout the U.K., skies have turned orange and yellow as a result of the storm pulling in tropical air and dust from the Sahara. Hundreds of photos of the "red sun" were shared on social media.


Trump's warnings on Iran deal and health care

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump, situated between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis during his Monday morning Cabinet meeting, said he "feels strongly" about his decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, stating that he's "tired of being taken advantage of."

Trump also revealed that he is not giving up on health care, stating: "Obamacare is finished, it's dead, it's gone...There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore." He added that Senate Republicans are currently working on a short-term fix to insurance markets after he "cut off the gravy train" by ending subsidies — a move that has threatened to throw the Affordable Care Act markets into chaos.

Future of Iran deal: Trump said Congress and the deal's member countries will either find a solution that would improve the agreement, or else "total termination" will be "a very real possibility."

More on health care: Trump said he wants to "help the poor people" get better health care, and believes congressional Republicans will agree to a long-term fix for the ACA by March or April. Trump acknowledged that Democrats are unlikely to support that effort.

Other highlights:

  • Pharma: "Prescription drug prices are out of control" with drugs costing much more in the U.S. than in other countries, "meaning as usual the world is taking advantage of the United States," said Trump. "The drug companies quite frankly are getting away with murder."
  • Senate/House GOP: "I have a great relationship with them but they're not getting the job done... and I'm not going to blame myself. I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done."
  • Immigration: "Visa overstays... they're so out of control... more than ever we need the wall."
  • Las Vegas shooter: "We continue to pray for the victims... he was a demented sick individual, the wires were crossed pretty badly in his brain."
  • California wildfires: "Very sad thing to watch."

Trump's morning tweets: Tax reform, Iran deal and Hillary Clinton

Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump had a busy morning on Twitter, blasting everyone from the Democrats and their position on his tax reform plans, to Chuck Schumer's changing attitudes on the Iran deal.

Nod to 2020: Trump, who filed the paperwork for his re-election campaign on the day of his inauguration, also took aim at "Crooked" Hillary Clinton, tweeting that he hopes she'll run against him again.

The tweets:

Trump made it clear he was watching Fox News while firing off his tweets this AM, pointing to the former Reagan economic adviser, Art Laffer, who joined the network this morning to sell Trump's tax reform plan.

More context: Sen. Chuck Schumer also issued a statement today arguing that the "fake math" on Trump's tax cuts is a "deliberate manipulation of numbers and facts" and he said companies are already sitting on a lot of cash.

Schumer also called out Trump for his frequent touting of the stock market: "As the president likes to point out, the stock market is at record highs and companies are raking in unprecedented profits, yet wages have remained relatively flat," said Schumer. "That's proof positive that companies already have a cash windfall, but they're not using it to boost wages."

Trump then tweeted about the success of the stock market under his presidency:

He also targeted Hillary Clinton, who Nigel Farage criticized for "making a sad, sorry spectacle of herself" on Fox & Friends this morning, stating he hopes she'll run in 2020.


Trump administration sanctions Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump announced Friday that he was decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, stating that he will not support a "fanatical regime that has spread chaos and death around the world." Simultaneously, his administration issued sanctions against Iran's Revolutionary Guard for supporting terrorism, a move which reveals Trump has every intention of letting the deal implode.

Key quote: "In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated... our participation can be canceled by me, as president, at any time."

Go deeper: The Iran nuclear deal, explained.