In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Secretary James Byrne was fired on Monday, just five months after being confirmed for the job by the Senate. “Today, I dismissed VA Deputy Secretary James Byrne due to loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne’s ability to carry out his duties. This decision is effective immediately,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement.
  • The Pentagon has issued guidance to its personnel and service members aimed at preventing the possible spread of the new, deadly coronavirus. The memorandum tells forces how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the virus and of the precautions they should take.The memo follows guidance already issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with personnel advised to avoid all nonessential travel to China and to seek medical care if they recently returned from the country in the last 14 days and are showing signs of sickness.
  • The Senate acquitted President Trump on both counts of his impeachment. Mitt Romney became the first person in history to cross the aisle and vote to impeach a member of their party.
  • J. David Patterson, the nominee for the Pentagon’s second-highest personnel role, has withdrawn from consideration for the post after an op-ed he wrote for The Federalist surfaced. The withdrawal stems from a 2017 op-ed that Patterson wrote for the conservative website, in which Patterson and co-author A.D.P. Efferson blame mass killings on immigrants who fail to assimilate to American culture.
  • The U.S. military has halted a secret military intelligence cooperation program with Turkey that for years was used to aid Ankara in targeting the Kurdish Workers Party.  U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the suspension of the program is in response to Turkey’s cross-border military incursion into Syria in October.
  • Lawyers for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump squared off before a federal appeals court over Daniels’ effort to revive a libel lawsuit she filed over a Trump tweet that appeared to call her a liar. An earlier court ruling favored the President and ordered Daniels to pay nearly $300,000 for Trump’s legal fees.
  • An aide to Vice President Mike Pence is expected to be named to a National Security Council-based post overseeing the Trump administration’s international religious freedom efforts. Sarah Makin’s planned new role, confirmed by two senior administration officials, is just the latest example of how President Donald Trump and his aides have prioritized promoting religious freedom. Ending the oppression of religious minorities has long been a rallying cry for human rights activists worldwide, and many have praised the Trump team’s efforts.
  • The White House threatened to veto a House bill that would provide billions of dollars in additional funding for earthquake relief in Puerto Rico. The House is set to vote later this week on legislation that would allocate $4.7 billion in funds after the island, still reeling from 2017’s Hurricane Maria, was devastated by multiple earthquakes last month. The Office of Management and Budget said President Trump would veto the “misguided” bill, citing the administration’s past efforts to assist the island in recovery efforts and raising questions about the prudence of providing additional aid to the Puerto Rican government.
  • Department of Homeland Security will no longer let New Yorkers enroll in several programs intended to expedite international travel, in response to a recently-enacted state “sanctuary” law which limits DHS’ access to state driver’s license records. New York residents will be prohibited from enrolling in DHS programs including Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST. The letter does not refer to TSA’s PreCheck program.
  • The Justice Department has begun reviewing a 10-month-old allegation by the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), that Erik Prince, an ally of President Donald Trump, repeatedly misled lawmakers during the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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