Here’s where things stand on day seven of the Trump administration.
It’s official: The border wall is coming.
At least that is what President Trump said Wednesday. As part of his three-day rollout of strict immigration policies, Trump ordered the “immediate construction of a physical wall” along the border with Mexico. What’s more, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday night Congress will pay for it, enabling the project to begin this year. A financial reimbursement from Mexico will come later, both Trump and Ryan said.
Trump is devoting the bulk of his first week in office to ratcheting up immigration enforcement. On Wednesday, he signed measures to create more detention centers, add thousands of Border Patrol agents and cut off funds for so-called “sanctuary cities” that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. In an interview with ABC News — his first one-on-one sit-down with a journalist since the inauguration — Trump said construction of the border wall would begin within “months.”
Advocates for immigrants and refugees are bracing for more executive actions Thursday and Friday. A draft order obtained by The Washington Post would block entry to the United States for 30 days for anyone from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. The order would also bar entry for all refugees for 120 days and for those from Syria until further notice.
TRUMP, STILL CLAIMING VOTER FRAUD, SEEKS INVESTIGATION
There might not be any evidence for widespread voter fraud during the 2016 election, but that didn’t stop Trump on Wednesday from promising a “major investigation” into the issue.
Trump, on Twitter, said the investigation will cover people registered to vote who are undocumented, dead or have registrations in more than one state. The last category includes members of Trump’s staff and immediate family, reporters found Wednesday.
The new president continues to insist he lost the 2016 popular vote because 3 million to 5 million ballots were cast illegally for rival Hillary Clinton, though he has yet to provide any verifiable facts to support his claim.
CIA ‘BLACK SITE’ PRISONS LOOM BACK INTO VIEW
A draft executive order obtained by The Post suggested it’s possible the CIA could reopen “black site” prisons overseas and restart a controversial interrogation program for terrorism suspects under Trump’s administration.
Though the unsigned document stopped short of instructing the CIA to resume these measures, it “represents the clearest signal from President Trump that he intends to at least explore ways to fulfill campaign vows to return the CIA to a role that supporters claim produced critical intelligence on al-Qaeda but that ended in a swirl of criminal investigations, strained relationships with allies, and laws banning the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation tactics,” our colleague wrote.
Trump “absolutely” believes waterboarding works as a method of interrogation and would consider reinstating the practice if members of his Cabinet agree, he told ABC News.
COMING UP NEXT FOR TRUMP
Trump plans to travel to Philadelphia on Thursday to meet with Republican lawmakers currently on retreat. British Prime Minister Theresa May will address members of Congress at the same event before traveling to Washington to meet with Trump on Friday.
Congress is out for the rest of the week, but the confirmation process for Trump’s Cabinet will continue apace next week:
- Rex Tillerson, nominated for secretary of state, will receive a vote on the Senate floor at 5:30 p.m. Monday
- Linda McMahon, nominated to lead the Small Business Administration, will receive a vote in the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship on Monday
- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), nominated for attorney general, will receive a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday
- Betsy DeVos, nominated for education secretary, will receive a vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at 10 a.m. Tuesday
- Elaine Chao, nominated for transportation secretary, will receive a vote on the Senate floor at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday