Today in the Trump Administration
Michael Flynn resigns
Late Monday night, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned.
Flynn said in his resignation letter that during the course of his duties as incoming national security adviser he held “numerous” phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers and ambassadors that were “to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships” between President Trump, his advisers and foreign leaders.
“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador,” he said. “I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
Trump is evaluating the situation involving Michael Flynn and Russian calls
The White House says President Trump is “evaluating the situation” involving his national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“[H]e is speaking to Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the Vice President had with General Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is, our national security,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement Monday.
Michael Flynn’s job in jeopardy
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s job security is in jeopardy, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett has learned, and White House policy adviser Stephen Miller’s studied non-defense of Flynn illustrates a new level of isolation from Trump and his inner circle.
Flynn’s deception about conversations with the Russian ambassador about Obama administration sanctions have deeply soured his relationship with Vice President Mike Pence. Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation describe Pence as aggravated by Flynn’s decision to deceive Pence -- forcing him to say things on Flynn’s behalf on “Face The Nation” and other shows that have proven to be untrue. Pence relied on Flynn’s representations and feels burned, the sources said.
Report: Trump dealt with North Korea missile launch as his club’s members dined nearby
President Trump dealt with a major national security issue during his weekend getaway at Mar-a-Lago with members of the club eating dinner near his table on the terrace outside.
One guest who joined the club a few months ago, Richard DeAgazio, posted photos of what happened on his Facebook account, that were publicly taken down but then obtained by CBS News.
DeAgazio, a retired investor, told The Washington Post in an interview Monday that he was sitting about six tables away from where Mr. Trump and his team sat with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While he was sitting there, DeAgazio said that he learned that North Korea had just test-fired a ballistic missile and he turned to look at the president’s table.
U.S. sanctions Venezuela’s vice president as “drug trafficker”
The U.S. sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami on Monday, calling him a “prominent Venezuelan drug trafficker.”
In a statement, the U.S. Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated El Aissami as “a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.”
The U.S. is also sanctioning Samark Bello, a wealthy businessman connected to El Aissami who has held significant business interests in the U.S. The U.S. says Bello provided assistance or support to El Aissami’s trafficking activities.
Judge denies DOJ request to postpone travel ban hearing
The Justice Department’s request for a delay in action on the lower court case on the merits of President Trump’s travel ban was denied by the federal court in Seattle.
The Washington State Attorney General’s office confirmed to CBS News that District Judge Robart ruled that the travel ban case can proceed on the merits in his court. That means the two sides will begin submitting briefs and arguments on the issue of whether this policy is actually Constitutional.
In a memo filed Monday afternoon regarding the legal fight over President Trump’s travel ban, the Justice Department had informed the court that it wanted to postpone any further action at the District Court level until the 9th Circuit decides whether it will hear the case en banc.
What the White House may do next with the travel ban
President Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller said in a round of TV appearances Sunday that the administration is exploring multiple avenues to get some type of travel ban implemented.
Just a few days after a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to uphold a lower court’s decision to temporarily block the travel ban, Miller said the White House is considering further legal action as well as executive actions.
“We’re considering new and further executive actions that will enhance the security posture of the United States,” Miller said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I don’t have any news today to make on it but I think the point John is that the President has enormous powers both delegated to him by Congress and under the Constitution, his article 2 foreign affair powers to control the entry of aliens into our country and he’s going to use that authority to keep us safe.”
Trump and Trudeau
President Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 11 a.m. They’ll held a round table at 12:15 p.m. on women business leaders and entrepreneurs, and then held a joint press conference.
The joint news conference follows a bilateral meeting between the two leaders. Issues including trade and possibly immigration might come up on their agenda. There might be questions regarding the administration’s plan moving forward on the travel ban and new executive action(s) they’ve said they’d roll out this week.
Trump Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin confirmed by Senate
The Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary on Monday evening.
Mnuchin was expected to be confirmed. His confirmation came in spite of strong objections by Democrats that the former banker made much of his fortune by foreclosing on struggling homeowners during the financial crisis.
Republicans said Steven Mnuchin’s long tenure in finance makes him qualified to run the Treasury Department, which will play a big role in developing Trump’s economic policy.
President Trump will speak with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, 9:45 a.m., and then at 10:10 a.m. he’ll have a call with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa
Late this afternoon, Mr. Trump speaks with Maureen Scalia, the widow of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, on the anniversary of his death.
What you missed yesterday
CBS News poll: Does Trump’s support have a ceiling — or a floor?
The nation is not simply divided. The last election left many wondering if they really understood the views of Americans who disagreed with them, or whether they were truly being heard at all. A single poll number can’t always answer those puzzles, so here we look deeper at all the groups who support and oppose the Trump administration at its outset: who they are, what they want and - most of all - what might change their minds.
It turns out that while there are hard-and-fast views on either side of the nation’s divide, the range of President Trump’s potential support - both to the high and low side - is actually bigger than you might think.
In this study, people separated themselves into four groups: the strongest of Trump backers (who we’ll call the Believers); those backing him but waiting for him to deliver (the Conditionals); those opposing him for now but waiting to see some results (the Curious) and those who seem immovably, firmly opposed (The Resistors.) We’ll plan to follow these groups over time. Here’s the new CBS/YouGov poll showing how they break down now.
GOP senator warns Trump to avoid “personal attacks” on judges
The Arizona Republican told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson that while it was “fine to disagree with opinions” of judges, blasting specific judges was inappropriate.
“It’s fine to question the judgment. But to go after individual judges or to talk about them, I think Judge Gorsuch said it right, that is disheartening,” Flake said. “And I think that we ought to avoid any personal attacks like that.”
Trump adviser: Administration will send a signal “very soon” to N.K.
On “Face the Nation” Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to President Trump, weighed in on North Korea’s ballistic missile test Sunday, defending the president’s response as a “show of strength” to the Asian nation.
“He went out, stood shoulder to shoulder and sent a message to the whole world that we stand with our allies,” Miller said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” referencing the president’s brief statement Saturday standing beside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mr. Trump, on Saturday, said the U.S. “stands by” Japan, but did not mention North Korea.
“Last night was a show of strength,” Miller said of the president’s remarks. “Saying we stand with our ally, having the two men appear on camera worldwide to all of planet Earth was a statement that will be understood very well by North Korea.”
Schumer urges Trump to throw travel ban “in the trash”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Trump to abandon his executive order on immigration and start from scratch, following a federal appeals court’s decision not to reinstate his travel ban last week.
“I think he ought to throw it in the trash,” Schumer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “I think this executive order is so bad and so poison and its genesis is so bad and terrible that he ought to just throw it in the trashcan.”
Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch describes his most significant cases
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has returned a 68-page questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of confirmation hearings expected in March.
In the questionnaire, Judge Neil Gorsuch lists what he considers the 10 most significant cases he presided over while on a federal appeals court.
Top of his list is a 2016 case in which he wrote for a panel of judges who sided with a Mexican citizen seeking permission to live in the U.S.
Also listed is a 2013 case involving a family business that raised religious objections to paying for contraception for women covered under its health plans.
Gorsuch states that none of the opinions he authored has been reversed.
The questionnaire also contains a long list of his published writings and speeches.