Today in the Trump Administration:
Two Executive Orders, including The Wall
President Trump signed two executive orders during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. The first executive order calls for the construction of a “large physical barrier on the southern border,” while the second reinstates the Secure Communities Program, which Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses to “target illegal immigrants for removal.” It also directs the State Department to withhold visas or take other measures to ensure countries take back deported undocumented immigrants and also strips federal grant money from sanctuary cities that harbor undocumented immigrants.
Trump weighs in on enhanced interrogation
President Trump said in an interview airing Wednesday that he has asked intelligence officials about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terror suspects. The answer he’s received: Torture “works.”
“I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question: Does it work? Does torture work?” Mr. Trump told ABC News in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday evening. “And the answer was yes, absolutely.”
White House press briefing
Sean Spicer answered questions from the White House press corps today. Read our.
Spicer on interrogation methods
Spicer said that a draft executive order on U.S. interrogation methods “is not a White House document. I have no idea where it came from, but it is not a White House document.” The document, obtained by media organizations including CBS News said Mr. Trump is considering a major review of America’s methods for interrogating terror suspects and the possible reopening of CIA-run “black site” prisons outside the United States.
The order would also reverse America’s commitment to closing the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and instruct the Pentagon to send newly captured “enemy combatants” to the site.
Nancy Pelosi “Feels sorry” for President Trump
Responding to his claims that more than three million people voted illegally in he election, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she felt “sorry” for President Donald Trump for believing that.
The Mexico Border Wall
Wednesday could be the day when President Trump lays the executive foundations for building his long-promised wall on America’s southern border. He’s expected to sign further executive actions today to begin taking action on immigration, including allocating funds to the building of the wall.
Mr. Trump told ABC News that construction of the wall will begin in “months.” “As soon as we can, as soon as we can physically do it,” he told ABC News in an interview. “I would say in months, yeah. I would say in months -- certainly planning is starting immediately.”
Investigating voter fraud claims
Rather than backing away from roundly debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, Mr. Trump on Wendesday tweeted a promise to launch an investigation into the massive voter fraud he belives robbed him of the popular vote. Republicans and Democrats have been unusually aligned on dismissing the premise of the fraud Mr. Trump alleges took place.
Sean Spicer takes questions from reporters
White House press secretary Sean Spicer answers reporters’ questions Wednesday, just as President Trump is calling for a “major investigation” into widespread voter fraud despite no evidence that millions voted illegally in the presidential election. He’ll likely touch on executive actions on immigration, Chicago’s violent crime rates, and the draft order reviewing terror interrogations and CIA-run “black site” prisons.
Trump’s Supreme Court Pick
In another early-morning tweet, Mr. Trump stated that he would unveil his Supreme Court pick to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia pick on Thursday.
What were Trump’s Day-One Promises?
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made a lot of Day-One promises on immigration, security, trade, government reform, energy, environmental issues, health care, gun control and more. So far, he’s taken steps to ease the repeal of the ACA, and withdraw from the TPP trade agreement.
Here’s a check on what Mr. Trump promised to do on Day One -- what he’s done and hasn’t done yet, Rebecca Shabad writes.
The Trump Cabinet
President Trump hosts a swearing-in ceremony for his new Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly (he was officially sworn in Friday night, with Defense Secretary James Mattis).
Vice President Pence swore in Nikki Haley as ambassador to the U.N.
There are no votes for the rest of the week on Congress, though. House and Senate Republicans decamp for three-day retreat in Philadelphia.
What you missed from yesterday:
What Executive Actions Did Trump Sign?
Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines: Mr. Trump signed executive actions advancing Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, a pair of projects blocked by the Obama administration in part because of environmental concerns.
On abortion and global aid: The president has massively expanded the ban on providing federal money to international family planning groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information to all organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance.
Hours after taking the oath of office last week, President Trump’s first day executive orders instructing federal agencies to take steps to lessen the financial burden of the Affordable Care Act and suspended FHA mortgage premium credit for first-time home buyers.
The Supreme Court - Who will be the nominee?
The choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is down to two names -- Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch and U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, according to two sources close to the selection process, CBS News’ Major Garrett reports. Over the weekend, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported that Gorsuch was the front-runner.
The Trump Cabinet
Gov. Nikki Haley was confirmed by the full Senate to be ambassador to the United Nations. Haley joins Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and CIA Director Mike Pompeo as confirmed members of Mr. Trump’s Cabinet.
Several of his Cabinet nominees had committee votes Tuesday. HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson, Labor Secretary nominee Elaine Chao and Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross advanced, while committee votes on Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke were postponed.