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Trump’s revised travel ban may be too little too late

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- Commentary

resident Trump’s new executive order on immigration addresses some of the legal problems found by courts in the Jan. 27 original order, but is still vulnerable on some of the same legal grounds.

As a constitutional law professor who has recently written on this topic, I’d contend that Trump’s lawyers are not out of the woods yet.

Some important changes

The new executive order still has the original’s 120-day ban on the entry of refugees from all countries. Jettisoned is the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

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The new order keeps the 90-day ban on entry by persons from six majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. But the new order removes Iraq from the list. The change came because of Iraq’s role in assisting the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State and its enhanced security measures, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The revised order also removes the original’s preference for refugees who are members of “minority” religions in their country of origin. Stating this preference had opened the Trump administration up to the argument that the original order aided Christians and other non-Muslims in violation of the separation of church and state.

But the change may be too little, too late. The federal court that struck down the first executive order on church-state grounds also relied on statements by Trump and Rudy Giuliani that the purpose of the order was to effectuate a “Muslim ban.” The new executive order doesn’t undo the effect of those statements. You can’t unring that bell.

Due process clause less of an issue

Additionally, the current executive order clarifies that it does not apply to green card holders or those who hold lawful visas. This detail will help Trump defend against arguments that the order violates the Constitution’s due process clause, which was the basis for the federal appellate court ruling that the order was unconstitutional.

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The due process clause provides that the government cannot take away someone’s liberty without notice and a hearing before an unbiased decision-maker. It applies even to noncitizens if they are present in the U.S., but not to noncitizens abroad. Exempting noncitizens with green cards or visas means there are far fewer people affected by the executive order who have the right to complain of a due process problem.

But other legal issues apply equally to the original and revised orders. By imposing a blanket ban on anyone coming from one of the remaining six majority-Muslim countries, this week’s executive order still arguably runs afoul of a 1965 statute that bans discrimination on the basis of “national origin” regarding visas. To be sure, by exempting current visa holders from the executive order’s reach, the universe of potential legal challenges on this ground shrinks. But to the extent the executive order burdens those seeking new visas, there may still be a viable legal challenge.

Ultimately, the only way to know for sure the legal effect of this new executive order is to wait for a court ruling. Given that the American Civil Liberties Union has already pledged to challenge the new executive order in its ongoing litigation against the immigrant ban, we may not have to wait long.

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‘Should we talk about Ivanka?’: MSNBC guest calls for Trump family investigation if Biden’s son is scrutinized

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During a panel discussion on Donald Trump's call for an investigation of Joe Biden's son Hunter over his Ukraine dealings, an "AM Joy" guest said if Congress is going to investigate politician's kids why not start with Ivanka Trump and her brothers Don Jr. and Eric.

Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan called out President Donald Trump for his "brazenness" going after the former vice president's son.

"There's so much to say about this story, as for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, 'Yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call'? It's absurd." Hasan began.

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Tapper smacks Mnuchin with Trump kids’ international business deals after attack on Biden son

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In a fairly contentious interview with Steve Mnuchin, CNN host Jake Tapper pointed out how Donald Trump's children -- Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric -- have been using their father's name to swing international deals after the Treasury secretary accused former Vice President Joe Biden's son of doing the same.

Mnuchin first dismissed reporting by the Washington Post and the conservative Wall Street Journal that Donald Trump was withholding Ukraine funding in an effort to get dirt on Biden and his son -- saying neither newspaper could be trusted -- he then complained to the CNN host about having to spend seven and a half minutes talking about Trump's Ukraine scandal.

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2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

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