Trump's first 100 days with ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
Day No. 56
The big story: It feels like deja vu. President Trump’s revised travel ban was blocked once again, this time by a federal judge in Hawaii who Wednesday issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on one of the president’s signature initiatives. The president didn’t hesitate to slam the decision while on the campaign trail in Nashville, Tennessee, Wednesday night: “We are going to fight this terrible rule. We are going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court.” Calling it a “watered-down version of the first order,” Trump said he believes the judge’s decision is based in politics not law: “You don't think this was done by a judge for political reasons, do you? Nooooo. This ruling makes us look weak.” The plaintiffs even cited a quote from senior adviser to the president Stephen Miller to back their position, noting a Feb. 21 Fox News interview during which Miller said, “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country.” This version was, no doubt, harder to challenge in court, but because the plaintiffs came back to the fact they believe this was a discriminatory Muslim ban, thanks to not just Miller’s comments, but the president himself while on the campaign trail last year, it’s going to expose any version of this policy, watered down or not, to a court challenge. And it's not just Hawaii, early Thursday morning, a Maryland judge blocked the executive order’s 90-day pause on the issuance of visas to citizens of six Muslim majority countries. The question now is what does the administration do? We should get more of those answers today.
The sleeper story: The president’s budget blueprint will be released this morning, but reporters got a sneak peek from budget director Mick Mulvaney and even he described the cuts to the State Department as “fairly dramatic.” It cuts the State Department by 28 percent, while giving the Defense Department a 10 percent spending increase. What else do we learn? The much-talked-about border wall gets $1.5 billion in the blueprint, which Mulvaney describes as “the America first” budget. Who else is on the chopping block? Sesame Street. The blueprint proposes phasing out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting altogether over time. It’s been talked about by Republicans for what seems like the longest time, but this actually will hack away at the CPB. This budget shouldn’t be a surprise because Mulvaney said they went through Trump’s speeches and used the "president’s own words” to turn “those policies into numbers." Even Rex Tillerson in his first official press conference as secretary of state said he would make sure the department would be “ much more effective, much more efficient, and be able to do a lot with fewer dollars.” The budget blueprint and those cuts are already facing bipartisan pushback, but how far will critics go on this fight?
The shiny story: It’s the story that just keeps going. In his first interview since the president claimed he was wiretapped by President Obama, but without providing any evidence, Trump said his information came from the news: "Well, I've been reading about things,” he said on Fox News. "I said, wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I've been seeing a lot of things.” The article he cites never claimed the previous resident of the White House ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower. And the White House still has provided no evidence to back up the president’s explosive tweets, but he hinted Wednesday night that it could be coming: “I mean, let's see whether or not I prove it,” he said. "But I think we have some very good stuff. And we're in the process of putting it together, and I think it's going to be very demonstrative.” On Monday, FBI Director James Comey will testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee and there’s no doubt he will be asked about the president’s claims. This story won’t go away until the president or the White House provides evidence, more of an explanation, or it’s uncovered or definitively shot down. But the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday said they have seen no evidence of any wiretap at Trump Tower during the campaign or transition.
TLDR: A federal judge in Hawaii put Trump’s travel ban 2.0 on a temporary pause using the president and his advisers’ words as “direct evidence of the executive order’s discriminatory motivations” against Muslims.
Photo of the day: President Trump paid a visit to President Andrew Jackson’s grave Wednesday to commemorate Jackson’s 250th birthday. Trump has praised Jackson, even hanging Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office, and likes to point out his similarities to the seventh U.S. president.
--Hawaii judge puts Trump's revised travel ban on hold: A federal judge in Hawaii issued Wednesday a nationwide temporary restraining order on President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, dealing another body blow to one of the president's signature domestic security initiatives. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson found that that there is “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation" of the new order and its predecessor. His ruling prevents core provisions of the executive order, affecting refugees and citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, from going into effect as scheduled on Thursday, explain ABC's JAMES HILL and JULIA JACOBO. http://abcn.ws/2n1s9Kq
--Trump calls Hawaii judge's ruling against revised travel ban 'unprecedented judicial overreach:' Less than two hours after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on the Trump administration's revised travel ban, the president slammed the decision as "an unprecedented judicial overreach," reports ABC's ADAM KELSEY. Speaking Wednesday night at a rally at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, President Trump said the court was motivated by "political reasons," adding that he expected to be "criticized ... for speaking harshly about our courts." http://abcn.ws/2mv45MN
--Trump to slash state department budget by 28 percent: President Trump’s budget blueprint will cut the State Department budget by 28 percent while infusing the Defense Department with a 10 percent spending increase, the president’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters. Trump’s promised border wall will get a cash influx of $1.5 billion in the blueprint, Mulvaney said, with possibly more money flowing to that project in the next year’s budget. He said this funding will provide for a couple of “pilot cases” to see what type of wall structure is most cost efficient and effective. Mulvaney described the blueprint as "the America first" budget – designed to follow up on the president’s campaign promises, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS reports. http://abcn.ws/2ncz5Vv
--Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney on 'GMA': White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney today said he's working on gathering the funds to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. "I’m responsible for getting the money together to build the wall and that’s what I'm doing," Mulvaney said on ABC News' "Good Morning America.” ABC’s MORGAN WINSOR has more: http://abcn.ws/2ndw8E6
Speed read with ABC’s ADAM KELSEY
President Trump says news reports were origin of unsubstantiated wiretap claim. In his first interview since his unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by former President Obama, President Trump said the sources of information behind his tweets were primarily news reports. “Well, I've been reading about things,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson that aired Wednesday night, writes ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN. Trump said among "other things" that he read about wiretapping was a New York Times article and a Fox News report. http://abcn.ws/2n1KSFD
AG Jeff Sessions gave Trump no reason to believe wiretap claim. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he never gave President Trump any reason to believe the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower. "Look, the answer is no," Sessions said when asked about the issue Wednesday, adding, "I'm not talking to the president or the people who are investigating the case. And I'm unable to comment on any of these details." Sessions announced at the beginning of March he would recuse himself from existing or future probes related to any campaigns for president, note ABC's GENEVA SANDS and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI. http://abcn.ws/2nnSfIi
House intel leaders say no evidence Trump was wiretapped. The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that there is no evidence of any wiretap at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the presidential campaign or transition. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that there is "no basis" for President Trump's accusations that then-President Obama illegally wiretapped Trump Tower "whatsoever." The committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said, "I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower." ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY has more: http://abcn.ws/2mJBbcI
President Trump pivots on wiretapping accusation, brushes aside tax leak. President Donald Trump seemed to pivot away Wednesday from his accusations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower, the same day that congressional leaders said there was "no basis" for the claims, writes ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN. "'Wiretap' covers a lot of different things," said Trump in an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson Wednesday evening. "I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.” http://abcn.ws/2n1lVtH
What we do - and don't - know about Trump's taxes. President Donald Trump's tax returns were a major issue in the presidential campaign, and they remain a mystery now that he's in the White House. A two-page summary of his 2005 return was released Tuesday night, and while it sheds some light on his income, many questions linger about his business dealings, wealth and investments. ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY explains what is known about his tax returns. http://abcn.ws/2m1f7gF
Bipartisan bill seeks to help Afghan interpreters obtain visas. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks 2,500 additional visas for Afghans who assisted U.S. forces by working as interpreters. Last week the U.S. Embassy in Kabul stopped interviewing Afghans who had applied for special immigrant visas -- intended for interpreters who risked their lives by working alongside Americans -- because of a shortage of remaining visas. A State Department bulletin warned of the shortage, saying the number of visas allocated by Congress would run out by June 1, reports ABC's ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN. http://abcn.ws/2mJMJfR
@rickklein: Chaffetz v. Gowdy - #marchmadness trash talk hits then Hill. @ESPNAndyKatz http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/rep-jason-chaffetz-rep-trey-gowdy-discuss-march-46156235
@Elizabeth_McLau: US Amb to @UN Haley: no comment on Trump's wiretapping claim, “Do I look at them [tweets] & say where’d that come from? Yes.”
@DavidWright_CNN: Interesting to see cabinet members -- like Tillerson, Pruitt, & Carson -- generally supportive of deep cuts to their own departments
@MichaelPaulson: Dispatch from Broadway: Justin Trudeau accompanied by Ivanka Trump to show about welcoming strangers https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/theater/justin-trudeau-ivanka-trump-broadway-come-from-away.html