The Supreme Court “is saving one of its biggest cases for last. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries. It’s the last case the justices will hear until October.
“The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the ban. The policy has been fully in effect since December, but this is the first time the justices are considering whether it violates immigration law or the Constitution.
“The court will consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality. It will also look at whether the policy is aimed at excluding Muslims from the United States.” (AP)
DACA. “In the biggest setback yet for the Trump administration in its attempt to end a program that shields some undocumented young adults from deportation, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the protections must stay in place and that the government must resume accepting new applications.
“Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said that the administration’s decision to terminate the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was based on the ‘virtually unexplained’ grounds that the program was ‘unlawful.’” (New York Times)
VOTER CONCERNS. “A study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” is the latest “to suggest that Trump voters weren’t driven by anger over the past, but rather fear of what may come. White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.
“It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel,’’ said Diana C. Mutz, the author of the study and a political science and communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics.”
“In her study, Dr. Mutz sought to answer two questions: Is there evidence to support the economic anxiety argument, and did the fear of losing social dominance drive some voters to Mr. Trump? To find answers, she analyzed survey data from a nationally representative group of about 1,200 voters polled in 2012 and 2016.
“In both years, participants were asked the same wide-ranging set of questions. Party loyalty overwhelmingly explained how most people voted, but Dr. Mutz’s statistical analysis focused on those who bucked the trend, switching their support to the Republican candidate, Mr. Trump, in 2016.” (New York Times)
RNC. The Republican National Committee mocked the large potential field of Democratic presidential contenders by referring to them as the “50 Most Beautiful Democrats Running For President,” with a nod to The Hill‘s now-defunct list of attractive Capitol Hill denizens.
RNC Rapid Response Director Michael Ahrens: “So while 2020 is still a long way away, Democrats have reason to worry about what’s shaping up to be the largest primary field ever, even if it’s not quite 50.” (Washington Examiner)
CHRISTIE WATCH. “With Trump’s senior staff constantly in flux—and a major shakeup expected after the midterms, as Trump’s reelection campaign takes shape—10 current and former administration aides, Republicans close to the White House and people close to” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “say Christie is putting himself in a prime position to land a plum job in the administration.
“The president loves to hire people who go on TV to defend him … and Christie stands to benefit from being a familiar figure to a president who likes to surround himself with friends.”
“Christie has been mentioned as a potential replacement for chief of staff John Kelly, whose relationship with the president has recently grown strained, but it’s unclear whether Christie would be willing to work in the West Wing, with its reputation for chaos. The people close to Christie said he also would not work in a White House alongside Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who advocated for firing him from the transition after Trump’s surprise 2016 victory.” (Politico)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."