×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
September 13, 2017
MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

The White House is considering dropping the refugee limit for the next year below 50,000, a quota that hasn't been seen since at least 1980, The New York Times reports. In a meeting Tuesday, Homeland Security officials reportedly suggested a limit of 40,000.

"When you get down to some of the numbers that are being talked about, you get down to a program of really nugatory levels," said David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee. "It's not an exaggeration to say the very existence of refugee resettlement as a core aspect of the American story, and America's role as a global leader in this area, is at stake."

In addition to a ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, Trump dropped the cap on refugees to 50,000 days after taking office. He will soon need to announce a new cap, as required by the Refugee Act of 1980. But since the Refugee Act was passed, the average quota for refugees has been 94,000. In 1986, it hit its lowest recent level under former President Ronald Reagan, who set a cap of 67,000.

There are a number of major refugee crises unfolding around the world: An estimated 5 million people have fled from Syria and recently close to 400,000 Rohingya people have left Myanmar due to what appears to be an unfolding genocide. But supporters of lower refugee admittance numbers argue that the most useful way to help displaced people isn't through resettlement in America.

"One senior administration official involved in the internal debate over refugees described the move to curtail admissions as part of a broader rethinking of how the United States deals with migrants, based on the idea that it is more effective and affordable to help displaced people outside the nation’s borders than within them, given the backlog of asylum seekers and other immigrants already in the country hoping to stay," The New York Times writes.

"Refugee resettlement is just a way of making ourselves feel better," argued the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian. Jeva Lange

12:43 a.m. ET
Pool/Getty Images

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has used a private email address he set up after the election to communication about White House matters with other administration officials, Politico reported Sunday and Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, confirmed. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, set up the private family domain and new email addresses in December.

Kushner mostly "uses his White House email address to conduct White House business," Lowell said in a statement. "Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account," mostly "forwarded news articles or political commentary." To comply with the Presidential Records Act, Kushner forwarded all non-personal emails to his White House account, Lowell said, and "all have been preserved in any event." The lawyer did not say who determined which emails were personal and which were business-related.

Other White House official have also conducted business over personal email, including former White House Chief of Staff Renice Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon, Politico reports. During the 2016 campaign, Trump relentlessly hammered opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of private email while secretary of state, a practice that led to a lengthy FBI investigation. Trump still talks of having the Justice Department prosecute Clinton. There is no indication that Kushner sent classified information over his private email account, and a government official tells The New York Times that unlike Clinton, the Kushners did not set up a private server. Still, Politico says, "Kushner's representatives declined to detail the server or security measures on it." You can read more at Politico. Peter Weber

12:00 a.m. ET
Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

On Sunday evening, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation placing indefinite travel restrictions on visitors from eight nations: Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Somalia. Sudan was dropped from Trump's original travel bans, the latter of which expired Sunday, while Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added. The proclamation, which Trump administration officials say carries the weight of an executive order, spells out different restrictions for different countries, ranging from total bans for North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Chad to just a ban on Venezuelan government officials and their families. It goes into effect Oct. 18.

A senior administration official said the new travel restrictions are "conditions-based, not time-based," and could be revisited if a country becomes willing or able to meet minimum passenger screening and information-sharing standards. Trump's ban on refugees, set to expire Oct. 24, will be addressed separately. It is unclear how the new proclamation will affect the Supreme Court challenge to Trump's travel bans set to be litigated in oral arguments Oct. 10.

Trump's second ban, most of which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect over the summer, affected Muslim-majority countries. With the new ban, "six of President Trump's targeted countries are Muslim," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The fact that Trump has added North Korea — with few visitors to the U.S. — and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn't obfuscate the real fact that the administration's order is still a Muslim ban. ... President Trump's original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list." The White House denies that the ban targets Muslims specifically. Peter Weber

September 24, 2017
Fox News/Screenshot

At least six people were injured Sunday morning in a shooting at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, local officials say. An NBC News report says one person was killed.

Police were called around 11:15 a.m. with reports of multiple shots fired. The church's Sunday morning service began at 10 a.m.

The shooting victims have been transported to a nearby hospital, and Fox News reports one person has been taken into police custody. The identity and motives of the shooter are so far unknown.

This is a breaking story that will be updated as more details become available. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2017
Eric Risberg/The Associated Press

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to join NFL players like Colin Kaepernick by kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Maxwell took a knee before his team's Saturday evening game against the Texas Rangers.

"My decision has been coming for a long time," he explained after the game. "I finally got to the point where I thought the inequality of man is being discussed, and it's being practiced from our president."

"The point of my kneeling is not to disrespect our military; it's not to disrespect our Constitution; it's not to disrespect this country," Maxwell continued. "My hand over my heart symbolizes the fact that I am and I'll forever be an American citizen, and I'm more than grateful to be here. But my kneeling is what is getting the attention because I'm kneeling for the people that don't have a voice."

Maxwell acted in response to President Trump's weekend attacks on Kaepernick and and other athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'" Trump asked a rally crowd Friday. Since Trump's initial comments, pro athletes, coaches, and owners have united in opposition to his remarks. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens players in London for a game Sunday locked arms and took a knee during the U.S. national anthem in solidarity with athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have come under attack by President Trump this weekend. The teams' coaches and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan joined the gesture of defiance of Trump's critique of Kaepernick's stand against police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti also issued a statement endorsing the athletes' right to protest on the field. "We respect [our players'] demonstration and support them 100 percent," he said. "All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced Sunday that his team would not "participate in the anthem" in the afternoon game against the Chicago Bears. The Steelers have decided to stay in the locker room during the anthem, Tomlin said, so players aren't "forced to choose sides."

Rex Ryan, former coach of the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, expressed dismay at Trump's comments while speaking on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. "I supported Donald Trump," Ryan said. "But I'm reading these comments and it's appalling to me, and I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who donated to Trump's inaugural festivities, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the president's statements. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2017

During an appearance on ABC's This Week Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed President Trump's weekend attacks on pro athletes like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Mnuchin argued free speech is not at issue because the NFL is a private organization which can set its own rules, eluding the question of how criticism from Trump, a government official, affects that equation. "This isn't about Democrats. It's not about Republicans. It's not about race; it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," Mnuchin said. "This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country."

The treasury secretary maintained Trump simply wants the NFL to require all athletes to stand during the national anthem, a specification Trump did not make when he tweeted that kneeling protests "should not be allowed."

"The NFL has all different types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet; you have to have your jersey tucked in," Mnuchin said. "I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem." Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2017

Germans head to the polls Sunday in a vote anticipated to give Chancellor Angela Merkel her fourth term in office. Her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is predicted to take about 34 percent of Bundestag seats with which it will form a coalition government with Merkel again at the head.

"There are a lot of problems in other countries, think Donald Trump or Brexit," one Berlin voter told NBC News. "With Merkel there is a sense that there is no great problem that she couldn't overcome, and that she's a politician you can trust."

The growth of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party — which campaigned on a populist, anti-immigration message and could well become the Bundestag's third-largest party out of six represented — has raised alarm among many Germans concerned about extremism. Turnout is expected to be high. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads