PHOTO: A White House handout of Donald Trump on the phone, with Vice President Mike Pence (seated), Chief of Staff Reince Preibus (standing, center) and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (standing, right)
*A federal judge granted an emergency stay to prevent the removal of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from the US, following the implementation of Donald Trump’s executive order barring those people from entering the US for the next 90 days.
Thousands of protesters gathered at airports across the US, seeking the release of those detained. Initial estimates say 100-200 people were affected; however, the number may be far higher — claims circulated of 120 held at Los Angeles airport alone.
The judge’s stay does not free those in detention, and they may be moved to detention centers while the political and legal dispute continues.
*In an unprecendented move, Trump has appointed both his chief strategist Steve Bannon and his chief of staff Reince Preibus to the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, the primary executive body for US foreign policy and operations.
Founded in 1947, the NSC has always meant to be insulated from politicization by the Executive. No member of the President’s staff has ever been named to the Principals Committee, which includes the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury.
The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have not been named as Committee members, although they may attend meetings.
*Trump spoke with several leaders of other countries, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s François Hollande. and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.
Trump and Putin did not discuss the lifting of US sanctions that were imposed on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and military support of Ukrainian separatists.
Hollande’s office indicated the President pressed Trump not to lift sanctions against Russia, to respect the nuclear agreement with Iran, and not to withdraw the US frmo the Paris Accords over climate change. He also spoke of the consequences of protectionism, and said democratic values included welcoming refugees.
Merkel issued a brief statement about the 45-minute call, emphasizing the importance of NATO.
*Trump issued an exective order directing the Joint Chiefs of Staff to devise a plan to defeat the Islamic State