Donald Trump this week: Immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries, questions about mental stability
Questions about Donald Trump’s mental stability, a potential meeting with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and comments about immigrants from “shithole” countries were all part another chaotic week in Washington, D.C.
Here’s what you missed this week in the world of Donald J. Trump.
Jan. 11: Trump confusing tweets on FISA
Trump’s early morning tweet Thursday sent Washington, D.C. into chaos after the president criticized the domestic surveillance program that his own intelligence officials have called essential.
“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” Trump tweeted.
“This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land,” Trump said in his second morning tweet on the matter. “We need it! Get smart!”
However, the confusing tweets didn’t stop the House of Representatives from voting to extend the legal basis for that program by six years. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act allows U.S. spy agencies to collect without emails and other communications foreign targets outside the United States. Americans’ communications can be swept up in the process.
Also Thursday, Trump reportedly asked participants in a White House meeting why the U.S. should accept immigrants from “shithole countries”, according to multiple reports.
“What do we want Haitians here for?,” the president asked, according to the people briefed. “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?”
“We should have people from places like Norway,” the president added, according to reports from the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
The White House did not deny comments, but issued a statement saying Trump would “always fight for the American people.”
The exchange came during several meeting to help resolve the standoff Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in March, which protect some 700,000 young immigrants.
WATCH: Anderson Cooper gives emotional message about Haiti in response to Trump’s comments
Jan. 10: U.S. back in Paris climate deal?
WATCH ABOVE: Trump calls collusion a ‘Democrat hoax’, vague on speaking with Mueller
After a roughly two hour meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House on Wednesday Trump said the U.S. could consider re-entering the Paris Climate Accord.
“So, we can conceivably go back in,” Trump said about the Paris deal. “We are very strong on the environment. I feel very strongly about the environment.”
The U.S. can’t actually exit the deal until after the next presidential election, but the announcement is surprising for a president who has begun rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations and has been a champion of the coal industry.
During the press conference, Trump also refused to say whether he would grant an interview to special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Certainly I’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “But when they have no collision, and nobody’s found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you’d even have an interview.”
And Canada is becoming increasingly convinced that Trump will soon announce the United States intends to pull out of NAFTA, according to a report from Reuters.
WATCH: Canada on NAFTA, “prepared for any eventuality”
“Our approach from the start has been to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So Canada is prepared for every eventuality,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday. “That is a whole-of-government operation.”
Report casts further doubt on prospects for succesful talks to modernize the trade agreement, which Trump has repeatedly threatened to abandon unless major changes are made.
Officials are due to hold the sixth round of negotiations in Montreal from Jan. 23-28 as time runs out to bridge major differences.
Canada is the top export market for two-thirds of American states and is the second-largest market for the other third.
Jan. 9: Trump team preparing for Mueller
Trump’s legal team is anticipating a request for the President to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to multiple reports.
Trump’s lawyers have been involved in ongoing discussions with FBI investigators as part of the agency’s probe into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has called the investigation a politically motivated “hoax” and has been reluctant to acknowledge multiple U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favour.
The White House did not confirm reports that Mueller plans to seek an interview with the president.
Also Tuesday, a U.S. judge in San Francisco temporarily barred the Trump administration from ending a program shielding young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents from deportation.
The Trump administration announced in September it would rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a decision that was challenged in multiple federal courts by a variety of Democratic state attorneys general, organizations and individuals.
Jan. 8: A ‘stable genius’
Donald Trump’s tweet over the weekend declaring himself a “stable genius” amid questions about his mental health renewed talks around the 25th Amendment, which would allow the president’s Cabinet to remove him from office.
Author Michael Wolff told NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday that the 25th Amendment is a concept that is “alive every day in the White House.”
“We’re not at a 25th Amendment level yet” or Trump’s behaviours “a little 25th Amendment” were phrases routinely used by White House staffers, according to Wolff. The Amendment was originally ratified for extreme cases like a comatose president and likely wouldn’t be used in Trump’s case.
Trump allies, including Chief policy adviser Stephen Miller and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, defended the president’s ability to lead the country.
“These are from people who just have not accepted the fact that President Trump is the United States president and I’m sorry for them in that,” Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Canada is bracing for more asylum seekers after the Trump administration’s announced it will lift temporary protection status for 200,000 citizens of El Salvador.
*With files from Reuters and the Associated Press
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