President Trump is considering lifting restrictions on harsh interrogations and renewing the use of secret overseas sites to hold terrorism suspects, both widely seen as dark chapters of the post-9/11 era, as he looks to follow through on his campaign promise to ramp up targeting of Islamic militants.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said he would bring back waterboarding and other harsh tactics that were part of the so-called enhanced interrogation program, which was installed after the Sept. 11 attacks and widely considered a stain on the CIA's record. A Senate Intelligence Committee report in 2014 concluded that the torture methods diminished U.S. standing in the world and failed to produce significant intelligence.
Aides have prepared executive actions to lift bans on both. The drafts were first reported by the New York Times.
Donald Trump will launch his long-promised effort to build a "big, beautiful" border wall Wednesday, likely diverting funds from existing federal programs to jump-start construction.
Trump previewed his executive action Tuesday night, tweeting: "Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!"
His advisors are also presenting plans to punish so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration officials, as well as orders that would block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and cut the number of refugees from countries "compromised by terrorism."
It’s not uncommon for Badlands National Park in South Dakota to tweet facts on climate change and evolution. But a string of tweets from the park about climate change Tuesday were later abruptly deleted, and that raised immediate speculation on social media: had the park gone rogue?
The tweets came hours after news broke that the Trump administration had placed a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency and its employees, banning them from publishing blog posts, issuing news releases and commenting on social media.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was also ordered to refrain from posting anything online.
The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Nikki Haley, the popular South Carolina governor with little foreign affairs experience, as President Trump's choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley has received a more favorable reception than other Trump nominees now tangled in confirmation battles. The vote was 96 to 4.
The two-term Republican governor has split with Trump on key foreign policy issues, particularly her skepticism of Russia. But Haley agrees with the president's goal of relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a controversial move because both Israelis and Palestinians view the city as their capital.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "we're looking into it" in response to questions on the EPA media blackout. (Jan. 24, 2017)
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by the Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning news releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.
The Trump administration has also ordered a "temporary suspension" of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, picked to be President Trump's budget chief, came under expected fire for failing to pay more than $15,000 in taxes for his children's nanny, but it didn't appear that would torpedo his nomination, as has happened with past Cabinet selections.
At a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, most of the discussion instead focused on the South Carolina Republican's views on the nation's deficits and budget, particularly his past statements indicating the need to "end Medicare as we know it" and to fix Social Security, which Mulvaney at one time called a Ponzi scheme.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the budget committee's ranking Democratic member, described Mulvaney's remarks as "way out of touch" with the American public and Trump's own campaign promise to maintain federal retirement programs without cuts.
Americans remain most worried about terror and the economy as President Trump’s term begins, but in part because of his successful campaign, citizens have grown more concerned about environmental protections and global trade than in past years, according to a new Pew Research poll.
More than half of the Americans surveyed — 55% — said protecting the environment should be among the top priorities of the new president. Trump campaigned on loosening such protections, and on Tuesday, he reversed some Obama administration policies to potentially restart the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. He also has made clear his intent to weaken environmental regulations that he says harm the economy.
The desire to place the environment at the top of the new president’s concerns has risen by 14 points since the start of President Obama’s first term. Similarly, concern about climate change has risen 8 points, to 38%.
Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, a highly regarded conservative jurist best known for upholding religious liberty rights in the legal battles over Obamacare, has emerged as a leading contender for President Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination.
Gorsuch, 49, was among 21 potential high court candidates circulated by Trump’s team during the campaign, but his stock has been rising lately as several admirers and supporters have been named to positions in the Trump administration.
In Gorsuch, supporters see a jurist who has strong academic credentials, a gift for clear writing and a devotion to deciding cases based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the text of statutes, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
President Trump said Tuesday he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee next week, his first and most significant step to reshape the federal judiciary.
The fate of the high court seat left vacant after the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia was a major issue in the presidential race. The Senate’s Republican majority refused to consider President Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland.
Trump said at a news conference earlier this month that the choice would likely be announced within his first two weeks in office. He told reporters in the Oval Office Tuesday he would make a final decision this week — and promised it would be a “truly great” nominee.