The Trump administration has scaled back its assault on a strict Texas voter identification law that federal courts have ruled discriminated against minorities, portending a shift in how the Justice Department plans to pursue allegations of voter suppression.
The government revealed its decision in court papers filed in federal court Monday, dealing a blow to civil rights advocates who have relied on federal support to help them knock down the controversial Texas statute.
"It's a very concerning signal to American voters about the Department of Justice's commitment to enforcing the Voting Rights Act," said Danielle Lang, deputy director of the voting rights unit of the Campaign Legal Center, which is suing Texas in the case.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said on Monday he has seen no evidence from the intelligence community that there was contact between Russia and the Trump campaign.
"I want to be very careful, we can't just go on a witch hunt against Americans because they appear in a news story," said Nunes (R-Tulare). "We still don't have any evidence of them talking to Russia."
He said the committee has been briefed on the "highlights" of what the intelligence community has found, but is still collecting evidence.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the Justice Department's request to pause proceedings in an appeal of President Trump's travel ban.
The court in a filing Monday said its schedule for the government's appeal of a lower court's halt on the travel ban will proceed, with the first brief due to the appeals court on March 10.
In early February, the Justice Department appealed a Seattle-based federal district judge's order blocking enforcement of Trump's executive action. which established a series of immigration and refugee restrictions aimed at preventing potential terrorists from entering the country.
President Trump received some unsolicited advice at dinner with the nation's governors when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told him he needs to do a better job explaining his policies regarding deportations.
McAuliffe, a Democrat and chairman of the National Governor's Assn., told the president that there has been a "chilling effect going on" as businesses stay away from his state and as immigrants fear being rounded up.
"If they’re not going to be deported, we need to hear that from the president," McAuliffe said, recounting his conversation from the governors' Sunday night dinner with Trump.
President Trump promised the nation's governors Monday that his yet-to-be-revealed replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act would give states greater flexibility and thanked some Republicans in the room who advised him on healthcare.
"It's an unbelievably complex subject," he said. "Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated."
The remark likely surprised state leaders; spending on Medicaid alone was the second-biggest driver of increased state general fund spending, according to the 2016 Fiscal Survey of States conducted by the National Assn. of State Budget Officers.
Philip M. Bilden, President Trump’s pick for Navy secretary, withdrew from consideration late Sunday, becoming the second White House nominee to bail on a top Pentagon position due to problems untangling his financial investments.
“After an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family's private financial interests,” Bilden said in a statement.
He did not detail the issues but he said he “fully” supported “the president's agenda … to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps.”
President Trump claimed Sunday that the race for Democratic National Committee chairman had been “rigged” -- drawing a quick riposte from Tom Perez, who narrowly won the party's leadership race.
Trump insinuated that Perez’s DNC victory on the second ballot at a party conference in Atlanta on Saturday was because Hillary Clinton had backed Perez, a former Labor secretary in the Obama administration who was seen as representing the party's establishment forces.
Clinton did not make a formal endorsement, but Perez’s rival, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the party's more liberal wing.
A White House spokeswoman said Sunday that it was too soon to say whether a special prosecutor should look into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, while President Trump again inveighed against coverage of Russia-related queries as “FAKE NEWS.”
Calls have grown louder from Democrats in Congress for U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the issue because of his role as a prominent Trump supporter during the campaign, and to appoint an independent special prosecutor to carry out a Russia probe.
A few Republicans have joined in that chorus – some reluctantly. Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, appearing on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” voiced support Friday for naming of a special prosecutor to probe the Russian connection, though he also said congressional intelligence committees should continue their work.
Every president since 1981 has attended the annual White House Correspondents’ Assn. dinner.
That year, President Reagan missed out. The reason? He needed to recover after a would-be assassin fired a bullet into his chest a few weeks earlier.
On Saturday, President Trump announced he will not be attending the annual dinner in April, long considered the premier social event of the Washington press corps and typically an evening of good-natured bantering between presidents and the Fourth Estate.
The new poll confirms what other major surveys have shown: Trump starts his administration with less support than any president in the seven decades of presidential polling. Asked if they approve or disapprove of the job Trump is doing, 44% approve, 48% disapprove. No previous president has begun his tenure with a net negative job approval.