About the Shithole Meeting, and Other News

Here’s what happened, which is a lot worse than the “shithole” comment, per the Washington Post:

When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides.

The president then asked if Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), his onetime foe turned ally, was on board, which Durbin affirmed. Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon, the people familiar with the call said.

But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.

Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.

What seems to have happened is that the anti-immigration hardliners got wind of the bipartisan deal and swarmed to the White House to head it off, which they did.

Josh Marshall comments,

If we’re getting at least a relatively accurate version of what happened in this meeting it paints a picture of Trump as someone who is easily manipulated and tends to agree with the last person he talked to. Both are facilitated by the fact that he has little real grasp of the issues involved beyond impulsive and racialized knee-jerk reactions. Another key issue in the background is that John Kelly appears to be a pretty hard immigration hardliner all on his own and he’s let Stephen Miller, the alt-righter Trump got from Jeff Sessions, basically run things on the immigration front.

In other news, also in WaPo, the Trump Maladministration plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a federal district court injunction that is standing in the way of dismantling DACA.

In other other news, the secretary of Homeland Security revealed today that she doesn’t know DACA from doughnuts.

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security revealed during an oversight hearing Tuesday that she didn’t know that thousands of DACA recipients had already lost their status as a result of President Donald Trump ending the program on Sept. 5. 

“No one has lost their status,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, incorrectly. “No one will lose their status until March 5 or later.” …

Estimates vary as to how many DACA recipients have so far been left out in the cold: The Hill reported on Jan. 10 that 15,000 people had lost their status since Sept. 5, citing unnamed immigration activists. Sen. Dianne Feinstein used the same number last week. According to the Center for American Progress’ running estimate, 16,166 have lost DACA status between Sept. 5 and Tuesday.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) explained the situation to Nielsen, who had earlier claimed incorrectly that only DACA recipients who had been convicted of crimes had lost their status.

See also Here’s exactly how Dick Durbin destroyed Kirstjen Nielsen’s ‘shithole’ explanation at CNN.

In more other news, Steve Bannon testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee today and didn’t say anything. He told the committee that he would not answer questions about anything that happened in the Trump campaign, transition team or White House, because the White House told him not to speak about those things.  He appears to be trying to get back into Trump’s good graces. Members of the panel issued subpoenas to compel Bannon’s testimony, the news story says.

However, the big news is that Bannon has been subpoenaed by Bob Mueller. I’m betting Mueller cracks him like an egg.