President Donald Trump today instructed federal agents to break the law. "If judges give you trouble," the President instructed the armed men, "Say, 'Sorry, judge, I can't do it.'"
The news hits just as a related breaking news story crosses the wires: "Judge blocks Trump administration policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico but won't immediately put order in place."
Trump doesn't like those judges.
Here's an excerpt from a longer piece by CNN's Jake Tapper about the ouster of Krjsten Nielsen and other Homeland Security and Secret Service officials today, leaving noted Santa Monica Nazi Stephen Miller the likely de facto head of DHS:
Told agents not to let migrants in
Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, "We're full, our system's full, our country's full — can't come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can't handle any more, our country is full. Can't come in, I'm sorry. It's very simple."
Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, "Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room."
After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.
Below, observations from Twitter.
Trump adviser explained why Trump would dare discuss bringing back family separations as a policy. According to the adviser the president "thinks it's the best leverage point to force a compromise" with Democrats on immigration.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 8, 2019
Interesting play-by-play here, from @jaketapper: Trump pushed to close El Paso border, told admin officials to resume family separations and agents not to admit migrants @CNNPolitics https://t.co/eq8FiIuP2K
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) April 8, 2019
For those following the Trump attacks on asylum and our litigation in response, a quick recap of some things courts have blocked:
– Family separation
– No-Parole policy
– Exclusion of domestic and gang-violence claims
– Asylum ban between POEs
– Forced return to Mexico
— Omar C. Jadwat (@OmarJadwat) April 8, 2019
Among the many alarming things about this presidency, this might be the most terrifying: Turns out that Stephen Miller is probably the most powerful and consequential actor in the Executive branch save Trump himself.
— Marty Lederman (@marty_lederman) April 8, 2019
"Miller thought Nielsen was a soft-on-the-border Bushy and she thought he was a egomaniacal lunatic who hated brown people. Needless to say, that made for awkward moments in the Oval [Office] and Cabinet Room," said a former senior Trump official. https://t.co/6dIxpzaMyd
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 8, 2019
This is the kind of thing a Congressional committee with oversight power could look into https://t.co/lrFIgedZov
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) April 8, 2019