Trump’s week went from bad to worse almost as fast as you can snap your fingers, with two devastating blows hitting him on Tuesday.
Trump was flying high yesterday in the wake of the Supreme Court upholding his travel ban.
“SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!” he tweeted caught up in the excitement of the moment.
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
However, that joy was short-lived, as he was first hit with bad news regarding former campaign manager Paul Manafort and with his administration’s efforts to separate immigrant families.
We will briefly cover the significance of these two developments below.
Paul Manafort trial to move forward
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that “A federal judge in Northern Virginia who had sharply criticized the special counsel’s case against Paul Manafort refused on Tuesday to dismiss the charges, clearing the way for Mr. Manafort to stand trial on charges of financial fraud.”
In a preliminary hearing last month, Judge T. S. Ellis III challenged the charges of bank fraud and tax evasion against Mr. Manafort, saying he saw no relationship between the case before him and “anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate.”
But in the 31-page opinion issued on Tuesday, the judge said that “upon further review,” it was clear to him that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had “followed the money paid by pro-Russian officials” to Mr. Manafort — a line of inquiry that fell squarely in his authority.
This ruling is particularly damning to Trump for two reasons: first of all, it brings Manafort one step closer to being compelled to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Second, it should come a huge ego blow to Trump and conservative media who had been singing songs of praise for Judge Ellis back in May.
Fox News characterized his initial remarks regarding Mueller’s legitimacy as a “rebuke,” reporting that Ellis had issued a viable “challenge” to the “scope and authority of the special counsel’s investigation.”
Bloomberg reported that Trump quoted Judge Ellis during a speech at the NRA Convention in Dallas, Texas, in early May.
“Judge T.S. Ellis — who is really something very special, I hear from many standpoints, he is a respected person,” Trump said, reading from a news article at the NRA’s annual conference in Dallas, “Suggested the charges before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia were just part of the Mueller team’s designs to pressure Mr. Manafort into giving up information on President Donald Trump or others in the campaign.”
“I’ve been saying that for a long time,” Trump continued. “It is a witch hunt.”
Continuing to read from the article, Trump said “none of that information has to do with information related to the Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.
“It doesn’t have anything to do,” Trump said. “It’s from years before. Then how does this have anything to do with the campaign, the judge asks? Let me tell you, folks, we’re all fighting battles, but I love fighting these battles.”
Trump called Manafort “a nice guy,” but also said he was part of his campaign for “a very short period of time.”
“Literally for like, what? Like a couple months? Little period of time,” Trump said, adding that Manafort had also worked for Reagan, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and Senator John McCain. “Does anybody say that? No. But he’s out there fighting.”
Federal Judge in California orders halt to family separation at the border
The Los Angeles Times reported late Tuesday that a federal judge in San Diego halted the separation of parents and children at the border and ordered separated children reunited with parents within 30 days.
In a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw wrote “the facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance — responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government’s own making. They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution.”
Under the order, children younger than 5 years old must be reunited with their parents within 14 days, while older children must be reunited with their parents within 30 days. Within 10 days, federal authorities must allow parents to call their children if they’re not already in contact with them.
“The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot satisfy the requirements of due process,” Sabraw wrote.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that: “the order also says parents can’t be detained or deported without their children, unless they are unfit or pose a danger.”