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Trump’s White House: Five takeaways from Thursday

US President Donald Trump declared a “new era of justice” in America as he swore in his attorney general, Jeff Sessions © AFP / SAUL LOEB

Washington, United States, Feb 10 – President Donald Trump suffered a major setback when a US court refused to reinstate his controversial travel ban, put on hold by a federal judge last week.

Earlier, the president declared a “new era of justice” in America, swearing in his attorney general, Jeff Sessions — while one of his top aides fended off accusations of an ethics breach for plugging the clothing brand of Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Here are five takeaways from the day:

– Court defies Trump ban –

Trump was dealt a major legal blow as a court maintained a freeze on his effort to bar refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from US soil.

The ruling from a federal appeals court in San Francisco capped a turbulent first three weeks of the Republican’s presidency.

“We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously.

The Republican leader was quick to react to the court’s decision, tweeting within minutes: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Trump’s administration says the ban is needed to keep out Islamic State and Al-Qaeda fighters migrating from Middle East hotspots, but it sparked travel chaos and was met with condemnation by immigration advocacy groups.

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Critics say the measure targets Muslims in violation of US law.

– Sessions sworn in –

Trump declared a “new era of justice” in America with the swearing-in of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

The property mogul-turned-president also signed three executive orders designed to burnish his law-and-order credentials.

The first created a task force on violent crime, the second is aimed at fighting crime directed at law enforcement officials and the third tasks officials with looking at how the United States tackles organized crime syndicates.

“We face the menace of rising crime and the threat of deadly terror,” said the Republican leader, doubling down on his dystopian vision of America.

– Fashion faux pas –

A key Trump aide was facing possible investigation after pitching the clothing line of the president’s daughter on television, in apparent contravention of ethics rules.

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings led calls for Kellyanne Conway to face rebuke after she urged shoppers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” in reference to the first daughter’s fashion brand.

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“This appears to be a textbook violation of government ethics laws and regulations enacted to prevent the abuse of an employee’s government position,” the lawmaker said in a letter to a Congressional ethics panel.

The White House said Trump’s aide had been “counselled” following the misstep.

Conway could face investigation by the Office of Inspector General.

– Trudeau to meet Trump –

The US president will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington on Monday, the White House said, amid stark disagreements between the North American neighbors over trade and immigration.

“President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau look forward to a constructive conversation on strengthening the relationship between our two nations,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump has vowed to renegotiate or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the United States and Mexico. The billionaire Republican has branded the pact a “catastrophe” for American jobs.

Trudeau, a fervent supporter of free trade, meanwhile has emphasized the importance of the tripartite pact for his country’s economy.

– Of golf and gifts –

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Trump will be picking up the bill for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weekend visit to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, the White House said.

Amid questions about who is paying for the trip to southern Florida, expected to revolve around golf, a senior administration official said Trump would be covering the costs.

It’s “a personal gift,” the official said. “Something the president is doing for the prime minister.”

The duo are expected to meet at the White House on Friday before heading south.

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