Introducing Tearline

In this week’s Tearline: Trump tries a new travel ban, immigrants face growing violence in the US, Somalia is suffering from famine, and the Dutch Trump faces polls in the Netherlands.

Tearline Logo
Tearline   noun | ‘ter • līn
The portions of an intelligence report that provide the substance of a more highly classified or controlled report without identifying sensitive sources, methods, or other operational information.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of what will be a weekly newsletter focused on the foreign policy and national security policies of the Trump administration, produced by the National Security team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. With the goal of focusing on the week’s most important information, we intend to highlight aspects of major and underreported stories that we believe are integral to understanding President Donald Trump’s national security agenda and the effect it is having on America and the world. We hope that this will contribute to the public discourse on U.S. national security policy.
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What was that?!

On Monday, President Trump issued a new version of his immigration executive order. Despite some changes—removing Iraq and exempting green card holders, for instance—the intent of the ban hasn’t appeared to change, nor has the unwelcoming message that it sends to Americans and the rest of the world. To understand the new executive order, here are a few very good explainers. We’ll have to watch closely how the ban is implemented and how the courts respond. See here for a helpful analysis of whether the new ban violates the Constitution’s establishment clause.

What we’re missing

This week, two Indian men were shot in South Carolina and Washington state. These shootings, along with last week’s attack on two Indian men in Kansas, are raising serious questions about the racism stirred up by political rhetoric and actions. Acts like this have far-reaching effects on how the world views the United States: The shootings have sparked outrage in India over the rise of “fear and xenophobia in the United States” and have Indian families encouraging one another to avoid the United States. Trump condemned the Kansas shooting as “racially motivated hatred” six days after the attack occurred.

What’s on deck in the world next week

Everyone should look out for the results of the Dutch general election next Wednesday, March 15. And keep an eye on right-wing Party for Freedom, or PVV, candidate Geert Wilders, referred to as the “Dutch Trump,” and how he fares on voting day. Wilders has run on the anti-immigration populist wave sweeping Western democracies—a key tenet of his platform includes “de-Islamiz[ing] the Netherlands.” Current polls predict that the election is a wide-open contest between five candidates, but the support in polls for the PVV appears to have dropped in recent weeks.

Better ideas

Last week, the Pentagon presented to the White House its recommendations for how to adjust the Islamic State strategy. CAP Action Senior Fellow Hardin Lang testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on how the United States should approach Iraq after Mosul is recaptured, summarized here in six steps.

Quote of the week

“Nightmare” is the word that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres used to describe what he saw in Somalia this week on an emergency visit. He reported a dire situation of “conflict, drought, disease” and called for “massive support from the international community to avoid a repetition of the tragic events of 2011”—see here for more info. The crisis is part of a wider famine hitting the Horn of Africa that puts 20 million lives at risk. This comes at the same time as reports that President Trump is looking at a more than 37 percent cut to the budgets of the U.S. State Department and USAID.

Read of the Week

Remember when President Trump said that Iran was “#1 in terror” and a threat to the United States? Turns out that the Trump Organization may have profited from a business deal with Azerbaijani officials with connections to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to this in-depth report. That’s the same Revolutionary Guard that the Trump administration is reportedly considering designating a foreign terrorist organization.

Weekly Trump-Russia reminder

This weekly item will explore developments with respect to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its possible ties to Donald Trump’s campaign—though no reminder seems necessary this week unless you haven’t turned on your TV or phone. On Saturday, President Trump claimed that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, claims that FBI Director James Comey has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny. Each week it seems as though the Trump administration gives the public more and more reason to demand an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. And in recent days, we’ve learned that Trump himself met with the Russian ambassador to the United States in 2016, despite previous denials. Now a majority of Americans support a special prosecutor to investigate Russia-Trump ties.

48 days still violating the Constitution

President Trump has been violating the Constitution’s prohibition against corruption by foreign governments for 48 days because his companies are receiving payments from foreign governments.

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Michael Fuchs

Senior Fellow

Stefanie Merchant

Special Assistant