Live Coverage

Today's News: Jan. 28, 2017

Google recalls staffers after Trump’s travel ban, Chicago’s Police Superintendent reveals he needs a kidney transplant, and Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, will stand trial on charges he bribed witnesses to stay silent in a sex case.

President Donald Trump Carlos Barria / Reuters

—President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries prompted Google to recall employees in the affected countries.

—Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson revealed after a public dizzy spell that he needs a kidney transplant.

—Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy, will stand trial on charges he bribed witnesses to stay silent in a case that accused him of paying young women for sex.

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


This live blog has concluded

Trump Gives Stephen Bannon Access to the National Security Council

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

President Trump signed a memorandum late Saturday afternoon that reorganizes the National Security Council (NSC), including Steve Bannon, the former chair of Breitbart Media and his chief strategist and senior counselor, as well as Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, on its principals committee. The decision is unusual because such positions are not normally given to political operatives. Bannon has been among the most controversial of Trump’s advisors, because of his association with the racist and anti-Semitic “Alt-Right.”

The order also said the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff would no longer be automatic principals on the committee. Trump said the reorganization is meant to streamline the NSC. He said it would bring “a lot of efficiency and, I think, a lot of additional safety,” The Washington Post reported.

“People have talked about doing this for a long time. Like, many years.” The memorandum read that "security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries. Accordingly, the United States Government's decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative."

Civil-Rights Groups Win a Nationwide Stay Halting Trump's Executive Order Targeting Muslims

Stephen Yang / Reuters

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups won a significant victory in federal court Saturday night, as a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against an executive order issued by President Trump that barred the entry to foreign nationals from several majority-Muslim countries, a ban that also applied to refugees and green card holders. According to the executive director of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, the stay is national, meaning that until the matter is resolved, those who arrived at U.S. airports with valid visas will be allowed to remain in the country.

The suit was filed on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, both Iraqi citizens. The complaint states that Darweesh served the U.S. as an interpreter in Iraq, and Alshawi was granted status as a refugee because of his “family’s association with the United States military.” Alshawi’s family was already in the United States when he was barred from entering.

Americans gathered in airports in major metropolitan hubs all over the country Saturday night as news of Muslims being blocked from entering the country spread. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly suggested that he would ban Muslims from entering the United States as president.

“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country,” Romero said in a statement sent to reporters. “Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”

Trump's Travel Ban Brings a Tweet Protest from Both Democrats and Some Republicans


Trump’s travel ban on people coming to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries settled in Saturday as airport security detained travelers, including a former interpreter for the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Baghdad and Mosul who’d just landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. That set off a massive protest, where a crowd of about 2,000 people protested outside one of the airport’s international terminals. And that led to protest at airports across the country. U.S. Senators and House Representatives also protested in their own fashion, many of them taking to Twitter to denounce Trump’s order.  

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake shared a link to a statement saying that “President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry. Enhancing long term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed view of radical Islamic terrorism without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslims.”

Widespread Protests Against Trump's Executive Order on Refugees

Large crowds of protesters filled the international airports in a half dozen major U.S. cities on Saturday in response to President Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspends the country’s refugee program and bans entry to individuals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.

Dozens of immigration lawyers went to airports to assist refugees and visa holders, many of whom have been detained and questioned by authorities. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance also released statements decrying the ban and calling on its workers to strike in solidarity of the protesters, noting their membership is “largely Muslim” and “almost universally immigrant.”

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, large crowds of demonstrators attended the hearing where a suit against the order, filed by the  the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Refugees Assistance Project, and the National Immigration Law Center, was being heard.

Here’s the scene at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where protesters estimated to be in the thousands gathered:

Craig Ruttle / AP

Here’s O’Hare airport in Chicago:

Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters

A family was reunited at Boston’s Logan Airport after being separated by authorities. The man in the picture, Hamed Bay, was returning from a visit to his sick father in Iran, according to Reuters:

Brian Snyder / Reuters

The New York Times reports that that people have also been detained at airports in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. At San Francisco International Airport, one police officer apparently estimated that 1,500 people showed up.

Trump Signs 3 More Executive Orders

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Trump signed three more executive orders Saturday, the text of which was not made immediately available. However, an administration official did say that one of the orders outlined a reorganization plan for the National Security Council, the department that guides executive staff on foreign policy and security issues, and that is headed by retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Another order placed a five-year lobbying ban on administration officials. The last order gave military leaders 30 days to deliver Trump a report on how to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. "I think it's going to be very successful," Trump said to reporters, according to The Hill. “Okay, that's big stuff. Have a good weekend."

Trump and Putin Talk for the First Time as World Leaders

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, the first time since Trump’s inauguration. The two leaders spoke about cooperating to defeat ISIS in Syria, and vowed to restore economic ties. In a statement, the Kremlin said, “The current international issues were thoroughly discussed, including the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the sphere of strategic stability and non-proliferation, the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the Korean Peninsula. Also touched upon were the main aspects of the crisis in Ukraine. It was agreed to establish a partnership on all these and other areas.” There was no mention of whether the U.S. would ease sanctions placed against Russia for invading Crimea in 2014, something that would help the country’s economy, as well as Putin, especially ahead of the presidential election next year. The nature of Trump and Putin’s relationship has been questioned for a long time. U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails with the intention of swaying the vote toward Trump, who has repeatedly praised Putin, and for a long time denied Russia had anything to do with the hacks. Trump has said he’d like to make Russia close ally, and this has raised concern among both Democrats and Republicans who believe Putin cannot be trusted.

Chicago Police Superintendent Reveals He Needs A Kidney Transplant

Jim Young / Reuters

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson revealed that he needs a kidney transplant after he nearly fainted during a Friday press conference. Johnson said he has endured a kidney condition for three decades, and that he is currently on a transplant waiting list. Johns looked dizzy Friday and had to sit down while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke at a podium, where he announced a new initiative to reduce shootings and homicides in the city. Johnson was rushed to the hospital, but a doctor said test results showed nothing unusual. Johnson blamed his faintness on taking blood pressure medicine on an empty stomach. Johnson was appointed in March after the previous superintendent caught public ire after police dashcam footage was released showing a white officer shoot and kill an unarmed black teenager. Emanuel said he knew of Johnson’s condition prior to being appointed, and that he has “absolute confidence" that Johnson can head the police department with his condition.

Trump's Travel Ban Includes Green Card Holders

Bob Riha Jr / Reuters

Trump’s travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries includes restrictions against people with U.S. green cards, who will then be vetted on a case-by-case basis, administration officials told Reuters Saturday. Green cards serve as proof of someone’s legal permanent resident status, and are one of the the first steps to becoming a citizen. Trump’s ban, an executive order signed Friday, barrs for at least 90 days people traveling to the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Asked if the order amounted to a ban on Muslims from entering the U.S., Reuters reported that a Trump administration official said question was “ludicrous.” The Trump administration said the temporary ban was meant to give them time to redo the vetting process to screen out people who might be “radical Islamic terrorists.”  The order also gave Christian refugees priority in the resettlement process.  

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Faces Bribery Charges From Past Sex Trial

Remo Casilli / Reuters

An Italian court ordered former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges he bribed witness to stay silent during an investigation into whether he paid young women to have sex with him. The new charges originate from a 2014 trial that saw Berlusconi acquitted, but accused him of paying prostitutes to sleep with him at his “Bunga Bunga” sex parties. Among these women were Karima El Mahroug, at the time a 17-year-old woman, known by her stage name Ruby the Heartstealer, who is also accused of lying on trial. Italian prosecutors say Berlusconi paid witnesses about $11 million to keep quiet, with El Mahroug receiving about $7 million of that. Berlusconi denies all the accusations. His career has been marred with constant corruption trials, including tax fraud, and accusations of the extravagant sex parties he hosted at his home. Despite this he remains the leader of the center-right Forza Italia political party.

Google Recalls All Staff After Trump's Travel Ban

Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

In a message to staff Google asked that all overseas employees return to the U.S. after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that banned travel from seven majority Muslim countries. According to the order, for the next 90 days people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, are barred from entering the U.S. In Google’s internal memo, obtained by Bloomberg News, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote, “We’re upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US.” The message then said at least 187 employees may be affected by Trump’s order, and that one staffer “was rushing back from a trip to New Zealand to make it into the US before the order was signed.” The order does not ban travel from New Zealand, but the worry is any person from the seven listed countries—green card or not—might be subject to the ban. Trump’s order was meant to temporarily stop travel from those countries until his administration can figure out a way to better screen people who might be “radical Islamic terrorists.” The order has already curtailed travel, and there are reports of several Iraqi passengers who were stopped from boarding a Cairo flight bound for New York.