Cabinet post disputes delay Israeli government inauguration

(Reuters) – The planned inauguration on Thursday of an Israeli unity government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been postponed until Sunday, in last-minute wrangling over cabinet appointments, an official statement said.

Under a coalition deal with his former election rival, centrist Benny Gantz, Netanyahu would serve as prime minister for 18 months before the former armed forces chief replaces him.

Gantz had agreed to the delay in order to give Netanyahu more time to allocate cabinet posts to Netanyahu’s Likud party members, a joint statement said. Their unity government deal ends more than a year of political deadlock in which three inconclusive elections were held.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

Three arrested at Trump inauguration sue DC over ‘police abuse’

File Photo - Protesters demonstrating against U.S. President Donald Trump take cover as they are hit by pepper spray by police on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, DC, U.S. on January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union sued police in the nation’s capital on Wednesday on behalf of three people detained during the U.S. presidential inauguration, claiming they were subjected to unconstitutional arrests, excessive force and police abuse.

More than 200 people were arrested in Washington in January after some black-clad activists among those protesting Donald Trump’s swearing-in clashed with police a few blocks from the White House, in an outburst of violence rare for an inauguration.

The lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia and individual officers claims the plaintiffs broke no laws at the protests and endured abuses including being pepper-sprayed and denied food and water for hours.

The plaintiffs include two individuals who came to the District of Columbia to express their views concerning the inauguration and a photojournalist who covered the demonstrations.

“The MPD’s extreme tactics against members of the public, including journalists, demonstrators, and observers, were unjustifiable and unconstitutional,” Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU-DC, said in a statement.

Since Trump’s election win, a number of demonstrations in U.S. cities have highlighted strong discontent over his comments and policy positions toward a wide range of groups, including Mexican immigrants, Muslims, the disabled and environmentalists.

Washington’s police department said in a statement “all instances of use of force by officers and allegations of misconduct at the inauguration will be fully investigated,” and that it will support the legal process.

It added officers worked diligently to protect the rights of thousands who came to the inauguration to peacefully express their views.

“Unfortunately, there was another group of individuals who chose to engage in criminal acts, destroying property and hurling projectiles, injuring at least six officers. These individuals were ultimately arrested for their criminal actions,” it said.

The lawsuit says photojournalist Shay Horse was pepper-sprayed while taking photographs and subjected to unjustified, invasive body probes.

It also said demonstrator Elizabeth Lagesse was peacefully protesting when she was arrested and handcuffed so tightly that her wrists bled.

(This story corrects number of people suing Washington D.C. in headline and paragraphs 1 and 4.)

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Matthew Lewis)

Executive actions ready to go as Trump prepares to take office

Donald Trump takes the oath

By Ayesha Rascoe and Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump is preparing to sign executive actions on his first day in the White House on Friday to take the opening steps to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and roll back outgoing President Barack Obama’s policies.

Trump, a Republican elected on Nov. 8 to succeed Democrat Obama, arrived in Washington on a military plane with his family a day before he will be sworn in during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Aides said Trump would not wait to wield one of the most powerful tools of his office, the presidential pen, to sign several executive actions that can be implemented without the input of Congress.

“He is committed to not just Day 1, but Day 2, Day 3 of enacting an agenda of real change, and I think that you’re going to see that in the days and weeks to come,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday, telling reporters to expect activity on Friday, during the weekend and early next week.

Trump plans on Saturday to visit the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Virginia. He has harshly criticized the agency and its outgoing chief, first questioning the CIA’s conclusion that Russia was involved in cyber hacking during the U.S. election campaign, before later accepting the verdict. Trump also likened U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany.

Trump’s advisers vetted more than 200 potential executive orders for him to consider signing on healthcare, climate policy, immigration, energy and numerous other issues, but it was not clear how many orders he would initially approve, according to a member of the Trump transition team who was not authorized to talk to the press.

Signing off on orders puts Trump, who has presided over a sprawling business empire but has never before held public office, in a familiar place similar to the CEO role that made him famous, and will give him some early victories before he has to turn to the lumbering process of getting Congress to pass bills.

The strategy has been used by other presidents, including Obama, in their first few weeks in office.

“He wants to show he will take action and not be stifled by Washington gridlock,” said Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer.

Trump is expected to impose a federal hiring freeze and take steps to delay a Labor Department rule due to take effect in April that would require brokers who give retirement advice to put their clients’ best interests first.

He also will give official notice he plans to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, Spicer said. “I think you will see those happen very shortly,” Spicer said.

Obama, ending eight years as president, made frequent use of his executive powers during his second term in office, when the Republican-controlled Congress stymied his efforts to overhaul immigration and environmental laws. Many of those actions are now ripe targets for Trump to reverse.

BORDER WALL

Trump is expected to sign an executive order in his first few days to direct the building of a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and actions to limit the entry of asylum seekers from Latin America, among several immigration-related steps his advisers have recommended.

That includes rescinding Obama’s order that allowed more than 700,000 people brought into the United States illegally as children to stay in the country on a two-year authorization to work and attend college, according to several people close to the presidential transition team.

It is unlikely Trump’s order will result in an immediate roundup of these immigrants, sources told Reuters. Rather, he is expected to let the authorizations expire.

The issue could set up a confrontation with Obama, who told reporters on Wednesday he would weigh in if he felt the new administration was unfairly targeting those immigrants.

Advisers to Trump expect him to put restrictions on people entering the United States from certain countries until a system for “extreme vetting” for Islamist extremists can be set up.

During his presidential campaign, Trump proposed banning non-American Muslims from entering the United States, but his executive order regarding immigration is expected to be based on nationality rather than religion.

Another proposed executive order would require all Cabinet departments to disclose and pause current work being done in connection with Obama’s initiatives to curb carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Trump also is expected to extend prohibitions on future lobbying imposed on members of his transition team.

‘THE HIGHEST IQ’

Washington was turned into a virtual fortress ahead of the inauguration, with police ready to step in to separate protesters from Trump supporters at any sign of unrest.

As Obama packed up to leave the White House, Trump and his family laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and attended a concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

Trump spoke earlier to lawmakers and Cabinet nominees at a luncheon in a ballroom at his hotel, down the street from the White House, announcing during brief remarks that he would pick Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets of the National Football League, as U.S. ambassador to Britain.

“We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what, one thing we’ve learned, we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled,” Trump said.

Trump has selected all 21 members of his Cabinet, along with six other key positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate is expected on Friday to vote to confirm retired General James Mattis, Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon, and retired General John Kelly, his homeland security choice.

Senate Republicans had hoped to confirm as many as seven Cabinet members on Friday, but Democrats balked at the pace. Trump spokesman Spicer accused Senate Democrats of “stalling tactics.”

Also in place for Monday will be 536 “beachhead team members” at government agencies, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, a small portion of the thousands of positions Obama’s appointees will vacate.

Trump has asked 50 Obama staffers in critical posts to stay on until replacements can be found, including Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and Brett McGurk, envoy to the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

The list includes Adam Szubin, who has long served in an “acting” capacity in the Treasury Department’s top anti-terrorism job because his nomination has been held up by congressional Republicans since Obama named him to the job in April 2015.

The Supreme Court said U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will administer the oath of office on Friday, met with Trump on Thursday to discuss inauguration arrangements.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland, David Shepardson, Susan Heavey, David Alexander, Doina Chiacu, Ayesha Rascoe, Ginger Gibson, Mike Stone, Emily Stephenson, David Brunnstrom and Lawrence Hurley)

Donald J. Trump sworn in as President and the Bakkers are there!

Jim and Lori Bakker in Washington DC for the Presidential Inaugural events

By Kami Klein

As Donald J. Trump was sworn in and became the 45th President of the United States all of Morningside paused or at the very least, continued to work while peaking at the television, taking in the events. It has been a long road to get here and on election night we watched together as the impossible became possible.  So many of our guests on The Jim Bakker Show had prophesied a Trump Presidency.  This election was so important. After all, we have experienced our values and Christian faith attacked time and again over the last years. But God’s hand guided this election and we are watching the miracle come to fruition.

We are here, in our offices, listening to our new President tell us not to fear because “We are protected by God”.  When that was spoken the cheers could be heard echoing across the building.  It is such a relief to hear the leader of our country acknowledge God’s role here in the  United States of America!

Pastor Jim and Lori are there, live and in person, at the inauguration. Much to their surprise, they were invited to attend.  After great discussion, Pastor Jim decided that this was something that was very important and that he and Lori should participate. You, our viewers and supporters of this ministry worked incredibly hard during this election.  You prayed with Pastor, you listened to the facts that the entire staff worked diligently to collect. You heard the teachers and prophets and you not only went out and voted, you encouraged others to do so!  When President Elect Trump called Pastor a few weeks after the election, he called to thank YOU!  It was for this reason that the Bakkers decided it was important to represent all of us as our country looks to a new hope in leadership.

Jim And Lori Bakker at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

Jim And Lori Bakker at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

Yesterday, Pastor Jim and Lori attended the Washington, DC Prayer Service, hosted by Jim Garlow.  There, they prayed for our nation, for our Congress, and for our President.  Many of those who led prayer are friends of our ministry; Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Alveda King, Marcus Lamb and David Barton were among many who prayed with the attendees.   

This morning Jim and Lori attended the Presidential Inauguration Prayer Breakfast at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C..  This breakfast was incredibly special as Rabbi Jonathan Cahn was asked to speak.  His calm, loving presence always stirs the Holy Spirit.  Thousands of Christian leaders are in Washington D.C. to anoint the path that our new President will walk with praise to our Lord.

Tonight Jim and Lori will be attending one of the three inaugural Balls to celebrate!  We know this will be a remarkable experience and we are so eager to hear all about this amazing time in history seen from their perspective!  

Sharing in many of these events has been Dr. Lance Wallnau who is scheduled to appear next week, Wednesday, January 25th on Grace Street at Morningside.  We look forward to hearing all about the inaugural events and the coming together of Christian leadership as President Trump took office.  We hope you can join us, but if you are unable to be here for taping please look for these inspirational shows on your local station very soon!

 

Please continue to join us in prayer for our new President!  God Bless America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortress Washington girds for days of anti-Trump protests

The U.S. Capitol is seen during a rehearsal for the inauguration ceremony of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, U.S.,

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington will turn into a virtual fortress ahead of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on Friday as the U.S. capital braces for more than a quarter-million protesters expected during the Republican’s swearing-in.

Police have forecast that some 900,000 people, both supporters and opponents, will flood Washington for the inauguration ceremony, which includes the swearing-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and a parade to the White House along streets thronged with spectators.

Many of those attending will be protesters irate about the New York real estate developer’s demeaning comments about women, immigrants and Muslims, a vow to repeal the sweeping healthcare reform law known as Obamacare and plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

His supporters admire Trump’s experience in business, including as a real estate developer and reality television star, and view him as an outsider and problem-solver.

Outgoing U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said police aim to separate groups to diffuse tensions, similar to last-year’s political conventions.

“The concern is some of these groups are pro-Trump, some of them are con-Trump, and they may not play well together in the same space,” Johnson said on MSNBC on Thursday.

About 28,000 security personnel, miles (kilometers) of fencing, roadblocks, street barricades and dump trucks laden with sand will be part of the security cordon around 3 square miles (almost 8 square km) of central Washington.

About 30 groups that organizers claim will draw about 270,000 protesters or Trump backers have received permits for rallies or marches before, during and after the swearing-in. More protests are expected without permits.

A protest group known as Disrupt J20 has vowed to stage demonstrations at each of 12 security checkpoints and block access to the festivities on the grassy National Mall.

PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD

By far the biggest protest will be the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, which organizers expect to draw 250,000 people. Hundreds of Women’s March-related protests are scheduled across the United States and around the world as well.

There will be an anti-Trump protest in New York on Thursday evening when Mayor Bill de Blasio, filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Mark Ruffalo and Alec Baldwin, who portrays Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” take part in a rally outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

One Washington protest will come amid a haze of pot smoke as pro-marijuana activists show their opposition to Trump’s choice for attorney general, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a critic of pot legalization.

The group plans to distribute 4,200 joints at the inauguration and urge attendees to light up. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal in Washington but public consumption is not.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers were prepared for mass arrests, although authorities hoped that would be unnecessary.

“If we do have a mass arrest, we’ll be able to get people processed very quickly,” he told Washington’s NBC 4 television station.

Police and security officials have pledged to guarantee protesters’ constitutional rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.

Friday’s crowds are expected to be less than the 2 million who attended Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and in line with the million who were at his second, four years ago.

The inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will pass the Trump International Hotel, a rallying point for protesters since the election now encircled by security fences.

In a sign of the Trump-related angst gripping Washington, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral said this week its choir would sing “God Bless America” at the inauguration despite misgivings by some members.

“Let me be clear: We are not singing for the President. We are singing for God because that is what church choirs do,” the Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith said in a letter.

Trump will attend an interfaith prayer service at the cathedral on Saturday, closing out the inaugural ceremonies.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)

North Korea may test-launch intercontinental ballistic missile soon

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Genev

By James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea may be preparing to test-launch a new, upgraded prototype of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), South Korean media reported on Thursday, citing military sources.

In his New Year’s speech, leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea was close to test launching an ICBM, and state media has said a launch could come at any time. Experts on the isolated and nuclear capable country’s missile program believe the claims to be credible.

That test launch could be imminent, and potentially coincide with the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, South Korean media said.

South Korean intelligence agencies reported on Wednesday that they had recently spotted missile parts being transported, believed to be the lower-half of an ICBM, raising fears that a test-launch may be imminent, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, citing unidentified military sources.

“It was different from a conventional Musudan missile in its length and shape,” the source told the Chosun Ilbo, referring to the Musudan intermediate-range missile tested by North Korea last year.

“It is possible they were moving it somewhere for assembly,” the source said.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Roh Jae-cheon, told a regular news briefing that while the reports could not be confirmed, the military was monitoring North Korea’s ICBM development.

North Korea has in the past paraded mockups of a road-mobile missile believed to be an ICBM design dubbed the KN-08 by outside observers. It is also believed to have an upgraded version, the KN-14.

A new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is tested at a test site at Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan province in North Korea in this undated photo

A new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is tested at a test site at Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan province in North Korea in this undated photo released April 9, 2016. KCNA/via REUTERS

A road-mobile ICBM, which could be kept hidden or moving until fired, would make tracking and stopping a North Korean missile launch significantly more difficult.

The suspected ICBM is made up of two parts under 15 meters (49 feet) long and is shorter than the KN-08 and KN-14, the Yonhap News Agency said, citing unidentified military sources.

“I don’t recognize the missiles from this description,” said Joshua Pollack, editor of the U.S.-based Nonproliferation Review. “But as we saw in 2016, there’s certainly a variety of active missile programs underway in North Korea”.

“It’s also possible that they are simply conducting field exercises with no plans to launch, or the option to launch if decided,” said Pollack.

Last year, North Korea conducted a test of an ICBM engine made up of a cluster of smaller rockets, indicating it was working on an ICBM design.

Separately, the Washington-based think tank 38 North said on Thursday that operations at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility may have restarted. North Korea is believed to be able to reprocess plutonium at Yongbyon used in its nuclear warheads.

(Additional reporting by Jeong Eun Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)