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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump Fires Acting AG

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington
The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

TRUMP AGENDA: The Monday Night Massacre?

About last night: “President Donald Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night after she directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend his executive order on immigration. The Trump administration said it had "relieved" Yates — who was deputy attorney general in the administration of President Barack Obama and stayed on as acting attorney general pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama — and named Dana Boente, 63, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve in the meantime."

More, from the New York Times: “Ms. Yates, like other senior government officials, was caught by surprise by the executive order and agonized over the weekend about how to respond, two Justice Department officials involved in the weekend deliberations said. Ms. Yates considered resigning but she told colleagues she did not want to leave it to her successor to face the same dilemma.”

More about Boente, from the Washington Post: “Lawyers who have known Boente, who was U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said he has a reputation for being tough but even handed. While he has not been vocal about his political views, they said, he would not have agreed to be thrust into the role of defending President Trump’s controversial executive order banning some migrants unless he believed it was legally sound.”

And there’s also this: “President Donald Trump replaced the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday night, shortly after he fired the acting attorney general, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed. Unlike the firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the replacement of Acting ICE Director Daniel Ragsdale came with no explanation. Ragsdale was replaced by Thomas Homan, ICE's executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations since 2013.”

CEOs are trying to figure out what to do. “The phone calls flew back and forth among the nation’s top chief executives over the weekend, all asking the same questions: “What are you going to say publicly about Trump’s executive order? And what can we say about it without becoming his next punching bag?” writes the New York Times. “At the annual Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington — a private affair that many prominent executives attended Saturday night — one person later described being buttonholed by a rival C.E.O. who asked how he could condemn President Trump’s order “without poking the bear.” Another wondered aloud whether an invitation to meet with Mr. Trump at the White House would be withdrawn if he spoke out. And yet another worried about the prospect of a boycott of their companies’ products depending on the acerbity of their words.”

The Washington Post fact-checks: “The number of people affected by Trump’s travel ban: About 90,000”

The AP: “Washington became the first state to sue the Trump administration with a filing Monday over the president's executive order restricting refugees and immigration. It likely will not be standing alone for long. Since Donald Trump was elected president, Democratic state attorneys general have been forming a coordinated wall of legal resistance over immigration, environmental protections, health care and other major issues.”

In a statement, Trump said this morning that he will keep Obama-era LGBT protections in place. “The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

David Brooks: “The Republican Fausts are in an untenable position. The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul.”

CONGRESS: Non-disclosure agreements with congressional staff?

How did the White House work with Congress on the immigration order? POLITICO: “Senior staffers on the House Judiciary Committee helped Donald Trump's top aides draft the executive order curbing immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, but the Republican committee chairman and party leadership were not informed, according to multiple sources involved in the process. The news of their involvement helps unlock the mystery of whether the White House consulted Capitol Hill about the executive order, one of many questions raised in the days after it was unveiled on Friday. It confirms that the small group of staffers were among the only people on Capitol Hill who knew of the looming controversial policy.”

More: “The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump's transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees. Rexrode declined to comment on the nondisclosure pacts.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Once President Donald Trump names his choice for the Supreme Court, attention will turn quickly to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his ability to win confirmation of the nominee in a closely divided Senate. An institutionalist who reveres the Senate as a stabilizing force in tumultuous times, Mr. McConnell has spent years defending Senate rules that require 60 votes to advance a Supreme Court nomination—a high hurdle in the current highly partisan environment. Now, Mr. McConnell likely will be forced to choose between preserving a Senate tradition and maintaining his allegiance to a Republican base that will pressure him to change the rules in order to put Mr. Trump’s nominee on the court.”

How will a SCOTUS pick get confirmed? Here’s everything you need to know.