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Monday, Feb 20th

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Several Trump appointees shared unflattering views of minorities, women on social media

Trump appointees postsSeveral of Donald Trump’s hires at the Education Department have used Twitter and Facebook to share their unfiltered opinions about African-Americans, transgender people and “fat chicks,” a POLITICO review of social media accounts shows.

Derrick Bolen, a former campaign worker, once tweeted: “Walking to class and this black girl goes shout out to all my niggas #ImWhite.”

Teresa UnRue, a former field organizer for the Trump campaign, shared a video on Facebook of an African-American man eating fried chicken and wondering aloud why other African-Americans are mad about slavery when “Y'all weren't no damn slaves."

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Trump gives Stephen Bannon National Security Council role

Steve BannonIn one of three executive actions Saturday, President Trump reshuffled the National Security Council to include his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and limited the roles of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The memorandum makes the chief strategist a regular attendee of the principals committee, the Cabinet-level interagency forum that deals with policy issues affecting national security. For Bannon, the Washington outsider who ran the conservative website Breitbart News, it's another area of federal government in which he will have influence.

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Trump defends refugee policy, attacks New York Times

Trump dfends exec orderPresident Trump, the subject of protests, lawsuits, and global criticism over his new ban on refugees from seven Middle East countries, took to social media on Sunday to defend his policy as a counter-terrorism measure (and attack The New York Times).

"Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW," Trump tweeted. "Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess."

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Trump sued after Iraqis detained at airport

Trump sued after immigration banPresident Donald Trump and his new administration are facing legal challenges after two Iraqis with valid visas to enter the United States were detained at a New York airport, following his sweeping executive order that bars citizens from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the country.

Lawyers for the International Refugee Assistance Project and the National Immigration Law Center filed a lawsuit early Saturday in federal court seeking to release Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were being held at John F. Kennedy Airport.

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Trump's call for deadlier Islamic State push may hit limits

Trump ISIS planU.S. President Donald Trump's call for a military plan to defeat Islamic State, made in an executive order on Saturday, is likely to see the Pentagon revisiting options for a more aggressive use of firepower and American troops.

But U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, doubt the country's military will advocate fundamentally changing a key strategy refined during the Obama administration: relying on local forces to do most of the fighting, and dying, in Syria and Iraq.

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DHS Top Leaders ‘In Hiding,’ Staffers Say

DHS leaders in hidingJust one week into the Trump era, the Department of Homeland Security has turned into a ghost town, six department sources tell The Daily Beast.

The flurry of executive orders announced this week with little to no warning has left the agency scrambling to figure out what components and staffing will be needed to carry out those orders. This means senior staff who would otherwise be asked to leave may be kept on while the agency figures out how to respond to the inundation of executive orders from President Trump. It mirrors similar staffing issues at other cabinet departments as well as at the White House.

“Anybody in a position of power is not there, they’re all in hiding” said one DHS official.

“People are just freaking out and running for the hills.”

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Trump's voter fraud expert owes US more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes

Trump vpter fraud expert owes taxesThe conservative activist cited by Donald Trump as an authority on voter fraud owes the US government more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, was once accused of lying about his qualifications, and has faced several allegations of ethical impropriety.

Gregg Phillips’s unfounded claim that three million people vote illegally in the US was championed in a tweet by Trump on Friday morning, as the new administration prepares to launch what he says will be a major inquiry into the integrity of American elections. The president tweeted:

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