Counterterrorism Adviser Gorka Out Of White House Job – Philip Ewing August 25, 2017 `9:10 PM ET

Outgoing National Security Council adviser Sebastian Gorka participates in a discussion during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Controversial White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka is out of his job, following the departure of his former boss, chief strategist Steve Bannon.

A White House official denied reports that Gorka had resigned on Friday night but confirmed that he “no longer works at the White House.”

Gorka became known for his confrontational style and has fought accusations about his credentials and potential ties to extremist groups.

Gorka had been working with the Trump team since the presidential campaign and was a close ally of Bannon’s; he had previously been an editor at Breitbart News, the right-wing media outlet that Bannon led before joining Trump’s team.

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon told Mother Jones. Bannon returned to Breitbart as executive chairman following his departure from the White House on Aug. 18.

Gorka belonged to a school of thought inside the White House that also included retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser: They argued extreme Islamism is as coherent and united a threat to the United States as Nazism and communism were in the past.

Gorka also was a staunch defender of President Trump’s desire to impose immigration restrictions on refugees and residents of several majority-Muslim nations.


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White House asks supreme court to rule on executive immigration action – Lauren Gambino Friday 20 November 2015 17.05 EST

Reforms would shield up to 5 million immigrants and administration argues coalition of Republican-led states had no legal standing to challenge them

Supporters of immigration reform protest outside the US supreme court on Friday. The protesters demanded the implementation of President Obama’s immigration relief programs.

One year ago, President Obama unveiled a sweeping initiative to shield from deportation millions of people living in the country illegally. In a televised address to the nation, the president said: “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

On Friday, the Obama administration formally asked the supreme court to uphold that action, which would grant protection and work permits to 5 million undocumented immigrants, after a federal court decision left it in limbo, where judgments at state level have placed it.

The administration argued that a coalition of Republican-led states had no legal standing to challenge the president’s executive actions and that the president was within his rights to defer deportation for certain groups of immigrants.

“It [the challenge] will force millions of people – who are not removal priorities under criteria the court conceded are valid, and who are parents of US citizens and permanent residents – to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families,” the solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, wrote in the filing.

On Friday immigration advocacy groups marked the anniversary of Obama’s executive action with rallies near the supreme court and the White House, in which they called on the administration to stop carrying out deportations.

Among the protesters were many immigrants affected by Obama’s actions, which protect qualified parents of US-born children and undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children or teens.

If the supreme court agrees to hear the dispute, it could re-inject the highly contentious issue into a 2016 presidential election in which immigration is already a highly charged and central issue.

The initial challenge to Obama’s executive action was brought by a coalition of 26 Republican-led states, which argued that the president had overstepped the boundaries of his authority by going around Congress and acting unilaterally.

A federal judge in Texas placed an injunction on the action in February, temporarily suspending it while the challenge wound its way through the courts. Earlier this month, the conservative fifth circuit court of appeals, which sits in New Orleans, upheld the injunction. The Obama administration said then that it intended to appeal.

Immigration has become a central issue for candidates in the 2016 election cycle. The Democratic presidential candidates have all announced plans to expand Obama’s executive actions. Republicans have said the actions are an abuse of presidential power and vowed to repeal them.

“Latinos are listening, and in 2016 there will be 1.5 million Dapa- [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans] affected US citizen voters who won’t forget who stood in our way and actively sought to deport and separate our families,” said Cristóbal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project advocacy group.

“Our community is strong and ready to hold people accountable and fight for relief.”

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he could support the House of Representatives taking a piece-by-piece approach to changing immigration policy as long as key elements such as a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants were included.

PHOENIX | Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:48am EDT
(Reuters) – U.S.-born Junnyor Diaz studies at a Phoenix high school. His Mexico-born older brother, Edder, has applied for a program to avoid deportation, while their undocumented mother, Angelica, cleans houses to keep the family fed and, above all, together.20130918-014000.jpg

Obama- willing to work with House on immigration reform
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON, Sept 17 | Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:31pm EDT

The White House had hoped a broad bill to reform immigration rules would be the president’s signature achievement this year, but the effort has stalled in the House after passing with bipartisan support in the Senate.

In an interview with Noticias Telemundo, Obama said he could back efforts in the House to advance elements of immigration reform one at a time – rather than all at once as the Senate did – as long as all of his priorities were part of the outcome.

“I’m happy to let the House work its will as long as the bill that ends up on my desk speaks to the central issues that have to be resolved,” he said, citing his priorities of stronger border security, penalties for employers who take advantage of undocumented workers, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

“If those elements are contained in a bill, whether they come through the House a little bit at a time or they come in one fell swoop … I’m less concerned about process, I’m more interested in making sure it gets done,” he said.

Advocates are reluctant to support a piece-by-piece approach out of concern that the elements most popular among Republicans, such as tougher border security, would be passed while the pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants would not.
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No problem has been more insoluble for Barack Obama than closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. But last week there seemed—outwardly at least—to be signs of progress. – By Daniel Klaidman, Newsweek

Ever since President Obama vowed to tackle the Guantánamo challenge in a major national security policy address in May, numerous staffers have been tasked with working on the project.

Ever since President Obama vowed to tackle the Guantánamo challenge in a major national security policy address in May, numerous staffers have been tasked with working on the project.

On July 24, the Senate held its first hearing on the matter since the earliest days of the Obama presidency, and Democratic senators addressed the issue with a passion and urgency that in recent years had given way to fatalism and resignation. Earlier that day, the White House had delivered a two-page plan to Congress explaining how it intended to close the facility. That alone seemed like a significant break from Obama’s first bid to shut Gitmo, back in 2009. At the time, lawmakers complained bitterly that the administration was failing to energetically engage them on the issue. Now even some Republicans were sensing momentum—and showing a willingness to work with the White House. John McCain, who recently traveled to Gitmo with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, praised the administration’s renewed efforts on the issue. “The difference between 2009 and 2013 is the administration now has a plan,” he exulted in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.

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President Obama’s no-Congress strategy

President Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

The president is done caring about congressional Republicans calling him a dictator. | AP Photo


President Barack Obama is planning to bypass congressional Republicans with a surge of executive actions and orders on issues like voting rights, health care, job creation, the economy, climate change and immigration.

And this time, he really, really, really means it. Really.

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Obama’s started to sell his pitch to congressional Democrats, meeting with caucus groups at the White House and going to the Hill on Wednesday morning to speak with House and Senate Democrats.

(PHOTOS: Obama’s second term)

“I have to figure out what I can do outside of Congress through executive actions,” Obama told the Congressional Black Caucus earlier this month, according to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.).

“He’s very ready to use his executive powers whenever possible,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) who heard Obama discuss the new approach at a meeting of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus to the White House last week.

With the clock running on Obama’s time in office — he’s even started marking the number of days left in public speeches — the president is done caring about congressional Republicans calling him a dictator. Or calling him at all.

Obama can’t ignore Republicans forever. There’s no way for the president to avoid negotiations to get continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling — and depending how things go, rebuff GOP efforts to defund Obamacare and possibly a compromise on immigration reform. Chief of staff Denis McDonough’s functioning as an almost one-man legislative affairs office can’t do it all.

(Also on POLITICO: W.H. seeks to redefine grand bargain)

And he’s used the executive authority tactic before, including last summer’s controversial move to cut deportations for younger illegal immigrants and the mental health focus he announced as part of his gun control agenda after the Newtown massacre.

But administration officials and advisers say what’s ahead will be more extensive and frequent than previous efforts, and the White House is on the hunt for anything that can move without congressional approval, including encouraging efforts like Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawsuits to find new avenues of enforcement in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act last month.

He’s even started soliciting suggestions for where to move next. Bass and other CBC members asked him to change the Medicaid process in territories to base allocations on income level, to repeal the Bush minimum wage federal contractor policies and to address child welfare. The CAPAC members also offered suggestions like changing the federal government’s process of recognizing native Hawaiians.

Obama told them he was open to all of them, and said his staff is working on others in the model of the new emission standards he announced as part of his climate agenda last month.

Eventually, executive actions and orders will be unveiled as part of the economic agenda Obama began hinting at in his speeches last week, addressing things like mortgage refinancing and restructuring — which is about as extensive as the White House expects things to get, even as they talk of welcoming negotiations with Republicans over the debt ceiling. And get ready, he’s told people, for a whole lot more recess appointments if Republicans start blocking his nominees again.

Executive actions are a familiar move for second-term presidents, and one that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush came to know well: rules and regulations can have deep and wide impact, and they come without all the messiness of Capitol Hill.

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