Building the Wall

Thursday, January 26, 2017Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 7.55.56 PM

Good Thursday morning.
• Executive actions start the crackdown on illegal immigration.
President Trump on Wednesday began a sweeping clampdown on illegal immigration, ordering the immediate construction of a border wall with Mexico and aggressive efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants.
Mr. Trump planned additional actions to cut back on legal immigration, including barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
• Mr. Trump promises a major investigation of his voter fraud claim.
The president intends to move forward with a major investigation of voter fraud, which he says cost him the popular vote, White House officials said. The announcement comes despite bipartisan condemnation of his allegations and the conclusion of Mr. Trump’s own lawyers that the election was “not tainted.”
It is virtually impossible, several state election officials said, that millions of people voted illegally in last year’s presidential contest.
• A draft order raises the specter of reviving torture.
A draft of a Trump administration executive order spilled into public early Wednesday, raising with it the prospect of reviving C.I.A. “black site” prisons like those where terrorism suspects were once detained and tortured. The document has the potential to further fracture a national security team already divided over one of the most controversial policies of the post-9/11 era.
• The White House to government agencies: Quiet please.
The Trump administration has ordered a freeze on federal grant spending at several government agencies, followed by memos telling employees not to send out news releases or to create social media posts, blog entries or official website content, and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the news media. But some longtime employees at three of the agencies called reactions to the agency memos overblown.
Trump Orders a Wall, but Congress Holds the Checkbook
President Trump speaking at the Department of Homeland Security with Vice President Mike Pence, left, and the department secretary, John F. Kelly, on Wednesday.
President Trump speaking at the Department of Homeland Security with Vice President Mike Pence, left, and the department secretary, John F. Kelly, on Wednesday. Doug Mills/The New York Times
With Twitter posts, leaks and executive orders, President Trump is moving quickly to show he will make good on some of his key campaign pledges. During a 24-hour period this week, he ordered or signaled significant new policies on border security, terrorism, crime and voting.
But as Mr. Trump’s predecessor learned in 2009 when he ordered the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, closed, implementing policy is not as easy as the stroke of a pen.
Details to carry out security policies exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit, and, in some cases, the public can only infer Mr. Trump’s plans.
We look at what he has promised, and what authority he has to carry it out.
Learn more »

What We’re Watching

Mr. Trump will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday to address House and Senate Republicans who are taking part in a policy retreat there. Will the president and Congress be able to come together on a plan for infrastructure legislation?
More executive actions are expected from the White House in the coming days, including one barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
Will the White House offer more details on the voter fraud investigation the president has promised?
At the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, President Trump signed documents to order the construction of a Mexican border wall.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump acted to start the construction of the barrier at the frontier and moved to limit the admission of all refugees at least temporarily.

President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico before giving a foreign policy speech this week in Mexico City. He has so far resisted pressure to respond more forcefully to President Trump’s provocations.

Ronaldo Schemidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mexicans called President Trump’s push to build a wall “an offense to Mexico,” a “slap in the face” and a “monument to lies.”

A polling site in Ashland, Va., in November. President Trump has insisted, despite a lack of evidence, that many immigrants in the United States voted illegally in Virginia, California and New Hampshire.

Chet Strange for The New York Times

President Trump reasserted a false claim of fake ballots and promised an inquiry, even though his lawyers and experts have said no cheating occurred.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walked back to the Oval Office after visiting the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Rarely, if ever, has a president been as reactive to random inputs as this one. Career government officials and lawmakers are struggling to keep up.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s welcome of the Keystone XL reversal in Washington has alienated many environmentalists in Canada, and has also strained his relations with some indigenous communities.

For Justin Trudeau, Revival of Keystone XL Upsets a Balancing Act


President Trump’s move to proceed with the pipeline leaves the Canadian prime minister facing anger from energy advocates and environmentalists.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago on his way to a City Council meeting on Wednesday. He told reporters he opposed the idea of sending in the National Guard.

Chicago, Convulsed by Violence, Confronts Trump’s Twitter Threat


Chicagoans spent Wednesday debating what to make of a post by President Trump: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on,” he wrote, “I will send in the Feds!”

A Border Patrol vehicle near McAllen, Tex., where a fence stands along the border.

Rejecting the Wall ‘Is Too Emotional,’ and Other Border Voices


An executive order from President Trump has renewed debate in South Texas about not only the nature of the border but also the nature of walls.

President Trump with union leaders and workers in the Oval Office on Monday. Mr. Trump has discovered there are a lot of things he likes about his new home, the White House.

It’s No Trump Tower, but White House Has ‘Beautiful’ Phones


Mr. Trump the candidate preferred to sleep in his own bed. But Mr. Trump the president has spent the past five nights in his new home. His review? “Pure elegance.”

Anti-Trump protesters being pepper-sprayed in Washington on Jan. 20.

Charges for Journalists Arrested at Inauguration Raise Fears


Concerns over press freedom intensified after six journalists were charged with felony rioting. They were among 230 people detained in the anti-Trump demonstrations.

Order to Suspend U.S. Agencies’ News Releases Is Called Routine


Several longtime employees of the agencies said freezes to grant spending and orders to not speak publicly were routine at times of transition, but critics seized on the moves.

What We’re Reading

The Washington Post zooms in on one Kentucky family, “whose support the new president’s success would live or die on,” as they greet the beginning of the Trump era.
Mr. Trump said late Tuesday that he was willing to “send in the Feds” if the Chicago authorities did not curb gun violence there. That was news to Chicago’s top police officer, who said he was baffled by the tweet, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Ivor Prickett, a photographer for The Times, has a close-up look at the the battle against the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq.
The price of new memberships at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., has doubled to $200,000.

Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

An official at Mar-a-Lago said a price change had been planned before the election, but he acknowledged that the club had seen a wave of interest since Mr. Trump won.

A New Jersey Transit train near Secaucus Junction station in N.J. The state wants to build a new railroad tunnel under the Hudson River.

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, are eager to get their hands on money for infrastructure projects. Everyone has a list, and a need.

New Yorkers on Wednesday in Washington Square Park for a rally organized by the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Christopher Lee for The New York Times

City officials from Austin, Tex.; Chicago; Los Angeles; New Haven; New York; and Syracuse said they were prepared for a protracted fight.

A sketch of Christo’s proposed artwork “Over the River,” depicting a view from the Arkansas River.

Christo Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado

The artist spent $15 million and more than 20 years on a vast artwork in Colorado to rival his masterpiece, “The Gates.” Now he’s walking away.