National Security

Did Trump Lie to Congress About National Security?

Benjamin Wittes: “Back in February, speaking before a Joint Session of Congress, President Trump declared that: ‘according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.'”

“There’s a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.”

“So I filed a FOIA request to find out both whether such data exist.”

Trump Claims He’s Made Nuclear Arsenal Stronger

President Trump tweets this morning:

My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before… Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!

A reality check: Business Insider notes Trump’s first executive order was on the Affordable Care Act and that none of his orders in his first 100 days were on the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

And as the New York Times reports, the trillion dollar modernization of nuclear forces started under President Obama.

Big Majority Approve of Transgender Service

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters say by a 68% to 27% margin, including 55% to 39% among voters in military households, that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military.

Republicans oppose transgender service, 60% to 32%, but every other party, gender, education, age or racial group supports transgender service by margins of 22 percentage points or higher.

Coast Guard Chief Bucks Trump on Transgender Troops

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft is pledging he “will not break faith” with transgender personnel, “marking the strongest rebuttal yet by a leader of the armed forces to President Trump’s declaration that he wants to ban all transgender troops,” Politico reports.

Said Zukunft: “We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.”

Mar-a-Lago Trips Cost More Than Transgender Troops

In announcing his ban on transgender people in the military, President Trump said that taxpayers “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

Except that USA Today points out that trans troops don’t really cost that much: “A report for the Pentagon last year found that transition-related care would cost between about $2.4 and $8.4 million per year — less than 0.14% of the military’s medical budget. That’s roughly the cost of four of Trump’s trips to Mar-A-Lago.”

Military Says Transgender People Can Still Serve for Now

“The military’s policy permitting transgender individuals to serve remains in place, the country’s highest military officer said, clarifying some of the confusion surrounding President Trump’s announcement on Twitter that transgender people would no longer be accepted or allowed in the military,” according to the New York Times.

“In a letter to the military service chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the policy on who is allowed to serve will not change until the White House sends the Defense Department a rules change and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines.”

Pentagon Briefly Worried Trump Was Declaring War

President Trump’s “abrupt announcement” banning transgender people from the military “seemed to stun military leaders,” even though Trump said in a series of tweets that he consulted with “my generals and military experts,” BuzzFeed reports.

“At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.”

Inside Trump’s Decision to Ban Transgender Troops

Politico: “House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico.”

“But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex-change operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them.”

“They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.”

Trump Bans Transgender People In Military

President Trump announced in a series of tweets a ban on transgender people in the U.S. military, the Washington Post reports.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

Jonathan Swan: “It’s the most aggressive I’ve seen Trump wade into culture wars since becoming president — and perhaps his most polarizing decision since the original travel ban. This issue had been quietly burning for months, with social conservative leaders pressing the White House on why it hadn’t made a decision on this.”

For members: Trump Makes a Big Play to His Base