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Morning Reads: Saturday’s Marches Break Records; Trump Starts Dismantling Obamacare, EPA

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Morning Reads: Saturday's Marches Break Records

Protesters arrive at the Capital South Metro station for the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

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Developing–> CNN reports, “President Donald Trump on Monday will start to unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as two sources familiar with the matter told CNN he plans to sign an executive order to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

The biggest protest in US history –> “Crowd estimates from Women’s Marches on Saturday are still trickling in, but political scientists say they think we may have just witnessed the largest day of demonstrations in American history,” Sarah Frostenson writes for Vox. “According to data collected by Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut, marches held in more than 500 US cities were attended by at least 3.3 million people.” At The Huffington Post, Ryan Grim writes that you can help these scientists compile an accurate estimate by sending them information on rallies in your town.

People from across the country rallied for many causes, including the protection of health care, reproductive rights, and progress on climate change. Hannah Norman has more at Yes! Magazine (reposted at our site).

Wrecking crew moves in –> Axios, a publication started by Politico alumni, has been leaked a list of top priorities for the incoming administration, and they are extreme. Perhaps most concrete and alarming are the administration’s plans to eviscerate environmental protection, rolling back safeguards on clean air and water, and even changing “the way the EPA uses science” so that, to quote the document, the EPA won’t “be able to return to its bad old ways as soon as an establishment administration takes office.” This is the handiwork of Myron Ebell, Trump’s EPA transition head who works for a climate change-denying think tank.

Speaking of climate change, the new White House website that launched almost immediately after Trump took office includes no mention of climate change except to tout the president’s “America First Energy Plan” and to say that, “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule.” The website also removed and did not replace pages dedicated to LGBT and civil rights, Justin Miller reports for The Daily Beast.

One of Trump’s first acts in office was to sign three executive orders, Deirdre Fulton writes for Common Dreams. One of them will begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act. The specifics of that order are unclear, though it may target the individual mandate. “Potentially the biggest effect of this order could be widespread waivers from the individual mandate, which would likely create chaos in the individual insurance market,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Washington Post.

Another executive order established a “national day of patriotism” — though the details of this also are sketchy. “It was not immediately clear when that day would occur. There was also no immediate detail on whether this would be a presidential proclamation or a call for a federal holiday,” Christine Wang reports for CNBC.

Tillerson has the votes –> Two GOP elder statesmen and Russia hardliners have been mollified by the secretary of state-designate; they will vote today for Rex Tillerson, essentially giving him the votes he needs to move his nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the full floor of the Senate, Esme Cribb reports for Talking Points Memo. “Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for US interests,” Lindsey Graham and John McCain said. Florida Republican Marco Rubio, who also sits on the foreign relations committee, still has not made up his mind, Politico reports.

On the attack –> “A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments,” Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak report for The New York Times. “In the new case, the lawyers argue that a provision in the Constitution known as the Emoluments Clause bans payments from foreign powers like the ones to Mr. Trump’s companies. They cite fears among the framers of the Constitution that United States officials could be corrupted by gifts or payments.”

“Alternative facts” –> Jon Swaine in The Guardian: “Rattled by the nation’s biggest political demonstrations since the Vietnam war, Trump and his aides spent an extraordinary first weekend in office falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his swearing-in on Friday… ‘This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,’ said [White House press secretary Sean] Spicer, in one of several statements contradicted by photographs and transit data. ‘These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.’ Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday Spicer had merely been offering ‘alternative facts,’ a phrase that was received with widespread astonishment.”

In other news from the White House, the sun rose in the west this morning and the Cleveland Cavaliers were nominated for seven Grammy awards.

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

 


 

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.

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