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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 190)

Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues

Westlake Legal Group 12Mexico-Migrants-03-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Sotomayor, Sonia Immigration and Emigration Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Decisions and Verdicts Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country.

The court’s order was a major victory for the administration, allowing it to enforce a policy that will achieve one of its central goals: effectively barring most migration across the nation’s southwestern border by Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and others. Mexican migrants, who need not travel through another country to reach the United States, are not affected by the new policy.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, saying the court’s action will “upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution.”

This was the second time in recent months that the Supreme Court backed a major Trump administration immigration initiative. In July, the court allowed the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for the construction of a barrier along the Mexican border. Last year, the court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the challengers in the new case, stressed that the Supreme Court’s action was provisional. “This is just a temporary step,” he said, “and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”

The case will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court rules, but that will take many months.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, pledged on Wednesday night to “commence implementing the asylum rule ASAP.”

“While congress continues to do nothing,” he wrote on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump’s administration uses every tool in the toolbox to try and solve the crisis at our southern border.”

In a Supreme Court brief in the case, the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said the new policy was needed to address “an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated.”

Under the policy, which was announced July 15, only immigrants who have been denied asylum in another country or who have been victims of “severe” human trafficking are permitted to apply in the United States. “The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity,” Mr. Francisco wrote.

Under the rules, Hondurans and Salvadorans must seek and be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they can apply in the United States. Guatemalans must seek and be denied asylum in Mexico.

Migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have made up the vast majority of asylum seekers who have tried to enter the United States in record numbers this year. The Border Patrol has arrested 419,831 migrant family members from those three countries at the southwest border so far this fiscal year, compared with just 4,312 Mexican family members.

The rules reversed longstanding asylum policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the United States.

The administration made the unilateral move after months of pushing Guatemala and Mexico to commit to going along with the plan. Mr. Trump went as far to threaten both countries with tariffs unless they did more to halt the migration.

The administration struck such a deal with Guatemala in July, which would force the country to absorb Central American migrants. But Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the deal needs further approval, and the countries are still working on an implementation plan for the deal.

The Mexican government, however, has pushed back against the so-called safe-third-country agreement, which would force Mexico to absorb Guatemalan asylum seekers.

Instead of agreeing to the deal, Mexico deployed thousands of security personnel to its southern border and agreed to collaborate with the United States on a program that returns migrants to Mexico to wait out their cases.

Two federal trial judges had issued conflicting rulings on whether the new plan was lawful.

In July, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to block the administration’s rules.

That same day, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the new rules, saying they were put in place without following the required legal procedures.

In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor said Judge Tigar’s ruling “warrants respect.”

“The rule the government promulgated,” she wrote, “topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere — without affording the public a chance to weigh in.”

The two other members of the court’s liberal wing, Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, had dissented in earlier cases on Trump administration immigration policies. They did not note dissents from Wednesday’s order.

Judge Tigar ordered the administration to continue accepting applications from all otherwise eligible migrants, even if they had not sought asylum elsewhere on their journey north.

Judge Tigar said his ruling applied across the nation. Such nationwide injunctions have been the subject of much criticism, but the Supreme Court has never issued a definitive ruling on whether and when they are proper.

In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, narrowed the geographic scope of Judge Tigar’s more recent ruling while it considered the administration’s appeal, saying it should apply only in the territorial jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, which includes two border states, California and Arizona. (Two other border states, Texas and New Mexico, are in the jurisdictions of other federal appeals courts.)

On Monday, however, Judge Tigar again imposed a nationwide injunction, saying he had been presented with additional evidence justifying one. “Anything but a nationwide injunction,” he wrote, “will create major administrability issues.” On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked the new injunction and ordered the two sides to submit briefs on whether it should issue a stay.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay of Judge Tigar’s initial ruling while the case moved forward, Mr. Francisco argued that the administration was entitled to skip ordinary notice and comment requirements for new regulations because foreign affairs were at issue and because a delay after the announcement of the procedures “may prompt an additional surge of asylum seekers.”

In any event, Mr. Francisco wrote, the Ninth Circuit’s narrower injunction, covering only the states in its jurisdiction, was still too broad. At most, he wrote, the injunction should cover only clients of the four groups challenging the new policy — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the groups along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the administration was trying to rewrite a federal immigration law enacted in 1980. There was no reason, the A.C.L.U. said, to alter “the 40-year-long status quo while this case is heard on an expedited basis in the court of appeals.”

“The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans (who do not need to transit through a third country to reach the United States),” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “The court should not permit such a tectonic change to U.S. asylum law.”

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Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Goodwill’ to China

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday night that the United States would delay its next planned tariff increase on China by two weeks, as “a gesture of goodwill” that may help to mend the seriously damaged ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

The United States would delay a planned increase in its 25 percent tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, a move that was made “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st,” the president said in a tweet.

The move comes as trade talks between the United States and China have stagnated, leading to stock market volatility and consternation among businesses that have paid higher prices to import and export goods. Despite months of talks, negotiators still appear far from a comprehensive trade deal that would resolve the Trump administration’s concerns about Chinese economic practices, including its infringement on American intellectual property.

The president’s announcement will delay talks by only two weeks. But it could allow negotiators to meet ahead of the next round of tariffs, raising the potential for that increase to be averted.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11DC-TRADE--1-articleLarge Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Goodwill’ to China United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Postal Service (US) International Trade and World Market fentanyl Executive Orders and Memorandums Economic Conditions and Trends Counterfeit Merchandise China

The executive order drafted by the Trump administration would increase inspections of packages mailed through the United States Postal Service but would not apply to private companies like FedEx or UPS.CreditChristopher Lee/Bloomberg

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North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — The red is getting redder and the blue is getting bluer.

The special congressional election in North Carolina may have involved just about 190,000 voters, but it showed that the class, racial and regional divides among voters have only hardened since that demographic chasm helped drive President Trump’s election in 2016 and the Democratic rebound in the House in 2018.

Dan Bishop, a Republican state lawmaker, eked out a two-point victory in a historically conservative seat because he improved on his party’s performance with working-class whites in more lightly populated parts of the district. And even though Democrats nominated a Marine veteran, Dan McCready, who highlighted his baptism while serving in Iraq, his gains in Charlotte, the state’s biggest city, were not enough to offset the drop-off he suffered across several hundred miles of sprawling farms and small towns.

The bracing takeaway for Republicans is that their tightening embrace of Mr. Trump and his often demagogic politics is further alienating the upper middle-class voters — many in cities and their suburbs— who once were central to their base. At the same time, the Democrats are continuing to struggle with the working-class whites who once represented a pillar of their own coalition.

The results here in a district stretching from Charlotte to Fayetteville presage a brutal, national campaign that seems destined to become the political equivalent of trench warfare, with the two parties rallying their supporters but clashing over a vanishingly small slice of contested electoral terrain.

Such a contest could prove difficult for Mr. Trump, who helped deliver Mr. Bishop a victory by mobilizing their shared base of working-class whites at an election-eve rally, because his core support could well be insufficient to win him a second term without improving his standing with the suburbanites and women who reluctantly backed him in 2016.

Even as the president and his top aides crowed over their role in securing Mr. Bishop a two-point win in a seat Mr. Trump carried by 12 points, their next-day glow was jarred by a new Washington Post-ABC poll that delivered grim tidings. Mr. Trump would lose to a handful of the Democratic candidates, the survey indicated, and a trial heat between the president and Joseph R. Biden Jr. showed Mr. Biden thrashing Mr. Trump 55-40 among registered voters.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160520535_e23f50ea-e8f6-4c7a-8384-72e7dddf8b33-articleLarge North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Dan Bishop, right, won the election by two points in a district President Trump carried by 12 points in 2016.CreditJim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But Republicans note that the election will not be held this week and they believe Mr. Trump can pull out another Electoral College victory if the Democrats veer out of the political mainstream next year and send just enough of those political moderates scrambling back to the G.O.P.

“Their run to the left is the great opportunity for us to get back the majority and for the president to get re-elected,” said Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, pointing to how many more House seats are now held by Democrats in districts won by Mr. Trump than by Republicans in seats Hillary Clinton carried.

More striking than Mr. McHenry’s rosy assessment is what he and other political veterans from both parties are now willing to acknowledge: that new lines of demarcation are making Democrats out of college-educated voters tooling around Charlotte in BMWs and Republicans out of blue-collar workers further out on Tobacco Road. And those lines are now fixed.

“We are living in, to take an old John Edwards term, Two Americas,” Mr. McHenry said, alluding to the former North Carolina senator. He added that “the view of the president is cemented in voters’ minds” and conceded that Mr. Trump can only improve his standing in the suburbs “along the margins.”

The gains Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate, made in Charlotte were not enough to offset the drop-off he suffered across sprawling farms and small towns of rural North Carolina.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

Former Representative Brad Miller, a longtime North Carolina Democrat with ancestral roots in this district, was just as blunt.

“It does grieve me greatly that the areas where my family was from have gone so Republican,” said Mr. Miller, noting that many of the voters who cast Republican ballots Tuesday “probably had grandparents with pictures of F.D.R. up in their living room.”

But Mr. Miller said the implications from Tuesday’s special election and last year’s midterms were undeniable if demoralizing in some ways.

“Democrats have a clear advantage in 2020, but there is no way to break into a lot of the folks who are for Trump. They’re just not going to vote for a Democrat, doesn’t matter who it is,” he said. “So Democrats can still win and probably will win but we’re going to be a very divided nation.”

Those divisions were easy to detect Wednesday in Rockingham, a county seat community well east of Charlotte best known for its famed Nascar track. Mr. McCready won the surrounding county by 2.5 percent last year but on Tuesday Mr. Bishop carried it by 5 percent.

Standing behind the counter at Iconic Wellness CBD, and surrounded by tasteful posters extolling the benefits of legal cannabis products, Pam Mizzell said she voted for Mr. Bishop in part because he had the strong backing of Mr. Trump.

Ms. Mizzell, who is white, said she wanted more Republicans in Washington supporting the president’s agenda. She accused former President Barack Obama of pitting “one race against the other race” (she did not cite any examples) and said she hoped that the Trump administration would help bring about an era of racial healing.

Diane McDonald, a school cafeteria worker who is African-American, offered a markedly different viewpoint, saying she was worried that Mr. Trump is promoting racism. “And they’re letting him get away with it,” Ms. McDonald said of Washington Republicans. “I thought McCready would make a difference.”

In Charlotte, it was not difficult to find white, Republican-leaning voters who also backed Mr. McCready.

Chris Daleus, a salesman, said he backed the Democrat Tuesday even though he supported Mr. Trump three years ago. “He seems to have embarrassed us in a lot of ways,” Mr. Daleus said of the president.

National Democrats took heart in such sentiments, believing their narrow defeat in a district they have not held since the 1960s foreshadows how a Trumpified Republican Party will run into the same suburban wall in 2020 as they did last year.

“There are 34 seats held by Republicans that are better pick-up opportunities for Democrats than this seat,” said Lucinda Guinn, a Democratic strategist. “Democrats can grow their majority.”

The more pressing matter for Democrats, though, may be whether they can improve their performance with working-class whites to reclaim the Senate and presidency in 2020, a question that will turn in part on whether they can defeat the North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis and reclaim this state from Mr. Trump, who won here by 3.6 points in 2016.

“Back in the 80s and 90s, North Carolina Democrats who bucked party affiliation were called Jessecrats,” said Doug Heye, a North Carolina-reared Republican consultant, referring to the late Senator Jesse Helms. “Now we may have to called them Trumpocrats. And if Democrats want North Carolina to truly be in play, they have to figure out how to appeal to these voters.”

Mr. Bishop’s campaign correctly determined that these mostly rural Democrats would hold the key to their success, even though their candidate’s state senate district includes parts of Charlotte. Jim Blaine, one of Mr. Bishop’s top aides, said that 75 to 80 percent of their paid advertising was directed toward the eastern, and more sparsely-populated, part of the district.

“It was focused on the core, long-standing, working-class Democratic constituency that makes up a huge piece of the population in those counties,” said Mr. Blaine, adding: “We had to persuade them not that Dan Bishop is the Republican, but the guy who would look out for them.”

He said their job was made easier in part because of the national Democratic Party’s drift left, but also because Mr. McCready did not make any major break from party orthodoxy that would have allowed him to present himself as a different sort of Democrat.

Mr. Trump’s high command, not surprisingly, had their own theory of why Republicans won here: Mr. Trump.

Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that the president’s election eve rally in Fayetteville was pivotal to Mr. Bishop’s success in energizing Election Day voters, after the Democrats mobilized many of their supporters to cast early ballots.

“There’s no question that he is the congressman-elect this morning because of the personal efforts of President Trump,” Mr. Parscale said of Mr. Bishop.

More Coverage of the Special Election
Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election

Sept. 10, 2019

North Carolina Special Election Results: Ninth House District

Sept. 10, 2019

North Carolina Politics
Read more about the special election.
North Carolina Special Election Results: Ninth House District

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group results-north-carolina-house-district-9-special-general-election-1568140508937-threeByTwoSmallAt2X North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan
With the Faithful at Trump’s North Carolina Rally: ‘He Speaks Like Me’

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160520076_b90154dd-663a-4e83-b77c-df30cc81e5b0-threeByTwoSmallAt2X North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan
North Carolina’s ‘Guru of Elections’: Can-Do Operator Who May Have Done Too Much

Dec. 8, 2018

Westlake Legal Group 09carolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Richard Fausset reported from Charlotte, and Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman from Washington.

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Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Goodwill’ to China

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday night that the United States would delay its next planned tariff increase on China by two weeks, as “a gesture of goodwill” that may help to mend the seriously damaged ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

The United States would delay a planned increase in its 25 percent tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, a move that was made “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st,” the president said in a tweet.

The move comes as trade talks between the United States and China have stagnated, leading to stock market volatility and consternation among businesses that have paid higher prices to import and export goods. Despite months of talks, negotiators still appear far from a comprehensive trade deal that would resolve the Trump administration’s concerns about Chinese economic practices, including its infringement on American intellectual property.

The president’s announcement will delay talks by only two weeks. But it could allow negotiators to meet ahead of the next round of tariffs, raising the potential for that increase to be averted.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11DC-TRADE--1-articleLarge Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Goodwill’ to China United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Postal Service (US) International Trade and World Market fentanyl Executive Orders and Memorandums Economic Conditions and Trends Counterfeit Merchandise China

The executive order drafted by the Trump administration would increase inspections of packages mailed through the United States Postal Service but would not apply to private companies like FedEx or UPS.CreditChristopher Lee/Bloomberg

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Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

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Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

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Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

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Supreme Court Backs New Trump Asylum Restrictions

Westlake Legal Group 12Mexico-Migrants-03-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Backs New Trump Asylum Restrictions United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Sotomayor, Sonia Immigration and Emigration Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Decisions and Verdicts Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar many Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the new policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

In a Supreme Court brief, the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said the new policy was needed to address “an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated.”

Under the policy, which was announced July 15, only immigrants who have been denied asylum in another country or who have been victims of “severe” human trafficking are permitted to apply in the United States. “The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity,” Mr. Francisco wrote.

Under the rules, Hondurans and Salvadorans must seek and be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they can apply in the United States. Guatemalans must seek and be denied asylum in Mexico.

The rules reversed longstanding asylum policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the United States.

Two federal trial judges had issued conflicting rulings on whether the new plan was lawful.

In July, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to block the administration’s rules.

That same day, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the new rules, saying they were put in place without following the required legal procedures.

He ordered the administration to continue accepting applications from all otherwise eligible migrants, even if they had not sought asylum elsewhere on their journey north.

Judge Tigar said his ruling applied across the nation. Such nationwide injunctions have been the subject of much criticism, but the Supreme Court has never issued a definitive ruling on whether and when they are proper.

When Judge Tigar blocked a different aspect of the administration’s asylum policies in November, Mr. Trump criticized the ruling, saying it had been issued by an “Obama judge.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued a rare rebuke to Mr. Trump.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the chief justice said, adding that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

When Judge Tigar’s earlier ruling reached the Supreme Court in December, the court refused to issue a stay by a 5-to-4 vote. Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority.

In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, narrowed the geographic scope of Judge Tigar’s more recent ruling while it considered the administration’s appeal, saying it should apply only in the territorial jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, which includes two border states, California and Arizona. (Two other border states, Texas and New Mexico, are in the jurisdictions of other federal appeals courts.)

On Monday, however, Judge Tigar again imposed a nationwide injunction, saying he had been presented with additional evidence justifying one. “Anything but a nationwide injunction,” he wrote, “will create major administrability issues.” On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked the new injunction and ordered the two sides to submit briefs on whether it should issue a stay.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay of Judge Tigar’s initial ruling while the case moved forward, Mr. Francisco argued that the administration was entitled to skip ordinary notice and comment requirements for new regulations because foreign affairs were at issue and because a delay after the announcement of the procedures “may prompt an additional surge of asylum seekers.”

In any event, Mr. Francisco wrote, the Ninth Circuit’s narrower injunction, covering only the western states in its territorial jurisdiction, was still too broad. At most, he wrote, the injunction should cover only clients of the four groups challenging the new policy — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the groups along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the administration was trying to rewrite a federal immigration law enacted in 1980. There was no reason, the A.C.L.U. said, to alter “the 40-year-long status quo while this case is heard on an expedited basis in the court of appeals.”

“The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans (who do not need to transit through a third country to reach the United States),” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “The court should not permit such a tectonic change to U.S. asylum law.”

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Trump Administration Plans to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials said on Wednesday they want to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, at a time when hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious vaping-related illnesses.

Sitting in the Oval Office with Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Ned Sharpless, the acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner, President Trump acknowledged that there was a vaping problem, and said, “We’re going to have to do something about it.”

Mr. Azar said that the F.D.A. would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing most flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

The move follows increasing pressure by lawmakers, parents and educators, who have been overwhelmed by the popularity of vaping among youths, and felt powerless to keep e-cigarettes out of their schools.

Details were sparse, but officials said the proposal may include a ban on menthol and mint flavored e-cigarettes, which have been the among the most popular flavors for the industry. Research has shown that these flavors are very appealing to youths and to nonsmokers, although some vaping advocates note that they hold great appeal for smokers who want to use e-cigarettes to quit.

The first lady, Melania Trump, also attended the White House meeting. “She’s got a son,” the president said of their teenage child, Barron. “She feels very strongly about it,” he said of Mrs. Trump’s interest in the vaping issue.

What You Need to Know About Vaping-Related Lung Illness
Coughing, fatigue and shortness of breath are warning signs for anyone who has vaped within the last 90 days.

Sept. 7, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160293528_5b0b0b27-3c5e-49cf-b7eb-bb1ddce4646d-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Trump Administration Plans to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes your-feed-healthcare Trump, Donald J Smoking and Tobacco Sharpless, Norman E Recalls and Bans of Products Nicotine Marijuana Juul Labs Inc Food and Drug Administration E-Cigarettes

Just this week, Michigan became the first state to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called for a ban, and Massachusetts and California are considering similar measures. San Francisco approved an e-cigarette ban earlier this year, which Juul Labs, the dominant seller in the United States, is lobbying to reverse through a ballot initiative this November.

Last week, Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and a longtime opponent of tobacco and e-cigarettes, warned Dr. Ned Sharpless, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, that if the agency failed to remove e-cigarette flavors from the market, he would call for the commissioner’s resignation. After Kansas reported a sixth vaping-related death on Tuesday , Senator Durbin again slammed the F.D.A. for failing to take decisive action to protect the public from e-cigarettes.

Pressure also began to mount as Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, decided to step in by announcing a $160 million push to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Long an opponent of traditional smoking, the former mayor said his organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, would seek prohibitions of flavored e-cigarettes in at least 20 cities and states.

In New York, Governor Cuomo also directed state health officials to subpoena companies that market or sell so-called thickening agents, which are sometimes added to illicit vaping products. A state laboratory, which detected the agents in vaping products collected from New York’s patients, found that they were nearly pure vitamin E acetate oil, which officials have said is a potential cause of some of the illnesses.

Hospitals and health officials in nearly three dozen states have reported nearly 500 cases of vaping-related illnesses since the beginning of the summer. Doctors have said that many patients appear to have vaped some THC or cannabis-related products, although others have reported using e-cigarettes as well. No one has singled out a particular company, device or product as the possible culprit.

Deaths have been reported in Illinois, Kansas, California, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon. The patients’ ages ranged from the 30s to middle-aged or older, and some had underlying lung or other chronic conditions, health officials said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11ECIGARETTES-articleLarge Trump Administration Plans to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes your-feed-healthcare Trump, Donald J Smoking and Tobacco Sharpless, Norman E Recalls and Bans of Products Nicotine Marijuana Juul Labs Inc Food and Drug Administration E-Cigarettes

Various flavors of Juul e-cigarettes in a store in Manhattan.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

Months ago, public and agency pressure forced Juul to yank its flavored pods — which were considered to appeal particularly to youths — from store shelves. The F.D.A. said at the time that it would seek to have retailers curb access to products to keep them away from minors.

Since Dr. Scott Gottlieb resigned as F.D.A. commissioner in April, the agency has appeared to be more sluggish in its efforts to control the epidemic of youth vaping. Although Dr. Sharpless had said he planned to continue the agency’s work to reduce both cigarette and e-cigarette use, not much moved forward. Dr. Gottlieb’s proposal to ban menthol in cigarettes, for example, has languished, as has his call for reducing nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive amounts.

That appears to have changed this week. On Monday, the F.D.A. took action against Juul, sending a warning letter accusing the company of violating federal regulations by promoting its vaping products as a healthier option than cigarettes.

There is little conclusive research on the long-term safety of using Juul or other e-cigarettes. The company’s flavor pods have a higher level of nicotine than cigarettes do, which is of concern because of the impact nicotine can have on the still-developing teenage brain.

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Coverage of flavored e-cigarettes

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Trump Leaves Open Possibility of Easing Iranian Sanctions to Spur Nuclear Talks

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-diplo-facebookJumbo Trump Leaves Open Possibility of Easing Iranian Sanctions to Spur Nuclear Talks United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Nuclear Weapons Iran General Assembly (UN) Embargoes and Sanctions

WASHINGTON — President Trump left open the possibility on Wednesday of relaxing economic sanctions against Iran before starting new nuclear negotiations, seeming to undercut his administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran in favor of striking a diplomatic deal.

Hours earlier, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said that the United States must lift its bruising sanctions before officials in Tehran would be ready to talk.

Mr. Trump stressed his view that Iran’s economy is suffering, and that the leadership in Tehran is eager for negotiations.

“I do believe they’d like to make a deal,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “If they do, that’s great; and if they don’t, that’s great too. But they have tremendous financial difficulty, and the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.”

He shrugged when asked if he would consider easing the sanctions to secure a meeting with Iran.

“We’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said.

Though Mr. Trump has previously offered to talk to Iran’s leaders, his comments on Wednesday appeared to be the first time he has publicly left open the door to softening his administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. The shift would have been stridently opposed by John R. Bolton, the White House national security adviser who was unceremoniously ousted on Tuesday.

For nearly a year, the Trump administration has threatened economic penalties against foreign governments and businesses seeking to invest in Iran, or to buy its oil and other goods. The isolation campaign has crippled Iran’s economy and frustrated countries, including China and India, that rely on its oil.

Other allies, particularly in Europe, were infuriated in May 2018 when Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear accord that Iran struck with world powers during the Obama administration. They have sought to create a barter system with Tehran that would keep financial channels open but not violate the American sanctions, and President Emmanuel Macron of France has dangled the possibility of a $15 billion bailout to bring Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal.

Under the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, the Treasury and State Departments have ramped up sanctions against Iran to force it back into negotiations. Brian H. Hook, the State Department envoy overseeing Iran issues, told reporters last week that sanctions were essential to financially starving the government in Tehran and, in turn, making it more difficult to fund Iranian-allied fighters in conflicts across the Middle East.

“We are maintaining the maximum-pressure campaign,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

In a telephone call with Mr. Macron, reported on Wednesday by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency, Mr. Rouhani said that “if the sanctions remain in place, negotiations with the U.S. administration have no meaning.”

As he faces re-election next year, Mr. Trump has been searching for a diplomatic victory — not just with Iran, but also with North Korea and Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly offered to open talks with Iranian officials, without setting any conditions for the negotiations, and has raised the possibility of a meeting at the annual global forum at the United Nations this month.

A similar effort in 2017 to set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani at the United Nations collapsed.

President Barack Obama never managed to meet with Mr. Rouhani, even after the nuclear deal was signed.

The closest the two presidents came was a 2013 phone call that lasted 15 minutes and was arranged by Mr. Rouhani as he departed the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Obama took the call at the White House; it was the first direct conversation between the leaders of the two countries since the 1979 Iranian Revolution that ousted the American-backed shah.

But Mr. Trump also made clear on Wednesday that he would not bend on his vow to block Iran’s efforts to escalate the country’s nuclear program, which had been largely shelved as a result of the 2015 agreement. “If they’re thinking about enrichment, they can forget about it,” Mr. Trump said. “Because it’s going to be very dangerous for them to enrich.”

Mr. Rouhani said over the weekend that Iran was preparing to restart its production of highly enriched uranium, the material needed to build a nuclear weapon. Doing so would most likely scuttle any hope of resurrecting the nuclear accord with world powers, as Mr. Macron has been trying to do.

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