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President-elect Donald Trump salutes the statue of Abraham Lincoln as he and his wife Melania take part in a Make America Great Again welcome concert in Washington. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
 
 
By Ayesha Rascoe and Julia Edwards Ainsley | WASHINGTON
Donald Trump is preparing to sign executive actions on his first day in the White House on Friday to take the opening steps to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and roll back outgoing President Barack Obama's policies.
Trump, a Republican elected on Nov. 8 to succeed Democrat Obama, arrived in Washington on a military plane with his family a day before he will be sworn in during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Aides said Trump would not wait to wield one of the most powerful tools of his office, the presidential pen, to sign several executive actions that can be implemented without the input of Congress.

"He is committed to not just Day 1, but Day 2, Day 3 of enacting an agenda of real change, and I think that you're going to see that in the days and weeks to come," Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday, telling reporters to expect activity on Friday, during the weekend and early next week.

Trump plans on Saturday to visit the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Virginia. He has harshly criticized the agency and its outgoing chief, first questioning the CIA's conclusion that Russia was involved in cyber hacking during the U.S. election campaign, before later accepting the verdict. Trump also likened U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany.

Trump's advisers vetted more than 200 potential executive orders for him to consider signing on healthcare, climate policy, immigration, energy and numerous other issues, but it was not clear how many orders he would initially approve, according to a member of the Trump transition team who was not authorized to talk to the press.

Signing off on orders puts Trump, who has presided over a sprawling business empire but has never before held public office, in a familiar place similar to the CEO role that made him famous, and will give him some early victories before he has to turn to the lumbering process of getting Congress to pass bills.

The strategy has been used by other presidents, including Obama, in their first few weeks in office.

"He wants to show he will take action and not be stifled by Washington gridlock," said Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer.

Trump is expected to impose a federal hiring freeze and take steps to delay a Labor Department rule due to take effect in April that would require brokers who give retirement advice to put their clients' best interests first.

He also will give official notice he plans to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, Spicer said. "I think you will see those happen very shortly," Spicer said.

Obama, ending eight years as president, made frequent use of his executive powers during his second term in office, when the Republican-controlled Congress stymied his efforts to overhaul immigration and environmental laws. Many of those actions are now ripe targets for Trump to reverse.

BORDER WALL
Trump is expected to sign an executive order in his first few days to direct the building of a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and actions to limit the entry of asylum seekers from Latin America, among several immigration-related steps his advisers have recommended.

That includes rescinding Obama's order that allowed more than 700,000 people brought into the United States illegally as children to stay in the country on a two-year authorization to work and attend college, according to several people close to the presidential transition team.

It is unlikely Trump's order will result in an immediate roundup of these immigrants, sources told Reuters. Rather, he is expected to let the authorizations expire.

The issue could set up a confrontation with Obama, who told reporters on Wednesday he would weigh in if he felt the new administration was unfairly targeting those immigrants.

Advisers to Trump expect him to put restrictions on people entering the United States from certain countries until a system for "extreme vetting" for Islamist extremists can be set up.

During his presidential campaign, Trump proposed banning non-American Muslims from entering the United States, but his executive order regarding immigration is expected to be based on nationality rather than religion.

Another proposed executive order would require all Cabinet departments to disclose and pause current work being done in connection with Obama's initiatives to curb carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Trump also is expected to extend prohibitions on future lobbying imposed on members of his transition team.

'THE HIGHEST IQ'
Washington was turned into a virtual fortress ahead of the inauguration, with police ready to step in to separate protesters from Trump supporters at any sign of unrest.
 
As Obama packed up to leave the White House, Trump and his family laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and attended a concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

Trump spoke earlier to lawmakers and Cabinet nominees at a luncheon in a ballroom at his hotel, down the street from the White House, announcing during brief remarks that he would pick Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets of the National Football League, as U.S. ambassador to Britain.

"We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what, one thing we've learned, we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled," Trump said.

Trump has selected all 21 members of his Cabinet, along with six other key positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate is expected on Friday to vote to confirm retired General James Mattis, Trump's pick to lead the Pentagon, and retired General John Kelly, his homeland security choice.

Senate Republicans had hoped to confirm as many as seven Cabinet members on Friday, but Democrats balked at the pace. Trump spokesman Spicer accused Senate Democrats of "stalling tactics."

Also in place for Monday will be 536 "beachhead team members" at government agencies, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, a small portion of the thousands of positions Obama's appointees will vacate.

Trump has asked 50 Obama staffers in critical posts to stay on until replacements can be found, including Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and Brett McGurk, envoy to the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

The list includes Adam Szubin, who has long served in an "acting" capacity in the Treasury Department's top anti-terrorism job because his nomination has been held up by congressional Republicans since Obama named him to the job in April 2015.

The Supreme Court said U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will administer the oath of office on Friday, met with Trump on Thursday to discuss inauguration arrangements.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland, David Shepardson, Susan Heavey, David Alexander, Doina Chiacu, Ayesha Rascoe, Ginger Gibson, Mike Stone, Emily Stephenson, David Brunnstrom and Lawrence Hurley; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney)

President Obama and first lady Michelle welcome the Trumps to the White House

By Ashley Collman
Donald Trump has arrived at the house he will call home for the next four years.

The President-elect and his wife Melania were greeted on the steps of the White House by President Obama and first lady Michelle Friday morning, ahead of the swearing-in ceremony. 

Mr Obama asked the President-elect how he was doing as the two shook hands. Melania Trump then gave Mrs Obama a hug before handing over a large gift box from Tiffany's.  

The two couples are meeting for tea in the White house, and will later travel together to the Capitol Building where Mr Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Trump was up early Friday morning - going about business as usual by tweeting.  
'It all begins today!' Trump tweeted at daybreak. 'THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES - THE WORK BEGINS!'

He left Blair House, where he spent Thursday night, around 8:30am to attend a church service at St. John's Episcopal Church.  All of his children were in attendance with him Friday morning, except his youngest son Barron, age 10.

As President-elect Trump and his family attended church, President Obama was seen leaving a letter for the new president on the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office - a long-standing Inauguration Day tradition. 

When asked if he was feeling nostalgic, as he walked back into the White House, President Obama said 'of course!' 

Another reported asked if he had one last word for the American people and he said 'Thanks'.

In a phone call with Good Morning America on Friday, the mogul-turned-politician's eldest son Donald Trump Jr said he was raring to get the day's events going.

'He's doing great. He doing well. He's just excited to do this,' Donald Jr said of his father. 'He's amazed and thrilled that the American people have intrusted him to take this country in a different direction - to bring it forward and to do things and to give them that voice that he mentioned last night, that has been gone for so long. So it's just truly incredible.'

In another interview, son Eric said his main fear for his father's presidency was the fact that he's going to be surrounded by a new group of people. 

'I think having a lot of new people around him,' Eric Trump told CBS. 'And, you know, as a family, we’ve always been a little bit insular -- you know, it was my father, it was Don, Ivanka, you know, myself... the company. And we were very, very close. And I think that’s going to be an adjustment. 

But he has amazing people.'

When asked if his father stayed up late Thursday night, working on his Inaugural Address, Donald Jr said his father had been writing it for 'quite some time' - making sure to get it just right. Donald Jr says his father realizes the magnitude of the speech and how it will set the tone for his presidency. 

'He spent a lot of time with that and now I think it's about execution,' Donald Jr said. 

Donald Trump Jr will be standing behind his father at 11:30am this morning outside the Capitol Building, as he takes the oath of office and then gives his Inaugural Address.  The newly sworn-in president and his family will then watch the Inaugural Parade from a covered area outside the White House.

Ebullient Trump supporters flocked to the nation's capital for the inaugural festivities, some wearing red hats emblazoned with his 'Make America Great Again' campaign slogan. But in a sign of deep divisions Trump sowed during his combative campaign, dozens of Democratic lawmakers were boycotting the swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill.

While Trump came to power bucking convention, he was wrapping himself in the traditional pomp and pageantry that accompanies the peaceful transfer of power. The president-in-waiting will attend church with his family Friday morning, then meet President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for tea at the White House. The Trumps and the Obamas will travel together in the presidential limousine for the short trip to the Capitol for the noon swearing-in ceremony.

Trump supporters started lining up at security checkpoints before dawn to take their places in the quadrennial rite of democracy.

'I'm here for history,' said Kevin Puchalski, a 24-year-old construction worker who drove from Philadelphia to attend the swearing-in. 'This is the first president that I voted for that won.' His big hope: Trump builds that promised wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. 'Keep the illegals out,' he said.

Protesters, too, were out early, some wearing orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their faces.

Trump aides said the president-elect had been personally invested in crafting his inaugural address, a relatively brief 20-minute speech that is expected to center on his vision for what it means to be an American. Spokesman Sean Spicer said the address would be 'less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document.'

Trump has pledged to upend Obama's major domestic and national security policies, including repealing his signature health care law and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But he's offered few details of how he plans to accomplish his agenda, often sending contradictory signals.

The three days of inaugural festivities kicked off Thursday. Trump left his Trump-branded jet in New York and flew to Washington in a government plane, saluting an Air Force officer as he descended the steps with his wife, Melania. He and the incoming vice president, Mike Pence, solemnly laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery before joining supporters for an evening concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

We're going to unify our country,' Trump said at the close of the two-hour concert featuring country star Toby Keith, soul's Sam Moore and The Piano Guys. But not singer Jennifer Holliday: She backed out after an outcry from Trump critics.

With rain a possibility, the National Park Service announced that it was easing its 'no umbrella' policy for Friday, allowing collapsible umbrellas along the parade route and on the National Mall.

The nation's soon-to-be president joked about the chance of a downpour. 'That's OK,' Trump told campaign donors at an event Thursday night, 'because people will realize it's my real hair.'

'Might be a mess, but they're going to see that it's my real hair,' he said.

Whatever the weather, Trump supporters were looking ahead to the day.

Chris Lehmann, 55, a maintenance supervisor from Belmar, New Jersey, said: 'I'm so excited, I'm like, on top of the world.'

Eleanor Haven, 83, of Alexander City, Alabama, was attending the festivities with her son, Scott Haven. The pair said they had never been to a political event before attending a Trump 'thank you' tour rally in Alabama after the election and were looking forward to Friday's celebration.

'We're excited for changes in the country,' Scott Haven said.

All of the living American presidents were scheduled to attend the swearing in ceremony, except for 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia. His wife, Barbara, was also admitted to the hospital after falling ill. Trump tweeted his well-wishes to the Bushes, saying he was 'looking forward to a speedy recovery.'

Hillary Clinton, Trump's vanquished campaign rival, also planned to join dignitaries at Capitol Hill.

While Trump revels in a celebratory lunch with lawmakers and parade down Pennsylvania Avenue — passing his newly opened Washington hotel - workers at the White House will set about the frantic process of moving out the Obamas and preparing the residence for its new occupants. Moving trucks were on standby Friday morning at the White House.

Obama, who will continue to live in Washington, was leaving town with his family after the inauguration for a vacation in Palm Springs, California. He planned to address a farewell gathering of staff at Joint Base Andrews before boarding his last flight on the military aircraft that ferries presidents on their travels.

Wal-Mart Touts Plan to Create U.S. Jobs, in Nod to Trump

Wal-Mart’s job-creation announcement is the latest in a string of public displays from companies looking to head off criticism from the Trump administration about U.S. job losses. Photo: kamil krzaczynski/Reuters 

Quantifying its earlier plan, retailer says store openings, e-commerce will add 10,000 positions this year

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to create about 10,000 U.S. jobs this year, a sign that even the country’s largest private employer feels the need to tout American job growth ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The jobs will come from previously planned store openings, store expansions and new e-commerce services, the company said Tuesday. The retailer said 24,000 additional construction jobs will be supported by those efforts.

“With a presence in thousands of communities and a vast supplier network, we know we play an important role in supporting and creating American jobs,” Dan Bartlett, Wal-Mart executive vice president of corporate affairs, said in a press release.

The announcement is the latest in a string of public displays from companies looking to head off criticism from the Trump administration about U.S. job losses. Last week Amazon.com Inc. promised to create 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. in the next 18 months mostly through expansion plans already in the works.

In the wake of tweets from Mr. Trump, some companies such as Carrier Corp. and Ford Motor Co. reversed plans to shift some manufacturing abroad. Others highlighted U.S. job growth efforts under way before November. General Motors Co. this week is expected to announce plans to invest at least $1 billion across several U.S. factories, The Wall Street Journal reported.

With 1.5 million U.S. employees, Wal-Mart dwarfs other employers. But as the company invests more in e-commerce and improving existing stores, the retailer has pulled back on opening new stores, historically the main driver of both sales and employee growth at the firm.

The Bentonville, Ark., company has also been cutting staff and restructuring its operations. It plans to eliminate about 1,000 corporate jobs before the month’s end, people familiar with the matter said last week.

In early 2016, Wal-Mart cut 10,000 store jobs after closing 154 U.S. locations and said 450 positions at its headquarters would be eliminated. Another 7,000 back-office positions were cut from stores later in the year.

Many of those employees were rehired in other open positions, a Wal-Mart spokesman said, adding that there has been a net increase in U.S. employees over the past year.

On Tuesday, Wal-Mart is expected to announce a round of grants to six universities working on textile innovations aimed at bringing back U.S. manufacturing in that sector. It has made similar grants in previous years, without mentioning U.S. job counts.

The company is expected to reiterate its 2013 pledge to buy an additional $250 billion in American-made, grown, assembled and sourced products through 2023.

It also plans to build 200 training academies by this summer to teach retail management skills to more than 200,000 store employees.
 
Write to Sarah Nassauer at sarah.nassauer@wsj.com


 

General Motors Plans at Least $1 Billion in Fresh U.S. Investment

The General Motors world headquarters building in Detroit. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Auto maker’s move is expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs

10 Killed, 29 Wounded In MLK Day Weekend Shootings


CHICAGO (CBS) — At least 39 people have been shot across Chicago over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, leaving 10 dead.

The latest killing happened at 11:36 a.m. Monday in the West Side Austin neighborhood, where a vehicle pulled up to 24-year-old Allante Elmore on a porch near his home in the 4800 block of West Hubbard, and shot him repeatedly, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died.

About 1:10 a.m., 36-year-old Marlon Pollard was standing outside in the 2200 block of West Chicago in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood when someone in a black SUV opened fire, striking him in the abdomen, face and left leg. The Evanston resident died in less than an hour at Stroger, authorities said.

Early Sunday on the Near West Side, officers responded to a call of a person down about 5:30 a.m. in the 2600 block of West Van Buren and found a man in his 30s or 40s dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities, who were still working to identify him.

About 1:15 a.m., a 34-year-old man was gunned down in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.He got into an argument with someone who shot him in the chest in the 4700 block of West Polk, police said. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital, authorities said. His name has not been released.

Saturday night, a 26-year-old man was killed in an Austin drive-by shooting. He was outside in the 5500 block of West Rice about 7 p.m. when a vehicle drove by and someone shot him multiple times. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to Mount Sinai, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Two hours before that, an 18-year-old man was gunned down in another Austin attack. A dark-colored car pulled up to 18-year-old Christopher Johnson Jr. about 5 p.m. in the 400 block of South Central Avenue, and someone inside shot him twice in the abdomen, authorities said. Johnson, of the 7300 block of South Michigan, died at Mount Sinai at 1:35 p.m. Monday.

Two men, ages 27 and 39, were standing in the street at 8:05 a.m. Saturday in the 1100 block of South Francisco in Lawndale when someone got out of a black car and fired multiple shots, police said.

They were taken to Mount Sinai, where the younger man died of wounds to the head and chest, authorities said. His name has not been released. The older man was in good condition with a back wound.

Another man was killed and a woman was wounded about 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the South Side Englewood neighborhood, where at least five people went into a house in the 6000 block of South Carpenter and shot two people repeatedly. Tyrone Blake, 25, of the 6100 block of South Indiana, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:48 a.m., authorities said. The 26-year-old woman was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital.

A 20-year-old man was slain shortly before 10 p.m. Friday in the Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Devonta Spraggins was driving east on 72nd Street when a white Ford Explorer pulled up to him near Washtenaw Avenue and someone inside the vehicle shot him in the chest, authorities said. Spraggins, who lived a block away in the 7200 block of South Talman, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at 10:22 p.m.

The weekend’s first fatal shooting happened about 4 p.m. Friday in Austin, where a 21-year-old man got into an argument with someone who opened fire in the 600 block of North Central Avenue. The man suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, where he was pronounced dead at 4:18 p.m., according to authorities, who have withheld his name.

Shortly after midnight Sunday in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, a Chicago Police officer chased and fatally shot 34-year-old Herbert Johnson, who was armed and suspected of being involved in another shooting in the nearby 3300 bock of West Monroe, authorities said. A 51-year-old woman was found with a gunshot wound to the chest, a 30-year-old man was shot in the buttocks and a 21-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the left leg. The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the officer’s use of force.

At least 24 more people were wounded in nonfatal shootings across Chicago between 5 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Monday. Last year, 32 people were shot over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, five fatally.
 
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017.

Satellite Reveals End of “Unending” N. California Drought

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

With more rain and snow on the way, the supposed “unending drought” that the New York Times reported on last year has, in a matter of weeks, ended — at least in Northern California.

Yesterday’s color satellite imagery from NASA shows the dramatic changes which have occurred since the same date three years ago:
– Widespread and deep snowpack
– Greening vegetation
– Rivers overflowing their banks
– Strong river discharge into the Pacific Ocean


NASA Aqua MODIS color satellite imagery of N. California separated by exactly three years, showing dramatic snowpack increase, vegetation greening, and river discharge into the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s a zoomed version of the NASA Terra MODIS image yesterday covering the San Francisco Bay area northeastward toward Sacramento:


NASA Terra MODIS zoomed image on 13 January 2017 covering San Francisco to Sacramento.

The latest GFS model forecast for the next 10 days predicts another 2 to 10 inches of rain, depending on location, with several more feet of snow at higher elevations.

Heads Are Finally Beginning To Roll At The Clinton Foundation


rachel@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.
The Clinton Foundation announced it’s laying off 22 staffers on the Clinton Global Initiative, keeping with a plan to deal with the negative spotlight put on the organization during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The layoffs will take effect April 15, the Clinton Foundation said in a filing with the New York Department of Labor Thursday, citing the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative. The move is part of a plan put in motion ahead of the presidential election in order to offset a storm of criticism regarding pay-to-play allegations during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The layoffs were reportedly announced internally in September, ahead of Clinton’s stunning loss to President-elect Donald Trump. Many other employees had already begun looking for or accepting other jobs at that time, as it had become clear the future of the initiative was in doubt. It’s unclear how many of the once 200 strong staff might remain at the Clinton Foundation in some other capacity.

The Clinton Foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.

While the FBI concluded its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a second investigation into the Clinton Foundation regarding allegations of corruption during that same tenure is ongoing.

The decision to sunset the Clinton Global Initiative reportedly set off a dispute within Clinton Foundation circles regarding the best way to handle the fallout from the allegations. Some complained the layoff process was “insensitively” handled, Politico reported, while others took issue with the optics of allowing anyone with the Clinton Global Initiative to stay on.