Liz Benjamin

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President Donald Trump signed two executive orders today that dramatically expand the nation’s military and so-called “extreme vetting” of visa seekers from terror-plagued countries — moves aimed at strengthening the U.S. response to terrorism both home and abroad.

Amid the diplomatic showdown over President Trump’s order to build a border wall — and who should pay for it — Trump and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico spoke by phone today.

Trump said he would have a “fantastic” relationship with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, with whom he met today, promising to work closely on trade and defense as her country exits the European Union. But the two leaders differed over continuing sanctions against Russia.

The White House raised eyebrows when it issued a statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, that did not mention Jews, Judaism or antisemitism. (This is a departure from the bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents).

Cardinal Timothy Dolan was buoyed by the enthusiasm at the March for Life demonstration in D.C. today to support Trump’s move to restrict or end abortion under national law, but admitted the fight will be more difficult in New York.

According to a leaked recording of a closed-door meeting of Republican members of Congress, freshman Rep. John Faso said: “We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill. If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.”

NBC is canceling the third hour of “Today” to make way for new star Megyn Kelly.

The so-called “sanctuary cities” that Trump has repeatedly characterized as incubators of crime are generally safer than other cities, according to a new analysis of FBI crime data.

First Lady Melania Trump can move ahead with a defamation lawsuit against a Maryland blogger who published claims that Trump worked in the past as a “high-end escort” and suffered a “mental breakdown” during the campaign in part because of those allegations, a judge ruled on today.

New U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley arrived at the United Nations today announcing a new way the U.S. does business: The Trump administration’s goal is to show U.S. strength, speak out, and defend its allies — and as for countries opposing America, “We’re taking names. ”

The city of New York has been ordered to pay the legal costs and fees to the Empire Center for Public Policy in connection with the Center’s successful effort to obtain city payroll data under the state Freedom of Information Law.

City Auditor Marty Masterpole has officially joined the race for Syracuse mayor. He’s seeking the Democratic nomination.

A number of people close to Trump are registered to vote in more than one state – something his voter fraud probe will reportedly focus on – including his Treasury Secretary nominee, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as his younger daughter, Tiffany Trump.

Democrats are asking whether Rep. Chris Collins’ involvement in an Australian biotech firm amounts to illegal insider trading, but congressional ethics experts doubt that his colleagues on the House Ethics Committee will find anything untoward.

The Cuomo administration has authorized another $20 million grant to developers of an outlet mall on Staten Island, bringing the total amount of state subsidies on the project to $67 million.

The new infusion of cash to the mall, which will be home to Nike, H&M and Toys R Us stores, comes just weeks after its developer donated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign.

Politicians, colleagues and readers gathered to remember investigate reporter Wayne Barrett this afternoon, filling a Catholic church in Brownsville, Brooklyn, for the funeral of the man who spoke truth to power and made those in power better in the process.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said last night that he still has not ruled out a run for New York City mayor in 2017, though he sees a campaign as unlikely.

Trump is still fighting old battles, but instead of angry tweets about crowd estimates at his inauguration, this time he reasserted an audacious claim that he could have won the popular vote in New York.

State Operations Director Jim Malatras defended the governor’s free public college tuition proposal in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

More than 2-and-a-half years after plans were unveiled for a solar panel factory in South Buffalo, SolarCity is ramping up its hiring.

Call it “The Wire” tax. Cuomo is proposing to impose a 60-cent surcharge on those cheap, disposable “burner” phones that gained notice as the communication device of choice for the bad guys on the much-loved HBO series.

State approval of ConEd’s rate case, which contains funding for smart meters and incentives for cutting demand, includes some of the most concrete steps yet toward transforming New York’s utilities.

The state Assembly plans to restore funding for educational opportunity programs that was cut in Cuomo’s proposed 2017-18 budget.

The science community is gearing up for its own mass demonstration, as calls on social media for a march in the name of science swell across the nation and on Long Island.

The war between Brooklyn’s kosher grocery stores and the Orthodox Jewish press is over, for now.

Federal prosecutors have decided that Evan Engel, a 2004 Brighton High School graduate who was covering the pre-inauguration unrest in Washington, D.C., was a journalist and they have dismissed a felony rioting charge against him.

Second Thoughts

From the Morning Memo:

Regular CapTon viewers may have caught former Pataki administration official-turned-GOP-operative Dave Catalfamo on the “Insiders” segment of Tuesday’s show, saying Oneida County Executive Tony Picente is ready to “rescind” his 2014 endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Picente was one of a handful of Republican county executives to cross party lines to back the Democratic governor’s successful re-election campaign and appear in pro-Cuomo TV ads, reasoning at the time that Cuomo had been good for his county, particularly when it came to economic development.

Picente’s move, which came along with GOP defections by the county executives in Onondaga and Nassau, was heightened by the fact that one of his fellow Republican executives, Rob Astorino of Westchester County, was challenging the governor in the 2014 race.

But things have changed since then – pretty dramatically, and for the worse – with the cornerstone company for the Nano Utica project backing out, and the governor more or less ignoring the region, according to Picente and his fellow local elected officials on both sides of the aisle.

I reached out to Picente after Catalfamo’s comments, and managed to connect with him for a brief telephone interview last night.

The county executive said that talk of him rescinding his endorsement is a bit much – he doesn’t see the point, really, since what’s done is done.

He also refused to say that he regrets his endorsement, which he believed was the best move for his constituents at the time, even though he caught considerable grief for it from some fellow Republicans.

But Picente was not shy about criticizing Cuomo, saying: “The guy that I did endorse two years ago is not the same guy today, and that’s disappointing.”

Picente said he recognizes that he’s not alone in feeling slighted by the governor’s decision not to stop in the Mohawk Valley for one of his regional State of the State addresses, but notes Cuomo hasn’t bothered to make a side trip there since – even as he visits other communities that didn’t make the cut for one of his six speeches.

And, adding insult to injury, Picente said, the governor made no mention of Nano Utica in his speeches, though ESDC head Howard Zemsky has visited the area and said the project – for which there is continued funding in Cuomo’s 2017-18 spending plan – remains a top priority.

The trouble is, Picente said, the community wants to hear from Cuomo himself, not Zemsky or some other elected official at the state level. Residents need to be reassured that the man who is ultimately in charge in Albany has their collective back.

Picente was also not happy to see that the governor’s budget gives more casino revenues to Madison County.

Though he doesn’t begrudge his fellow local government officials additional cash, Picente says the formula for divvying up casino revenues was struck in a 2013 deal between Madison and Oneida counties, the state and the Oneida Indian Nation, and, in his opinion, can’t be changed unless all four of those parties agrees.

During our talk, Picente again threatened legal action over the revenue-sharing issue, saying the state has breeched its agreement.

“You can’t just arbitrarily go in and give them more money,” the county executive said.

“…All of these things are happening and it’s very confusing to me and my community,” Picente continued. “I took a lot of grief then (for his Cuomo endorsement), and I’m taking a lot of grief now.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

The March for Life is taking place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to address the crowd.

Both Pence and President Donald Trump are scheduled to attend the ceremonial swearing-in of the Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis (4 p.m.) Afterwards, Trump will sign more executive orders (4:30 p.m.)

At noon, Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Teresa May, Prime Minister of United Kingdom in the Oval Office, followed by a press conference in the East Room at 1 p.m.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Assemblywoman Pat Fahy holds an annual open house at her office, Room 452, LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and will take questions from listeners.

Also at 10 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz delivers and NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attends the annual State of the Borough address, York College, Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., state Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball delivers a regional budget briefing, Tioga County Legislative Chamber, 56 Main St., Owego.

Also at 10 a.m., state Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Sabrina Ty delivers a regional budget address, Auburn City Council Chambers, 24 South St., Auburn.

At 10:30 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito delivers a regional budget address, Herkimer County Legislative Chambers, 109 Mary St., #1310, Herkimer.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Sens. Tim Kennedy and Chris Jacobs, Assembly members Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Mickey Kearns, in partnership with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, launch a series of public forums on bringing Uber and other ride hailing apps to upstate, Albright Knox Art Gallery Auditorium, 1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

At 11 a.m., acting state Office of Children and Family Services Director Sheila Poole delivers a regional budget address, Schenectady County Community College, Lally Mohawk Room, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady.

Also at 11 a.m., Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton delivers a regional budget briefing, Seneca Falls Recreation Center, 35 Water St., Seneca Falls.

At noon, LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon, Classics V, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst.

At 1 p.m., a funeral will be held for the late former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Our Lady of the Presentation Roman Catholic Church, 1677 St. Marks Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 1 p.m., Thruway Authority Director Bill Finch delivers a regional budget briefing, The Shorefront YM-YWHA, 3300 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn.

At 4 p.m., Ball delivers his second regional budget briefing of the day, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, PepsiCo Auditorium/146 Stocking Hall, 411 Tower Rd., Ithaca.


Thirty-six percent of voters approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job in his first week, according to a new Q poll that reflects a sharp divide along partisan lines.

Trump plans to take executive action to advance his call for a major investigation into his unsubstantiated and widely discredited assertion that voter fraud pervaded the 2016 election.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan said he was asked to leave and decided to resign rather than fight the request a day after Trump’s border wall announcement.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to comply with federal requests to detain immigrants, citing Trump’s executive order earlier this week cracking down on “sanctuary cities.”

Trump’s plan for a moratorium on refugee resettlement in the U.S. had a chilling effect on a Syracuse nonprofit that has helped thousands of refugees start a new life in the city.

Trump’s executive orders that threaten to punish sanctuary cities appear unlikely to be put to the test any time soon in Onondaga County. Local Sheriff Gene Conway said he has never received a request from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to detain an undocumented immigrant during his two years in office.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, said NYPD stats show the city cooperated with only two of 80 “detainer” requests from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the half-million undocumented people in the Big Apple would be reluctant to talk to a police officer if they thought they could be deported. “It’s going to make cities less safe,” the mayor said of Trump’s immigration crackdown.

With tensions between the U.S. and Mexico rising, the White House appeared to endorse a 20 percent tax on all Mexican imports as a means of raising revenue to build a border wall, only to insist hours later that it had not.

The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary James Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike the Islamic State, which could include American artillery on the ground in Syria and Army attack helicopters to support an assault on the group’s capital, Raqqa, officials said.

Two senior administration officials said the Trump administration told four top State Department management officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to “clean house” at Foggy Bottom.

Callista Gingrich is in the running to be U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, her husband and failed GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said.

The president reportedly phoned the acting director of the National Park service on the first full day of his presidency to dispute the widely circulated photos of his inauguration crowd.

Trump cheerfully addressed Republican members of Congress at their policy retreat in Philadelphia, and they responded with applause to many proposals they have long opposed.

Trump is planning to have his first telephone chat as commander in chief with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

Trump is still using his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides.

Adam Brodsky: “President Trump is getting hammered for his ‘alternative facts’ — a reference to adviser Kellyanne Conway’s clumsy spin — but is he really so different from other pols on that score? Not if Gov. Cuomo is the standard.”

The Democratic majority in the Assembly countered Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal with one of its own that creates new tax brackets for those earning between $5 million and $100 million. “What we have here is a gazillionaire’s tax,” said The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the revenues will help pay for schools, health care and other priorities and will come from higher tax rates imposed on “those who can most afford it.” But the proposal will be a struggle to get passed as part of this year’s budget talks.

“It’s dead on arrival; it’s not going to get through the Senate,” Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin predicted of the Democrats’ tax plan. “It’s also just another indication that New York is not the Empire State any longer. It’s more of the Vampire State.”

Taxpayers spent nearly $650,000 last year to defend Cuomo and his staff during an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, according to records released by the state comptroller’s office.

The state taxpayer-funded payment to Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason and Annello PC is part of a $950,000 contract Cuomo’s office has with the firm.

More >


The White House endorsed a 20 percent tax on all imports to the U.S. an idea congressional Republicans have proposed as part of a broader overhaul of corporate taxation. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters that revenue from the tax would cover the cost of a wall on the United States-Mexico border.

The tax could cause the price of US consumer goods produced in Mexico to skyrocket, though Spicer dodge questions on that subject and stressed the benefits for American workers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned this week, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would not remove the city’s costly police perimeter from around Trump Tower in retaliation for yesterday’s executive order targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” an order that could sever the funding for those exact same NYPD resources currently shielding the president’s flagship property.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Mark Morgan, the head of Border Patrol, is departing, news that comes less than 24 hours after Trump issued executive orders calling for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a broad crackdown on illegal immigration. (It was not immediately clear whether he resigned or was asked to leave).

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today canceled a meeting with Trump that had been set for next week after renewed tensions over the president’s plan to build a wall, and insistence that Mexico will eventually pay for it.

Queens Democratic Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is introducing a bill that would prohibit state contracts with or investments in any company hired for the wall project.

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway: “I consider myself a postfeminist. I consider myself one of those women who is a product of her choices, not a victim of her circumstances.”

Conway’s reaction to criticism of her red-white-and-blue inauguration day Gucci coat: “Sorry to offend the black-stretch-pants women of America with a little color.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo inserted itself into the fray over the Trump-imposed social media ban by sending a tweet quoting TR’s thoughts about free speech.

While on the campaign trail, Trump talked about a Navy man who was sentenced to federal prison for taking photographs inside a nuclear attack submarine. Now that enlisted sailor, 30-year-old Kristian Saucier, is asking the president to commute his prison sentence and pardon him of his crime.

The beating death of a Brooklyn toddler was an “entirely predictable result” of systemic problems with how the Administration for Children’s Services investigates child-abuse complaints on nights and weekends, the New York City Department of Investigation said.

Former Capital Region Rep. John Sweeney has officially wrapped up his duties on the Trump presidential transition team and is heading back to Clifton Park to resume practicing law. His wife had no interest in moving to D.C., he said, and he’s happy to be home.

Some Democrats in Manhattan and Brooklyn are calling for changes in the way political parties slate judicial candidates, particularly incumbents seeking re-election.

One of the new provisions of Cuomo’s affordable housing plan would likely increase rents for most New York City tenants who move into buildings constructed under the program.

Elton John, the renowned singer and composer, who has been behind such Broadway hits as “The Lion King” and “Aida,” is working on a musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” – the 2003 fashion-themed novel that became an Oscar-nominated movie.

Former hedge fund executive J.P. Miller, the man behind the Empire Report, now has another Drudge-like website that focuses on New Jersey. He has them in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and Colorado, too.

The owner of a Clarkstown transportation company who runs the Rockland County bus system was arrested this morning on federal charges for allegedly taking payments for repairs from a BOCES school district transportation official but never doing the work.

Rock musician Steve Miller has reportedly been sued for backing out of buying a $6.7 million home in Lagrangeville, near Poughkeepsie, from former Toys ‘R’ Us CEO John Eyler and his wife Gail.

Corey Ellis, a two-time Albany mayoral challenger and former 3rd Ward Councilman, is running for Common Council President.

Just when you thought you couldn’t anymore, there’s the #cuteanimaltweetoff to take your mind off reality for a while.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump is headed to Philadelphia, PA where he will begin the House and Senate leadership retreat. He’ll be returning to Washington in the afternoon for meetings and another executive order signing.

At 7 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on CNN’s New Day.

At 8 a.m., Cuomo’s Nassau County regional representative, Maria Casas, delivers a regional budget briefing, The Bristal Assisted Living At East Meadow, 40 Merrick Ave., East Meadow, Long Island.

At 8:30 a.m., ABNY hosts an Applied Sciences and Higher Education Breakfast Panel with Columbia President Lee Bollinger, NYU President Andrew Hamilton, CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, and others, Marriott Marquis, Astor Ballroom, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Sens. Jim Tedisco and George Amedore, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and animal advocates to announce bipartisan support for “Kirby & Quigley’s Law,” state Capitol, Room 332, Albany.

At 11 a.m., Upstate Revitalization Initiative Director Richard Tobe delivers a regional budget briefing, Wyoming County Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw.

Also at 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Rep. Adriano Espaillat and immigration advocates from across the city will hold a press conference to speak out against and resist Trump’s newly announced executive orders on immigration, steps of The Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney Maloney will gather with community leaders and activists to give an update on the future of the Second Avenue Subway, 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue SE Corner, Second Avenue Subway Station, Manhattan.

At 11:45 a.m., state Office of the Aging Executive Deputy Director Greg Olsen delivers a regional budget briefing, Beltrone Living Center, 6 Winners Circle, Albany.

Also at 11:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the grand opening of the manufacturing facility New Flyer of America, 255 Fluvanna Ave., Jamestown.

At 1 p.m., state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Delivers Executive Director Gwen Wright delivers a regional budget briefing, SUNY Delhi, 454 Delhi Dr., Delhi.

Also at 1 p.m., Assemblyman Sean Ryan will host a roundtable to discuss strategies to reduce lead poisoning and exposure to lead in the City of Buffalo, Tifft Nature Preserve, The West Classroom, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC mayoral candidate/state Sen. Tony Avella demands that de Blasio save a family’s therapy pig, and change the policy on pet pigs, Cristy Matteo’s house, 3902 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.

At 2 p.m., Hochul highlights Cuomo’s State of the State and budget proposals, Hollywood Theatre, 39 W. Main St., Gowanda.

Also at 2 p.m., there will an “exciting announcement” regarding the Syracuse mayor’s race, according to Onondaga County GOP Chair Tom Dadey, The Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., Syracuse.

At 2:45 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray attends the opening of the Brownsville Child Development Center of The Jewish Board, 225 E 98th St., Brownsville, Brooklyn.

At 3 p.m., DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll delivers a regional budget briefing, Sullivan Community College, Upper H Building, 112 College Rd., Loch Sheldrake.

At 6 p.m., departing PSC Chair Aubrey Zibelman delivers a regional budget briefing, Molloy College Suffolk Center, Republic Airport, 7180 Republic Airport, Farmingdale, Long Island.

Also at 6 p.m., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries delivers a speech on Trump, Long Island University’s Paramount Theatre, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn.

Also at 6 p.m., SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall and CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Thompson host a 25th anniversary celebration of the Queens Educational Opportunity Center, 158-29 Archer Ave., Queens.

Also at 6 p.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and City Councilman Andrew Cohen sponsor a special city Department of Health workshop that offers safe and effective methods for rat prevention, Van Cortlandt Jewish Senior Center, 3880 Sedgwick Ave., Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Macy’s hosts a fashion show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, hosted by costume designers from “Made in NY” Patricia Field and Jacqueline Demeterio, Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W 34th St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker delivers a regional budget briefing, Freeport Memorial Library, 144 W Merrick Rd., Freeport.

At 6:30 p.m., the Black Institute and NYC Councilman Mathieu Eugene host an immigration forum to help members of the community to know their rights. Event includes special guests Haitian Consul General Peter Helder Bernard, Esq., state Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte, Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 2530 Church Ave., Brooklyn.


By signing a pair of executive orders, President Trump began a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigration, ordering the immediate construction of a border wall with Mexico and aggressive efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants. He plans additional actions to cut back on legal immigration, including barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is considering scrapping his plans to visit the White House on Tuesday. In a video message on Twitter, he reiterated his commitment to protect the interests of Mexico and the Mexican people, and chided the move in Washington to continue with the wall.

The mayors of American cities large and small reacted with outrage to Trump’s executive order pledging to halt funding to “sanctuary city” municipalities that did not cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The defiant officials — from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and smaller cities, including New Haven; Syracuse; and Austin, Tex., said they were prepared for a protracted fight. “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who threatened to sue the president.

The executive action is short on specifics, and it’s unclear what if any force it will actually have on its own. But if it’s paired with legislation targeting sanctuary cities, as the White House said it hoped the law would be, the government could force cities like New York, Boston and Los Angeles to comply or face huge fiscal penalties.

State AG Eric Schneiderman maintains Trump lacks “constitutional authority” to cut off funding from sanctuary cities.

A crowd of thousands gathered last night in Washington Square Park to protest Trump’s executive actions on immigration. “This is what America looks like,” the mass of people chanted, many waving signs encouraging unity and inclusiveness.

In his first televised one-on-one interview, Trump defended his belief in massive voter fraud, said torture works and called the world “a total mess.” And he said receiving the nuclear codes was a sobering experience and “very, very scary.”

Trump said he believes torture “absolutely” works as his administration readied a sweeping review of how America conducts the war on terror. It includes possible resumption of banned interrogation methods and reopening CIA-run “black site” prisons outside the United States.

To back up his claim of rampant voter fraud, Trump told stunned members of Congress a story about “the very famous golfer, Bernhard Langer,” who he said was turned away from the polls. Langer, according to his daughter, is a citizen of Germany with permanent U.S. residence status, and therefore can’t legally vote.

Trump vowed to wall himself off from his business interests when he became president, but at least two of his wealthy foreign business partners attended his inauguration as VIPs, where they watched the swearing-in from prime seats, partied with Trump insiders, and posed for pictures with Trump’s children and grandchildren.

On the same day the Trump Organization announced its appointment of two ethics monitors to advise on potential conflicts of interest, it faced a new ethical quandary: Is it right to double the price of the initiation fee at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump family’s private club in Florida, or would that be seen as cashing in on the president’s arrival in the White House?

After Trump signed an executive order to move forward with the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, hundreds of protesters, including actress Jane Fonda and director Josh Fox, gathered outside Trump Tower in New York City to fight the decision.

First Lady Melania Trump reportedly has had enough of left-leaning stars such as Chelsea Handler taking cheap shots at her and her son, Barron — and is finalizing her own team of staffers to fight back.

A Brighton High School graduate, Evan Engel, was arrested Friday and accused of inciting a riot while he was reporting on pre-inauguration protests in Washington, D.C.

All told, at least six journalists were charged with felony rioting after they were arrested while covering the violent protests that took place just blocks from the inauguration parade.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the White House asking Trump to buy American-made china, flatware and glassware to send a positive message to U.S. manufacturers. In particular, the senator touted Sherrill Manufacturing in Oneida County – America’s only remaining flatware maker.

Hillary Clinton gave her first interview to a major media outlet since the inauguration, called the women’s marches around the globe “awe inspiring” and said “we have to keep up the momentum.”

Actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested yesterday after he allegedly got into an altercation with another man outside a New York City museum where he has been chanting “He will not divide us” in front of a live camera since Trump’s inauguration.

The Independent Democratic Conference, whose collaboration with Republicans in the state Senate has allowed that party to control the chamber despite being outnumbered by Democrats, added an eighth member: Queens Sen. Jose Peralta.

The lead state Senate sponsor of New York’s medical marijuana law, Staten Island Democrat Diane Savino, has written to Trump asking that the feds allow such state programs to continue.

More >


In what could become a major conflict between Trump and local governments, the showdown on “sanctuary cities” likely will result in legal challenges testing how far the White House can go in dictating its priorities.

Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated his promises to preserve New York City’s status as a haven for undocumented immigrants in the face of Trump’s sanctuary cities executive order, calling the president’s effort is “immoral.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was noncommittal about whether his administration will support a compassionate approach to undocumented immigrants, taking a wait-and-see approach until there are more specifics about Trump’s plans.

Trump reiterated his false claim that at least three million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, calling for an investigation into voter fraud, even though his own legal team has argued that no such fraud occurred.

Trump, who is settling in to his new home in D.C. and had been apprehensive about relocating, says the White House phones are “the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life.”

Mexico’s largest source of cash comes from Mexicans living in the U.S. and sending money home. That is now under the microscope after Trump issued an executive order to start building a wall on the border.

Top aides to the former presidential campaigns of Clinton and Trump – Robby Mook and Corey Lewandowski – were touted as being made available for joint bookings on the lucrative speaking circuit, until their agency yanked promotional materials from its website.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s cybersecurity adviser, said that moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was still “under active consideration.”

Senior Trump administration staffers including Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon have active – and private – email accounts on a Republican National Committee email system.

Cuomo said he wants to meet fortnightly with Democrats in the state Assembly, after a breakfast meeting at the mansion yesterday turned contentious, members said.

John D. Ceretto lost his re-election race for the Assembly, but he’s back on the state payroll, working at Niagara Falls State Park in a newly created post of project coordinator that pays more than $80,000 a year.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former state senator, said NYC has “lost billions” due the Republicans’ ongoing control of the upper house, and, in his opinion, the governor is to blame.

The New York Farm Bureau announced it will seek a $500 tax credit per employee, double the credit for this year, to help offset costs associated with the increasing hourly minimum wage.

A monthly MetroCard will increase to $121 and a weekly will cost $32 after the MTA voted to increase fares for subways and buses, but the per-ride fare will remain $2.75.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor to mark the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Cancer-free following his latest quarterly checkup, ex-Buffalo Bills Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is drawing on his experiences to aid others battling head and neck cancer, teaming up with several cancer organizations and pharmaceutical giant Merck to produce a promotional campaign titled “Your Cancer Game Plan,” which debuted today.

Protesters scaled a construction crane blocks from the White House today and unfurled a massive banner that reads “Resist.” The protest snarled traffic in downtown Washington and brought work on a new office building to a halt.

The Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees has voted to approve the nation’s largest offshore wind farm in Long Island waters, as proposed by Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has joined the strategic advisory board of Applied DNA Sciences, a Stony Brook biotech company.

A major labor union and more than a half dozen progressive groups are uniting to oppose Cuomo’s proposals to legalize ride-hailing outside of New York City and to explore a law allowing for “portable benefits” among workers in the gig economy.

Mark Hyman, the doctor and medical adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, says a re-do on the Affordable Care Act won’t fix the underlying health-care issue plaguing Americans today.

Cuomo helped blow up a bridge over the Ronodut Creek in the Marbletown hamlet of High Falls today.


Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 7:15 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. appear on the “PIX11 Morning News” to discuss their new task force on gifted education, PIX11.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights Cuomo’s budget and State of the State proposals at the Downtown Alliance, LMHQ, 150 Broadway, 20th Floor, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference to detail new street safety measures and additional crossing guards in the proposed 2018 budget, part of his Vision Zero efforts, southeast corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Young and Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Denny Farrell will hold the second hearing on the workforce development portion of Cuomo’s 2017-18 budget, LOB, Hearing Room B, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the MTA Board holds a public meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., tenants and community organizations call on de Blasio to fulfil his pledge to pass “certificate of no harassment” legislation, and announce the formation of the Coalition Against Tenant Harassment, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito delivers a regional budget briefing, SUNY Empire State College, Room 143, 113 West Ave., Saratoga Springs.

Also at 11 a.m., OTDA Commissioner Samuel Roberts delivers a regional budget briefing, Town Hall, Room 30, 60 Main St., Massena.

Also at 11 a.m., the LIPA Board is expected to approve a contract for NY’s first offshore wind farm, environmental groups will gather to demonstrate their support, 333 Earl Ovington Blvd., 4th Floor, Uniondale, Long Island.

At 11:15 a.m., state Department of Veterans Affairs Director Eric Hesse delivers a regional budget briefing, PTECH Program, Dunkirk High School, 75 West 6th St., Dunkirk.

At noon, Hochul highlights Cuomo’s budget and State of the State proposals, Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St., Ground Floor, Brooklyn.

Also at noon, Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter and a coalition of Central New York nonprofits call for state investment in human services, Southwest Community Center, 401 South Ave., Syracuse.

Also at noon, the Jamaica Downtown Revitalization Initiative hosts a public open house to hear about potential neighborhood projects from residents, Queens Public Library – Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul highlights Cuomo’s budget and State of the State proposals, Wagner College, Foundation Hall, Manzulli Board Room, 1 Campus Rd., Staten Island.

At 3 p.m., Hesse delivers his second regional budget briefing of the day, this time at Alfred State College, 10 Upper College Dr., Alfred.

At 4:30 p.m., de Blasio will hold public hearings for and sign 13 pieces of legislation into law, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., he New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading advocacy group for the civil rights of Muslims, will hold a press conference with other groups in response to Trump’s expected announcement of new restrictions targeting Muslim immigrants, Washington Square Park Arch, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan presents the State of the City address to the Common Council, Albany City Hall Rotunda, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Joe Crowley, state Sen. Jose Peralta, New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm, Assembly members Francisco Moya and Michael DenDekker and others hold a pedestrian safety town hall, Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, 37-06 77th St., Queens.

At 7:30 p.m., DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo delivers a regional budget briefing, North Shore Towers & Country Club, Coleridge Lounge Building, 3269-10 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park, Queens.


President Donald Trump will take executive action today directing federal resources toward building a border wall as part of a multi-day rollout of immigration actions that’s also expected to include moves related to refugees and visas.

The White House effectively proclaimed that Barron Trump, the president’s 10-year-old son, is off limits, issuing a brief statement to the media – without mentioning the child by name – that noted the “longstanding tradition that the children of Presidents are afforded the opportunity to grow up outside of the political spotlight.”

Trump’s once-extensive list of jurists under consideration for the seat of the late U.S. Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia – all pre-vetted by the conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society – is now reportedly down to three names, all current Court of Appeals judges.

Democrats and their allies remain furious that U.S. Senate Republicans refused to even consider Judge Garland, President Barack Obama’s final nominee to the high court. That deep resentment is certain to color their handling of Trump’s choice just as it has contributed to their resistance to moving quickly on his cabinet selections.

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the EPA and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch.

Dueling infrastructure proposals from Trump’s team and U.S. Senate Democrats went public yesterday that could bring billions in federal money to New York projects like the Second Avenue subway and new Hudson River tunnels.

Trump tweeted last night about Chicago’s violence, saying he will “send in the Feds!” if the city “doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on.”

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations, as Trump rounds out his national security team.

The House of Representatives voted to expand restrictions on abortion, prohibiting individuals and small businesses from claiming federal tax credits through the Affordable Care Act if their health plan includes abortion coverage.

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and her husband, litigation lawyer George Conway, had dinner with Cindy Adams, who filed this report.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer got an earful from a first term senator, Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton, who charged the New York Democrat with reneging on a promise to hold a vote for the CIA director nominee by Inauguration Day.

As legislators and education advocates parsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget in the first of 13 joint hearings, elements of his free tuition proposal came under greater scrutiny, with the governor’s office moving to counter concerns about the program’s cost, scope and impact on private colleges.

Cuomo’s plan threatens to strip state funding from private institutions that fail to keep their yearly tuition increases under $500 or the higher education rate of inflation, whichever is greater. He did not mention this in last week’s budget briefing.

First to testify at the hearing, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was unable to answer questions about the $163 million Excelsior Scholarship program. In the afternoon, the Cuomo administration sent in a surprise witness – state operations director James Malatras, to field some lawmakers’ inquiries.

Cuomo tucked a proposal in his budget to reduce the number of days in which visits are allowed at maximum-security state prisons to three days a week, down from seven. The move would allow the state to save $2.6 million by eliminating 39 positions.

Four Oscar-nominated films, including best picture nominee “Manchester by the Sea,” reaped taxpayer-funded benefits from New York, according to the state’s economic development arm.

Joel LaPierre, a GOP lawmaker for the St. Lawrence County government and a Trump supporter, has been censured for going on a racist social media tirade against Barack Obama, calling the former president “BIG EARS” and threatening to send him and his family “on a one way trip to Kenya.”

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s car – a black Audi A8 – was stolen last week in the Town of DeWitt and recovered several days later by Syracuse police.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled an $84.7 billion budget proposal that outlined his spending priorities as he starts his run for re-election.

The mayor’s budget proposal did not address what he called the “great unknown” of possible federal cuts to city financing from the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

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President Trump moved to further dismantle his predecessor’s policies as he resurrected a pipeline in the Dakotas that had become a major flashpoint for Native Americans, while reviving the Keystone XL pipeline, which had stirred years of debate over the balance between energy needs and environmental concerns.

Trump planned to meet with Senate leaders today to discuss his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by the death last February of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, and said he’ll announce his “truly great” choice next week.

Dippin’ Dots offered an online olive branch to one of its most public detractors, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump imposed a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding new contracts or grants.

FBI Director James Comey is staying in his job.

“The broader power struggles within the Trump operation have touched everything from the new administration’s communications shop to the expansive role of the president’s son-in-law to the formation of Trump’s political organization. At the center, as always, is Trump himself, whose ascent to the White House seems to have only heightened his acute sensitivity to criticism.”

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said that she is under the protection of a Secret Service detail and that she has received packages at her home containing “white substances.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled an $84.7 billion budget proposal for the city that highlighted spending on schools, infrastructure and the NYPD, but contained little in the way of flashy new proposals or unpopular cuts to city services

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., one of de Blasio’s foremost Democratic critics, is not willing to foreclose on the possibility of running against the liberal incumbent in this September’s primary—saying that he doesn’t know “right now what may or may not happen.”

State lawmakers invited SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to a hearing get more information about Cuomo’s plan to provide free public college tuition to thousands of students. But over two hours of questioning, she could provide little help.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he will bring a “I like you very much and we’re very good friends” message from Trump to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits Israel this week.

Bill Hammond: “The Cuomo administration’s newly proposed ban on insurance copayments for birth control and abortion sets troubling precedents that should concern all New Yorkers, regardless of their views on reproductive rights.”

Health insurers say Cuomo’s plan to preserve contraception and reproductive rights in New York could increase costs and should be a legislative issue.

The city of Albany sent more than $80,000 worth of bills to four presidential primary candidates on April 26 for security services provided by the local police weeks earlier. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the only one who has paid, shelling out $900 weeks later.

Already facing a number of financial and artistic challenges and changes in the coming year, the New York Philharmonic just added another to its list: finding a new top executive. Matthew VanBesien, its president since 2012, is leaving, effective May 1.

State monitors of the East Ramapo Central School District recommended continuing $3 million in supplemental state aid for the District in a report released today.

The state Public Service Commission is on the verge of dropping down to just two board members after the surprise announcement that its chair, Audrey Zibelman, is taking a job in Australia in two months.

Zibelman’s departure could complicate energy decisions unless the governor and state Senate move swiftly to fill PSC vacancies.

A coalition including cooling industry representatives and environmental activist Erin Brockovich called on the state to enforce federal water regulations, regularly test the water supply and improve New York’s water infrastructure, as data show the state has the highest number of Legionnaire’s disease cases in the nation.

More than 700 MTA subway cars are considered to have outlived their “useful lifecycles” of 40 years as the agency waits for long-delayed replacements.

The dancing Sharon Springs farmer is going to be a guest on The Ellen Show.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany County, Monroe County and New York City.

The Legislature begins the first of 13 scheduled joint hearings on the governor’s 2017-18 executive budget proposal today, and, as all Tuesdays are during session, it’s lobby dat at the state Capitol – expect crowds.

SUNY Board of Trustees committees are meeting throughout the day at the State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

At 8 a.m., the borough presidents of all five NYC boroughs speak at a Crain’s New York Business breakfast forum, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, Manhattan.

Also at 8 a.m., Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi holds a $400-a-head fundraiser, Fort Orange Club, West Main Lounge, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Young and Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Denny Farrell preside over a joint budget hearing on the higher education portion of the governor’s spending plan, Hearing Room B, Legislative Office Building, 198 State St., Albany. (SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is scheduled to testify first).

AT 10:30 a.m., the Public Service Commission holds a regular session regarding rate changes for Con Edison electricity and gas, and more, Three Empire State Plaza, 19th floor board room, Albany.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights Cuomo’s budget and State of the State proposals, Marist College, Student Center, Room 3101
3399 North Rd., Poughkeepsie.

Also at 11 a.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., fast-food workers and allies rally and meet with NYC Council members to urge them to quickly pass a set of bills to ensure they and other low-wage workers “hold onto gains they’ve won as US workers face an uncertain future under a new presidential administration in Washington,” City Hall, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, SUNY Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, 161 Chestnut St., Rochester.

Also at 12:30 p.m., environmental advocate Erin Brockovich, the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease, and the Allergy and Asthma Network will hold a press conference to call on lawmakers and health officials to work towards real, effective solutions to New York’s escalating Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease crises, LOB, Room 130, 198 State St., Albany.

At 1:30 p.m., former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton keynotes the SBIA Northeast Private Equity Conference, Convene Midtown East, 730 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 4:30 p.m., Hochul highlights Cuomo’s budget and State of the State proposals, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Bulova Corporate Center, 75-20 Astoria Blvd., East Elmhurst, Queens.

At 2:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Budget Director Dean Fuleihan will present the Fiscal Year 2018 Preliminary Budget, Blue Room, City Hall, Albany.

At 6 p.m., NYC Councilman Rafael Espinal hosts a “Know Your Rights” town hall meeting, to bring together several agencies and nonprofit organizations to inform constituents of services available to them, Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center, 1474 Gates Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina attends a town hall meeting of District 19’s Community Education Council, W.H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School, Brooklyn.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Pa’Lante Harlem hosts a housing debate for candidates for New York City Council District 9, moderated by NY1’s Errol Louis and New York Amsterdam News’ Elinor Tatum, Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center, 34 W. 134 St., Manhattan.


The storm that devastated parts of the South over the weekend swept into the Northeast yesterday with heavy wind and rain, causing flooding and disrupting transit in some areas. Officials urged residents to take the weather seriously, particularly due to the high winds.

President Donald Trump started his first full workday at the White House focused on the U.S. economy, trade and jobs – the top themes of his campaign.

Amid a round of meetings with business leaders, labor union representatives and members of Congress, the president signed a memorandum withdrawing America from the TPP, creating an American policy vacuum in a fast-growing region that includes China and longtime U.S. allies.

The U.S> Senate voted 66-32 to confirm Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, putting a Republican lawmaker in charge of the nation’s top spy agency and helping to fill out Trump’s national-security team.

Trump repeated a widely debunked claim during his first White House meeting with congressional leaders, where he insisted that 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants voted in the election, stealing the popular vote from him and giving it to Hillary Clinton.

The claim, which Trump has made before on Twitter, has been judged untrue by numerous fact-checkers. The new president’s willingness to bring it up at a White House reception in the State Dining Room is an indication that he continues to dwell on the implications of his popular vote loss even after assuming power.

Several Republican U.S. senators proposed a partial replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would allow states to continue operating under the law if they choose, a proposal meant to appeal to critics and supporters of former President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

Gay Republicans celebrated Trump’s inauguration last weekend with a party featuring a keynote address by Rep. Chris Collins – a Buffalo-area Republican with an anti-gay voting record who vowed that the new president will be a friend to the LGBT community.

To fight what it called a “grave threat” to the country, a watchdog group filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. Trump called the lawsuit “without merit, totally without merit.”

Matt Wing, a former spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and husband of the governor’s current chief of staff, advises reporters on how to deal with Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer. “Now it’s time for the media to stop playing by the traditional rules, too,” he writes in the DN.

The next phase of the state’s Buffalo Billion program – aiming to kickstart projects like Metro Rail extensions and Outer Harbor development – stands merely a 50-50 chance of success of getting through the Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a visit to the Queen City.

David Robinson: “Just as concerning that Cuomo felt the need to campaign for the follow-up to his signature economic development program was the fact that there didn’t appear to be a single state legislator from the region there with him.”

The governor proposed to spend $20 million upgrading the ski lodges and other facilities at Whiteface and Gore mountains as part of a larger plan to boost tourism in the Adirondacks.

Cuomo made a stop in Niagara Falls to unveil a multi-million dollar project aimed at bringing new life to the city: A new 37-milllion dollar Doubletree hotel.

“Our plan was and is to connect Niagara Falls back to the waterfront,” said ESD President and CEO Howard Zemsky. He said a Niagara River Gorge improvement project in particular would reclaim more green space than any other development in the Falls since Frederick Law Olmsted designed the state park more than 125 years ago.

Cuomo said he’d rather shut down his signature $750 million-a-year Regional Economic Development Councils than agree to allow state lawmakers to direct the funding.

Is Cuomo the next Robert Moses? He appears to think so.

More >


President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership today, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders praised Trump for pulling out of the TPP, offering to work with him on the issue in the future.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump has reinstated a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options that include abortion.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he believes that his job is to be honest with the public but said “sometimes we can disagree with the facts but our intention is never to lie.”

Trump reportedly brought his own cheering section to his meeting with the CIA workforce this past weekend.

A group of moderate Republican Senators have announced an Obamacare replacement plan that would give states the choice to pick a new health insurance system or keep the Affordable Care Act in place.

A “team of mules” would likely be unable to drag Hillary and Bill Clinton into ever running for office again, according to former Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, of Arkansas, but that hardly means they’re done with politics.

New York City has agreed to pay up to $75 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit that accused its Police Department of issuing hundreds of thousands of criminal summonses that were later found to be without legal justification, the city’s Law Department said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his Regional Economic Develompent Council competition amid criticisms from some lawmakers as he proposes funding for a seventh round. “(T)hey would rather dole out the money themselves as politicians rather than go through the (council) that is made up of business people, academics who are executing a real business plan,” the governor said.

In a speech to nearly 200 local residents and officials, Cuomo said he wants Empire State Development to “step up to the plate” in Niagara Falls, carrying out a multi-pronged plan to boost the Cataract City’s economy.

The state comptroller’s latest biennial summary report features a new section in its introduction devoted to what his office sees as a notable but unfortunate trend: “Agency Obstruction.”

In the face of record operating losses by ORDA, Cuomo announced that the state will put up $20 million for updates at the authority-run Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski facilities.

Cuomo has hired prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams to defend him against a federal lawsuit challenging a new law that requires politically active non-profit organizations to publicly disclose their donors.

EJ McMahon says Cuomo has reached a budget turning point.

Cuomo’s budget includes language tying aid and incentives to municipalities (AIM) funding to enactment of a law “regarding county-wide shared services property tax savings plans.”

“This initiative asks local governments to seek efficiencies and put a plan before their voters that helps lower property taxes,” Cuomo budget spokesman Morris Peters said. “This shouldn’t be controversial in any way. The bill language simply assures that the voice of the voters is heard.”

Most of the donors who helped Cuomo raise $4.4 million over the past six months were familiar ones. But there were 20 new contributors who hadn’t previously given to him since he took office as governor in 2011 and gave $25,000 or more from mid-July through mid-January.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the release of the final Ocean Action Plan, the first-ever comprehensive 10-year blueprint to guide the protection and conservation of New York’s ocean resources from environmental threats such as ocean acidification due to climate change.

Premium cigars in New York could get a good bit cheaper in New York state if a tax change included Cuomo’s proposed budget gets adopted.

Cuomo announced the plans for a $15 million, “world-class” gondola that will carry 1,200 people an hour from the New York State Fairgrounds to the Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater.

The New York State Fair will run 13 days this year, not 12, in anticipation of increased attendance and more amenities, fair officials said.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher delivered her last State of SUNY address today.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore previewed her first State of the Judiciary speech, which she will deliver next week.

Cuomo didn’t mention the epicenter of New York’s water-quality crisis during his State of the State tour, but he he quietly included proposals designed to prevent another Hoosick Falls-like scandal in his budget.

In a recent forum of the seven Democratic National Committee chair candidates, all of them, including Sen. Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Rep. Keith Ellison, refused to acknowledge the Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.