Liz Benjamin

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President Donald Trump signed an order restricting entry into the U.S. by people from six predominantly Muslim countries, reviving a signature initiative that stalled in the face of court challenges, sparked global protests and prompted dissent by some of his advisers.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer unleashed a tweetstorm assailing Trump‘s revised travel ban, and called it a “mean-spirited” act that won’t make America safer.

There are more than 7,000 doctors trained in the six countries included in the revised ban – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – currently working in the United States and receiving 1.2 million patient visits a year, a new report found.

Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a video on behalf of Senate Democrats urging Americans to resist in the time of “fear and uncertainty for so many people.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the new ban shows Trump’s “obsession with religious discrimination.”

Trump has hired Andrew Giuliani, son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to work in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named 19 members – including two New Yorkers, Reps. Tom Suozzi and Sean Patrick Maloney – to the Frontline Program for its most vulnerable incumbents in 2018.

FBI Director James Comey was “incredulous” over the weekend after Trump’s allegation via Twitter that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his phones during the campaign.

The New York Police Department has agreed to even greater oversight of its intelligence-gathering programs as it tries, for the second time, to settle a lawsuit over its surveillance of Muslims.

A Commack man who federal prosecutors said vowed to wage “violent jihad” was detained permanently after a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Central Islip this afternoon.

Though she has made some headway with her father, Ivanka Trump faces an uphill battle as she tries to build support for her signature issues of affordable childcare and paid family leave, courting corporate executives and wooing lawmakers in hopes of generating momentum amid a packed legislative agenda in Washington.

Chelsea Clinton says that increasing access to naloxone will save thousands of lives and is a moral obligation for people around the globe.

Republican NYC mayoral candidate Paul Massey maintains it “can’t be a coincidence” that the law firm his Democratic target, Mayor Bill de Blasio, hired to represent him in corruption probes has seen its lobbying business surge.

Former Port Authority Chairman David Samson, a longtime mentor to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was sentenced to four years of probation after admitting he pressured United Airlines to reinstate a flight route to give him easier access to his weekend home.

Buffalo is about to make a “big, big mistake” by recommending a new rail station for Canalside, Rep. Brian Higgins said, promising to continue his advocacy for a revitalized Central Terminal.

Before joining Team Trump, Kellyanne Conway once worked for former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy in his unsuccessful 2010 bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced a new electric vehicle campaign – Charge NY – that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach.

The nonprofit and public sectors recorded their most active year for real estate deals in New York City since the recession, driven by health care mergers, the search for less expensive space and organizations looking to cash in on property they owned, according to a new report.

New bars along Lark Street, a commercial strip popular with lawmakers and their employees, will be able to stay open until 2 a.m. and the Palais Royale can stay open until 4 a.m. for as long as it remains a bar, according to a new zoning ordinance formally proposed Monday by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Peer-to-peer car-sharing service Getaround is stepping up advocacy for legislation that would allow it and companies like it to purchase group insurance policies, thereby allowing such companies to operate in New York.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is taking one of the Council’s major initiatives on the road with a trip to Ohio to meet with legislators and community groups looking to create their own version of the city’s municipal identification card program.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is returning from his whirlwind weekend trip to Israel this morning and will be in New York City with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to lunch with Vice President Mike Pence, and then meet in the afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and FCC Chair Aijit Pai.

Trump will later lead a National Economic Council meeting, sit down with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, and have dinner with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney and the Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

At 9 a.m., Rep. Joe Crowley hosts and Rep. Grace Meng attends Crowley’s 14th annual Women’s History Month celebration, The Garden Terrace Room at the New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx.

At 10 a.m., the Assembly Committees on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Consumer Affairs and Protection; Energy and Environmental Conservation hold a public hearing on the Zero-Emission Credit program established by the state Public Service Commission, Legislative Office Building, Hamilton Hearing Room B, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor will hold a press conference with Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and Sen. Sue Serino in support of higher pay for direct care workers through the inclusion of $45 million in the 2017-2018 state budget, County Office Building, 22 Market St., Poughkeepsie.

At 10:30 a.m., Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Eliot Engel and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announce federal legislation to stop the U.S. Coast Guard proposal for anchorages on the Hudson River, Yonkers waterfront, near Xaviars X20 on the Hudson at 71 Water Grant St., Yonkers.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Community Health Care Association of NYS kicks off an advocacy day to call for funding for caring for uninsured patients and investment in community-based providers, Meeting Rooms 2-4, Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney will be joined by Jewish leaders and cemetery officials at a press conference to discuss the recent vandalism and desecration at Jewish cemeteries across the U.S., 1651 Third Ave., Suite 311, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Rep. Nita Lowey joins leaders of Jewish community centers for a roundtable discussion on the anti-Semitic bomb threats against JCCs in Westchester, JCC on the Hudson, JCC Library, 271 S. Broadway, Tarrytown.

At 2 p.m., Mayor Kathy Sheehan will be joined by community stakeholders at a press conference to unveil a public draft of ReZone Albany, City Hall, Eagle Street, Albany.

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 3 p.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and all 15 ACC mascots tip-off the ACC Tournament festivities by proclaiming March 6-11 to be ACC Tournament Week, outside Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

At 5:30 p.m., the NYC Department of City Planning presents its proposal on special permits for self-storage facilities before the Queens Borough Board, chaired by Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 6 p.m., the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and The Alliance for Coney Island welcome the New York Cosmos’ new owner Rocco Commisso and the team to Brooklyn, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Councilman Mark Treyger attending, Gargiulo’s Restaurant, 2911 W. 15th St., Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends the Jackie Robinson Foundation awards dinner, Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is also back in town this morning after a weekend of out-of-state travel. He will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall.

At 7:30 p.m., Brewer attends Food and Finance High School benefit, Epace, 635 W. 42nd St., Manhattan.


FBI Director James Comey blasted President Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor was wiretapping him — and he reportedly wants the Justice Department to back him up.

The FBI, which would likely handle any such wiretaps, didn’t publicly comment on the tweets. It instead asked officials at the Justice Department, of which it is a part, to explain that no such wiretaps existed. As of late last night, no such statement had been released.

House and Senate intelligence committee members said the president’s wiretapping charges would be included in probes underway about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Roger Stone, a confidant to Trump and former adviser to his campaign, acknowledged that he had a “back channel” to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, amid mounting reports that multiple campaign advisors had undisclosed communication with Russian officials.

Trump’s claim that former President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the campaign is based on thinly sourced reports in the conservative media.

Posts by Breitbart and Heat Street alleged the FBI sought and was granted a court-issued warrant giving the agency permission to examine ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. No American news agencies could substantiate the warrant’s existence. Two British news agencies reported an application was made for a warrant, but that a judge rejected the request.

Comey is back in the crosshairs of Democrats, who say he hasn’t been forthcoming with congressional investigators probing alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, a situation that could jeopardize their ability to study whether the Kremlin colluded with anyone connected to Trump.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed senior members of the new administration to the 132nd annual Gridiron Dinner Saturday night with a pointed joke about Trump’s Russia troubles.

Trump is preparing to sign a revised executive order today temporarily barring the entry of people from certain Muslim-majority countries and halting the nation’s refugee program.

Nine special elections, all for state legislative seats, have taken place since Trump was elected president in November. In seven of them, Democrats ran ahead of Hillary Clinton’s performance, giving hope to the party that it can make a comeback.

The Marine Corps is looking into allegations that an unknown number of potential Marines, as well as current and former service members, shared naked and compromising photos of their colleagues on social media, Marine officials said.

The $200 million Trump International Hotel inside the federally owned Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. has become the place to see, be seen, drink, network – even live – for the still-emerging Trump set.

In a Twitter rant this weekend, Don Cheadle accused Trump of using the N-word during a golf tournament years ago.

Ivanka Trump took a private tour of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. last week, accompanied by her mother- and father-in-law, Jared Kushner’s parents, Charles and Seryl.

On the heels of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Israel trip, Israeli media say police will question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth time in corruption investigations concerning his ties with top executives in media, international business and Hollywood.

The purpose of Cuomo’s breakneck 15-hour trip to Israel was an odd mash-up of showing emotional support — reassuring the Jewish population in the aftermath of a rash of anti-Semitic threats and acts of vandalism across New York State and nationwide — and promoting business ties.

Police and the general manager of a Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn said that 42 fallen headstones were not caused by vandals, explaining the memorials had naturally tipped over due to age — though some elected officials were calling for an investigation, anyway.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Visiting Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today decried the recent wave of anti-Semitic acts in the United States as “reprehensible” and vowed his state was employing “extraordinary measures” to combat the phenomenon.

Cuomo launched the “New York-Israel Commission” with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat following a working lunch with Israeli business leaders.

The governor said Mort Zuckerman, owner and publisher of the NY Daily News and the U.S. News and World Report, will serve as honorary chair of the 22-member commission and Malcolm Hoenlein, Linda Mirels and Allen Faigin will serve as co-chairs.

Offering no evidence or details, Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of having Trump Tower telephones “wire tapped” during last year’s election – a claim that an Obama spokesman said was false.

“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, as a candidate, or against his campaign,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Citing President Obama’s denial that he ordered a wiretap of Trump, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Either way … the president’s in trouble. If he falsely spread this kind of misinformation, that is so wrong.”

A day after Trump’s wiretapping accusation, the White House says it won’t comment further until congressional oversight committees investigate the matter.

In a statement from his spokesman, Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said that Congress should examine them as part of its investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.

Vice President Mike Pence is criticizing The Associated Press for listing his wife’s email address in a story about his frequent resistance to public records requests while Indiana’s governor. He took to Twitter to demand an apology.

Pence said there’s “no comparison” between his use of a private AOL email account to conduct some public business while governor and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. “We have fully complied with Indiana’s laws,” he insisted.

Asked what – if anything – she would change about her 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton said just one thing: “I’d win.”

Those who have spoken with Clinton say she’s trying her best to move on from the bruising campaign, but she has also taken it upon herself not to let Trump go answered.

Saying their patience is at an end, conservative activist groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and other powerful interests on the right are mobilizing to pressure Republicans to fulfill their promise to swiftly repeal the Affordable Care Act.

According to a tally by the New York Times, federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed more than 90 regulations in the month and a half since Trump took office.

Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” anchors this weekend slammed Trump for his late-night rants, his “presidential” speech to Congress and his immigration policy — while also mocking his sons.

A group of Hungarian Americans is pushing Trump to name former Gov. George Pataki as ambassador to their home country. (The position was reportedly first offered to Pataki’s daughter, Allison, but she turned it down).

Trump supporters clashed with counter-protesters at a rally in the famously left-leaning city of Berkeley, California, on a day of mostly peaceful gatherings in support of the U.S. president across the country.

A Long Island man was ordered held without bail on Saturday after federal authorities accused him of twice traveling to the Middle East in recent years in an effort to “wage violent jihad” alongside terrorist groups.

Four US Congress members from New York City – Reps. Joe Crowley, Greg Meeks, Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries – employed the Capitol Hill techies reportedly being probed for equipment theft and possible breaches of the House computer network.

Accused anti-Semitic bomb hoaxer Juan Thompson has a long history of ridiculous lies and frightening threats — everything from once boasting he got a Malcolm X tattoo to vowing to smear his rivals as “racists” and ruin their careers, according to people who count themselves as his victims.

Major donors are shutting the money spigot to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign as corruption probes swirl around City Hall, according to sources and campaign filings.

Progress achieved by de Blasio’s “School Renewal Program” has been spotty at best and the Department of Education has already given up on 17 schools. It plans to continue the program in September with 78 schools, including one that was created by merging two it shut.

The same year de Blasio hired Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel to represent him in corruption probes, the law firm’s lobbying unit suddenly started raking in bigger bucks. By the end of 2016, Kramer Levin reported receiving more than $3 million in revenue from its activities lobbying the city.

Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey has promised to not accept campaign contributions from people who do business with the New York City, but the pledge applies only to his potential re-election, not to his current campaign.

After months on the outskirts, Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, a state Labor Department official, has joined the Syracuse mayoral race.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is wasting no time in attacking his main Democratic primary opponent, City Comptroller Mark Schroeder, though the former assemblyman is the definite underdog in the race.

Some people say they’re giving up politics – via a social media break – for Lent.

A New York State effort to more tightly regulate the prepaid cards on which many employees receive their wages was struck down by a review board, which ruled that the state’s Labor Department exceeded its authority in imposing fee limits and other restrictions on the cards.

State AG Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed central figures in George Maziarz’s political orbit in a probe of the former state senator and his campaign finances, according to four sources familiar with the situation.

A lot of state Senate staffers are notaries – a designation that allows them to authenticate legal documents and gather signatures for minor political parties, with many traveling long distances to volunteer for campaigns.

The Rent Stabilization Association, NYC’s largest landlord organization, has thrown its support behind the plan by Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi called the Home Stability Support program that is intended to reduce reliance on homeless shelters by creating a new statewide rent subsidy to keep people in their homes

Text messages that Wardel “Meech” Davis exchanged with a friend a half-hour before his fatal encounter with two Buffalo officers are in the hands of Buffalo police investigators, four police sources have confirmed to The Buffalo News.

She is probably the only internet sensation in Harpursville, N.Y., a hamlet of about 3,500 people in the Southern Tier region: April, a very pregnant giraffe, whose livestream video has attracted millions of viewers. Officials hope her stardom translates into an economic boost for the area.

The new Tappan Zee Bridge is getting a bit of glitz. On Feb. 23, crews tested LED lights mounted on the bridge-to-be’s westbound span piers — the supports holding up the road deck on the approaches. The test ran about an hour and illuminated 20 of the 220 piers.

RIP Helen Marshall, a longtime Queens politician and that borough’s first black president, who died Friday at the age of 87.


Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger says his first season as host of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” is also his last, citing Trump – not the show’s bad ratings – as the motivation behind his decision.

Schwarzenegger said he thought he sounded “more presidential and more diplomatic and more elder statesman” than Trump during their Twitter war.

A day after U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation over his contact with the Russian ambassador last year, Trump sniped back in a tweet that included a photo of the senator eating doughnuts with with Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for an investigation into their relationship.

Schumer quickly tweeted back that he would be happy to talk about the 14-year-old Putin photo and challenged Trump and his team to talk “under oath” about their dealings with Moscow.

…also, Schumer noted for the record that the doughnuts in question were Krispy Kreme.

Trump also called for an investigation into House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s links to the Kremlin. (He tweeted as much with a link attached to a story about Pelosi’s 2010 meeting with Russia’s U.S. ambassador).

In a rare Twitter truce between the Clintons and the Trump White House, Chelsea Clinton defended Kellyanne Conway, who had been the subject of a crude joke by a Democratic congressman.

Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was being resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been outright banned.

Wilbur Ross conceded that Carl Icahn was “smarter” than he was on election night because Icahn left Trump’s victory party to buy stocks — and made $1 billion.

NYC Mayor de Blasio for the second time would not refute allegations that he intervened on behalf of a fundraiser who sought to have the Department of Buildings lift a vacate order on a Hasidic school.

A Cuomo administration official raised the possibility of using state funds to cover lost federal cash if the Affordable Care Act is repealed in D.C., and then walked that back.

Rep. Claudia Tenney says her views of Iraq and Afghanistan changed last week after she witnessed the U.S. military and humanitarian operations aimed at stabilizing the war-torn countries.

The head of an Adirondack environmental conservation group, the Lake George Watershed Coalition, has been charged with more than $69,000 from the organization.

Desecrating a cemetery or spraying hate-crime graffiti would come with higher criminal penalties under a package of bills sponsored by the IDC.

The three state-owned ski centers in New York have pledged to be powered entirely by renewal energy no later than 2030, according to the governor’s office.

Opponents of New York’s nuclear subsidies released a study estimating the financial impact that $462 million a year in nuclear subsidies will have on towns, counties, school districts and other organizations.

Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray and other island officials publicly launched a new effort to pressure Cuomo to eliminate local bridge tolls.

Do you agree or disagree with the results of this best upstate diner contest?

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Hollywood, FL and New York City.

President Donald Trump is headed to Orlando, FL, where he will participate this afternoon in a meet-and-greet, tour, and parent-teacher conference listening session at Saint Andrew Catholic School.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Janesville, Wisconsin to participate in listening sessions with Wisconsin business leaders and their employees. Trump will then head to West Palm Beach, where he will attend the RNC Spring Retreat dinner this evening.

At 8 a.m., Cuomo delivers remarks at the 2017 Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York winter conference, The Diplomat Resort and Spa, 3555 S Ocean Dr., ​Hollywood, FL.

At 9:15 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas, NYC Councilman I. Daneek Miller, 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa and others urge passage of a package of bills for fast food workers, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hosts a roundtable discussion with local farmers and producers, talking about how to keep rural communities thriving and create new jobs in agriculture after Baby Boomers retire, A. Ooms & Sons Dairy Farm, 215 Route 28A, Valatie.

At 10:45 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and take calls from listeners.

At noon, LG Kathy Hochul delivers opening remarks at the Genesee County Economic Development Center annual meeting, Batavia Downs
Paddock Room, 8315 Park Rd., Batavia.

Also at noon, de Blasio will deliver remarks at the City Club of Chicago, Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL. (The mayor is scheduled to return to NYC Monday morning).

At 1 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney and George Venizelos, former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Division, will gather with members of the Jewish community to call for Federal Action after anti-Semitic sentiment and actions, Park East Synagogue, 163 East 67th St., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Hochul joins Step Out Buffalo to launch a campaign in support of local craft beverage businesses, Resurgence Brewery
1250 Niagara St., Buffalo.

Also at 2 p.m., Sen. Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres and Muslim and Jewish leaders rally against recent hate crimes, Bronx Muslim Center, 702 Rhinelander Ave., the Bronx.

At 3 p.m., the Sustainable Staten Island Coalition will continue efforts to meet local elected officials to “affirm an agenda that Staten Island must push against the far right’s extreme agenda,” Sen. Diane Savino’s district office, 36 Richmond Terrace, #112, Staten Island.

At 6 p.m., Klein, Gjonaj, Torres, the Bronx Defenders, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and others host a Know Your Rights forum to address immigration rights for Muslim community members, Bronx Muslim Center at 702 Rhinelander Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Sen. Marisol Alcántara, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Rep. Adriano Espaillat and others host a town hall on a universal, single-payer health care proposal, Alumni Auditorium, William Black Medical Research Building, Columbia University Medical Center, 650 West 168th St., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m.m Rep. Nydia Velazquez attends New York City’s first ever International Human Rights Art Festival, Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., Manhattan.


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing a storm of criticism over newly disclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, recused himself from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

The Trump administration says Sessions was acting as a then-U.S. senator when he talked to Russia’s ambassador at an event during last year’s RNC in Cleveland, but he paid for convention travel expenses out of his own political funds and he spoke about the Trump campaign at the event.

Sessions is not the only member of the Trump’s campaign who spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a diplomacy conference connected to the RNC in July. At least two more members of the Trump campaign’s national security officials also spoke with Kislyak at the event, and several more Trump national security advisers were in attendance.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was with Gen. Michael Flynn when he met with the Russian ambassador during a previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower, the White House acknowledged.

Sessions’ day as a punching bag seemed a duplicate of the one Flynn experienced in mid-February before he was forced to resign. And in both cases, one member of Congress stood strong in the corner of the embattled Trump administration official: Buffalo-area Republican Rep. Chris Collins.

FBI Director James Comey was tight-lipped when asked about investigations into any Russian meddling in the U.S. election on yesterday during a closed-door meeting in Congress, the leading Democrat on the House intelligence committee said.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was likely paid at least $50,000 for an appearance late last year before a French think tank whose founder and his wife are allies of the Russian government in efforts to end the war in Syria.

Trump’s preference for business and military leaders has marginalized a group that has long gripped the levers of power in the nation’s capital: lawyers. Among 16 cabinet positions, Vice President Mike Pence and Sessions are the only ones with law degrees.

Pence, a fierce critic during the 2016 campaign of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, used a personal AOL email account to conduct official business while he was governor of Indiana — and the account was reportedly hacked.

Trump plans on slashing the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by a quarter — targeting enforcement, grants for toxic cleanup efforts, as well as air and water protection programs.

An environmental group and several Democratic senators are demanding a review of the personal email account of Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, after he said during confirmation hearings that he never used that account for official business as Oklahoma state attorney general.

Trump made his case for a massive boost in defense spending by rallying shipbuilders and sailors aboard a next-generation naval aircraft carrier to get behind a “great rebuilding of our military might.”

Ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell called Trump’s proposed cuts to his former department “ridiculous” last night during an appearance in Brookville, Long Island, and said the plan was not supported by most senior members of the U.S. military.

Actor Alec Baldwin suggested during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that he might be interested in standing in for the president at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, which Trump says he won’t attend.

Rep. Paul Tonko, a Capital Region Democrat, charged through a Capitol Hill basement to get a sneak peek at the top secret Republican health care bill yesterday, but the document was nowhere to be found.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the State Police to investigate vandalism of headstones in a small Jewish cemetery in Rochester, citing a recent “dramatic increase in acts of hate and intolerance.” But the cemetery’s operators said they have no reason to believe the vandalism was rooted in anti-Semitism.

Sixteen alleged members of a Central American gang, MS-13, were charged for a range of crimes – including murder, assault and racketeering – in connection with three brutal slayings that rocked Brentwood on Long Island last year.

NYC’s five borough presidents called on the city Department of Education on to take stronger steps to deal with elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some schools, including offering free bottled water and blood tests for children.

Nearly four years after running as an outsider promising to curb police powers, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has emerged as a cheerleader for the NYPD, touting the city’s low and falling crime rate as a central theme of his re-election campaign.

With campaigns by Democratic challengers to de Blasio stuck in a larval stage, Republicans in New York City have begun jostling over who will be their party’s standard-bearer in the general election — and quietly trying to avoid a primary.

More >


Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 US presidential election, following revelations of false claims he made during his January senate confirmation hearing.

President Trump said that he has “total” confidence in Sessions.

Pressure for Sessions to recuse himself from any involvement in an FBI probe into links between the Trump campaign and Moscow mounted throughout the day, as prominent Republicans broke ranks with the administration.

Meanwhile, a number of Democrats went a step further, calling for Sessions to resign, though he said today he has no plans to do so.

Sessions once recommended then-President Bill Clinton be impeached for lying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Woops. (For the record, Ben Carson, not Trump himself, was confirmed as HUD secretary today).

Federal investigators believe the latest wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers and schools around the country was a coordinated attack perpetrated using “spoofing” technology, according to a liaison to the Jewish community who spoke with FBI investigators.

Days after Trump declared war on the press, calling the media “the enemy of the people” and canceling his appearance at the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the White House press corps got a shot of support from one of America’s most beloved actors: Tom Hanks.

In one of the first public appearances of his post-presidency, Barack Obama will accept the Centennial John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award this spring for a career of “grace under pressure” and “exceptional dignity and courage,” receiving the honor on the special occasion of the 100th anniversary of Kennedy’s birth.

Netflix announced that a new documentary about infamous GOP operative/dirty trickster Roger Stone will have its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

If NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio were primaried by fellow Democrats, he leaves his potential competition in the dust, according to a new NBC 4 New York/Marist poll.

New York City lobbyists took in a record-setting amount of money for the third straight year, and James Capalino, who is close to the mayor, remained at the top of the heap with his firm bringing in $13.5 million in 2016.

At a candidate forum in Brooklyn last night, Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey repeatedly hit de Blasio for the several investigations swirling around the mayor’s fundraising, while offering few policy positions of his own.

State and local officials celebrated a new addition to the Capitol City today – a $78.5 million convention center — even as Albany’s mayor pressed state lawmakers for money to maintain its fiscal solvency.

Slower economic growth and proposed federal and state actions present potential risks to the city’s budget, according to a report released today by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

New York State wasted up to $146 million over five years by not helping people with kidney disease get Medicare benefits they’re entitled to, according to an audit by DiNapoli’s office.

A journalist’s lawsuit alleging that the NYPD’s regulation of the press violates the constitutional rights of a free press can go forward, a federal judge has ruled.

RIP Jerry Birbach, a Queens firebrand whose struggle to block a proposed low-income housing project in his Forest Hills neighborhood in 1972 augured a white middle-class backlash to the liberal urban agenda and helped propel the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s political career. He died this week in Boca Raton, Fla. at the age of 87.

Garfield creator Jim Davis confirms that the larger-than-life orange cat is indeed male.

Jeremy M. Creelan, who headed up a number of reform initiatives for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has been named a visiting fellow of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government where he will focus on reform and social justice issues.

The former A.V. Zogg Middle School in the village of Liverpool is ready for its close-up. Hollywood writer-director Jeremy Garelick plans to transform the 89-year-old building into a movie-based learning facility and studio, which will be known as the Liverpool School of Cinema.

At least three people were injured this morning during a massive, weather-related pileup of cars and trucks on the snowy New York State Thruway near Warners, according to New York State Police

Here and Now

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

President Donald Trump will be at Langley Air Force Base today for a series of briefings and meetings.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to participate in listening sessions with local business leaders and their employees.

This morning NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in Washington to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter meeting. He will return to NYC in the afternoon, and then travel to Chicago, Ill.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul leads a discussion about women in STEM, University of Buffalo, 732 Clemens Hall, Buffalo.

At 9:30 a.m., Assembly members James Skoufis, Ken Zebrowski, Joe Morelle (majority leader), Cathy Nolan (Education Committee chair), and fellow legislators representing half-day kindergarten districts, and stakeholders will push for the inclusion of full-day kindergarten enhanced transition aid in the 2017-2018 state budget, LOB, LCA Room 130, 198 State St., Albany.

At 10:15 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announces a new literacy program that allows kids from low-income families to choose and buy their own books during the school year, 1180 Tinton Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 10:15 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at Niagara Power Project’s Benchmark celebration, Lewiston Pump Generation Plant, Lewiston.

At 10:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz holds a public hearing on land use, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

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

Also at 11 a.m., students and faculty from CUNY and SUNY campuses rally for the state to increase its investment – and not tuition – in public higher education at a Higher Education Action Day, Meeting Room 6, Empire State Plaza, North Concourse, Albany.

At 11:15 a.m., Hochul reads Dr. Seuss’s “ABC” book to pre-schoolers in celebration of Read Across America, Lockport Library, 23 East Ave., Lockport.

At noon, New York City public school parents and leaders of citywide charter networks demand New York City stop barring charters from public space, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Hochul reads Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” to children in celebration of Read Across America, Jewish Community Center, 787 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. (This will be followed by a community center tour).

At 6 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the Manhattan Borough Board will conduct a public hearing on the Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal now working its way through the land use review process, Guttman Community College, InfoCommon, 50 W. 40th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy holds a local public hearing on the proposed closing of Indian Point nuclear power plant, Local 21 Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Hall, 1024 McKinley St., Peekskill.

At 7:30 p.m., Republican New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr. speaks at the Reclaim New York Queens Village Republican Club general club meeting, Knights of Columbus, St. Anne’s Council, 263-15 Union Turnpike, Queens.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. last year — encounters he did not disclose during his confirmation hearings — fueling calls for him to either resign or recuse himself from a Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of Donald Trump and Russians — across the government.

Several congressional Republicans are panning the emerging outlines of Trump’s first budget, complaining that he’s cutting too much from already lean department accounts while leaving untouched the massive benefit programs blamed for the nation’s deficits.

Trump’s speech this week buoyed House Republican leaders who were hopeful that his leadership would unite fractious lawmakers around a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. But fundamental disagreements still divide Republicans on one of the central promises of their 2016 campaigns: repealing the health law.

Former Vice President Joe Biden lambasted Trump in some of his first public remarks since leaving office, attacking the President for his attacks on judges and assault on the media while saying he hopes Trump follows through on his more “presidential” tone from Tuesday’s joint address to Congress.

Biden confirmed the relationship between his late son’s widow, Hallie, and his now-separated younger son, Hunter, saying he and his wife, Jill, have given their blessing to the union.

Trump’s administration will convene a meeting of at least 15 federal agencies today as a first government-wide step toward crafting the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, a senior White House official said.

Trump’s promise to use existing funds to begin immediate construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a financial roadblock, according to a document seen by Reuters, with the DHS identifying only $20 million that can be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar project.

Eight years after he was sent to China by a Democratic president, Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate, is under consideration to be Trump’s ambassador to Russia, which would remove him from a possible challenge to Utah’s 82-year-old Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Amid talk of presidential ambitions in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make a quick trip to Israel this weekend, at a moment when the handling of Jewish issues is percolating through the national political debate.

News of Cuomo’s trip came after he spent the morning speaking at a Jewish community center in upstate New York and then delivered remarks to Orthodox Jewish students at a rally in Albany.

Cuomo decried the rash of bomb threats to Jewish Community centers around the state and nation, promising a strong police response and questioning why anyone would make threats at facilities that offer programs for children.

Cuomo told reporters he won’t have time to meet with Arab leaders during his one-day jaunt to Israel – his second journey to the Jewish State as governor, and only his third trip abroad.

The governor said the purpose of the trip is twofold – economic development, which explains why taxpayers will be footing the bio, and to deliver a “message of solidarity” to Israel at a time when the Jewish community here in the U.S. is increasingly a target of anti-Semitic activity.

The agenda for the weekend was not entirely clear, but we know this much: Legislative leaders are not planning on attending.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy isn’t buying that President Donald Trump’s brief embrace of comprehensive immigration reform was a “misdirection play,” saying: “That’s a wonderful turn of phrase; another way to describe that is a ‘lie.'”

Former Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke was sworn in yesterday as secretary of the Interior Department, assuming oversight of 400 million acres of public land, mostly in the West.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is selling the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., to focus on the Tropicana, another iconic property on the strip that Icahn acquired much the same way: buying its debt on the cheap and eventually taking it over.

Former President Obama is getting ready to jump back into the political pool, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Trump will keep the gender-neutral bathroom established at the White House by Obama after rescinding an Obama administration policy regarding the use of bathrooms of choice by transgender students.

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By the time he took the rostrum in the House chamber last night for the functional equivalent of a State of the Union address, President Trump had generated considerable suspense around what he would actually say and how it would be received.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to see the details of Trump’s policy plans, but he’s not optimistic those will be forthcoming.

The White House has cleared Kellyanne Conway of wrongdoing, after the top aide hawked Ivanka Trump’s fashion line in a TV interview last month.

Actor Alec Baldwin is going to release two memoirs this year — one as himself, and one as Trump.

Oprah for president? She isn’t 100 percent ruling it out.

The widow of Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden has started a romantic relationship with her former brother-in-law, Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s younger son.

Former SUNY Polytechnic Institute leader Alain Kaloyeros has been cleared by a federal judge to travel all over the continental states, subject to the approval of the U.S. district court’s pretrial services office.

Two House Democrats – one of whom was Rep. Gregory Meeks, of Queens – fired technology staffers linked to an ongoing criminal investigation this week, more than a month after the husband-wife couple in question was barred from House computer networks.

New York’s nine congressional Republicans have been regularly meeting for breakfast and discussing what they want and what they need from the legislative effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had fun at the Vanity Fair Oscars party.

Schumer asked the FCC to grant a waiver that would allow investigators to unscramble anonymous phone numbers being used to call in bomb threats to Jewish community centers

State officials kicked off Women’s History Month with the unveiling of a new website dedicated to celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York and the work of the state Women’s Suffrage Commission.

Variety obtained exclusive photos of PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan — the man behind the infamous envelope mix-up — leading up to and during Sunday’s gaffe in which “La La Land” was erroneously named best picture over “Moonlight.”

The president of the film academy says the two accountants responsible for the best-picture flub at Sunday’s Academy Awards will never work the Oscars again.

Rep. Chris Collins, a big Trump supporter, tweeted no fewer than 16 times during the president’s speech last night.

An Ohio man today admitted to federal charges in connection with the bombing of a New York state prison guard last year.

Marian Javits, the glamorous wife of senator Jacob Javits, who chose to stay put in the Big Apple – and have an affair with Geraldo Rivera — as her husband pressed the flesh in Washington, died peacefully yesterday in her Upper East Side apartment at the age of 92.

A federal judge has dismissed a Cleveland developer’s civil lawsuit claiming the City of Buffalo and Mayor Byron Brown engaged in a “pay to play” for a city housing project.

Did you know it’s National Pig Day? Sen. Tony Avella knew.


President Donald Trump tonight plans to highlight victims of violent criminal immigrants, crow about pulling out of Obama trade deal, and run through litany of “promises kept.”

The president will lay out a budget plan with big increases in defense spending offset by large cuts in domestic programs – exactly, his budget director told reporters, what Trump promised to do on the campaign trail. But unlike his experience on the campaign, Trump will have to clear several high hurdles to turn his ideas into law.

Democratic women in the House are planning to wear white in honor of women’s suffrage when they attend Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress.

Rep. Eliot Engel has abandoned his decades-long tradition of camping out for an aisle seat, saying he’ll neither greet Trump tonight nor shake his hand.

Photos of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway kneeling on an Oval Office couch – apparently with her shoes on – have sparked an online debate about decorum in the executive mansion.

Some have countered with numerous photos of former President Barack Obama resting his feet on the office’s famed Resolute desk at various times during his eight years in office.

Here’s who New York members of Congress have invited to attend Trump’s speech with them tonight.

Trump plans to sign a revised travel ban tomorrow that is likely to apply only to future visa applicants from seven majority Muslim countries tabbed as terror risks.

For the first time in seven years, New York City officials expect the number of foreign visitors to decrease, a drop they attribute to the protectionist policies and rhetoric of Trump.

Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with other members of the former first family, made a public appearance at an Upstate NY diner – the Grazin’ Diner in Hudson – that has been favorite of Chelsea Clinton’s for years.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new homeless shelter plan, which includes no total price tag for the shelters and no details about where they will be located, could mark a near-impossible task as the mayor faces re-election on an issue that has sparked massive opposition in parts of the city and is widely acknowledged as one of the mayor’s most intractable problems.

Half of New York City voters approve of the job de Blasio has done while in office, his highest approval rating since January 2016, according to a new Q poll. Forty-two percent of voters said they disapprove of the mayor’s performance.

Local elected officials’ concerns about the Nano Utica project far predated last December’s pullout of its cornerstone business, Austrian semiconductor fabrication company AMS.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, will meet with constituents one on one in East Patchogue Friday, but the congressman continues to draw complaints from some district voters over his decision to hold a telephone town hall last Thursday.

Two years after divorcing former governor Eliot Spitzer, Silda Wall has legally changed her name to Silda Wall Spitzer. She quietly filed for the name change on Dec. 29 in upstate Columbia County, where she maintains a residence.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing legislation that would raise the minimum age to be married in New York, calling for requiring parental and judicial consent before a marriage license can be given out to a 17- or 18-year-old.

A lengthy dispute that saw workers at a Farmington racetrack hold out for guaranteed protections appears to have ended with a deal that has guaranteed fewer races and more financial support for the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack.

Robert Gaddy, an Albany-based lobbyist with longstanding ties to Rochester leaders, will face a harassment charge after he was accused of striking a 71-year-old columnist and political activist in the face. He’s due for arraignment in Albany City Court on March 10.

The NYC Department of Education has hired its first ever gender equity coordinator.

Here and Now

It’s a big day in politics.

At 9 p.m., President Donald Trump will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress (technically not a State of the Union address, since he’s only had just over a month on the job).

The president will be looking to hit the reset button after a tumultuous first five weeks in the Oval Office. It’s unclear how he’ll be received by congressional Democrats, some of whom are pledging to engage is “respectful” acts of protest.

At a White House meeting with the nation’s governors yesterday, the president promised a “big statement” today on infrastructure. He’ll also be focusing on promises made – and kept – during the early days of his administration.

“Our highways, our bridges are unsafe,” Trump told the governors. “Our tunnels — I mean, we have tunnels in New York where the tiles are on the ceiling and you see many tiles missing.”

(For the record, New York officials say there’s no evidence anyone has been hurt by falling tunnel ceiling tiles).

Trump is also scheduled to meet this morning with member of the National Association of Attorneys General, have lunch with unnamed members of the press, and – in the afternoon – sign several executive orders.

In Albany, the state Legislature returns to work after a week-long winter break, and the clock counting down to the April 1 budget deadline is ticking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and will be holding a cabinet meeting in the Capitol’s Red Room at 2:15 p.m.

A full calendar of today’s events appears at the end of this post.


When President Donald Trump makes his first address to a joint session of Congress tonight, at least four undocumented immigrants whose temporary legal status could be revoked will be in the House watching him speak as guests of Democratic members of Congress.

With this speech, the White House hopes to reframe Trump’s turbulent first 40 days neatly into the context of promises made, promises kept. But the president will step onto the dais with historically low poll numbers, and amid an ongoing battle with the mainstream media.

The speech also comes as Congressional Republicans are panning Trump’s call to finance a military buildup by slashing domestic agencies and ignoring entitlement programs — undermining the president’s budget even before it’s been finalized.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a “pre-buttal” to Trump’s address, saying that while Democrats are united, Republicans are in disarray like “an Abbott and Costello show.”

Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to ask Trump to speak out on a recent killing in Kansas City that is being investigated by law enforcement as a hate crime. “With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part,” she tweeted. “He must step up & speak out.”

Trump supporters held rallies in towns and cities across the country, partly as a rebuttal to waves of anti-Trump protests that have taken place since the Republican’s election last November.

Trump himself accused former President Barack Obama of being “behind” the protests that Republican members of Congress have encountered at town hall meetings.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at rolling back one of former Obama’s major environmental regulations, a clean water rule known as Waters of the United States. But on its own, the order will have almost no legal effect on the sweeping rule, which was imposed in 2015.

Trump, meeting with the nation’s governors, conceded that he had not been aware of the complexities of health care policy-making: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” he said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders mocked Trump for his admission that health care reform is very complicated.

A simmering dispute between leaders of the House intelligence committee spilled into the public over an investigation into whether Trump has ties to Russia, even as they pledged to conduct a bipartisan probe.

In a 72-27 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary as Trump adds to his economic team.

Former President George W. Bush says he dislikes the racial tensions simmering in the early days of the Trump administration. “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like people feeling alienated,” he told “People” magazine. “Nobody likes that.”

House Republicans have blocked an attempt by Democrats to force Trump to release his tax returns to Congress.

The family of the late former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has discovered what may amount to a posthumous salvo against his archenemy: Trump.

In a sometimes-pointed television interview with NY1’s Errol Louis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said his four-hour meeting with federal prosecutors last week went “fine” and “simply the process of getting all the information out,” adding: “I was happy to go in and recount the facts.”

It was de Blasio’s first live TV interview since he was grilled for four hours by federal investigators from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office last Friday.

Hours after federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents finished questioning de Blasio on Friday as part of their investigation into his campaign fund-raising, a senior manager at an obscure New York City agency was unexpectedly called into a conference room and fired.

While facing multiple pay-to-play probes over whether he provided political favors to big donors, de Blasio sent out a fundraising solicitation claiming he really wants donations from regular New Yorkers.

With his re-election campaign looming, de Blasio plans today to unveil a plan to open roughly 90 new homeless shelters throughout New York’s five boroughs, a stark increase devised to address his most vexing citywide problem.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo insists that he’s not thinking about a presidential run in four years, even as he takes more steps to join the national conversation. Members of New York’s political class see the 59-year-old governor as carefully laying down markers for his future, whatever it may hold, after Clinton’s unexpected defeat.

Cuomo was one of just six governors who didn’t meet with Trump at the White House yesterday. All 50 states’ governors were invited to attend the gathering

Tom Perez, the newly elected DNC chairman, dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the race to lead the party was “rigged” in his favor.

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