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Vox Sentences: Revised, resubmitted, rejected


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"There is nothing veiled about this press release: 'Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.'"

Travel ban fails second round of extreme vetting

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration's revised executive order temporarily banning residents of several majority-Muslim countries from getting US visas (and putting a hold on refugee admissions) was supposed to go into effect Thursday. But on Wednesday night, it got put on hold by a federal judge (Derrick K. Watson of the District of Hawaii, if you're keeping score). [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Watson's ruling is brutal. It's the first ruling to say, outright, that the ban is unconstitutional because of its roots in Trump's campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the US. [US District Court of Hawaii / Judge Derrick K. Watson]
  • The Trump administration tried really hard to judgeproof the executive order based on previous objections made by the courts. But they can't get around an argument that the order is unconstitutional because of its origin. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Watson was merely one of three federal judges who heard challenges against the revised ban Wednesday. The other two (in Maryland and Washington state) are now under less pressure to put out their rulings, since the Hawaii ruling puts all implementation of the ban on hold until the case has progressed further through the courts. [Washington Post / Maria Sacchetti, Kalani Takase, and Matt Zapotosky]
  • The Trump administration will almost certainly try to get a higher court to lift the hold on the ban. And, frankly, there's a solid argument that (if it goes that far) Chief Justice John Roberts will decide that Watson's ruling is wrong — for one thing, it's not even clear that the First Amendment's establishment clause applies to immigration law. [Lawfare / Josh Blackman]
  • But maybe that precedent is bad or outdated and needs to be changed. And maybe Trump's brash inability to do subtext, which was at the root of his appeal during the campaign and which his advisers still ape in TV appearances, is hurting him in court. [Vox / Dara Lind]

2 pages down, 11,998 to go

Trump’s tax return (partial) MSNBC / Rachel Maddow and David Cay Johnston
  • Last night, Rachel Maddow revealed Donald Trump's tax returns. Well, a tax return. Er, two pages of a tax return. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Specifically she, along with veteran tax reporter David Cay Johnston, revealed two pages of Trump's 2005 1040, which listed his total income (about $150 million) and tax burden (about $38 million). [MSNBC]
  • The most interesting part of the document was that Trump claimed about $103 million in losses, from either that year or prior ones. On its own, that should've cut his tax rate down to a measly 3.5 percent. But the alternative minimum tax, which seeks to crack down on wealthy taxpayers with large deductions, prevented that, and left him with an actual rate around 25 percent — not super high, but not super low either. [WSJ / Richard Rubin and Michael Bender]
  • Notably, Trump, along with most Republicans, wants to eliminate the AMT. Over time the tax has evolved to mostly hit people making $500,000 to $1 million a year; Trump is a weird mega-rich person who got hit with it. [NPR / Jim Zarroli]
  • What the tax return didn't tell us: anything about Trump's ties to Russia, previously unrevealed creditors who might influence his decision-making, what his current net worth is, etc.
  • Seeing a full tax return of Trump's — which could be up to 12,000 pages long — would tell us a lot more about that sort of thing. But that's not what Maddow and Johnston got. [Politico / Norman Eisen and Richard Painter]
  • That made Maddow's TV segment unveiling the document a little underwhelming. Still, though, any information about Trump's taxes is useful given his repeated unwillingness to release past returns. [Washington Post / Margaret Sullivan]

Geert out of here

Dutch PM Mark Rutte Michael Debets/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Voters in the Netherlands beat back the rising tide of right-wing European populism on Wednesday, reelecting its center-right prime minister and rebuking Islamophobe Geert Wilders and his anti-immigrant "Freedom Party." [BBC World]
  • The election was immediately interpreted as offering a glimmer of orange hope for those who fear the continent's political headwinds. Within the past year alone, far-right parties have gained ground in Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, France ... and pretty much everywhere else. The results are also a big win for the European Union, which the center-right party supports. [Bloomberg / Corina Ruhe, Anne Van Der Schoot, and Joost Akkermans]
  • Wilders still finished in second place (tied with the Christian Democrats and the social liberal party Democrats 66), but lost ground in the final days of the race. (Polls just a few weeks ago showed him likely to win outright.) Openly scornful of Moroccan immigrants, whom he referred to as "scum," Wilders called Islam incompatible with "freedom" and campaigned to "Make the Netherlands Great Again." [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • The reelected center-right PM, Mark Rutte, told a cheering crowd at the Hague on Wednesday night that the Netherlands had rejected the "wrong kind of populism," citing Brexit and Donald Trump's election. Observers were quick to note that this was the first big test for European populisms since Trump's election. It failed. [The New York Times / Sewell Chan]
  • Also celebrating the results was the Dutch "GreenLeft" party. Its 30-year-old leader had campaigned on an openly pro-immigrant platform, and told Wilders during a debate that the populists were "destroying" Dutch values of tolerance. His party sent out a dancing Kermit Frog GIF as the returns came in. [The Guardian / Jon Henley]
  • Wilders, not content to go quietly, vowed to be back. Rutte “has not seen the last of me," he said on Twitter. [Reuters / Anthony Deutsch]


  • In 1982, Gregory Watson got a C for a paper he wrote in a political science class arguing that a constitutional amendment passed by Congress in 1789 could still be ratified and take effect. Partly as payback, Watson spent the next 10 years getting it ratified. Now it's the 27th Amendment. [KUT / Matt Largey]
  • The market for forged documents appearing to implicate Donald Trump has been booming, as opportunists around the world realize just how desperate American liberals are for anything that could bring Trump down. [BuzzFeed / Ken Bensinger, Jason Leopold, and Craig Silverman]
  • There are great movies. There are terrible movies. But what do movies with a Rotten Tomatoes score of exactly 50 percent have in common? [MEL / John McDermott]
  • How World War I propaganda transformed the way Americans eat. [A.V. Club / Dave McCowan]
  • Religious attendance has fallen much faster among whites without college degrees than among whites with them. Does that help explain Trump? [The Atlantic / Peter Beinart]


  • "For want of a comma, we have this case." [First Circuit Judge David Barron]
  • "For generations of German imperialists, and for Hitler himself, the exemplary land empire was the United States of America." [Slate / Timothy Snyder]
  • "It is not in any private company’s short-term interest to make that basic fiber infrastructure  —  which amounts to a substantial upgrade to the last-century copper and cable lines with which Americans are now stuck  —  available to everyone at a reasonable price." [Backchannel / Susan Crawford]
  • "When The Room opened in June 2003, audiences had no idea what to make of its star, a narcissistic homunculus whose hulking physique and long black hair suggest a Harlequin Romance cover gone horribly wrong, and who sounds like he might have been raised in Transylvania." [Variety / Peter Debruge]
  • "Members of the Legion’s direct-action units, appropriately termed echipa mortii (death squads), in turn, each contributed some of their blood to a common glass, from which all drank, uniting them in life and death." [Slate / Stanley G. Payne]

Watch this: The GOP health care plan: The more you need, the less you get

Paul Ryan’s bill will make more people uninsured than live in New York state. [YouTube / Ezra Klein, Liz Scheltens, Hosu Lee, Nicholas Garbaty, and Matteen Mokalla]

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