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As Trump begins second year, women stage nationwide protests

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Many thousands of women and their male supporters turned out on Saturday for the second Women's March, a nationwide series of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump marking the end of his tumultuous first year in office.

The coordinated rallies in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and about 250 other cities featured speakers who blasted Trump for policies that many said hurt women and urging voters to turn out for congressional elections in November. Sister rallies were staged in cities overseas.

“Your vote is the most powerful tool at your individual disposal,” actress Eva Longoria told the Los Angeles rally. “Everybody who has the privilege of voting must do so.”

Trump responded on Twitter by touting what he said were economic gains of the past year that benefited women.

"Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March," he wrote. "Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!"

Joblessness among women was 3.7 percent in December, below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, according to the Labor Department.

Even so, Katie O'Connor, a 39-year-old lawyer from Knoxville, Tennessee, who traveled to Washington's National Mall, said she wanted Trump out. "I don't believe this administration is going to do anything good for women," she said.

Many of the protesters wore pink knit "pussy hats," which were created for last year's march as a reference to a comment made by Trump about female genitalia. The caps quickly became a symbol of women's empowerment and opposition to the new president in the early days of his administration.

Saturday's march follows what many see as a pivotal year for women's rights, with the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media campaigns against sexual harassment and misconduct. The movements sprang up after a string of scandals involving powerful men in Hollywood, Washington and elsewhere.

Many of Saturday's speakers highlighted the theme of sexual assault, urging all Americans to fight back against what they see as a culture that tolerates the mistreatment of women.

“When it happens to a girl, it often means that she has to stand alone,” actress and model Olivia Munn said in Los Angeles, referring to sexual assault. "We will always support you, stand beside you, so you don’t have to stand alone.”

Los Angeles Mayor Mayor Eric Garcett estimated the crowd at a half-million strong, saying it was the largest march in the country.

In Washington, a parade of Democratic leaders addressed a gathering that appeared much smaller than the massive crowd that flooded the nation's capital on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Trump's inauguration.

"So while we have this president celebrating his one-year anniversary, let's give him an 'F' (grade) for his performance," House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said while flanked by fellow Democrats. "We don't agonize, we organize."

An estimated 5 million people participated in the nationwide rallies in 2017, making it one of the biggest protests in American history.

SMALLER CROWD

In Chicago, thousands of mostly female marchers gathered in Grant Park, with many carrying protest signs with slogans such as "Strong women raising strong women."

City officials had put the size of the crowd at between 200,000 and 300,000, or about the same as the 2017 rally, according to Fawzia Mirza, one of the emcees. But the streets did not appear as crowded as the year before.

Michelle Saunders, 41, a software saleswoman from Des Plaines, Illinois, came to the rally with her 14-year-old daughter, Bailey.

“A smaller crowd will not mean people are any less angry,” Michelle Saunders said. “We are unhappy with the current administration and what it stands for, and want our voices to be heard.”

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has had sharply lower approval ratings among women than among men. A Pew Research Center poll in May showed 46 percent of men approving of Trump's job performance, while only a third of women did.

March organizers hope to build on the energy felt by Trump opponents after his surprise election victory and channel it into gains for progressive candidates in November's midterm elections, using the theme "Power to the Polls."

Organizers want to register 1 million new voters and get more strong advocates for women's rights into office.

Activists say Trump's policies rolling back birth control and equal pay protections have propelled many women into activism for the first time. In Virginia state legislative polls, 11 of the 15 newly elected Democrats were women.

 

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On The Anniversary Of Trump’s Inauguration, The Government Is Shut Down

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“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action,” he proclaimed at his inauguration.

One year ago, Donald Trump stood at the U.S. Capitol and took his place as the nation’s 45th president. He promised to be a man of action, taking charge of a government for the people and away from the establishment. 

“We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done,” Trump promised.

“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action ― constantly complaining but never doing anything about it,” he added. “The time for empty talk is over.”

But exactly a year later, on the anniversary of Trump’s big day, the federal government is shut down. 

Congress was unable to come to an agreement to keep the government funded by midnight Friday, resulting in the first shutdown since 2013. 

Trump and his GOP allies tried to pin the blame on Democrats, even attempting to give it the name #SchumerShutdown. 

The fact remains, however, that Republicans control the White House, the House and the Senate. For years, they blamed Democrats for obstruction and told voters to give them full control of the executive and legislative branches so that they could finally govern. 

But Republicans were unable to do the most basic task Friday night: Keep the federal government’s lights on. 

In the most recent government shutdowns, the presidency and Congress have been controlled by different parties ― and they’ve pointed fingers at each other over who gets the blame. (The public has generally faulted the GOP-led Congress.) 

But in this case, Republicans will be trying to argue that Democrats ― who control nothing because they’re in the minority ― are the ones at fault. 

It’s clear, however, that the Trump administration is nervous about the fallout. The Department of the Interior was figuring out a way to keep national parks open during the shutdown, recognizing during the 2013 shutdown that the shuttered entrances and frustrated tourists became potent symbols of what Congress’ dysfunction had wrought. 

One of Trump’s major selling points during the campaign was his ability to make deals. He could sit down with people and get them to agree to things that no one else could. 

But Trump is part of the reason that Washington has found itself in such a mess this week. 

 

Trump, after all, was the one who removed the protections for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, telling Congress that lawmakers had to instead put in place a measure to protect them. 

Democrats, at various times, have believed that Trump would support a deal to protect the Dreamers, in exchange for certain border security measures. But that optimism was blown up last week when Trump reportedly denigrated immigrants from Haiti and African nations, saying they were “shithole” countries and he’d rather see people come from Norway, a very white European nation. 

Trump received widespread criticism for his remarks, and the next day he announced there would be no bipartisan deal. 

The Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate ― along with the Republicans in the House and the Republicans in the Senate ― were unable to come to an agreement by the funding deadline Friday night, and now the federal government is shut down. 

The last time the federal government shut down, in 2013, about 800,000 workers were furloughed without pay, and this time, a similar number is expected to be affected. 

And Trump, despite his rhetoric in his inaugural address, is ill-prepared to deal with the shutdown. Federal employees said Friday that they had barely received any guidance about what to do in the event of a shutdown ― a big difference from what happened in 2013, under President Barack Obama. Trump still has failed to nominate people for a sizable number of important positions in the government, and many of the people in his administration don’t have experience dealing with past crises. 

In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump boasts, “Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

But the first year of his presidency has exposed the hollowness of that rhetoric, showing it takes more than simply talking big to run the government.

Perhaps instead, Trump’s tweet from January 2013 held more insight about his governance: “Just shows that you can have all the cards and lose if you don’t know what you’re doing.” 

 

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Report: Omarosa May Have Secretly Recorded WH Discussions

Report: Omarosa May Have Secretly Recorded WH Discussions

Omarosa Manigault-Newman may have secretly recorded confidential White House discussions and is seeking to hire an attorney out of concern she could get ensnared in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, the Daily News reports.

"Everyone knows Omarosa loves to record people and meetings using the voice notes app on her iPhone," an unnamed source told the Daily News. "Don’t be surprised if she has secret audio files on everyone in that White House, past and present staffers included."

The former "Apprentice" contestant's penchant for recording was behind a recent directive in the White House banning personal smartphones et al in the West Wing, the Daily News reports.

Omarosa's official last day at the White House is Saturday after a conflicting and explosive turn of events regarding her employment before the Christmas break.

The director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison has met with high-powered attorneys Lisa Bloom and Monique Pressley, among others, the Daily News reports.

The Daily News reports that Omarosa is "very concerned" that she may yet be a target of Mueller's Russia probe.

However, a source told the Daily News that Omarosa is fantasizing about her own self-importance and would not have any information of interest to Mueller or book publishers.

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