How President Trump Could Seize More Power After a Terrorist Attack

Wall Street Hope Revived as Trump Plans to Roll Back Rules

(photo: Aude Guerrucci / Getty)

President Trump and his top White House aides have been obsessed with highlighting a threat that does not exist.

By Ryan Lizza / the New Yorker
February 7, 2017


“I do believe the world faces a serious and growing terrorist threat. But Trump, either by ignorance or malice, is distorting the nature of that threat by targeting very well-vetted immigrants, including legal permanent residents and refugees. He simply does not have a strong national-security case to make against these people, which is why it is reasonable to wonder if he has some ulterior motive for taking such extreme steps against them.”
— Evan McMullin, former C.I.A. officer and Republican who ran for President as an independent candidate against Trump


Since September 11, 2001, ninety-four people have been killed in the United States in ten attacks carried out by a total of twelve radical Islamist terrorists. Each of the attackers was either an American citizen or a legal resident. More than half of the ninety-four murders occurred last year, when Omar Mateen, who was born on Long Island, killed forty-nine people at a night club in Orlando.

According to the comprehensive terrorism database maintained by the New America Foundation, since 9/11 there have been three hundred and ninety-six people involved in American terrorism cases, which New America defines as “individuals who are charged with or died engaging in jihadist terrorism or related activities inside the United States, and Americans accused of such activity abroad.” Eighty-three per cent of these individuals were American citizens or permanent residents. (Seventeen per cent were non-residents or had an unknown status.)

And yet, for more than two weeks, President Donald Trump and his top White House aides have been obsessed with highlighting a threat that does not exist: jihadist refugees and immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

It’s true that both worldwide terrorist attacks and terrorism-related cases against plotters in the United States have spiked since 2013, an increase largely attributed to the fallout from the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State. I talked to several counterterrorism experts this week, and they all believe that there will be another attack.

“I do believe the world faces a serious and growing terrorist threat,” Evan McMullin, the former C.I.A. officer and Republican who ran for President as an independent candidate against Trump, said. “But Trump, either by ignorance or malice, is distorting the nature of that threat by targeting very well-vetted immigrants, including legal permanent residents and refugees. He simply does not have a strong national-security case to make against these people, which is why it is reasonable to wonder if he has some ulterior motive for taking such extreme steps against them.”

Yesterday, Trump’s campaign to highlight this threat took a bizarre turn when he accused the media of burying coverage of terror attacks. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” he said in remarks to troops at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa. “In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons.” The White House later released a list of attacks since 2014 that it insisted had not received enough attention.

This is the second time in a week that Trump has accused others of not understanding the threat posed by terrorism. Over the weekend, he used Twitter to attack the federal judge who put a halt to Trump’s immigration ban. He called James L. Robart, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, a “so-called judge,” and later added, “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

One of the questions raised by Trump’s claims that the media and the courts have endangered the country is what he would do in the event of a terrorist attack.

[Read the full article here . . . ]

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