Trump’s headline-grabbing executive orders may lead nowhere

Politico reports: President Donald Trump’s team made little effort to consult with federal agency lawyers or lawmakers as they churned out executive actions this week, stoking fears the White House is creating the appearance of real momentum with flawed orders that might be unworkable, unenforceable or even illegal.

The White House didn’t ask State Department experts to review Trump’s memorandum on the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the company that wants to build the pipeline is suing the U.S. for $15 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo were “blindsided” by a draft order that would require agencies to reconsider using interrogation techniques that are currently banned as torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.

Just a small circle of officials at the Department of Health and Human Services knew about the executive action starting to unwind Obamacare, and only less than two hours before it was released. Key members of Congress weren’t consulted either, according to several members. And at a conference in Philadelphia, GOP legislators say they had no idea whether some of the executive orders would contrast with existing laws — because they hadn’t reviewed them. [Continue reading…]

Contrast or conflict? I guess Politico doesn’t have enough editors.

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4 thoughts on “Trump’s headline-grabbing executive orders may lead nowhere

  1. hquain

    Contrast/conflict. Great catch — the hunt for euphemisms goes on (is this intensively practiced in J-school?). The run-up is almost as good, if more classic: “they had no idea whether some of the executive orders…”

    Few seem to have caught on that Trump is attempting to rule by decree. (The “attempting to” is a gesture in the direction of optimism, which must be somewhere out there in the fog.) In his mind and that of his coterie, he already is, by modus operandi, a dictator. As in the campaign, he shows no interest in what the President is empowered to do — or enjoined from doing, by law or by Constitution. In the kind of semi-criminal business world he inhabits, the law is a nuisance, something to be contended with: there are people for that. The people-for-that are now the Republican legislators, who stand between us and frank autocracy. That must be why they’ve gathered around Trump with their hands out.

  2. Paul Woodward

    I think that Trump and his crew are like a band of pirates who just hijacked an oil tanker. Trump’s pretending to be the captain but the only thing the crew has figured out at this point is how to work the radio. No one knows how to navigate the ship, but if/when it runs aground there’s going to be a huge mess for someone else to clean up. There are a few members of the crew who have to be clear-eyed enough to now see that they are heading for disaster. Dare they launch a mutiny or are they eyeing the life rafts to make their own getaways?

  3. hquain

    This very apt analogy reminds me that the campaign was in the same straits until Trump fired everyone and brought on Bannon and Conway. Barring catastrophe — and the seas that Trump and his band sail on are filled with other, sharper pirates — the likely outcome (and surely the one that the Rs are aiming at) may well be some internal adjustments that lift the competence level so that the ship can intentionally sail for the reef instead of wandering into it by accident.

  4. Paul Woodward

    Indeed, and to mix metaphors, intentionally sailing into the reef suggests the grim idea that the Trump administration is first and foremost a government demolition crew.

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