The Trump administration has conspicuously—and surprisingly—complied with international law during its first months. For example, yesterday’s climate order notably does not announce a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, despite campaign promises to do so. Perhaps the Trump administration realizes that international law supports its policy positions on the South China Sea, North Korea, Iran, and on other vitally important issues.
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Earlier today, Devin Nunes held a headline-making press conference on Capitol Hill in which he made the following statement:
This afternoon, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations “related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.” The decision follows a report from
Momentum is building for a major bipartisan independent
President Donald Trump has named Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster, 54, as his new National Security Adviser, calling McMaster a “man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” McMaster, who is widely respected military strategist and has been praised as a “good choice” by former military officials, will replace General Keith Kellogg, who has been act
This evening the Washington Post reported that, National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn discussed sanctions during his December phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Previously both Flynn and the White House had repeatedly denied the accusation.
Yesterday, most of the U.S.’s biggest technology firms joined the legal fight in the 9th Circuit over the President’s immigration ban, filing a brief arguing that the ban imposes “significant harm” to U.S. businesses. Over ninety firms signed the brief, including Airbnb, Apple, Box, Citrix, Dropbox, eBay, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Snap, Twitter, and Uber, and many more.
For sanctions-watchers, the familiar rhythm of responding to new general licenses issued by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is typically uneventful. You receive an email from OFAC announcing the measure, you momentarily consider its impact, and then return to whatever you were doing before. The era of Donald Trump, however, has injected “observe Twitter have a complete meltdown” into the cycle. I admire the passion and welcome new devotees to the exciting world of sanctions, but for today, a deep breath is required.
The Trump executive order banning nationals of seven Muslim states and suspending refugee admissions is, as a matter of policy, monumentally stupid. It is malevolence tempered only by incompetence, as Ben Wittes puts it. That may ultimately prove its constitutional undoing, but the result is hardly foreordained. Beyond this weekend’s initial skirmishes, legal challenges to the order face an uphill battle.
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates has been fired by President Trump for her decision to order DOJ to not defend the current Administration’s executive order on immigration in court. The New York Times report** includes the somewhat alarming paragraph: