Annals of the Trump Administration

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Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #7 (Prequel Edition): Shaping the War Obama Will Leave to Trump

With less than two months to go before it hands over power to the Trump administration, the Obama administration is continuing to fine-tune the legal, policy, and institutional architectures that guide its approach to the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda.  Under that heading, I want to flag some important recent developments.

1. AUMF expansion: al Shabaab is now a full-fledged "associated force" 

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #5: Would Waterboarding Count as "Force," and Must It Be Disclosed?

Katherine Hawkins at the Constitution Project tweeted some good points in response to my earlier posts on Trump, interrogation, and waterboarding (here and here).  One concerns the possibility that the NDAA FY'15 in fact does prohibit a Field Manual amendment that would include waterboarding.

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #4: The Statute Needed for Gen. Mattis to be SecDef

Over at War on the Rocks, I have a post explaining that a new statute will be needed in order for General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense.  It's been done once before, with George Marshall during the Truman Administration.

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #3: Refusing to Add Waterboarding to the Field Manual?

In a prior post I discussed the Trump administration's apparent interest in reviving waterboarding as an interrogation method, noted that a federal statute forbids resort to any interrogation method not listed in the relevant Army Field Manual, and explained that the Trump administration might try to overcome that barrier by pushing to have the manual amended to include a classified annex authorizing waterboarding.

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #2: Which Executive Orders and Directives Are Doomed?

What security-related executive orders are likely to be repealed in whole or in part soon after Donald Trump is sworn in as president?  I list some obvious ones below, and will be happy to update the list with predictions others may send me.

1. Executive Order 13491  (Jan. 22, 2009) ("Ensuring Lawful Interrogation")

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