Two of Donald Trump’s senior advisors — neither of whom has any previous government or legal experience — have reportedly been writing executive orders without any input from the agencies they would affect.
Aides told Politico that Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Stephen Miller, the senior White House advisor for policy, have made almost no effort to consult with federal agency lawyers or lawmakers as they wrote executive orders.
Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart, and Miller, a Republican political operative who’s written most of Trump’s major speeches, are writing many of the orders based on ideas that came from transition officials or “landing teams” who weren’t working in the White House.
The orders have come so quickly, and from seemingly out of nowhere, that aides sometimes aren’t even sure which actions Trump will sign until they cross his desk.
“He was determined to show people that he’s getting to work from Day One,” a source told Politico.
The quick pace gives the appearance of momentum as the Trump administration gets up and running, but legal experts are concerned the White House is issuing “flawed orders that might be unworkable, unenforceable or even illegal,” the website reported.
For example, the website reported the White House failed to ask State Department experts to review the memorandum on the Keystone XL pipeline, although the Canadian company vying for a permit to build the project is currently suing the U.S. for $15 billion.
A former State Department lawyer who worked on the Keystone proposal said Trump’s order was “more than unusual, that’s reckless.”
A draft order that could potentially revive banned torture techniques reportedly “blindsided” Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whose agencies would be expected to carry out those orders.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, on Wednesday denied the draft order on torture and so-called “black sites” had come from the White House.
“It is not a White House document,” Spicer said. “I have no idea where it came from.”
GOP lawmakers complained they weren’t sure whether some of Trump’s executive orders, including his action to start the repeal of Obamacare, might conflict with existing laws because they hadn’t reviewed them.
Others have pointed out that Trump’s executive order on immigration includes only vague language on where funding would come from and does not consider the role of Congress in approving those payments.
Bannon is reportedly inviting two of his former Breitbart employees to join him on the White House staff.