The West Front of the Capitol is seen as work continues on the stand for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. Trump will be sworn in at noon on Jan. 20, 2017 as America's 45th president. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Did House Staffers Help Trump on EO Behind Bosses Backs?

The story floating on Capitol Hill is that they did. According to Politico:

Kathryn Rexrode, the House Judiciary Committee’s communications director, declined to comment about the aides’ work. A Judiciary Committee aide said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was not “consulted by the administration on the executive order.”

President Trump’s executive order on restricted immigration was a surprise to just about everyone, including the Department of Homeland Security, which according to various sources was not consulted prior to its signing. That became obvious after the confusing and conflicting implementation orders caused a train wreck.

As for what to do with Congressional staffers who moonlight for the executive branch? Leon Wolf offered the consensus view.

Were they fired? No. (Not yet, at least, and certainly not publicly.)

In fact, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) covered for his committee’s staff, claiming he “allowed them to provide their expertise to the Trump transition team on immigration law.”

The next sentence reads: “To be clear, while they gave advice to the new Administration, they did not have decision making authority on the policy.” All of this is certainly true.

But let’s read between the lines. The staffers were allowed to provide expertise to the transition team. That indicates it was before the inauguration. Then, they gave advice to the new Administration. That’s after the inauguration. They had permission to work with the transition team, but not with the Administration. Both things can be true, and a press release can be crafted in just such a way to paper over what wasn’t said.

The staffers did not have permission to work with the Administration, and they did it without informing their committee chair. That’s pretty serious stuff. My guess is that Trump White House people contacted them, since they were working with those individuals beforehand. They must have said “don’t tell anyone, but…” Totally unkosher, and if this wasn’t the highlight reel of government amateur hour they’d be fired.

Apparently the Trump Administration is getting a lot of grace from people who know better.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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