Trump’s sweeping executive order on immigrants has already led to a great deal of chaotic fallout — and we’re now learning that the process of putting the order together was equally chaotic.
A new report from CNN’s Evan Perez and Pamela Brown finds that the White House specifically pushed to have green card holders included in the order, even after Homeland Security offered a different legal interpretation of the order — after the order had already been issued:
Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.
The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President's inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.
Steve Bannon is the chief White House strategist and former Breitbart chief, while Stephen Miller is a former Jeff Sessions aide who now serves as the top policy aide in Trump’s White House. And according to this report, it is the two of them — Trump’s “two Steves,” as he calls them — who are deciding how this executive order text should be interpreted, and holding the fates of hundreds of thousands of green card holders in their hands.
CNN also reports that the homeland security secretary and his department’s leadership only “saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized.” The White House didn’t seek feedback from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — usually an ordinary part of the process — either.
The story makes me wonder why in the world Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is still serving in the government rather than just resigning. Clearly Trump’s team made no effort to take him seriously and made no real effort to ask for his input on this monumentally important matter.
What is clear is that Steve Bannon is running the show in our government for the moment — the same Steve Bannon who once bragged that Breitbart was “the platform for the alt-right,” and who once told the Daily Beast’s Ronald Radosh that he wanted to “destroy the state,” “bring everything crashing down,” and “destroy all of today’s establishment.” Read more from Perez and Brown’s report at CNN.com.