Some Republicans don’t like President Trump’s travel ban because of what it did. Even more are irked by the fact that they didn’t even know what it really did until everyone else did.
A report out late Monday night from Politico takes that lack of communication from the Trump White House to a whole new level that risks seriously damaging Trump’s already fragile relationship with Congress.
Politico reports that key GOP congressional staffers — some of the most well-versed people on immigration policy in Washington — helped the White House draft its executive ban. In secret. Without the knowledge of their bosses, who happen to be powerful members of Congress and who seemed very much blindsided by Trump’s order, which their own staff members may have worked on.
If true, that would be a stunning breach of protocol and, frankly, these staff members’ job duties.
It would be kind of like if the chief executive of another firm in your field called and asked you to help her write an earth-shattering memo, but keep it secret from your company. Oh, and just to make sure you don’t tell your bosses, please sign this nondisclosure agreement.
(Politico reports that two sources with knowledge of the staffers’ work said they signed nondisclosure agreements.)
On Wednesday morning, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee with the staffers in question, issued a statement saying he “proudly” gave permission to his staff to advise Trump’s transition team before the inauguration on immigration law:
“To be clear, while they gave advice to the new administration, they did not have decision making authority on the policy.” He went on to say “my staff had no control of the language contained in the president’s order, the timing of the announcement, the rollout and subsequent implementation, and the coordination with Congress.”
His statement did not comment on reports his staff signed nondisclosure agreements, which is one of the odder parts of this story.
“The idea that House Judiciary Committee staffers would sign a nondisclosure agreement precluding them from informing Goodlatte is wholly out of bounds,” said Andrew Wright, a former associate counsel to former president Barack Obama who…