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As is typical of a lame-duck president, Donald Trump is speeding to difficulty a remaining blitz of coverage modifications on his means out of workplace. A few of the reported strikes Trump is contemplating might be more durable to undo than others. Whereas President-elect Joe Biden can reverse modifications made by govt order comparatively simply, will probably be harder for his administration to take action on different points, equivalent to issues involving nationwide safety, overseas coverage, and legal justice. Right here’s what Trump is reportedly contemplating doing along with his remaining time as president.
Trump reportedly plans to difficulty a sequence of pardons and commutations earlier than leaving workplace, together with to allies who have been convicted in circumstances stemming from particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 presidential election. On Wednesday, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former nationwide safety adviser, who pleaded responsible to mendacity to FBI investigators about his Russian contacts. Earlier this yr, Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, one other affiliate charged within the Russia inquiry. Rick Gates and George Papadopoulous, former Trump marketing campaign advisers who have been additionally charged for crimes linked to Mueller’s investigation, are each hoping for clemency, in accordance with the Instances. Trump’s efforts may lengthen past his interior circle. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, is main a makeshift White Home group “with a goal of announcing as many as hundreds of commutations for offenders now in jail for crimes ranging from nonviolent drug convictions to mail fraud and money laundering,” the Instances reported.
Trump reportedly requested his prime nationwide safety aides about choices to strike Iran’s nuclear-weapons program after the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company revealed on November 11 that the nation’s uranium stockpile had grown significantly. The president raised the opportunity of attacking Iran’s uranium enrichment website in Natanz, the place worldwide inspectors reported the nuclear materials stockpile was now 12 instances bigger than allowed beneath the Iran nuclear deal (which Trump withdrew from in 2018). Senior advisers “dissuaded” Trump from ordering such a strike, in accordance with the Instances. The Israeli authorities, Axios reviews, lately instructed the Israel Protection Forces to take preparatory steps for a U.S. strike towards Iran, which might trigger Iranian retaliation towards Israel both straight or by means of Iranian proxies in neighboring international locations.
Trump can be anticipated to speed up the present tempo of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, which might upend U.S. technique within the Center East earlier than Biden takes workplace. Pentagon officers stated Tuesday that the U.S. army will halve troop ranges in Afghanistan, and make smaller drawdowns in Iraq, by January 15. Trump campaigned on bringing troops dwelling from Afghanistan in 2016 and has continued to each publicly and privately pursue the matter whereas in workplace.
The Justice Division is proposing a rule that would carry again firing squads and electrocutions for capital punishment on the federal stage, ProPublica reviews. Whereas the rule may very well be finalized any day — it cleared White Home evaluate on November 6 — its lethal penalties will doubtless by no means be put into observe: 5 deadly injections are scheduled earlier than Inauguration Day — a report variety of folks to be executed by the federal authorities throughout a presidential transition interval — and Biden has vowed to finish the federal demise penalty.
The Environmental Safety Company can be near finalizing a rule that will make it simpler to pollute, in accordance with ProPublica in addition to a coverage that will stop stricter limits on particulate matter, which new analysis from Harvard’s Faculty of Public Well being has tied to coronavirus deaths. The last-minute environmental guidelines cap off 4 years of unprecedented deregulation, with the Trump administration weakening or dismantling greater than 125 climate-protecting guidelines and insurance policies since 2017, in accordance with the Washington Submit.
The president continues to oppose the hassle to rename army bases that honor Accomplice generals and is threatening to veto a defense-spending invoice that features a provision to take action. Trump has privately informed Republican lawmakers, in accordance with NBC Information, that he’ll block the annual Nationwide Protection Authorization Act if it consists of an modification to rename the bases.
Trump is near finalizing a variety of pending guidelines that will lengthen his exclusionary immigration legacy by “excluding people with criminal convictions (even those that have been expunged), drastically shortening the application time and giving immigration judges more latitude to pick and choose what evidence to consider,” in accordance with ProPublica.
The Division of Homeland Safety is reportedly additionally making an attempt to curtail immigration by implementing final yr’s Asylum Cooperative Agreements, which seeks to switch asylum-seekers from the U.S. to different international locations whereas their functions are processed — an effort aimed toward driving down the variety of folks looking for asylum. The U.S. is at completely different levels of the agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, however solely in Guatemala has the method actually been introduced into pressure.