- The attorney who helped craft the Bush administration’s 2002 legal justification for torture told The Guardian he is giving advice to the White House on how President Trump could bypass Congress to impose his own policies.
- On June 22, Yoo wrote an article arguing that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to uphold President Obama’s DACA program “makes it easy for presidents to violate the law.”
- That article has been spotted on Trump’s Oval Office desk, and Trump has been speaking to his top advisers about it, Axios reported on Monday.
- Trump has recently hinted at imposing new policies on healthcare and immigration in light of the Supreme Court decision.
- Trump told Fox News Sunday: “The decision by the Supreme Court on DACA allows me to do things on immigration, on health care, on other things that we’ve never done before.”
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The lawyer who helped craft former President George W. Bush’s legal justification for torture has confirmed that he is working with President Donald Trump’s administration to find ways to skirt the law to impose his own policies.
John Yoo told The Guardian on Monday that he has been talking to the White House about his argument that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on immigration would enable presidents to skirt Congress to impose their own policies.
Yoo had argued in a June 22 article, published in the conservative National Review magazine, that the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program paved the way for presidents to impose policies without congressional approval, even if they violate laws.
Axios reported on Monday that Yoo’s article had been seen on Trump’s Oval Office desk, and the president has recently brought it up in meetings with his top advisers.
The article said that the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling “makes it easy for presidents to violate the law, but reversing such violations difficult — especially for their successors.”
Yoo told The Guardian he had “talked to” the Trump administration “a fair amount” about his views.
“If the court really believes what it just did, then it just handed President Trump a great deal of power, too,” he said.
“The Supreme Court has said President Obama could [choose not to] enforce immigration laws for about 2 million cases.”
“And why can’t the Trump administration do something similar with immigration – create its own … program, but it could do it in areas beyond that, like healthcare, tax policy, criminal justice, inner city policy. I talked to them a fair amount about cities, because of the disorder.”
It is not clear what Yoo meant by “the disorder.”
When asked by The Guardian about Trump’s recent deployment of federal agents to Portland, Yoo demurred, saying: “It has to be really reasonably related to protecting federal buildings … If it’s just graffiti, that’s not enough. It really depends on what the facts are.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Yoo is currently a law professor at University of California, Berkeley. But he is best known for his work as a Department of Justice attorney in the early 2000s, when he drafted the Bush administration’s legal justification for torturing detainees after the September 11 attacks — also known as the “torture memos.”
Trump has hinted at imposing new immigration policies in light of the DACA decision.
In a July 10 interview with Telemundo, he said he would soon sign a “big immigration bill,” saying the Supreme Court judgment “has given me the power” to do so.
“We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that,” Trump said.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday this past weekend, the president also said he would be signing off on new policies on healthcare, immigration, and “various other plans” in the coming weeks.
“The Supreme Court gave the president of the United States powers that nobody thought the president had, by approving, by doing what they did — their decision on DACA,” he said.
“The decision by the Supreme Court on DACA allows me to do things on immigration, on health care, on other things that we’ve never done before. And you’re going to find it to be a very exciting two weeks.”