[pjw] UPDATE: Trump said he won't enforce Yemen, civilian NDAA clauses

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Aug 20 16:12:16 EDT 2018

PJW supporters
Ah, well, I guess I was too optimistic when reading the articles about the 
NDAA which tried to box in the President around Yemen and civilian 
casualties. Below is Trump's "signing statement" in which he says he will 
not comply with these laws because he disagrees. Signing statements used 
to happen very infrequently but vastly increased under the George W Bush 
presidency. There were far fewer under Obama who had earlier said he was 
opposed to the process of a President objecting to parts of laws passed by 

The text of the NDAA is here:

Anyway, here's the signing statement right from the White House site. I've 
added ***asterisks*** in front of the parts on Yemen and civilian 
casualties, there are also tidbits about recognizing Crimea as part of 
Russia/cooperation with Russia, the "Space Force" and Guantanamo of 

Oh, and a number of people mentioned that the bill was named for John 
McCain but Trump doesn't use McCain's name anywhere in the statement.

dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on H.R. 5515
    [9]National Security & Defense
    Issued on: August 13, 2018

    Today, I have signed into law H.R. 5515, ?an Act to authorize
    appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the
    Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense
    activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel
    strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.?  This Act
    authorizes fiscal year 2019 appropriations for critical Department of
    Defense (DOD) national security programs, provides vital benefits for
    military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to
    facilitate ongoing military operations around the globe.  I applaud the
    Congress for passing this bill to provide the DOD with the resources it
    needs to support our Armed Forces and keep America safe.  I note,
    however, that the bill includes several provisions that raise
    constitutional concerns.

**** (Section 936 is on civilian casualties)
    Several provisions of the bill, including sections 112, 147, 936, 1017,
    1665, and 1689, purport to restrict the President?s authority to
    control the personnel and materiel the President believes to be
    necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of military
    missions.  While I share the objectives of the Congress with respect to
    maintaining the strength and security of the United States, my
    Administration will implement these provisions consistent with the
    President?s authority as Commander in Chief.

**** (Section 1290 is on Yemen)
    Several other provisions of the bill, including sections 141, 147, 323,
    1231, 1242, 1247, 1259, 1264, and 1290, purport to require that the
    Congress receive a certification or notification before the President
    directs certain military or diplomatic actions.  I reiterate the
    longstanding understanding of the executive branch that these types of
    provisions encompass only actions for which such advance certification
    or notification is feasible and consistent with the President?s
    exclusive constitutional authorities as Commander in Chief and as the
    sole representative of the Nation in foreign affairs.

    Sections 1033 and 1035 purport to restrict transfers of detainees held
    at the United States Naval Station, Guant?namo Bay.  I fully intend to
    keep open that detention facility and to use it, as necessary or
    appropriate, for detention operations.  Consistent with the statement I
    issued in signing the National Defense Authorization Act last year, I
    reiterate the longstanding position of the executive branch that, under
    certain circumstances, restrictions on the President?s authority to
    transfer detainees violates constitutional separation-of-powers
    principles, including the President?s constitutional authority as
    Commander in Chief.

    Several provisions of the bill, including sections 1207, 1241, 1257,
    and 1289, purport to dictate the position of the United States in
    external military and foreign affairs.  My Administration will treat
    these provisions consistent with the President?s exclusive
    constitutional authorities as Commander in Chief and as the sole
    representative of the Nation in foreign affairs, including the
    authorities to determine the terms upon which recognition is given to
    foreign sovereigns, to receive foreign representatives, and to conduct
    the Nation?s diplomacy.

    Other provisions of the bill present concerns under the Constitution?s
    Appointments Clause and the separation of powers.  First, section 739
    would deepen existing violations of the Appointments Clause, the
    Incompatibility Clause, and the separation of powers contained within
    the statute that established the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the
    Advancement of Military Medicine.  President Reagan signed that
    legislation on the understanding that these constitutional defects
    would be remedied (see Statement on Signing the Foundation for the
    Advancement of Military Medicine Act of 1983, 1 Pub. Papers 782, 782
    (May 27, 1983)), but that has not happened.  The Attorney General and
    the Secretary of Defense should confer about measures that would allow
    this Foundation to continue its important work in compliance with the

    Second, section 1051 purports to establish an advisory commission ?in
    the executive branch? for the purpose of producing reports and
    recommendations on the national security uses of artificial
    intelligence and machine learning.  Section 1051, however, empowers
    Members of Congress to appoint 12 of the commission?s 15
    commissioners.  While I welcome the creation of this commission, these
    legislative branch appointees preclude it, under the separation of
    powers, from being located in the executive branch.  My Administration
    accordingly will treat the commission as an independent entity,
    separate from the executive branch.

**** (Section 1062 is on civilian casualties, 1274 is on Yemen)
    A number of provisions of the bill, including sections 595, 842, 1031,
    1043, 1062, 1212, 1231, 1233, 1236, 1245, 1262, 1265, 1274, 1280, 1281,
    1287, 1294, and 1761, purport to mandate or regulate the submission to
    the Congress or the publication of information protected by executive
    privilege.  My Administration will treat these provisions consistent
    with the President?s constitutional authority to withhold information,
    the disclosure of which could impair national security, foreign
    relations, law enforcement, or the performance of the President?s
    constitutional duties.  Additionally, while I share the objective of
    section 1062 of providing the Congress accurate information, my
    Administration will interpret the reporting requirement in this
    provision as requiring only the submission of information that is
    reasonably available to DOD, not as requiring changes in underlying DOD
    processes for battle damage assessment and investigation.

    A number of other provisions of the bill, including sections 218, 327,
    335, 627, 1018, 1065, 1205, 1208, 1261, 1677, and 1793, purport to
    require executive branch officials under the President?s supervision to
    recommend certain legislative measures to the Congress.  My
    Administration will treat those provisions consistent with Article II,
    section 3 of the Constitution, which provides the President the
    discretion to recommend to the Congress only ?such Measures as he shall
    judge necessary and expedient.?


    August 13, 2018.

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