National Press Foundation Forum Previews Trump Administration- Congressional... CSPAN December 10, 2016 3:54pm-5:01pm EST
beat reporters to talk to lawmakers. covering health care, it is a great place to come up and spend a tuesday. much.nk you so appreciate your time. thank you again to the national press foundation for hosting. [applause] >> another group of reporters actions can be important in holding the responsible.ct this is just over one hour.
>> ok, we're going to get going for our next panel here. so now we're transitioning to the other end of pennsylvania avenue to talk about the executive authority that's vested in the oval office and the white house. and what president-elect trump, then president trump will be able to do with the power of the presidency with regulatory power with executive authority power, with memorandum power, which is something gregory will talk about. we have four experts and reporters here, susan dudley is director of the regulatory study center at george washington university. tom hamburger is national correspondent for the national hoegs, gregory corte is a white house senior correspondent for the daily beast. each one of them will give a five minute or less kind of big picture overview of kind of one of the key issues that they see around this issue when the new president comes into power. then i'll have a handful of questions, but i'm hoping we'll have a lot of questions from the audience.
so this will -- this session goes until 3:20, the overview -- the overview comments will be going on for a little bit. i will ask some questions and we will have plenty of time for questions from the audience. so susan, susan dudley, if you could maybe get started for us. i mean, big picture, what do you expect to happen come swearing in day? >> thanks for inviting me. i'm going to start by taking issue with what she said at the end of the last one which is that the congress is the most exciting, the best beat in town. it is not, it is the executive branch. and that's because a lot of policy really does take place, a lot of action is in the executive branch. and that's partly because congress passes sweeping laws that delegate authority to agencies. so that means, so agencies like the department of labor or the environmental agency. this means even without the
support of congress, presidents can achieve their policy goals through regulation. so for example, president obama issued far reaching regulations related to climate change, energy, workplace, president bush before him did related to homeland security. and other areas. and president-elect trump has said he's coming to washington with a plan to make big cuts in regulation. so, they can do a lot through this regulatory authority. in fact, president-elect trump has said that for every one new regulation, two old regulations are going to have to be eliminated. and tom was just saying to me that i'm talking to the media a lot lately, and that's because i keep getting this question. can he do that? that's what i thought i'd talk to you about in my five minutes, what are the ways that the president-elect trump can remove regulations? so, unlike executive orders which presidents can eliminate
with a stroke of a pen, a new president can write one and also repeal them. regulations there is more of a , process. and i'm going to lay out five different ways, depending on the circumstances. so, we'll start with midnight regulations. so you may not know it, but we are in what is known as the midnight period. going back to the 1940's and probably earlier we see a big , uptick in regulatory activity at the end of an administration. so this administration is working hard to issue regulations before january 20th. midnight. meanwhile, on january 20th, the new team will come in and they will immediately try to start pulling those regulations back. there will be some regulations that don't quite make it to the finish line. in part because of the federal register where they have to be published tends to get backed up at the end. for those regulations i'm going , to make a prediction.
it is my only prediction. that is that president trump's chief of staff, one of the very first things he will do in the afternoon of january 20th send a memo to all the executive branch agencies saying, stop the presses, don't send any new regulations to federal register . and if there are some there that have not been published yet pull , them back. and i can make that prediction because each of the last chiefs of staffs have done that on inauguration day. so that's the first one. the second one is for regulations that have been issued over the last seven or eight months. so since about the end of may, using simple majorities in both houses of congress, congress can pass a resolution disapproving those regulations. we heard sarah binder say on the last panel say that they need 60 votes. they talk a lot about the 60 votes. this they don't, they only need a simple majority in the senate. now, if that resolution of
disapproval were to land on president obama's desk, he would veto it because it's his own regulations. in fact, he did veto five such resolutions over the last few years. but, when that lands on president trump's desk, he will sign it and that resolution will repeal that regulation. so that's -- that's the second way using the congressional review act. but i think kristina mentioned in passing on the last panel. then the third way is that there are several -- for a controversial regulations, there is litigation ongoing. and how the new justice department handles that litigation, how it defends that litigation will definitely affect the outcome. especially since -- there are several courts lately, including the supreme court have shown some sympathy to the argument that the executive branch has been overreaching it's authority -- it's constitutional authority. and not just in this
administration, but in previous administrations as well. so for example, there was a department of labor overtime rule that was stayed, put on hold, just before thanksgiving. epa's clean power plan and the epa and the corps of engineers waters of the united states rule are all rules that are on hold. while they work their way through the courts. and that's something that the next administration will have to deal with. now, related to that, is that one of the reasons, in fact, for all of those that i just mentioned, one of the grounds for challenging them is that they are far reaching exercise -- they're exercising control over matters that constitutionally are the purview of the states. so that brings the states into the equation. so i think they might -- we might see them playing an important role in the trump administration with respect to regulation, especially because
the republican platform said that it proposed a shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states. so now we'll come to my final way that you can remove regulation. and that is the standard way. to modify or overturn a regulation that didn't fit into any of those other categories, the agencies would have to go through the same notice and comment rule making process that they go through to put it put a regulation in place in the first place. and that means doing a regulatory impact analysis, the legal justification, the economic, the scientific. so do that analysis, then put out for public comment a regulation with that background when you get that comment, respond to the comment. so you might need change the regulation as a result. there's also interagency review that's involved in that. and that process takes at least a year. so, and then at the end of that
process, you have a new regulation that either modifies or eliminates the old one. but you've got two dockets now. you have the old docket, saying this is why this regulation was important, and the new docket that says we should overturn it and the courts are bound. that is bound to be litigated. so the final resolution of those removal of those rules, i think could take years. and i will stop there. >> ok. so i think i'll go to gregory next and just a bit of information. gregory is the second of our two former paul miller's on the panels today. gregory is white house today"ondent at "usa washington bureau, and he's written quite a bit about executive authority as practiced by president obama and including some kind of twists on how you -- he practiced that. i was hoping you could give me an overview of the way we see things going. >> it's timely. and i think it's also
extraordinary usually at this point in transition we'd be talking about the president's legislative agenda more than anything else. the traditional first 100 days is a first 100 legislative days. and after all, trump does have also a mandate from the senate and the house, both being in republican hands. he doesn't have a supermajority in the senate, but he does have a republican congress. and so a lot that he would want to accomplish as far as his positive agenda, he can do by legislation. which is obviously much more preferable than executive action because executive action can always be rescinded by a future president. so there's reason to think that president trump might not have to resort early on to a lot of executive authority, except for some of the issues that i think susan raised. there's sort of this pent-up demand from republicans to just undo everything that president obama did. some of that's going to take an act of congress, some can be done by executive action. and president-elect trump, when he was candidate trump one of , the lines in his stump
speeches was that he wanted to rescind all of the unconstitutional executive orders in presidential memoranda that were signed by president obama. i think there's two things interesting about that formulation. one is, what's unconstitutional? clearly there are some executive actions that president obama has taken that have been provisions of them have been struck down in the courts. i'm thinking of some provisions of his immigration actions. his clean power plan, and those are going to make their way through the courts. the other thing that trump said was he added presidential memoranda to that formulation. and so it's of recognition, i think a lot of people in congress are relatively new this -- to this realization that not all executive authority comes through an executive order. i want to talk a little bit about some of the vehicles for executive action. some of the terminology so you
know sort of what they are and how to look for them in the first days of a trump administration. the first is an executive order. that's what i think we most think of and know about when we talk about executive authority. they are numbered. we're up to the 13,000's since they started counting these. they instruct the executive branch to do something. they're binding, they have the force of law but only on the executive branch. and they remain in effect for the future assistant. most executive orders go on for years or decades without ever being resinted by a future president. it is only a small subset that end up being controversial. they can do everything from, you know, set broad policy on federal contracting, anti-discrimination in the federal government. down to an executive order that allow the peace corps to change
its logo. obamaly reason president had to change it was president carter signed you an executive orders saying that the peace corps can't change without the approval of the president of the united states. so that's one important thing to know about executive orders. you can see those in the federal register. if you're going to rescind an executive order, you have to do it by executive order. and you can see what they are. there's a second kind called the presidential memorandum. and that was something frankly i discovered early on in covering the white house. at the time there was a big debate about had president obama's used executive and if you count the orders, he had not. he was relatively restrained in executive orders. they have the same force and effect as a executive order. as a matter of fact, all of these things, no matter what you call them, and order from president is an order of the president.
none of them are in the constitution. they are just different terms. presidential memoranda are not measured. if they're published in the federal register, there's more weight and more regulatory. i would imagine for example, susan talked about this regulation, deregulation idea that trump has to rescind two regulations for every new regulation. i would expect that that direction would come in the early days in a trump presidency ofthe early days in the form presidential memorandum. real quick, there's presidential policy directives. those are in the natural security sphere. there've been 31 or 32 of those under president obama. they are secret. the only reason we know how many is because they are numbered. and every once in a while, they'll issue a new ppd and skip a bunch of numbers. they must have issued some ppds at some point, we don't know what they are. there is also the humble proclamation which usually sort
of a ceremonial thing but can have power. president george w. bush launched the war on terror with a proclamation. so those are important to look out for as well. and those are also published in the federal registry. there's a whole set that go back and forth from one administration to the other. the mexico city policy is one that's sort of famous. there's a whole bunch of policies that -- there's a set of executive actions that each new president comes in and rescinds some from the previous generation and then goes back to the old. in this case, it will be the republican playbook of executive orders and presidential memoranda and actions that had been in effect during previous republican administrations. so, with that -- the only other thought i think i wanted to leave with you is that i keep thinking of this famous line "thewas coined in atlantic" a few months ago. it's been often repeated that the press always took donald
trump literally, but not seriously. but trump voters took him seriously, but not literally. and so i think as we, you know, trump transitions from the candidate to president-elect to president, i think it is incumbent upon us as journalists to cover him both seriously and literally. and i think you do that by paying as much attention to what he does through executive actions as to what he says in a tweet. i think we end up chasing our tails on some of these tweets sometimes. he often sends out mixed messages, but when he takes an executive action, that'll have a force of law and we ought to take it literally. he will need to mean what he says in these executive actions so they are very important for us to keep an eye on. >> thank you. tim, tim from the daily beast, you wrote an article earlier this year -- i'm sorry, just a few weeks ago, obama's imperial presidency is now trump's.
i was hoping you could give me a sense of, you know, what you see coming and what you -- you know, what was the thrust of that article. >> sure. i cover national security mostly from a congressional perspective and not at the white house. but what you find out over and over again is keep bumping into executive authority. what the white house is doing that trump's basically what congress is doing. so i wrote an article about the kinds of authorities that the white house, the obama white house will soon be transferring to the trump white house. also it's expansions of power in the national security space. we're talking things like the authority to kill an american citizen overseas without a trial. that happened during the obama administration. we're talking about secret courts on wiretapping. that happened during the obama administration. we're talking about waging war overseas without congressional authorization. this is happening right now with the obama administration relying on the al qaeda authorization for the use of military force.
not a new one that authorizes them to fight a war against isis. so we have all sorts of expansion over the last eight years and not much of that -- it hasn't been covered or pointed to by all that many sources. and i think we'll start to see a lot more coverage about the same authorities being used under a trump administration. with the exception of the aclu and, you know, certain news outlets, the vast majority of -- of the press has not sounded an alarm on national security issues that have happened under the obama administration. the obama administration and the white house in general, the executive has enormous power over the issue of national security and in many ways, it's to them by congress.
congress has chosen not to pass an authorization of the use of military force to declare war. it could have, but it has not been able to reach an agreement on how long that will be. who would be targeted in such a war. the actors at play, whether there are geographical limits on where that war can be waged. right now i think a lot of people are of the belief that war against al qaeda and related terrorist groups to include isis, even though isis wasn't around in 2001, to include isis , can be fought anywhere around the world, at any time. using lethal means. which is not spelled out in the letter of law. i guess the point is to say that the obama administration has sent all of these massive precedents that will now be used and expanded further by a new administration. other powers that the white house has over national security include things like security clearances and top secret documents. creating a top secret document is an extension of the
executive's power over hiding information from the public that they believe to be necessary to be hidden for the purposes of national security. so i'll give you a couple of examples. i did a story a couple weeks ago on steve bannon who under normal circumstances if you put him through a security background check and he was working at dhs or something like that he would , have a very hard time getting a security clearance. why? because he has associations with far right groups in europe because he has a charge of , domestic abuse from a decade, decade and a half ago, this is a man who under normal circumstances would find it very difficult to work right next to the president. but, he has an ace in the hole. at the end of the day if the f.b.i. and the d.o.j. say this guy's not qualified, he doesn't pass our minimum standard
requirement the president of the , united states can say, i'm going to override that and i'm going give that to him. because the -- what does it mean for something to be top secret? it's the extension of the white house's belief that that document should not be shown to the public because it would endanger american's lives and american interests. so that's like another example of how powerful the white house is on national security issues. another way that the white house can use that power is to mix top secret information with unclassified information. and store that in a place where it's very difficult to get. so, i have a story today that's about documents related to the iran nuclear deal. so we're talking letters between foreign ministers. we're talking assessments of the iranian nuclear research and development program. we're talking about the details behind a $1.7 billion cash
payment to iran in exchange for hostages being released. things like that. all of these documents are in the public interest and they're unclassified, but what's happened is that the obama administration has provided them to congress, mixed in with top secret documents and held and -- in a vault on capitol hill in a special location on capitol hill called the skiff. which is for sensitive compartmentalized information. and because it's in there, you can't walk out with documents from that, from the skiff. the public cannot see unclassified information that's in the public interest to know. so that's another way that the white house and the presidency can use its power arguably for good, arguably for bad. and on the issue of transparency here at these documents, i would argue for bad. i guess the bottom line of what i'm trying to say is over the
past eight years, we've seen a massive increase in what the white house believes it can do legally. oftentimes it uses it's lawyers to interpret a law in a new way this expands it's power. and we should expect and cover and investigate all the ways over the next four years how this white house is likely to do the same. >> i have this investigative reporter for the "washington post" whose job has been bird financiale trump empires, finances around the world. and, tom you were telling me that, you know, the scope of that, of that empire is -- will cause us to re-examine what we think of the power that he might be using in the white house. can you maybe explain that label -- that a little bit? >> yes chris, thanks so much, and thanks for inviting me to be
here and great to be here with this great panel and with all of you. i attended paul miller and press foundation events like this throughout my career. mostly money and politics. as part of that, i've been assigned to cover the transitions of presidents going back to ronald reagan's first term. when i first got to town, jimmy carter was the president. and i have to tell you that this transition strikes me as different from any we have covered before. and i think it creates a special role and an opportunity for journalists, in part because in addition to the legal mechanisms that greg was talking about , memoranda, executive orders, the executive orders and decisions that will move through 's regulatory apparatus and that wonderfully visible to the press. there is now something else going on during this transition that we have not seen before and chris mentioned it a moment ago. and that's the arrival in town
of a president-elect and his transition team. a president-elect who is approaching the presidency and some of the traditions of the presidency, not just the the powers granted in the constitution and by statute and the traditions of executive orders, but is also approaching of traditions in the canon this moment of transfer of power differently from other presidents. part of this comes because we have a president unlike any we've had before. who is not just a businessman, we have had presidents who have been in business, of course, and the government thrives and meant to be sort of a citizen's democracy. but this particular president has business holdings all over the world. he has shown during the transition a willingness to discuss, if not pursue some of those business interests during
the transition. it is extraordinary and different place of power for a president. donald trump has said he will have an announcement and explain how he is separating himself from this extraordinary business unlike that of any other presidents who has had so many entanglements with foreign businesses and also i would argue foreign governments. we saw just in the last couple of days a different use of transition power than we have seen before. not entirely unprecedented, but quite extraordinary where the president-elect used his nascent executive power to convince a private company not to expand as it had intended in mexico. so, let me just get briefly to the extraordinary challenge that i think we face.
if we have a president who is -- who is going to ignore to a certain extent or not abide by some of the traditions, and by the traditions that i was talking about, when jimmy carter in 1976, one of those who led the transition, domestic policy chief was in charge of ensuring that the president sold any financial interests or moved into a blind trust any financial interests which might intersect with the things that gregory was just describing that an incoming president is likely to do. so they moved. as many of you know, jimmy carter was in the peanut business, so they moved his holdings into a blind trust that was administered by a family attorney. he went further than that. he insisted -- it was carter who insisted. they wrote an agreement, jimmy carter would not engage in discussion of peanut policy while he was president. and because one of his most
staunch backers and most important constituents as governor of georgia had been the coca-cola company and because the federal issue which most affected them was sugar policy, he assigned his domestic policy chief and others to deal with sugar business and said i'm not going to touch it. this is not an isolated case. lyndon johnson moved the radio stations that were in his wife's name into a blind trust. george w. bush and george h.w. bush also took extraordinary pains to ensure the public that their actions would be in the public interest and there would be no infringement on private interests or private holdings. so that's not happening in this administration, at least not so far. maybe we'll get a different announcement on december 15, but my thought would be that we have a president-elect that's
useady beginning to executive powers in unorthodoxed ways. the accountability for some of these things are not because it's a matter of tradition. president-elect trump has said, correctly, that the laws of conflict of interest and the gift statutes don't govern the president. in fact he can do what he wants. what we are relying on is a very thin line here of president ial canon and tradition going back to the beginning of the republic. if it is breached and i'm not saying it will be, we don't know what's going to be announced on the but my thought has been that 15th. we have a special obligation as journalists to try to track the sort of extraordinary behavior in the executive branch of a chief executive unlike any we've seen before. >> let me ask a quick follow-up. i have a few questions here, but i want many questions from you. when you guys are ready, raise your hands and i'll call on you,
tom, could you give me a brief sense of i mean what is the scope of his empire around the world? and then secondary question, if some conflict of interest or some rules kind of constrain what he can do in the u.s., is there any notion that what's going on with his business holdings overseas will be kind of totally immune to those kind of restraints? >> so the business holdings are vast. we don't understand them entirely. one of the things i'd refer you all to because i think this is going to be one of our jobs is something that i know my panelists know very well. the office of government ethics disclosure form. because the president of the united states is not bound by the conflict of interest or gift rules, nor is the vice president, but he is require -- he is bound by the transparency requirement. so donald trump has issued this, i think this is 96 pages, right? of holdings, it's very fine print. you'll need super glasses, magnifying glasses.
and what you'll find in here are 560 llcs. private partnerships, many of them registered in delaware, some registered overseas. very difficult to penetrate, but some of them give us a sense of where the trump holdings lie. so, we see about 20 countries listed here. sometimes it will just say djt llc and then in parens, saudi. we don't know much about this particular llc, but we know that there is at least an expressed trump interest in doing some kind of business in saudi arabia. so we have these vast holdings and they extend to across -- sort of the range of human activities in some ways since it's donald trump, some of the most obvious and maybe the most consistent overseas are golf courses. next we have -- and there are 18
trump golf courses around the world. one of them came into the news, chris, and as everyone will recall, recently because donald trump is concerned about the view from his golf course. from some of the wonderful links that they developed in scotland. he's concerned that the view will be marred by a british plan to erect a windmill farm off the north coast. and when he met post-election with nigel farage, who is the head of what some think is the up-and-coming party in the british parliament, he mentioned his distaste for windmills. so here is the president at least in the eyes of some people, asserting his personal and his pecuniary interests in his first discussion with an overseas official. so, i mentioned golf courses, then of course there are hotels
all around the world. most of donald trump's hotels are now branded. he doesn't own many of them anymore. most are -- they're not quite franchises, but trump sells his name and then insists on certain quality standards. but there is a very -- what we think -- the few agreements we've looked at profound economic stake in this, in these hotels because not only does the trump organization receive up front fees for use of the name. often, we have been able to look at a couple of the licensing agreements. he also gets a percentage of each sale. in some cases, the trump organization also manages the hotel and so there are percentages and income from gift shops and other things. and let's see the last thing on the list of course are real
estate. the towers that are being built around the world. another -- there are towers that were discussed again during the transition being built in india. there are two trump towers that are now under construction and have a dozen others that are under discussion. and as all of us know from our own experiences with real estate zoning and so forth in this country, building a skyscraper is in part a government enterprise because of the permitting that's required , environmental tests, and so forth. there is a huge role for government and so the question is, and this is sort of the argument that the press has a role to play. what is appropriate for the president to pursue personal interests while in office. and a related question, if these things aren't fully disclosed , how do we know about them? there is sort of a watchdog role that i'd argue anyway is sort of
upon us in a way that we haven't faced as other administrations have come into office. >> i will ask susan a question and then i will turn it over to you all. susan, you mentioned the congressional review act. i was hoping you could give more background on that read this is something that came about during house.grich do we have any sense of how many how do they actually count the scope of it, the scope of days, do we have a sense of how many obama regulations could be part of it and wrapped into it.>> . >> yes, it was -- the congressional review act was a bill passed in 1996. and it gives congress 60 legislative days or session days to review after a regulation is published to send a resolution of disapproval to the president.
60 legislative days turns into a lot more when you count the time they are at home. the crs around may 30th. any issue since may 30 would be subject to disapproval by congress. i should back up. any rule issued after that point that doesn't get the full 60 days in this congress the clock , starts over again in the next congress. so, 15 days in the next congress, the clock starts over again. so that means the new congress has another seven months or so to decide which of these regulations to vote to disapprove. how many are there? likely we are talking hundreds. at least and probably over 200 regulations would be subject to disapproval.
how many congress would actually overturn? it will take time to do that. even though they are expedited procedures it's going to take , time to do that. it still could take ten hours per regulation. certainly i think they were close to all the regulations. probably less than a dozen. and his other question was, it happened once, what haven't we seen it more? ergonomics regulations published at the very end of the clinton administration. of resolution of disapproval and it landed on george w. bush's desk when he signed it. the reason i think we didn't see it being used and the transition obama, any rule
disapproved during the procedure, it's a sledge hammer. i imagine the obama , i was presenting trying to push things out the door, but i was really trying not to push him out the door. but i suspect that the y would not want to eliminate a, so they could rewrite something else. >> i have some questions out here? >> is there one avenue the regulation of the water that you get in pds permits?
is there one legislative task repealed?pea -- being for the general public, what would be their recourse? what are the appropriate to undo that regulation? does that make sense? susan: yes. four of the five option i mentioned apply in more limited circumstances. i think these are water discharge regulations under the clean water act. there must be one that was in this window that could be overturned by congress. but i think most that are in will have toa notice comment rulemaking.
there really is a lot of opportunity for the public to get involved there. his agencies don't take that -- if agencies don't take that into account, courts can call it capricious. before we talked about transparency, and there is transparency in the rule making process. the public has the opportunity to weigh in before the decision is final. >> is this where the chevron doctrine comes into play? so, chevron is a court decision. when things are complicated, there are several steps. court typically defer to interpretations of their own agency.
say that trump chose to write a new regulation. it would take more than a year to change that regulation. the courts would look at it, and it would be complicated. which docket do you refer to? >> so we have quite a few questions here. we'll go with you first. and if your question is directed at one of the four panelists, please direct it specifically or just generally address it. i need to restate the question so i'll get back in the habit of doing that. you can go here. >> if you could elaborate more on the impact the president elect has in his press conference on the 15th. i assume, you know, he will state what he stated before that he's going to turn control of his businesses over to his children, but also talk to us about potential conflict of interest there because we've
already seen kind of that gray area and blurred lines and just today, ivanka trump sat down with al gore, she was at that meeting with the japanese prime minister, yet if his kids are running the business -- a, what type of conflict of interest that could present, and b, is there anything to hold them to account or is this just going to , be a murky gray area for the next four years? restating the question, what sort of conflict of interest will be inherent as he is turning over his business to his kids. is there any way to work around that? tom: this is the new world where in. in addition to the conversation, ivanka trump was on the line when donald trump talked to the president of argentina. where they announced two days after the conversation that a long stalled trump tower is now moving ahead in buenos aires. and ivanka trump was on the line
with the japanese prime minister as well. what role ivanka and her husband jared will play and eric trump and donald jr. will play in an administration, advising their president and so forth. it is a really big question. we don't really have the answers to it. to some ethics lawyers, the sort of guiding principle goes back to -- it is the now famous clause in the constitution with a funny name. which prohibits the president from accepting gifts and favors from a foreign leader. if argentina's president was to give a green light to a long-stalled tower for the trump family, for which the president
or his children would benefit is that a favor? there are some ethics lawyers from both across the ideological perspective who think, yes, there is a constitutional issue here. and it may be while the president is not bound by our traditional conflict of interest or gift prohibitions, he obviously is bound by the constitution and that could set up a constitutional crisis at some point. remember though that the ways or the ways in which you might raise those constitutional questions are also limited. it's really, there are two things i should mention. there's the clause which provides a very specific prohibition on certain
activities by the chief executive. and then there's also from congress a few years ago, 2010, 2009, passed the stock act which is primarily focussed on members of congress and conflicts of interest. it also required that the president and vice president be covered by this law. it doesn't specifically restrict -- i don't think they're covered by the conflict of interest portions of it, but they are required to report transactions involving equities and to this -- again the office of government ethics, oge.gov , within 45 days of any transaction. and so there will be one additional area of sort of disclosure and an opportunity to watch these transactions and chris, i neglected to mention
the stock portfolio of the trump organization and donald trump is not insignificant. tens of millions of dollars in stocks. some of them in industries that could be affected by some of the regulations. >> in the white shirt over here. >> i think a lot of our readers are concerned about you roll back of president obama's executive actions that you're protecting minority groups. the first of these is the the executiveon, order president obama signed for prohibiting the people. the third is kind of a broader set of initiatives interpreting civil rights law that would bring discrimination to lgbt people.
for the last two how easy it would be for them to be compromised into regulation? >> very basically, how easily could president trump undo some civil rights and lgbt productions? -- protections? >> for the executive orders he , can rescind them as quickly -- yet, he can rescind them by signing something. now, the regulations in some of those that you're talk abouting are regulations that have been issued by the department of labor. those will go through the longer process that we talked about. did you want to add more on these? >> i think that's it. ted cruz had a line during his campaign that he lived by the pen, and guided by the pen. and executive actions can be rescinded by the future person. in this case, the executive orders you talked about.
the one dealing with nondiscrimination against lgbt people in federal contracting. that's something that could be rescinded. i'm not going to presume that trump is going to do any of this. he's said some things during the campaign that, you know, he loves the lgbt people and he loves the hispanic people and who knows what exactly he's going to do. but one thing that president obama i think has done is raised the bar on these kinds of things. and so with many of these executive orders, presidential memoranda and other generic executive actions, every time a president takes one of these. they set a new status quo. there's an example of this in the transition from president clinton to president bush where president clinton, in his midnight era, passed this arsenic rule. it dramatically lowered amount of arsenic allowed in the water.
bush's knew cabinet came in and said there's no science behind that. that's not the right level. we're going to rescind that. it got perceived publicly not as going back to the status quo, but that bush was trying to dramatically increase the amount of arsenic allowable in the drinking water. even though the original regulation hadn't even been implemented yet. so the only sort of protection i think that you have there is that there will be, these things will have to be done conspicuously. if president trump signs such an order, it'll be very clear what he's doing. this he will be changing the new status quo. and there's a political cost to that. that's not insignificant. but, can he do it? absolutely.>> campaign, he did not have a tendency to go into great detail how he's going to
accomplish these things. he didn't seem to care for some of the more day-to-day operations in the presidency. do you think he's going to be interested in when he becomes president going to some of the more fun level on these executive actions, or is he going to stay on these themes of immigration? got would like to answer. >> has he been a detailed oriented businessman? from the reporting that is out there, he can very much micromanage issues. but it seems to have been realdically and without a discernible pattern. if i had to make a guess, something might set him up.
you could be staying up at 5:30 in the morning on a fox news segment about burn the flag. we have seen that happening to him already. there wasn't an ongoing conversation about flagburning until one morning to president-elect tweeted about it. my prediction would be, big themes, but sometimes micromanaging on his used we wen't really -- on issues hadn't really thought of. obviously the president of the obama administration really brought more power to the presidency specifically and national security. i guess are there any indications that the current administration is trying to shrink things down a little bit ahead of the new administration, or do you think they are
comfortable with how they have succeeded, or somewhere in between? >> are the comfortable with where things are, trying to rein in their authority before the new guy comes in? >> i think there's a philosophical way to look at that. and then there is a legal authority perspective. so during the course of the campaign, the trump campaign said they want to move away from nato, you renegotiate trade agreements, and reduce the role that americans are playing in wars overseas. from an ideological perspective, drawback, buta from a legal perspective, you know, the president's authority has been increasing for years
and years and years. i'm not sure if president-elect trump has thought very much about the need for a new authorization of military force. i'm not sure it's crossed his head. i ensure that it has caused hillary clinton's head. it was a major theme of senator tim kaine's senate career. so i know they thought about it. i've never heard president-elect trump once say that the presidency needs to be more constrained. that congress needs to be more involved in the conduct of war and military action. so there's no reason for me to think that from a legal authority's perspective, the president will want to reign that in. susan: just briefly, with respect to regulation, i think we're seeing actually more of, you know, more of a reach rather than less. an example of that is epa just last week issued for a 30-day
which is very significant regulatory action on fuel economy for vehicles. it did that without going through the internal review process that is done for all regulations. that's not the kind of thing i would think they would want the next president to be able to do and yet i think they're anxious , to get out before the end of the administration. process was, they were willing to take quite dramatic actions. i going to go to you in the am back still in the second, but susan, while i have you here, could you maybe just give the journalist in the room a little bit about research at the regulatory study center, what kind of research you do is journalists? susan: that is a great question. [laughter] it's the george washington regulatory center of public policy and public administration. we have a weekly news letter that's a digest on all the things that are going on in the
regulatory world. so just e-mail us and we'd love to put you on that. so that's not just what we're working on, but what all the other think tanks and academic institutions who focus like me with a laser beam on regulatory issues. we write working papers. we file comments on individual regulations. and of course we teach. i mean we love teaching our students, but we also would be happy to do more things like this and just talk about how regulation works. still have a question? >> so with trump appointing a variety of individuals to his transition team and starting to appoint or nominate his cabinet , there has been a lot of discussion about a lack of expertise or a specific expertise in different policy
areas. i wonder if you think that may empower people who are actually heading these agencies more than in the obama administration. in the obama administration, a lot of action came from the white house, more than the epa policy agenda for climate action plan came from the white house, but in the trump administration, do you see that changing and having agencies have a stronger foothold, since maybe that may not be a strength of the white house? >> i've had one conversation recently with paul white who is a brookings nyu professor who studies changes of administration and the nature of cabinets. one of the things that, that one of the other things that distinguishes this transition from others is sort of the level of preparation. so they're scrambling, it seems to find cabinet nominees.
the question is, what about the subcabinet positions? under the george w. bush white house i think where you served, the white house played a very hands on role as i understand it in reviewing appointments for deputy secretaries assistance and chiefs of staff even. so that the white house would have more, it was one of the that carl rove introduced, having the cabinet secretary and white house ability to monitor and also have consistent policy in the agencies was a big deal. obama has continued that one of concerns was that this may give cabinet secretary power to select the junior personnel whose appointments would normally either be reviewed or initiated by the white house. >> i have no inside information.
i don't know. >> we'll go to shannon and then to you there. >> i just have a follow-up question on that. what chance do you see for anyone? what chance do you see of president-elect trump keeping nhi andhe head of the fda? there is pressure from research groups to keep both of those people around. >> let's retake it quickly. is it possible that the heads of the nih and fda will be held over? >> their holdovers in any administration. it's usually a small subset. some are statutory. there are people like the fbi director who have a term that transcends partisan administrations. there are usually some holdover -- there's an olive branch
extended by prominent democrats or republicans to a opposite party. i am not aware enough of the specifics of what the policy differences might be. whether those would be among them. checked shirt. >> this is mainly a question for you, tom. alluded to them earlier. what are some of the congressional steps that can be taken to hold a trial trumpstration -- hold a administration accountable? i am very interested in that question. and went to a bunch of the lawyers and advisors who had led or worked oen this area for previous transitions.
and there's a range of responses -- stewart, who was jimmy carter's advisor said, you know, in addition to the sort of blind trust approach, there are some which he is only a halfhearted subscriber. it would suggest that trump empire is really too vast to consolidate quickly into a blind trust. it may not be fair to the children, trump said he did not want to do it. just the idea of a federal monitor. somebody who would oversee and bea watchdog and have access to confidential information would occasionally make reports to the office of government. that's the conclusion i hear at the end of conversation is and this is in system ways except
-- even though we are hearing people talk about the idea. his conclusion is also the one i would hear at the end of conversation with every lawyer, that is wind with a free robust press. except for the constitutional prohibition that i mentioned earlier, this is a kind of extralegal activity where there may not be specific legal in thes, but there are public realm and in the response of public opinion to some of these actions. >> this might be the last one, or we might have time for one more. >> i was curious, in terms of regulatory affairs, how much influence -- we talk about how assistantsetaries
that get appointed, but obviously there are career civil servants that are in the agencies all the time. and i cover the labor department which tends to be one of the more partisan ones and you can see a lot happen under elaine and tom perez and a lot happened this year. and i'm curious how much the career civil servant can influence these things. if they are ideologically opposed, they can make it difficult getting through, and what can they do on that level when they disagree? >> do we want to restate that? whatll go to susan, but, level of power do the civil service to resist changes coming up from on high? susan: that's an excellent point about regulation. it's developed by these agencies that are mostly career civil service people who have been working across the administration. and i think they do have a lot
of influence. because they do, they develop the docket, they do the analysis. and heads of agencies are reluctant to do something. to propose an action that goes against the docket that has been developed. that is not to say the career civil servants -- they might also have goals in mind, so the dockets may reflect that. it is not easy to come in as the head of a new agency and say, we are going to shake things up and do it totally differently. we will go if you keep your questions to 20 seconds, and the answers to 60 seconds. >> i'm thinking of the comments made after people just turned to
his response to hamilton and didn't pay attention to the trump university settlement or other things that day. obviously there's a practical line to draw. is twitter news? are trump's tweets news? >>-year-old with that. because he has the ability to make news in a very sort of visceral way. the hamilton didn't think took -- hamilton thing is not public policy, but it is something everyone can relate to. whatever he else did in the almost amidhat day the national conversation about hamilton and flagburning. it's an open question about whether this is an intentional. the hours these tweets come out,
tweetstorms. i would not presume to tell any journalist not to cover those. and frankly when the president of the united states says that he wants to deport the flag burners in violation of the first amendment, the diligent immigration policy, that's something we need to pay attention to. if the president signs an executive order that says that flag burners should be deported, then it's going to be there black and white. i mean, he's not going to do that, but then it's going to be black and white and very legal ese. that is when we have to especially taken literally. his power will not come from his twitter account, it will come from the signature of the president of the united states. >> we will have to close this panel. thank you very much. [applause]
we are going to roll this panel often bring the next three guest and get started with that in just a couple minutes. >> now a look at whether access and transparency will be an issue for journalists trying to cover the trump administration. this is also from the national press foundation. this is one hour and ten minutes. >> let's get going on third panel of the afternoon, this one goes from now until 4:30. i'm going to introduce our three guests, we'll talk about press