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Trump Unbound

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Chad Wolf is the acting Secretary of Homeland Security. A confirmed Secretary hasn’t been in place for almost a year. Wolf went on Tucker Carlson’s show to announce that he is suspending enrollment for New York State residents in the Global Entry and similar programs. The notional rationale is that New York State is a ‘sanctuary state’ and therefore DHS can’t do security checks on its enrollees.

Compared to many things the Trump administration has done this is sort of a definitional first world problem. Global Entry is a program mainly for affluent, frequent air travelers which allows them to move more quickly through borders and airport lines. They’ll survive.

But what makes this important is that this is pretty openly an effort to punish New York State residents because their state government isn’t backing the President’s hardline immigration policies. The rationale is obviously pretextual. The administration is basically inviting New York State to go to court and spend two or three years getting the order overturned. The State will have to prove the rationale is bogus – probably doable but that takes time.

Again, this is pretty much out in the open punishment for residents of blue states.

Then just today we learned that the Treasury Department has turned over highly sensitive financial records of Hunter Biden to Republican Committee Chairs pursuing various Biden/Burisma conspiracy theories.

It is important to note that the Congress has wide investigative authority to conduct investigations and gain access to government documents pertinent to those investigations. I don’t know the precise case law or administrative law is for turning over this private information. But given how confidential it is the bar is likely pretty high. But remember the Treasury Department has refused for almost a year to turn over to Congress the President’s tax returns which it is required to do, without any subpoena but on request, on the basis of black letter federal law.

This is an acceleration of an existing pattern: maximal secrecy for the President and his allies, maximum transparency for his foes.

These are just two examples. But along with much other evidence they make for a clear pattern: Trump Unbound. Post acquittal he seems to be in a new level of no holds barred use of executive power as a weapon against political opponents. Partly that’s just because he’s angry but also, critically, because now he knows it’s okay. We already saw this with the Biden family and the whole Ukraine affair that got him impeached. Now it seems much more flagrant and critically mostly in the open.

About The Author

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.