How Trump and his allies plan to exercise power in 2025 | ET REALITY


Former President Donald J. Trump declared at the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign: “I am your retribution.” He later vowed to use the Justice Department to go after his political adversaries, starting with President Biden and his family.

Behind these public threats are a series of plans by Trump and his allies that would alter central elements of American governance, democracy, foreign policy and the rule of law if he were to regain the White House.

Some of these issues date back to the last term of Trump’s term. By that stage, his key advisers had learned how to wield power more effectively, and Trump had fired officials who resisted some of his impulses and replaced them with loyalists. He then lost the 2020 election and was ousted from power.

Since leaving office, Trump’s advisers and allies in a network of well-funded groups have advanced policies, created lists of potential staff and begun shaping new legal scaffolding, laying the groundwork for a second Trump presidency. which they hope will begin on January 20. , 2025.

In a vague statement, two senior Trump campaign officials have sought to distance his campaign team from some of the plans developed by Trump’s outside allies, groups led by former top Trump administration officials who remain in direct contact. with the. The statement called news reports about campaign staff and their political intentions “purely speculative and theoretical.”

The plans outlined here generally stem from what Trump has touted on the campaign trail, what has appeared on his campaign website and in interviews with Trump advisers, including one who spoke to The New York Times at the request of the Campaign.

If he wins another term, Trump has said he would use the Justice Department to have his adversaries investigated and charged with crimes, even saying in June that he would appoint “a real special prosecutor to go after” President Biden and his family. the later declared in an interview with Univision that he could, if someone challenged him politically, accuse that person.

Trump’s allies have also been developing an intellectual plan to sideline the Justice Department’s post-Watergate norm of investigative independence from White House political leadership.

In a harbinger of such a move, Trump had already broken the rules in his 2016 campaign by promising to “lock up” his opponent, Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private email server. While president, he repeatedly told aides that he wanted the Justice Department to prosecute his political enemies, including officials he had fired, such as James B. Comey, the former director of the FBI. The Justice Department opened several such investigations but did not bring charges, angering Trump and leading to a split in 2020 with his attorney general, William P. Barr.

Trump is planning an attack on immigration on a scale never seen before in modern American history. Millions of undocumented immigrants would be excluded from the country or uprooted years or even decades after settling here.

Backed by agents reassigned from other federal law enforcement agencies and from the state police and National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would carry out sweeping raids aimed at deporting millions of people each year. Military funds would be used to build sprawling camps to house undocumented detainees. A public health emergency law would be invoked to shut down asylum claims for people arriving at the border. And the government would try to end birthright citizenship for babies born on American soil to undocumented parents.

While in office, Trump mulled using the military to attack drug cartels in Mexico, an idea that would violate international law unless Mexico consented. That idea has since gained broader Republican support, and Trump intends to make it a reality if he returns to the Oval Office.

While the Posse Comitatus Act generally makes it illegal to use federal troops for domestic law enforcement purposes, another law called the Insurrection Act creates an exception. Trump wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act to use troops to suppress protesters after the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, but he was thwarted and the idea remains prominent among his advisers. Among other things, his top immigration adviser has said they would invoke the Insurrection Act at the southern border to use soldiers to intercept and detain undocumented immigrants.

Trump and his supporters want to increase presidential power over federal agencies, centralizing greater control over the entire machinery of government in the White House.

They have adopted a maximalist version of the so-called unitary executive theory, which says that the president can directly control the entire federal bureaucracy and that it is unconstitutional for Congress to create independent authority groups to make decisions.

As part of that plan, Trump also aims to revive an effort from the end of his presidency to alter civil service rules that protect career government professionals, allowing him to lay off tens of thousands of federal workers and replace them with loyalists. After Congress failed to enact legislation to block such a change, the Biden administration is developing regulation to essentially protect the federal workforce from Trump. However, since this is simply an executive action, the next Republican president could simply undo it the same way.

Politically appointed lawyers sometimes thwarted Trump’s wishes by raising legal objections to his ideas and those of his top advisers. This dynamic has led to a quiet split on the right, as Trump loyalists have come to view the typical Federalist Society lawyer (essentially a conventional Republican conservative) with disdain.

In a possible new term, Trump’s allies are planning to systematically install more aggressive and ideologically aligned legal guardians who will be more likely to bless controversial actions. Trump and his 2024 campaign declined to answer a series of detailed questions about what limits, if any, he would place on his powers on a range of war, secrecy and law enforcement issues, many of them raised during his first term. , in a new York Times 2024 Presidential Candidate Poll.

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