The New Yorker: What do White House Ethics Rules Mean If They Can Be Circumvented?


“We have a system of regulations and laws, with standards of interpretation, to hold people accountable and require them to follow the rules, until the rules are properly changed,” said Trevor Potter, the former chairman of the F.E.C., who was appointed by George H. W. Bush. “And what’s going on here is they are saying that these rules don’t apply unless the President wants them to. They seem to be thinking, because they are his own rules, they mean whatever he says they mean and they only apply when he wants them to. But that’s not how an executive order works. It has the force of law, and it applies until you change it..."

“The assumption has always been that a Department of Justice, functioning independently and at arm’s length from the White House, would enforce the law, and do the right thing. And that now appears to not be happening,” Potter said. “Congress could hold hearings, and expose all this, but that would require an independent Congress that’s watchdogging the Trump administration. And we don’t have that.”

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