GTFOH Trump Watch: Midnight Regulations

Illustration for article titled GTFOH Trump Watch: Midnight Regulations
Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

My sisters and I had this thing that we’d do whenever we were in trouble and needed a parent to sign off on something the school sent home. For me, the one who was always in trouble, I damn near perfected it and it worked like this: Wait until my dad was well into his sleep and then wake him up gently and explain that I needed his signature. I would obviously omit that it was for an in-school suspension or a failing report card, and then I’d hand him the pen and steady the paper so that he could sign his name. If he woke up, I’d say, “I’m sorry; you are really sleeping, and I can just come back,” and then I’d bolt out the door.

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Until this day, I just figured I was running kid games on my parents. I had no idea that the government has a whole-ass name for this type of foolishness. Apparently, it’s called “midnight regulations” and it basically works the same way. That’s when a president is working in the final days of his presidency and he just starts signing whatever is in front of him. And in this case, because the president can’t read and is surrounded by people with financial and racist agendas, the president has been signing rule changes that could take President-elect Joe Biden years to undo.

According to ABC News, the lame-duck president has been quietly pushing to finalize more than three dozen rule changes, from immigration to environmental protections, that could have significant impacts for years to come.

“We call them ‘midnight regulations.’ It’s the last chance to put these rules on the books before the Trump administration changes to the Biden administration,” ProPublica investigative reporter Isaac Arnsdor told ABC News. ProPublica has created an online database tracking the pending regulations. “They can be reversed, but not easily.”

So far, Trump has signed regulations that include, “religious exemptions for federal contractors under employment discrimination laws; looser water efficiency standards for showerheads and washing machines; and stricter eligibility for food stamps, even as millions out of work in the pandemic look to the government for help,” ABC News reports.

“Do you know how fucking evil and miserable you have to be to create stricter rules around receiving food stamps in a fucking pandemic?!” said someone I just made up in my head. The made-up person continued: “This shit is just the work of the devil.”

While the regulations signed by Trump will have lasting effects on the environment (banning EPA use of scientific data) and immigration (including new questions added to the citizenship test to make it harder for high-skilled foreign workers to get visas), the most bizarre flex of power has been the Justice Department’s push to execute as many death row inmates as possible before Trump leaves office.

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From ABC News:

Eight federal inmates have been executed so far this year — the most in more than a century — with five more slated for death before Inauguration Day next month.

“The pace of these federal executions has no historical precedent,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the independent, nonpartisan Death Penalty Information Center. “The last time more than one person was executed during a transition period takes us back to Grover Cleveland’s first presidency in the end of the 1880s.”

The Trump administration, in a late-term rule change, is also giving executioners greater flexibility in how they kill.

“The regulation will allow them, without challenge, to use whatever method of lethal injection that it wants to use,” Dunham said.

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And all of this is being done as Trump continues to stack the courts with appointments of federal judges without Senate confirmation—a 123-year-old precedent by presidents who’ve lost reelection.

“Generally once an election occurs, confirmations stop until the next Congress,” Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, an independent judicial watchdog told ABC News. “It’s hard to know the impact right now exactly that these Trump-appointed judges will have, but we know it’s going to be big, it’s going to be huge, it’s going to be generational.”

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But fear not as there is still hope—but it ain’t much. If Democrats can pull out those final two Senate seats in Georgia during the January runoff (please, Lord God, as our stimulus checks depend on it), then there could be a fast-track repeal of recent regulations but that still takes time.

“You have to go through the whole rule-making process all over again, which takes multiple years and a lot of resources and is cumbersome by design,” said Arnsdorf.

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OK, I take back the hope part; we’re screwed.

White House Mole Ousted From DOJ

I must admit that I’m totally confused. All this time I thought the White House mole at the Department of Justice was Attorney General Bill Barr but I was wrong. Turns out that the White House had a whole other mole in the White House and that woman has been found out and shunned.

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Falls onto fainting couch.

According to the Associated Press, Heidi Stirrup, a key ally of Stephen Miller, the most racist racist to ever racist and Trump’s senior policy adviser, was hired to be the White House liaison at the DOJ in the fall.

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Apparently, her job title didn’t give away that she was a spy for Trump so she was allowed access into the building until a few weeks ago when it was uncovered that she was trying to collect insider information about “ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud,” the AP reported.

She even reportedly offered allies top department jobs without White House approval.

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From Business Insider:

Stirrup was one of several Trump aides planted in various government agencies in September by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and John McEntee, the head of personnel, CNN reported.Another was Joshua Whitehouse, who was moved from the Department of Homeland Security to the Defense Department, Foreign Policy reported.

Last week, White House sent a directive removing 11 of the 13 members on the department’s Defense Policy Board. Officials told Foreign Policy that the purge was intended to free up room for new appointees loyal to Trump.

In June, the White House positioned two political operatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep tabs on its director, Robert Redfield.

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Stirrup still technically has a job at the Justice Department but she can’t get in the building to do it. On Thursday, Trump nominated her for a role on the U.S. Air Force Academy’s board of visitors, which is the equivalent of being on the welcoming committee at the church.

January 20 can’t come fast enough.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

DISCUSSION

I still don’t understand how Trump can pump out these regulations without going through “the whole rule-making process” but repealing them has to. Our system of government is just fucked up.

As far as parking some people in jobs. If you can’t get rid of them just rewrite their job descriptions so that most important thing they can do is scrub toilets.  Stick them in a cube or an office with a phone that doesn’t work and a computer not connected to the network and have them review the pages and pages of their departments rules and regulations for typos.  Of course they will all be hardcopy.