Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker report at The Washington Post:Gregory Korte reports at USA Today that the Trump White House has posted inaccurate versions of executive orders on the White House website.
“None of this is normal,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and top official in President George W. Bush’s White House, who has been highly critical of Trump and ticked through controversies that included false White House statements and the administration’s halted travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries. “The incompetence, the sloppiness and the leaking is unprecedented.At the same paper, Philip Bump writes:
Sunday night, CNN reported details of the moment that Trump, joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, learned about a missile launch in North Korea. Trump and Abe were enjoying dinner at Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida at the time, but, CNN reported, began to discuss the details of this international incident right there at their table.
“As Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members looked on from their tables, and with a keyboard player crooning in the background,” CNN’s Kevin Liptak reported, “Trump and Abe’s evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners, who described it in detail to CNN.”
Earlier in the week, Trump had been criticized for leaving intelligence documents vulnerable to people without security clearance. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) noticed that the president kept the key in a secured bag while hosting people in the Oval Office, which is a bit like leaving your house keys in your front door while you’re having a party in your backyard. There’s no indication that anyone saw anything confidential in this incident, but this, Heinrich suggested, was “Classified 101.”
A USA TODAY review of presidential documents found at least five cases where the version posted on the White House website doesn't match the official version sent to the Federal Register. The differences include minor grammatical changes, missing words and paragraph renumbering — but also two cases where the original text referred to inaccurate or non-existent provisions of law.
By law, the Federal Register version is the legally controlling language. But it can often take several days for the order to be published, meaning that the public must often rely on what the White House puts out — and that's sometimes inaccurate. For example:
► The controversial travel ban executive order suspended the Visa Interview Waiver Program and required the secretary of State to enforce a section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act requiring an in-person interview for everyone seeking a non-immigrant visa. But the White House version of the order referred to that provision as 8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires a physical and mental examination — not 8 U.S.C. 1202, which requires an interview.
► An executive order on ethical standards for administration appointees, as it appears on the White House website, refers to"section 207 of title 28" of the U.S. Code. As the nonprofit news site Pro Publica reported last week, that section does not exist. The Federal Register correctly cited section 207 of title 18, which does exist.They misspelled Colombia.
Daniel Dale reports at The Star that press secretary Sean Spicer referred to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau as "Joe."
Spicer used much of his opening statement to explain the forced resignation of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Before he let reporters begin grilling him on the Flynn fiasco, he found a bit of time to mention Trump’s Monday meeting with Justin Trudeau.
“Yesterday the president set — had an incredibly productive set of meetings and discussions with Prime Minster Joe Trudeau of Canada,” he said, “focusing on our shared commitment to close co-operation in addressing both the challenges facing our two countries and the problems throughout the world. Our countries share a profound economic interest, with more than $2 billion in two-way trade flowing across our border every day.”