Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) appeared to blame the legal counsel that allowed President Trump to put out such a poorly worded executive order on his travel ban. He made the comments with Martha MacCallum Tuesday evening on Fox News.
“You are familiar with this case,” MacCallum asked Gowdy. “What do you think about the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision? Do you believe that President Trump was in the right?”
While Gowdy made sure to criticize the court, he pushed much of the blame on the executive order and how it was written.
Martha, anyone familiar with the Ninth Circuit is not surprised at their opinion. I think there is a really easy remedy that I think would build consensus across the entire country. You have to view people in different categories. There are U.S. citizens who are entitled to the full panoply of constitutional rights and due process.
In the other extreme, you have someone in Yemen who has never been to the United States, who just wants to visit Graceland. They are not entitled to any due process. They are not entitled to any Constitutional protections. And then, the group in the middle.
My counsel to the president, I’m sure he is a receiving this counsel, because he’s got access to much better lawyers than me, you have to have a different evidentiary basis depending on the category at bar. U.S. citizens is one category. If you have a visa and you have relied upon that visa to either rent an apartment or put your kids in school, then, you do have certain property interests that you would want protected. Therefore, you are entitled to due process.
So I think his executive order is pretty easily remedied. You can remedy it without going to the U.S. Supreme Court.
MacCallum followed up on the insinuation that the order was written poorly, asking, “There is an indication it was written by basically outside counsel and not run by the DOJ. And you just pointed to a number of holes in this initial executive order. What do you think about the fact that that’s the way that it was apparently done?”
I will say this. There is a reason very few people raise their hand and volunteer to be the leader of the free world. It’s a hard job, an important job, he’s about a month into it. Tom Brady wasn’t a very good quarterback his first year, neither was Peyton Manning. I am prepared to give this president time. He is never served in the House, the Senate, it is up to his advisors, including his legal advisors, to say, ‘Mr. President, with different categories like non-immigrant visa holders, versus U.S. citizen, versus non-U.S. citizen, there is a different legal analysis.’ And it is incumbent upon his advisors to provide him with the evidentiary basis to withstand a court scrutiny.
Gowdy then criticized the decision made by the federal court and the case they relied on, saying that if viewers were familiar with the case, they’d be outraged.
The other part that is troubling is the commander in chief is elected but judges are not. And you don’t want federal judges overlooking battle plans or decisions to strike certain targets or decisions related to war or national security. it is not a blank check that the chief executive and commander in chief has. But you certainly don’t have to clear everything with an Article Three unelected federal judge.
“What are your thoughts on Mike Flynn and the fact that he had to resign,” MacCallum continued, “and discussions that he may have had with the Russian government, about sanctions that we had against them. What’s your take?”
“My take is that the commander in chief,” Gowdy responded, “the president and vice president, have the right to rely on advisors that provide them the unadulterated, complete, whole truth. It is unfair to the president and the vice president to give them other than – anything other than that. I have never met General Flynn. People that I know that respect him and respect his service to the country. I would join that. But you have to tell the truth to your boss all the time.”
MacCallum then moved on to the issue of the leaks that occasioned the resignation of Flynn. “Now it is being perhaps pointed out former Obama officials who may have leaked this information. I think about the fact that you wanted very much transcripts of conversations that had to go from the White House to the consulate in Benghazi. You never got them.”
“Well thank you for remembering that,” Gowdy said before launching into a criticism of Democrats who stone-walled the Benghazi investigation.
My Democratic colleagues have amnesia. I will say this. They are very well rested because for eight years, they didn’t lift a finger to do oversight. So all of that energy you saw today at their press conference, that’s because they want on an eight year long vacation from doing oversight over the executive branch.
I am all for the committees of jurisdiction, looking into it. I am also for looking into how classified information can make its way into the public domain, that is not a Republican issue, not a Democrat issue, it’s a legal issue.
MacCallum referred to the Free Beacon report Tuesday that alleged that it was former Obama officials and loyalists who orchestrated the leaks in order to damage Flynn and protect Obama’s Iran Deal. Flynn has said that it was his misleading statement to Vice President Mike Pence that caused the loss of trust and subsequent resignation.
The Trump administration has indicated that it may still take the travel ban case to the Supreme Court after saying it would pursue other legal routes.
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