Someone (most likely a team of individuals) has already changed the front page of the White House official website to reflect the change of presidents.
I checked the site just before noon EST and it still was the same as previous days under the Obama administration.
I checked again around 12:20 p.m. EST and the page now has a link to view the inauguration live. All of the presidential action pages are cleared of previous actions. The archiving has apparently been done.
I have not taken time yet to follow the live links that have anything, such as the issues page, but I did check to see if the ‘We the People’ petitions page was still there, and it is, but all the previous petitions are gone. I’m very curious to see how long it takes before a new petition is created.
It did not take very long before new petitions were posted on the site. For a while the website was inconsistent in operation with occasional glitches, but it seems to be working fine now.
Interestingly, the first petition posted on my last check (around 9:00 p.m. EST) had well over 160,000 signatures of support!
Now it will be interesting to see when (and even if) the White House responds to it.
We have the answer to when the White House will respond. Today, a spokesperson for the president said he will not be releasing his tax returns. Now well over 200,000 signatures on the petition and here is the answer.
Right now it appears the last action of President Obama is the letter on Guantanamo signed yesterday. Ironically, the executive order for closure of Guantanamo was the 4th order of this president signed January 22, 2009.
According to the National Archive, his very first executive order (signed January 21, 2009) was on the subject of presidential records disclosure. It revoked the order by President George W. Bush that was signed November 1, 2001.
I have n0t taken the time yet to dig into the detail of changes, but may revisit this topic if POTUS 45 issues a new order revoking Obama’s.
Not surprisingly, this letter from President Obama to the leaders of Congress is blunt and at times scathing.
He reports a one time high of nearly 800 detainees is now down to 41. During the Obama years, 196 have been transferred out. He articulates the bipartisan support is still there, as it was when he took office in 2009, for closing Guantanamo detainment facility. He expresses once again his challenge to Congress to close the facility and move the remaining detainees to secure federal prisons.
Included with the letter is an updated plan for closing of the facility submitted by the Defense Department.
Memorandum posted January 19, 2017.
This is a very long and technical executive order. As best I can tell, it is basically about changes to the Civil Service hiring rules. At this point, I do not intend to delve any deeper into it because it appears to be routine updating of previously issued orders and documents.
Executive Order posted January 17, 2017
At first reading I was scratching my head over this memorandum. It is so brief, with much of the language perfunctory legal stuff citing code and law as authority for the action, that it was impossible to figure out what it is about without more digging. Here is the primary operative paragraph of the memorandum:
“I hereby delegate to the Secretary of State the authority vested in the President by section 1287(c)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) (the “Act”), to designate a senior official to develop guidance for the Global Engagement Center relating to relevant privacy and civil liberties laws, and to ensure compliance with such guidance.”
After doing a little online searching, I discovered the State Department announcement of the new Global Engagement Center just about a year ago. Then in July last year the State Department issued a fact sheet with more information about the center. Its purpose according to that statement: “The Global Engagement Center is an interagency entity, housed at the State Department, which is charged with coordinating U.S. counterterrorism messaging to foreign audiences.” It also states the Center was officially created by an executive order in March 2016.
After finding those details, it is a bit more clear that the memorandum is articulating the need to pay attention to privacy and civil liberty laws in the work of the Global Engagement Center.
The next paragraph of the memorandum is interesting.
“Any reference in this memorandum to the Act shall be deemed to be a reference to any future Act that is the same or substantially the same as such provision.”
Perhaps I just don’t have enough experience following these memoranda and the above sentence may be somewhat routine, but it does not seem to be so. It appears to be a preemptive action to guard against future changes to the law that might weaken this concern for privacy and civil liberty in these communication efforts.
Memorandum posted January 17, 2017
Well, that was some Friday the 13th!
According to my count no fewer than 25 presidential actions were posted to the White House website on that day. The vast majority were memoranda, but there were three executive orders and a couple of proclamations in the mix as well.
The executive orders (and one memorandum) have already been dealt with in previous posts, but just for the record, I am going to list all the other memoranda and proclamations here without further comment, other than to highlight National Religious Freedom Day – January 16, 2017.
- Presidential Memorandum — The Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
- Presidential Memorandum — The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Presidential Memorandum — The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality
- Letters from the President — Designation of the Chair of the United States International Trade Commission
- Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2017
- Presidential Memorandum — Continuing to Expand Opportunity for All Young People
- Letter — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process
- Notice — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process
- Notice — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Libya
- Notice — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Ukraine
- Letter — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Ukraine
- Notice — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe
- Letter — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe
- Letter — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Cuba
- Notice — Continuation of National Emergency with Respect to Cuba
- Letter — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Libya
- Notice — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Venezuela
- Letter — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Venezuela
- Notice — Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Iran
- Letter — Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Iran
- Presidential Proclamation — Religious Freedom Day, 2017
All posted January 13, 2017.
As with orders of succession published previously, these are routine updating.
- Executive Order — Providing an Order of Succession Within the Environmental Protection Agency
- Executive Order — Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice
Posted January 13, 2017.