In a signing statement on Congress’ latest spending bill, President Trump has insisted he doesn’t consider himself bound by the restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The spending bill insists they cannot be transferred under any circumstances.
Trump’s signing statement language is similar to that used by President Obama to reject previous Congressional bans, arguing that the Constitutional separation of powers, and the president’s status as commander-in-chief of the military, gives him certain authorities to handle the detainees at the military detention center.
President Trump is not particularly interested in closing Gitmo, of course, and talked during the campaign about his intentions of refilling the site with “bad guys.” The current Gitmo prosecutor, however, is keen to support the transfer of one of the detainees to Saudi Arabia.
Trump’s signing statement also detailed other aspects of the appending bill he intended to ignore, including a ban on enforcing the federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal. This move, and others, suggest Trump intends to continue the trend of presidents arguing that they can overrule Congress on certain matters of law.