Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law

Monthly Archives: January 2017


Late last week President Trump issued an Executive Order restricting the admission of refugees and/or persons from 7 countries, all predominantly Muslim, into the United States. It also had the effect or prohibiting, at least temporarily, legal resident aliens holding valid green cards from returning to the United States from abroad.

I do not intend tonight to comment on the substance, or wisdom of the Executive Order. For anyone who has paid attention to the policies or positions espoused by the President during the campaign or since, this Executive Order should come as no great shock. However, the manner in which it was done is troublesome.

There is an art, and a process, for issuing executive orders that has real value. The President’s refugee order was poorly worded, creating all sorts of ambiguities, and not clearly thought through. From the reports to date, this Order was not reviewed by most, if not all, of the relevant agencies. Homeland Security did not have an opportunity to comment; in particular, the Border and Customs Service that do the examination at the ports of entry were not given a chance to comment on the operational issues that might, and did, arise. The Department of Justice was not consulted concerning the legality or constitutionality of the Order; indeed, the acting Attorney general has instructed the United States’s District Attorneys to NOT defend the Order. The relevant members of Congress were not consulted, or briefed. The nations affected by the Order, as well as our allies, were not given any warning. In short, it was an operational  and diplomatic disaster.

You may ask why, and I am glad you did. In my humble opinion, there is no one in the White House that has had any experience in drafting and coordinating  a complex executive order such as this. Additionally, since only a handful of cabinet secretaries have been confirmed, and none of their operational deputies, who was available to assist the drafters in avoiding the confusion created by the Order.. Furthermore, the drivers pushing for such a hastily created Order are clearly the ideologues. President Trump is entitled to put forth his policies and positions- after all, he won the Electoral College and is our President. However, the ideological imperative must be tempered with good government. The desire to immediately fulfill campaign promises should not override the absolute necessity to do it right, whatever “it” is (to borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton). I sincerely hope the President, and his close advisers, will take to heart the mess created by this hastily promulgated Executive Order and take the time to do it right. As all our wise mentors have told us, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”


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Preliminary Assessments; 01/25/2017

President Trump has now nominated or designated his Cabinet secretaries and key advisers. It is far too early to evaluate any of them; most have not even been confirmed so they can take office and demonstrate their abilities. With that strong caveat, there are a few that I would like to comment upon: Reince Preibus,… Continue Reading

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Admittedly, President Trump has only been in office for 3 1/2 days. And I have been imploring my fellow citizens to not past judgment hastily but give our new President an opportunity to prove and demonstrate his presidential bona-fides. However, I am still waiting, optimistically, for that transformation. Regrettably, not much has changed in the… Continue Reading

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CELEBRATION; 01/19/2017

Tomorrow, January 20, 2017, America will witness the promise and triumph of the democracy earned with blood and preserved multiple times since 1775. At approximately 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time, Donald J. Trump will take the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States of America.Seldom, if ever, has a new administration… Continue Reading

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AND THEY ARE OFF; 01/10/2017

The confirmation hearings began today for President-elect Trump’s nominees for Cabinet positions and other high-ranking officials. First in the barrel was Attorney-General Senator Jeff Sessions, who escaped the first day without any serious damage There are some five other hearings scattered throughout the week with more for the next month or so. The Republicans hope… Continue Reading

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ROUND ONE; 01/03/2017

On the first working day of the new Congress, the House Republicans (over the objection of the leadership) unexpectedly pushed through a bill abolishing the special House Ethics Committee, a much-despised committee charged with investigating alleged ethical violations by House members. Less than 24 hours later, president-elect Trump criticized the move as not conducive to… Continue Reading

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