(USA Today) President-elect Donald Trump will face pervasive doubts about his legitimacy from the day he takes office. His opponents will likely portray him as governing in unprecedented and reckless ways. The best response to such charges is to open the books and expose how the Obama administration commandeered far more power than most Americans realized.
Trump should follow the excellent precedent set by President Obama. In 2009, shortly after he took office, Obama released many of the secret Bush administration legal memos that explained why the president was supposedly entitled to order torture,deploy troops in American towns and cities, and ignore the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on warrantless, unreasonable searches. The disclosures signaled a new era in Washington and helped give Obama a reputation as a champion of civil liberties.
Turnabout is fair play. Trump should quickly reveal the secret memos underlying Obama’s “targeted killing” drone assassination program.
Administration lawyers defeated lawsuits by the ACLU, The New York Times, and others seeking disclosure of key legal papers on how the president became judge, jury and executioner. A Trump administration could disclose the memos and white papers without endangering anything other than the reputation of the soon-to-be former president and his policymakers.
Opening the files at the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department on US intervention in the Syrian Civil War would vindicate Trump’s warnings on the campaign trail to plunging deeper into that morass. Pentagon-backed Syrian rebels have openly battled CIA-backed rebels. The US has armed and bankrolled Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria despite federal law prohibiting providing material support to terrorist groups. Americans deserve to see the bureaucratic smoking guns on this fiasco…