Out­go­ing Obama buries land mines for Trump pres­i­dency.

Out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Obama buries land mines for the Trump pres­i­dency

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Kelly Rid­dell

In Novem­ber, af­ter Don­ald Trump won the elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama met the pres­i­dent-elect in the Oval Of­fice and told him: “If you suc­ceed, then the coun­try suc­ceeds.” What a bunch of hooey. Since the Nov. 8 re­sults, Mr. Obama has taken a blow torch to the Oval Of­fice, en­sur­ing through his last minute ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions and agency rul­ings, that Mr. Trump will have any­thing but a smooth tran­si­tion into of­fice.

Mr. Obama — look­ing to pro­tect his legacy — has uni­lat­er­ally made sev­eral moves to un­der­mine and un­der­cut Mr. Trump’s abil­ity to de­liver on his cam­paign prom­ises. Suc­ceed, is some­thing Mr. Obama def­i­nitely doesn’t want Mr. Trump to do.

Last week, Mr. Obama de­cided to wave his mid­dle fin­ger at Is­rael — our clos­est ally in the Mid­dle East — by hav­ing the U.S. ab­stain from a United Na­tions vote which said Is­rael was in vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional law by al­low­ing Jewish set­tle­ments

any­where in the West Bank, in­clud­ing Jerusalem. Mr. Trump has vowed to move the U.S. Em­bassy to Jerusalem.

In re­gards to Rus­sia, Mr. Obama sanc­tioned it for its med­dling in the U.S. elec­tion, with the mind-set to make the sanc­tions as dif­fi­cult as pos­si­ble for Mr. Trump to roll back. It’s un­likely any pun­ish­ment will be de­liv­ered in Mr. Obama’s term — it’s some­thing Mr. Trump will in­herit.

“Part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or com­mu­ni­cated to Congress in a form that would be dif­fi­cult to sim­ply walk back,” an un­named ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told The Washington Post of their goal in craft­ing Rus­sia’s reprisal.

Do­mes­ti­cally, Mr. Obama is also bury­ing land mines for Mr. Trump to face.

On Wed­nes­day, the pres­i­dent grabbed 1.6 mil­lion acres of Western land in Utah and Ne­vada, declar­ing it na­tional mon­u­ments. It’s re­ally just a move to cor­don off the mas­sive area from en­ergy de­vel­op­ment.

A sim­i­lar stroke was made last week, when the In­te­rior Depart­ment adopted a con­tro­ver­sial last-minute rule aimed at mak­ing the coal in­dus­try cleaner. The reg­u­la­tions over­hauled rules that have been in place for more than three decades, and even the agency ad­mit­ted more coal jobs would be lost be­cause of it.

A day later, Mr. Obama in­voked what even The New York Times called an “ob­scure pro­vi­sion” in the 1953 Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf Lands Act to uni­lat­er­ally ban off­shore oil and gas drilling along large swaths of the Ar­tic and At­lantic sea borders.

Mr. Trump has aptly de­scribed Mr. Obama’s en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions as “job killers” and has mocked the left’s unas­sail­able be­lief in man-made cli­mate change — to the detri­ment of the Amer­i­can econ­omy and en­ergy in­de­pen­dence.

Mr. Trump pledged to coal coun­try he’d help turn around their in­dus­try, which has been dec­i­mated by Mr. Obama’s en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies. Mr. Obama’s des­per­ate 11th-hour rule­mak­ing will make that pledge more dif­fi­cult to de­liver.

In an ef­fort to help pro­tect Planned Par­ent­hood, last week the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a fi­nal rule that bars states from with­hold­ing fed­eral money from the abor­tion-providers af­fil­i­ates, which will take ef­fect two days be­fore Mr. Trump takes of­fice.

The rule hin­ders the GOP’s abil­ity to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood, re­quir­ing a time-con­sum­ing process to undo, ac­cord­ing to the Times.

Mr. Obama’s team also can­celled a Mus­lim reg­istry run out of the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity aimed at foil­ing Mr. Trump’s plans to im­pose “ex­treme vet­ting” on Mus­lim vis­i­tors.

The Na­tional Se­cu­rity En­try-Exit Regis­tra­tion Sys­tem had been dor­mant for years, but ac­tivists de­manded that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion take it off the books en­tirely. They feared Mr. Trump could have used the pro­gram as a short­cut to start­ing his own vet­ting.

Re­scind­ing the NSEERS doesn’t stop Mr. Trump, but it does mean he would have to set up a new pro­gram rather than re­new an ex­ist­ing one — a higher hur­dle and a longer process.

What else does Mr. Obama have up his sleeve to try to de­ride a Trump pres­i­dency? Who knows — but we’re likely to see more ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion and agency rul­ings in the com­ing weeks aimed di­rectly at Mr. Trump’s agenda.

Jan. 20 can’t come soon enough.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH

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