In a 15-page signing statement issued Monday night, President Trump revealed that he intends to ignore many of the myriad provisions of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the $716 billion military spending bill.
The signing statement singles out several provisions which Trump argues would restrict his control in ways he believes are needed for “military missions,” and inconsistent with his “constitutional authority as Commander in Chief.”
Trump suggested that he’d ignore all the limitations placed on the Yemen War, and objected to providing an assessment on war crimes to Congress, saying it violates executive privilege.
In general Trump objected to all NDAA provisions demanding more information on civilian casualties inflicted overseas, saying that he believes Congress is trying to make the military share too much information.
Among the many policy issues this impacts are a ban on recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, which Trump argues usurps his authority to state US positions in international affairs. He also objected to the ban on military cooperation with Russia.
Perhaps the biggest Russia provision, however, was the one seeking the creation of a White House post on Russian election meddling, which was to testify to Congress twice annually. Trump rejected this, arguing the executive branch needs to be able to keep secrets.
In addition, Trump rejected the idea that Congress could limit the size of a drawdown in South Korea, if he ordered one. He also objected to any limitations on moving detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, as well as a provision suggested by the Navy to stop having warships stationed abroad for longer than a decade at a time.