To be honest, the order prohibiting ex-government officials from lobbying seems an excellent idea. What a shame he torpedoed it by saying he could waive the prohibition in any case he chooses.

President Donald Trump granted controversial adviser Steve Bannon a regular seat at meetings of the National Security Council on Saturday, in a presidential memorandum that brought the former Breitbart publisher into some of the most sensitive meetings at the highest levels of government.

The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings.

Trump also said the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence, two of the most senior defense chiefs, will attend meetings only when discussions are related to their “responsibilities and expertise”. Barack Obama and George W Bush both gave the men in those roles regular seats on the council.

Also on Saturday, Trump ordered a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for foreign governments and a five-year ban for domestic lobbying, in an executive order signed on Saturday.

The order prescribes a nine-part “pledge” that among other promises commits officials to five years without lobbying after they leave the government; to reject gifts from registered lobbyists and lobbying organizations; and to never lobby on behalf of a foreign government or political party.

The executive order has a provision that allows the president or “his designee” to grant a waiver to the ethics pledge.

The order stipulates that officials who violate the pledge can be debarred from their post and future lobbying, and possibly sued in civil court.

The US president also signed executive memorandums on the reorganisation of the National Security Council and the formation of a new plan to defeat the Islamic State.

Source: Trump gives National Security Council seat to ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon | US news | The Guardian

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