Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly racing to restore firing squads for federal executions before he leaves office, though it may not be used before he leaves the White House in January.
ProPublica reported that the Trump administration is trying to rush through a number of key policy changes in the weeks he has left in the White House, including the Department of Justice fast-tracking a rule change that would once again allow firing squads and electrocutions. As the report noted, the proposal was introduced in August with an expedited public comment period, allowing only 30 days instead of the usual 60. The report added that the proposal cleared White House review three days after the election, putting it on track to be finalized any day.
But, as ProPublica reported, Trump could likely never get to put it into practice before Joe Biden takes over.
“Once finalized, this rule might never be put into practice,” the outlet noted. “The Trump administration executed a federal prisoner in Indiana on Nov. 19 and plans five more executions before Jan. 20, all with lethal injections.”
Biden has pledged to not allow any new federal executions and wants to eliminate capital punishment for federal offenses, ProPublica added.
During his campaign, Trump pushed a need for greater law and order, speaking out against the national unrest that took place following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and even calling for the U.S. military to intervene as some protests turned violent.
Trump, who has authorized his team to start the formal transition process but has yet to concede the race, has drawn controversy for a number of decisions that would take place in the interim between his election loss and Biden’s inauguration. As CNN reported, military leaders expect further withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan before he leaves office. As the report noted, the Pentagon sent top commanders what is known as a “warning order” to begin a drawdown of troops in both countries by January 15.
The plans have drawn pushback from some experts who said it could destabilize the region, and even normal Trump ally Sen. Mitch McConnell expressed some reservations about the plans in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
“We’re playing a limited — limited — but important role in defending American national security and American interests against terrorists who would like nothing more than for the most powerful force for good in the world to simply pick up our ball and go home,” McConnell said.