Trump’s radical second-term agenda would exercise executive power in unprecedented ways


A massive operation to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

A purge of the federal workforce of anyone deemed disloyal.

Exercise of federal law enforcement power against political enemies.

As he seeks to return to the Oval Office, former President Donald Trump and his allies have promised a sweeping transformation of the federal government that would wield the power of the executive branch in radical and unprecedented ways.

The agenda they’re crafting would carry Trump’s hard-line stances into practice, which he has publicly voiced during his recent presidential campaign, and will almost certainly face a series of legal and political challenges.

Behind the scenes, Trump-aligned outside groups have been working to draft executive orders, study the Constitution in anticipation of legal challenges and look for solutions that could give Trump the power to invoke some of these policies on day one should he regain power.

These outside loyalists are keenly aware of the chaos and disorganization of Trump’s first term. Now at the helm of a number of conservative groups in Washington, they are waiting in the wings, helping to structure a plan that would set the wheels in motion to implement the sweeping agenda.

Project 2025, a transition project run by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, has brought many of these groups together to “pave the way for an effective conservative administration.”

Efforts by outside groups to map out the legal and political specifications of a second Trump term were recently met with pushback from Trump’s official campaign apparatus.

“The efforts of various nonprofit groups are certainly appreciated and can be tremendously helpful. However, none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign,” campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita wrote in a statement.

Still, the broad outlines of Trump’s agenda have been laid out by the former president himself on the trail, as well as in a series of videos and publications released by the campaign.

Trump’s campaign has recently brought in policy-focused hires who will help craft his policy messages and eventually look at proposals from various conservative groups. The goal is to draft executive orders — on everything from immigration to removing government protections for officials — that Trump can sign on day one of a potential second administration.

Trump’s plan includes asserting more White House control over the Justice Department, an institution the former president has said he would use to seek revenge on his critics, including former allies.

“I’m going to appoint a very special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family,” the former president said in June after his arraignment in Florida. “I will completely wipe out the Deep State.”

During a recent interview with Univision, Trump took it a step further.

“If I happen to be president and I see someone doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and impeach them,” he said.

Despite the long-standing tradition of the DOJ and several other smaller government agencies operating independently, those in Trump’s inner circle have referred to those agencies as an “administrative deep state” and “rogue fourth branch of government” that they believe should answer to the president as a part of the executive branch.

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In videos and speeches, he has laid out his plans to kill the current justice system by firing “radical Marxist prosecutors who are destroying America.”

It is part of a broader effort that would dismantle legal restrictions and traditional protections against political interference and give the White House more authority to install ideological allies throughout the federal government.

If Trump is elected next year and pursues the plan his campaign and allies are now developing, legal experts say it would lead to years of legal battles and political clashes with Congress over the limits of the president’s authority.

“To some extent, we would be in uncharted territory,” said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a CNN legal analyst. “A lot of the relevant restrictions have been norms and not regulations. Those norms were enforced not by lawsuits, those norms were enforced politically. The reality of another Trump administration is going to be a lot of new lawsuits about this kind of abuse of what there were historically norms that limited executive power.”

Part of Trump’s plans would reclassify tens of thousands of civil servants — who typically stay on the job while presidents and their administrations change — as at-will employees, a move that would make it much easier to fire them.

Trump said in a video in March that he would sign an executive order doing what he said would allow him “to remove rogue bureaucrats.” He promised to “exercise that power very aggressively.”

“We’re going to clean out all the corrupt actors in our national security and intelligence apparatus, and there are plenty of them,” Trump said. “The departments and agencies that have been weaponized will be completely overhauled so that faceless bureaucrats will never again be able to target and persecute conservative, Christian or left-wing political enemies.”

Privately, Trump has blamed some of these career government employees as the reason some of his policy proposals were not enacted quickly during his first term and called for loyalists with similar ideology to be installed in all areas of government.

Part of Project 2025’s goal is to build a database of vetted potential conservative staffers that a future Republican president could draw from, which one source referred to as “a conservative LinkedIn.” The database, managed by technology company Oracle, has seen thousands of applications and hopes to have thousands of vetted prospects for a future administration in place for a potential transition.

While a source familiar with the program said there were currently no FBI-level background checks or loyalty tests for applicants, resumes are flagged with potential “red flags” that would allow a new administration to draw their own conclusions about possible employment.

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Trump also plans a sweeping expansion of his previous administration’s tough immigration policies if elected in 2024, which would limit both legal and illegal immigration.

“Stopping the invasion at our southern border is an urgent national security imperative and one of President Trump’s top priorities. For that reason, in his own speeches and the Agenda 47 platform, he has laid out by far the most detailed program to secure the border, stop illegal immigration and remove those who should never have been allowed in our country in the first place,” a Trump campaign spokesman said in a statement to CNN.

The plans would include rounding up undocumented immigrants already in the United States and placing them in detention camps to await deportation, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to CNN.

The proposals would necessitate the building of large camps to house migrants awaiting deportation and the wiretapping of federal and local law enforcement to assist in large-scale arrests of undocumented immigrants across the country.

Should Congress refuse to fund the operation, Trump could turn to a tactic used in his first term to secure more funding for a border wall — diverting funds from the Pentagon, the source confirmed.

Trump has publicly said he wants to revive many of his first-time immigration policies to limit both legal and illegal immigration — including reinstating and expanding a travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries and rolling back a Covid-era policy known as Title 42. to further limit immigration into the country, although this time it would be based on the claim that migrants carry other infectious diseases.

Trump also promised to “rescind all work permits for illegal aliens and demand that Congress send me a bill banning all welfare payments to illegal migrants of any kind.”

The former president also warned about caravans coming from Mexico to the US border and vowed to prosecute groups and charities that he claimed facilitated large-scale illegal immigration.

In another term, Trump also plans to drastically reshape the lives of Americans when it comes to policies that affect law enforcement, trade and the social safety net.

The former president has said he would require local law enforcement agencies to use the controversial stop-and-frisk police practice in order to receive some Justice Department funding. He has also suggested that he would deploy the National Guard to cities dealing with high levels of crime.

Another policy aimed at combating homelessness calls for the creation of “tent cities” on “cheap land” that would be staffed by health workers, giving people a choice between moving or going to jail.

When it comes to the economy, Trump has floated across-the-board tariffs on all imported goods, signaling an aggressive approach to trade policy focused on China.

“When companies come in and they dump their products in the United States, they have to pay automatically, let’s say a 10 percent tax,” Trump said during an interview with Larry Kudlow on Fox Business.

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