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Trump Administration Lawyers To Assess Legal Implications Of Paris Climate Deal

Andrew Restuccia, Politico

Trump administration lawyers plan to meet Monday to discuss the legal implications of remaining in the Paris climate change agreement, two people familiar with the meeting told POLITICO.

Critics of the 2015 accord have quietly been mounting a behind-the-scenes effort to convince President Donald Trump that sticking with the deal would pose legal hurdles.

The meeting is expected to include lawyers from the White House, National Security Council, State Department and Justice Department, the sources said, though they said the list of attendees and timing could still change.

A Thursday meeting of Trump administration officials about the Paris agreement focused largely on legal issues. Critics of the deal, led by chief strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Ageny Administrator Scott Pruitt, have pushed several legal arguments, including that the Paris deal restricts countries from weakening their domestic emissions-reduction targets and that any decision to remain could be used in court to counter the administration’s bid to undo former President Barack Obama’s climate regulations for power plants.

The Monday meeting was organized after Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a proponent of remaining in Paris, called for a deeper assessment of those legal questions after the issue bubbled to the forefront on Thursday, sources said. Backers of the accord were surprised when the White House Counsel’s Office signaled during the Thursday meeting that it agreed with Pruitt’s legal concerns.

Current and former State Department officials strongly disagree with Pruitt’s contentions about the legal issues.

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