Marco Rubio says State Department staff were ordered not to talk to Congress about Trump's executive order

Marco Rubio has questions about Trump executive order
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that he's been asking the State Department for clarification about the chaotically rolled-out executive order on refugees and immigration President Trump signed Friday, noting that Florida's tourist-heavy economy is at risk. "My staff was told the State Department, as of today, was ordered not to talk to Congress about this issue," Rubio said. When a reporter asked him why, Rubio said he did not know, suggesting "they're still kind of working through how this is going to apply, so perhaps they don't want to give us information that is wrong."

"We reached out to State Department, and we were told the directive was that they were not to share any information today," Rubio repeated later. "Again, I suppose its because they aren't clear what to tell us yet, but that cannot be a permanent position. We expect answers here fairly soon because we have constituents calling." State Department spokesman Mark Toner kind of disputed that, saying "the department remains in contact with members of Congress who have reached out regarding the executive orders, and will continue to provide information and assistance as we are able." That last part seems to be the key. "From what I’ve heard from multiple agencies," Rubio said, "there's still significant questions about how this is supposed to be applied." Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is set to meet with House lawmakers about the executive order on Tuesday.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.