Zachary Piaker  //  4/1/19  //  Daily Update


Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference would be made public by mid-April. Even as the Mueller investigation concludes, New York state investigations into the Trump Organization are just kicking into high gear. President Trump directed the State Department to cut off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as a response to migrant caravans emerging from those countries. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Facebook with engaging in discriminatory advertising practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Seema Verma, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has spent millions of dollars of public funds on Republican communications consultants during her tenure. A federal judge blocked President Trump’s executive order lifting an Obama-era rule prohibiting gas drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic coast.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference would be made public by mid-April (NYT).

  • Read Barr’s letter to lawmakers here.
  • Natasha Bertrand, however, writes in the Atlantic that Congress may never see the full report.
  • Brianne Gorod and Ashwin Phatak argue in Take Care that Congress should request that Judge Beryl Howell release grand jury information related to the Mueller report pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e).
  • Sally Yates argues in the Washington Post that Barr should make the full report public as soon as possible.
  • Barr’s exchange with Congress presages a protracted legal battle over the release of the report, writes Harry Litman in the Washington Post.
  • Barr cannot hide the full report from Congress without violating the Constitution, Renato Mariotti argues in Politico.

The footnote in Barr’s summary of the Mueller report may contain clues as to why Mueller did not establish coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, argues Ben Steinberg in Slate.

Even as the Mueller investigation concludes, New York state investigations into the Trump Organization are just kicking into high gear, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy writes in Just Security.

Significant unanswered questions remain about Mueller’s counterintelligence findings, write Joshua Geltzer and Ryan Goodman in Just Security.

  • Nate Jones also notes in Lawfare that Barr’s summary omits any discussion of Mueller’s counterintelligence conclusions.

 

IMMIGRATION

President Trump directed the State Department to cut off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as a response to migrant caravans emerging from those countries, Katie Rogers, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Michael D. Shear report in the New York Times.

House Democrats are pushing back on the Homeland Security Department’s request for legislation that would allow the department to deport Central American unaccompanied minors quickly and detain families longer, report Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez in CNN.

  • Read Secretary Nielsen’s letter to Congress here.

The Trump Administration’s plan to repurpose military personnel funds to build the border wall is probably illegal, argues Sam Wice in Notice & Comment.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Facebook with engaging in discriminatory advertising practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, Christopher J. Willis and Scott M. Pearson write in Consumer Finance Monitor.

  • Read the Charge of Discrimination here.

 

DEMOCRACY 

Courts can examine computer simulations of tens of thousands of maps to identify egregious partisan gerrymanders that should be struck down, writes Jordan Ellenberg in Slate.

  • Read the amicus brief filed at the Supreme Court by Ellenberg and other mathematician colleagues. 

In the absence of a federal standard for policing partisan gerrymandering established by the U.S. Supreme Court, state courts might construe state constitutions to establish their own limits, Ben Williams argues in Slate.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY 

There are reasonable legal bases for a federal criminal prosecution of Jamal Khashoggi’s killers, Lee C. Bollinger argues in the Washington Post.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Seema Verma, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has spent millions of dollars of public funds on Republican communications consultants during her tenure, Adam Cancryn and Dan Diamond report in Politico.

 

REGULATION

A federal judge blocked President Trump’s executive order lifting an Obama-era rule prohibiting gas drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic coast, Coral Davenport writes in the New York Times.

  • Read the decision here.

The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee’s current push to change the EPA’s approach to risk assessment would have the effect of making it harder to prove that air pollutant pose health risks, Dan Farber argues in Legal Planet.

 

RULE OF LAW

Attorney General Bill Barr should have resigned after being ordered to direct the Justice Department to support complete invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, argues Stephen I. Vladeck in CNN.

  • Jonathan Adler questions in Reason whether anyone supports the Justice Department’s current position.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

The House Oversight Committee plans to vote this week on whether to subpoena Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for documents related to the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, Matthew Choi and Quint Forgey report in Politico.

 

FEDERALISM 

The Trump Administration approved a waiver for Utah, allowing the state to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, just days after a federal court struck down similar provisions in two other states, Robert Pear writes in the New York Times.

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

With the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, Congress must act to protect American elections from further foreign interference, Trevor Potter argues in the Hill.

 


Daily Update | May 24, 2019

5/24/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump issued a memorandum granting Attorney General Barr sweeping authority in his audit of the Russian interference investigation. A court date has been set by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the mounting subpoena case over access to the President’s financial records. The Justice Department has argued that Congress lacks the ability to sue Trump over appropriating military funds for constructing his border wall.

Daily Update | May 23, 2019

5/23/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump cut a meeting with the Democratic leadership short, as a growing Democratic chorus calls for his impeachment. The federal judiciary continues to rule against the President’s attempts to shield his affairs from public scrutiny. His former and now-imprisoned personal counsel Michael Cohen remains under investigation. Momentum builds behind an effort to abolish the Electoral College by interstate compact.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 22, 2019

5/22/19  //  Daily Update

The power struggle between the Trump Administration and Congress continues: The Democratic House moves towards impeachment, while two federal judges reject the President’s assertions of privilege. The President will appoint Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general and vocal anti-immigration hardliner, as his new immigration czar.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School