Karen Kadish  //  8/10/18  //  Daily Update


President Trump’s legal team have made a counteroffer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s proposed terms for an interview between Mr. Mueller and President Trump. The proposed terms would allow questioning on Russian collusion, but would limit inquiries regarding obstruction of justice. The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance on Wednesday, accusing the Department of Justice of undermining their autonomy by reassigning cases in order to maximize deportations. The Senate Judiciary Committee released the first set of documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House. Foreign lobbyists and their agents have spent over $530 million influencing US policy and public opinion since January, 2017.

  

TRUMP: LITIGATION AND INVESTIGATION

Confirming Brett Kavanaugh could have serious implications for the Mueller investigation, because Kavanaugh historically has not favored limitations on executive power, says Nina Totenberg on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Paul Manafort’s trial continued today with testimony from IRS Agent Michael Welsh.

  • Welsh told jurors that Manafort failed to declare more than $16 million in income over a five-year span. (WSJ)
  • Federal prosecutors have filed a complaint that the judge presiding over the trial has been unfairly critical of the prosecution, prompting the judge to apologize and instruct the jury to disregard the judge’s criticisms. (Fox News; CNN)

President Trump’s legal team have made a counteroffer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s proposed terms for an interview between Mr. Mueller and President Trump. The proposed terms would allow questioning on Russian collusion, but would limit inquiries regarding obstruction of justice. (WSJ)

 

IMMIGRATION 

The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance on Wednesday, accusing the Department of Justice of undermining their autonomy by reassigning cases in order to maximize deportations, reports Refael Bernal at The Hill.

Following lawsuits by soldiers, the Army is suspending discharges of foreign-born recruits who enlisted as part of a special military program that put them on the path for U.S. citizenship (WaPo; NYT).

The Federal District Court in Houston, Texas heard arguments about the legitimacy of DACA and whether it overstepped President Obama’s executive authority, reports Vivian Yee at The New York Times.

 

DEMOCRACY

CREW summarizes the fourteen federal investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, several of which have been forced to close due to Zinke’s lack of proper records.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

Because the United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran, Tehran has refused to speak with the Trump administration and may try to use their position to gain additional concessions, writes Suzanne Maloney at Lawfare.

Vice President Pence spoke about the Trump Administration’s plans to add a “Space Force” to the Department of Defense. This speech coincided with a Pentagon report about how a space force would be structured (Ars Technica; NYT).

National security officials worked behind the scenes to ensure that last month’s NATO meeting would not result in President Trump upending a formal policy agreement and that crucial policy concerns – such as improving allied defenses against Russia – would go through, report Helene Cooper and Julian E. Barnes at The New York Times.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Jim Tankersley analyzes how one Russian firm – led by Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Paul Manafort – managed to get an exemption to U.S. aluminum tariffs instituted by President Trump, only to lose that exemption earlier this week. (NYT)

 

REGULATION

New NAFTA talks will focus on issues such as auto trade, seasonal growers, performance reviews for the trade agreement, write Inu Manak and Simon Lester at the Cato Institute.

The Ninth Circuit ordered the EPA to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that is linked with developmental disabilities and other health problems in children, overturning the EPA’s decision to reject just such a ban in March 2017, reports Eric Lipton at The New York Times.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

The Senate Judiciary Committee released the first set of documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House, reports Jordain Carney at The Hill.

  • The documents are available here.

 

REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

Comments by David Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, highlight the political concerns Congress Republicans are balancing with the upcoming confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh and other party members’ push to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (NBC)

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

Foreign lobbyists and their agents have spent over $530 million influencing US policy and public opinion since January, 2017, writes Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog.

Florida senator Bill Nelson claims that Russia has “penetrated” some of Florida’s election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, reports Olivia Beavers at The Hill.

 

 


Daily Update | August 14, 2018

8/14/18  //  Daily Update

The District of Columbia rejects Russian company’s bid to dismiss charges brought by Robert Mueller. Omarosa Manigault Newman, former aide to President Trump, releases a recording of her firing made in the White House Situation Room. President Trump appears to admit that White House aids sign nondisclosure agreements. FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who criticized President Trump in texts, is fired. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s lawyers are prepared to counter Robert Mueller. The prosecution called its final witness in Paul Manafort’s trial. A rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, is greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 13, 2018

8/13/18  //  Daily Update

Testimony in Paul Manafort’s trial asserted that the CEO of Federal Savings Bank, which lent Manafort $16 million, wanted Manafort to get him a Cabinet-level position. A federal judge threatened to hold DOJ officials -- even Jeff Sessions -- when a mother and child were deported in the middle of their suit against the DOJ. GEO Group, a private prison that contracts to provide immigration detention centers, has threatened to sue protesters for defamation and tortious interference. The torture of a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, including waterboarding, is described in detail in cables that CIA Director Gina Haspel sent to agency headquarters in late 2002. Hacking competitions show that manipulating the U.S. elections systems is easy -- even within the capability of budding adolescent hackers. Financial trails suggest that Peter Smith, a Republican operative, may have paid Russian hackers in his quest to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing e-mails.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School