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 | October 18, 2018

10/18/18  //  Daily Update

White House Counsel Donald McGahn resigned his post. The number of migrant families crossing the border reached record levels in the last three months, leading President Trump to call for a reinstatement of the family separation policy. The U.S. received $100 million in Syrian stabilization support from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, raising questions about the timing of the transfer in light of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration plans to withdraw from the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty, which allows Chinese companies to ship small packages to the U.S. at a heavily discounted rate. The White House revealed its Unified Agenda, proposing additional deregulation and predicting a decrease between $120 and $340 billion in regulatory costs by the end of fiscal year 2019. A senior Treasury Department employee was charged with leaking confidential financial reports, some of which related to the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | October 17, 2018

10/17/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration has falsely and dangerously connected immigration to terrorism in promoting policies. President Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras unless a group of migrants fleeing violence are stopped and returned to the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent to Saudi Arabia to speak with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ongoing concerns over the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Rejecting an industry challenge, a D.C. Circuit Court judge allowed an Obama-era student loan protection for graduates of for-profit colleges to go into effect. DHS’s intelligence assessment reported that the volume of attempted cyber-attacks on election systems in 2018 has been growing, but some argue this may reflect improved reporting and sharing between governments, rather than an “uptick in activity.” President Trump criticized Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for raising interest rates too fast, referring to the bank as his “biggest threat.”

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | October 16, 2018

10/16/18  //  Daily Update

The “Watergate Road Map” will be largely unsealed after a lawsuit, improving public understanding a potential report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. With the midterms less than a month away, federal agencies have not yet finalized plans for countering foreign interference in the 2018 election. The Department of Homeland Security has noted an increasing number of attempts to hack US election systems in the leadup to the midterms, but all attacks have been unsuccessful. Despite his ongoing rhetorical conflicts with President Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reshaped the military. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation that would require the agency to use only publicly available data in cost-benefit analysis is a boon for transparency and scientific rigor.