Zachary Piaker  //  12/5/18  //  Daily Update


Special Counsel Robert Mueller, citing his substantial assistance in several ongoing investigations, recommends that Michael Flynn serve no jail time. The Attorneys General of Maryland and the District of Columbia began issuing subpoenas for financial records and other documents from President Trump’s business entities as part of the litigation challenging his ongoing business entanglements as a violation of the Emoluments Clause. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a portion of a federal law that made it a crime to encourage foreigners to enter the United States illegally. State elections officials in North Carolina are investigating claims of fraud in a U.S. House race, including allegations that a contractor for the Republican candidate falsified or improperly destroyed hundreds of absentee ballots. Republican legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan are planning to strip incoming Democratic statewide officials of various official powers during the lame-duck period.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, citing his substantial assistance in several ongoing investigations, recommends in a sentencing memo that Michael Flynn serve no jail time (WaPo).

  • Read the memo here.

The Attorneys General of Maryland and the District of Columbia began issuing subpoenas for financial records and other documents from President Trump’s business entities as part of the litigation challenging his ongoing business entanglements as a violation of the Emoluments Clause (WaPo).

Donald Trump’s secret business dealings with Russia meant that he was compromised, and the American people deserve to know about any other financial conflicts of interest he maintains, Rep. Adam Schiff argues in USA Today

Michael Cohen decided to fully cooperate with prosecutors after concluding that “to begin anew he needed to speed up the legal process by quickly confessing his crimes and serving any sentence he receives,” Benjamin Weiser reports in the New York Times.

Roger Stone pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than respond to a document request by the Senate Judiciary Committee, writes Kyle Cheney in Politico.

  • Read the letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein here.
  • Sam Nunberg has agreed to meet with the committee in January as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian election interference, reports Robert Costa in the Washington Post.

 

IMMIGRATION

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a portion of a federal law that made it a crime to encourage foreigners to enter the United States illegally, writes Josh Gerstein in Politico.

  • Read the opinion here.

President Trump’s attempt to prevent some groups of people from seeking asylum is illegal, Kevin R. Johnson argues in the Sacramento Bee.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will soon hold public hearings that could shine a light on the U.S. government’s policy towards the migrant “caravans” currently seeking asylum at the southern border, Lisa Reinsberg writes in Just Security.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The Education Departments proposed changes to Title IX guidance would be a step backwards, Janet Napolitano argues in the Washington Post.

  • Read the proposed rule here.

Under existing precedent, lower federal courts are likely to continue striking down legislation severely restricting reproductive rights in Republican states, but the new Supreme Court majority could change that, writes Joanna L. Grossman in Verdict.

 

DEMOCRACY

State elections officials in North Carolina are investigating claims of fraud in a U.S. House race, including allegations that a contractor for the Republican candidate falsified or improperly destroyed hundreds of absentee ballots, writes Alan Blinder in the New York Times.

  • The House may refuse to seat Mark Harris, the apparent winner, depending on the outcome of the investigation (WaPo).
  • Republicans finally have an election fraud scandal, but don’t seem to want to talk about it, writes Perma Levy in Mother Jones.

One way to improve the electoral process would be to confirm the pending nominees to Election Assistance Commission well ahead of the 2020 elections, Matthew Weil argues in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s blog.

The National Republican Congressional Committee “suffered a major hack during the 2018 midterm campaigns, exposing thousands of sensitive emails to an outside intruder,” Alex Eisenstadt and John Bresnahan report in Politico. 

Republican legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan are planning to strip incoming Democratic statewide officials of various official powers during the lame-duck period, Russell Berman writes in the Atlantic.

  • This episode is yet another escalation of asymmetric constitutional hardball, writes Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg.

Chatbots, if left unregulated, could pose a serious threat to democracy, argues Jamie Susskind in the New York Times.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent fawning op-ed defending the Saudi Arabian government was a disgrace, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky argue in Politico.

The U.S. intends to suspend its obligations under the INF nuclear arms treaty with Russia, write Jessica Donati and Daniel Michaels in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Abandoning the treaty would be a grave mistake, argue Mikhail Gorbachev and George P. Shultz in the Washington Post.

The First Step Act being pushed by the Trump Administration is a step in the wrong direction for criminal justice reform, Keith Wattley argues in the New York Times.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Donald Trump, Jr. obtained “a stake last year in a startup whose co-chairman is a major Trump campaign fundraiser who has sought financial support from the federal government for his other business interests,” report Jake Pearson and Peter Elkind in ProPublica.

 

REGULATION

Trump Administration appointees have severely hamstrung the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Robert O’Harrow, Jr., Shawn Boburg, and Renae Merle report in the Washington Post.

The EPA plans to roll back an Obama-era regulation in order to make it easier to build new coal-fired power plants in the United States, Lisa Friedman writes in the New York Times.

 

RULE OF LAW

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker would be wise to study the history of Nixon Administration lawyers who were indicted for participating in Nixon’s legal scandals and cover-up, Jed Shugerman writes in Slate.

James Comey agreed to testify in closed session before two House committees; his legal challenge to their subpoena was unlikely to succeed, writes Andy Wright in Just Security.

Although CNN and Jim Acosta were able to win in court, the Trump White House’s new rules governing the press corps threaten the First Amendment, Neal Katyal and Bruce Brown argue in Politico.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

Pat Cipollone will begin his job as White House Counsel next week after a lengthy delay during the security-clearance process, Eliana Johnson reports in Politico.

 

REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

No single news event will end the Trump presidency, but the Mueller investigation is like a siege that is slowly encircling the White House, write Benjamin Wittes and Mikhaila Fogel in the Atlantic.

 


Daily Update | May 31, 2019

5/31/19  //  Daily Update

Trump implied in a tweet that Russia did in fact help him get elected—and quickly moved to clarify. Mueller relied on OLC precedent in his comments earlier this week. Nancy Pelosi continues to stone-wall on impeachment.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 30, 2019

5/30/19  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a statement regarding the Russia investigation. Mitch McConnell says that Republicans would fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020 even if it occurs during the presidential election. A recent decision from AG Barr may deprive asylum seekers from a key protection against prolonged imprisonment. A federal judge has agreed to put the House subpoenas for the President’s banking records on hold while he appeals a ruling refusing to block them.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | May 29, 2019

5/29/19  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration will soon intensify its efforts to reverse Obama-era climate change regulations by attacking the science that supports it. The Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law regulating the disposal of fetal remains, effectively punting on a major abortion rights decision. The Court also declined to hear a challenge to a Pennsylvania school district’s policy of allowing students to use the restroom that best aligns with their own gender identity on a case-by-case basis.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School