Jacob Miller, Ian Eppler  //  2/13/18  //  Daily Update


President Trump released his budget proposal, which includes a substantial increase in military spending and additional infrastructure funding but cuts other domestic programs such as Medicare. The Human Rights Campaign released a statement calling the Trump administration’s proposed budget ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ for its cuts to programs critical to the safety of LGBTQ people. Attorney General Jeff Sessions deviated from prepared remarks to the National Sheriffs Association to emphasize the ‘Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.’ Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand left her job due to frustration at the slow pace of nominations for Department of Justice positions and concern that she would be expected to supervise the Mueller investigation if President Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

 

IMMIGRATION

The Senate voted 97-1 to begin a week of open debate around potential immigration legislation with the deadline for replacing DACA less than a month away (NYTimes, WaPo, LATimes, Politico).

Failing to pass legislation replacing DACA would horribly hurt 700,000 people for essentially no reason, argues Donald E. Graham in the Washington Post.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement calling the Trump administration’s proposed budget ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ for its cuts to programs critical to the safety of LGBTQ people.

  • Read the statement here.

The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services worked with the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom in drafting its Planned Parenthood policy (Politico).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions deviated from prepared remarks to the National Sheriffs Association to emphasize the ‘Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement’ (CNN).

 

DEMOCRACY

Republican advantages for Congressional races are decreasing with reversals of gerrymandering and incumbents retiring, writes Nate Cohn for the New York Times.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

President Trump’s proposed budget would raise defense spending to $716 billion for 2019, a 13 percent increase (WaPo, LATimes).

The Trump administration faces new questions over its vetting for security clearance amid Rob Porter being accused of domestic abuse (Politico, NYTimes).

President Trump rarely condemns flagrant human rights abuses overseas, except as a political strategy to gain support for oppressive policies, argues Princeton professor Gary Bass for the New York Times.

  

REGULATION

President Trump released his budget proposal, which includes a substantial increase in military spending and additional infrastructure funding but cuts other domestic programs such as Medicare and substantially increases the deficit (NYTimes, Politico, WaPo, WSJ)

  • The budget proposal would slash food stamps, housing assistance, and other programs for low-income Americans (WaPo).
  • Much of the burden of new development would be placed on local governments under the infrastructure proposal (WSJ).
  • The infrastructure proposal would underfund transit projects in blue states (Politico).
  • The budget proposal would terminate the student loan forgiveness program (CNBC).
  • Economists expressed skepticism of the infrastructure proposal (Politico).
  • The infrastructure proposal inappropriately focuses on new construction rather than repairing existing elements, argues Randal O’Toole at Cato@Liberty.
  • There would be a 23% cut to the EPA’s budget (WaPo).
  • Environmental impact reviews would be accelerated under the infrastructure proposal (The Hill).
  • The infrastructure proposal would sell off several publicly owned assets, including Washington’s Reagan National and Dulles Airports (Politico, WaPo).
  • The budget proposal reduces Department of Education funding and creates funding for school voucher programs (Cato@Liberty).

President Trump’s nominee to oversee the 2020 census withdrew from consideration (The Hill).

Unlike past Environmental Protection Agency administrators, Scott Pruitt has traveled extensively in first class, claiming alleged security needs (WaPo).

 

RULE OF LAW

Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand left her job due to frustration at the slow pace of nominations for Department of Justice positions and concern that she would be expected to supervise the Mueller investigation if President Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (NBC).

  • Brand’s departure indicates that President Trump may be succeeding in his efforts to politicize the Department of Justice, argues Julian Sanchez at Just Security.

The contempt for judicial decisionmaking shown by the Trump administration and other Republican figures threatens the rule of law, writes Garrett Epps in the Atlantic.

  • But the judicial response to President Trump may threaten the role of the judiciary, contends Josh Blackman at Lawfare.

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE 

The Trump administration will agree to the release of a memo prepared by Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee that rebuts claims in the “Nunes memo” once proper redactions are made, claimed President Trump’s legislative affairs director (Politico).

Even if President Trump invokes his Fifth Amendment rights, the Special Counsel could grant him immunity and compel him to testify, notes Alex Whiting at Just Security.

President Trump’s budget proposal anticipates that the Special Counsel investigation will continue into 2019 (Politico).

Recently released emails reveal that the Obama administration was concerned about sharing information regarding Russia with the incoming Trump administration (Politico).

The Department of Homeland Security disputed reports that Russian hackers had accessed voter rolls prior to the 2016 election (The Hill).

The debate over the Nunes memo and the Democratic response indicate the need for the House and Senate to revise their rules to allow for disclosure of information without presidential approval to avoid breaching the separation of powers, argues Patrick Eddington at Cato@Liberty.

 

And that's our update today! Thanks for reading. We cover a lot of ground, so our updates are inevitably a partial selection of relevant legal commentary.  

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Daily Update | May 25, 2018

5/25/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump cancelled his June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The FBI is working to halt a “massive, sophisticated” Russian hacking network. Civil rights groups issued searing criticism of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s claim that the law permits schools to report undocumented students to immigration enforcement. The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review froze the appeal in the 9/11 case, United States v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, et al., because it currently lacks a quorum. President Trump signed into law rollbacks of some Dodd-Frank regulations. The DOJ is opening a criminal investigation into bitcoin trading and potential price manipulation. Former President Obama called for stricter regulation of technology firms’ use of user data.

Daily Update | May 24, 2018

5/24/18  //  Daily Update

A federal judge ruled that President Trump’s decision to block Twitter users based on their political views constitutes a violation of the First Amendment. Moderate House Republicans demand a vote on immigration. President Trump says he will cancel a proposed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un unless the North Korean regime first accepts a list of unspecified demands. The FBI admits overstating the number of locked smartphones it has been unable to access because of encryption. The EPA bars reporters from a national summit on toxic chemicals. The White House sets a meeting for Republican congressional leaders regarding an F.B.I. informant who contacted members of the Trump campaign during the Russia investigation.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 23, 2018

5/23/18  //  Daily Update

By demanding that DOJ open an investigation into the FBI’s scrutiny of his campaign contacts with Russia, President Trump came closer to breaching an established restraint on executive power. The administration’s decision to hold migrant children on U.S. military bases while their parents await trial for illegal entry into the U.S. raises many concerns about traumatic effects on children. President Trump’s proposal for new abortion restrictions on federal family planning money would bar doctors from informing a woman where she could go to receive an abortion, unless she said she had already decided to end her pregnancy. President Trump is making the recruitment of intelligence sources even more difficult. The EPA booted reporters from a meeting about toxic chemicals.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School