Nicandro Iannacci  //  6/10/19  //  Daily Update


President Trump withdrew his tariff threat after the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement on migration. A federal judge in D.C. ordered the release of certain redacted sections of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos of conversations with President Trump. At the instruction of the White House, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach refused to answer several questions from the House Oversight Committee about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The FTC sent top antitrust officials to Silicon Valley to seek out complaints about anticompetitive behavior, signaling a greater interest in policing the tech industry.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

A federal appeals court in D.C. ordered the release of certain sealed documents in a legal dispute between an unnamed foreign company and Special Counsel Robert Mueller (The Hill).

  • The order of the D.C. Circuit panel is here.

A federal judge in D.C. ordered the release of certain redacted sections of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos of conversations with President Trump (The Hill).

  • The opinion of Judge James Boasberg of the District Court for the District of Columbia is here.

Although he was always unlikely to end his probe to bipartisan acclaim, Special Counsel Mueller tried to do his work “by the book” while occasionally pushing boundaries, writes Bob Bauer at Lawfare.

Special Counsel Mueller’s decision not to make a formal judgment on obstruction of justice charges may have been a smart move to maximize information available to Congress and the public, writes Randall D. Eliason at The Washington Post.

Here are four “disturbing” details from the Mueller Report that you may have missed, writes Quinta Jurecic at The New York Times.

 

IMMIGRATION

President Trump withdrew his tariff threat after the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement on migration (NYT, WSJ, BuzzFeed).

  • The joint statement from the U.S. and Mexico is here.
  • However, the agreement may largely consist of actions Mexico had already agreed to in prior discussions over the last several months (NYT).
  • President Trump disputed the claim and insisted that the agreement contains provisions that have not yet been announced (NYT, Politico).
  • Even after the agreement was announced, the president raised the threat of tariffs if Mexico does not cooperate on border issues (AP).
  • Tariffs would not discourage migration and may make the problem worse, writes Carla A. Hills at The Washington Post.

The Trump administration is seeking to revoke citizenship from a naturalized citizen convicted of terrorism (Politico).

In a new report, the GAO concludes that ICE has deported many immigrant veterans without following proper screening procedures (WaPo, ImmigrationProf).

  • The GAO report is here.

Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador rose again in the last month, totaling 1.3 percent of the combined population of those countries, writes Alex Nowrasteh at Cato at Liberty.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

A new rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services prevents home health care workers from deducting union dues from their paychecks (Disability Scoop).

Several U.S. embassies are still raising LGBT pride flags in defiance of State Department procedures and orders (WaPo).

 

DEMOCRACY

At the instruction of the White House, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach refused to answer several questions from the House Oversight Committee about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census (WaPo, The Hill, Politico, Election Law Blog).

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he would move forward with contempt votes for AG Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after they refused to turn over documents related to the 2020 Census investigation (The Hill, WSJ).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

Acting OMB Director Russell T. Vought is seeking a delay of restrictions on business with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei (WSJ).

The Pentagon said it will stop training Turkish pilots to fly F-35 aircraft in response to Turkey’s pursuit of an arms deal with Russia (WaPo, NYT, WSJ).

Officials at the G-20 meeting issued a closing statement expressing concern that the trade war between the U.S. and China could send the global economy into a crisis (NYT, WSJ).

  • Earlier at the conference, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blamed China for the failed talks and threatened tariffs (NYT).

The Trump administration’s emergency sale of arms to Saudi Arabia includes a provision allowing a top U.S. defense firm to build high-tech bomb parts in that country (NYT).

AG Bill Barr is gaining power and influence in the Trump administration, but observers are wondering if that’s a boon or threat to the rule of law (NYT)

The U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty may block the extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S., raising questions about the DOJ’s charges and strategy, writes John T. Nelson at Just Security.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

New documents show that DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken no steps to recuse herself from matters involving brain performance company Neurocore, in which she has a financial interest (CREW).

 

REGULATION

The White House tried to prevent a State Department intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee (NYT).

DOE Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones is leading the DOE’s overhaul of the accreditation system, loosening restrictions to promote for-profit and religiously affiliated schools (NYT).

The White House rebuffed a request from numerous U.S. and foreign businesses to reconsider the repeal of Obama-era fuel efficiency requirements, with the EPA-DOT proposal likely to be finalized this summer (WaPo, WSJ).

The FCC voted unanimously to allow wireless phone companies to automatically block unwanted robocalls unless their subscribers opt out (Politico, Consumer Finance Monitor).

The FTC sent top antitrust officials to Silicon Valley to seek out complaints about anticompetitive behavior, signaling a greater interest in policing the tech industry (Politico).

The Trump administration is undermining science at the USDA through budget cuts and other policies, write Gale A. Buchanan and Catherine E. Woteki at The Washington Post.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

The next wave of congressional subpoena will pit Congress’s oversight power against the Trump administration’s claims of executive privilege, writes Andy Wright at Just Security.

 

REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

Democrats are wrestling with the question of impeachment and are split into different camps about how to approach the problem (WaPo).


Daily Update | August 21, 2019

8/21/19  //  Daily Update

House Democrats asked a D.C. federal judge to expedite the release of President Trump’s tax returns. Days after indicating his support for federal background-check legislation, the President reportedly reversed course in a call with NRA officials. The NYPD fired the officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner in 2014. The Trump administration told the Supreme Court that its attempt to end DACA was lawful.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | August 20, 2019

8/20/19  //  Daily Update

DOJ asked the Second Circuit to block House subpoenas for President Trump’s financial records. Civil rights groups filed suit against ICE over the quality of medical and mental health care at detention facilities. HUD proposed a rule that would make it substantially more difficult for plaintiffs to bring “disparate impact” claims under the Fair Housing Act. Planned Parenthood announced that it will withdraw from the Title X family planning program rather than comply with a Trump administration prohibition on abortion referrals. In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, AG Bill Barr announced that former Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer will replace Acting Director Hugh Hurwitz as the new director.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 16, 2019

8/16/19  //  Daily Update

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski and former White House aide, Rick Dearborn, regarding President Trump’s potential obstruction of justice. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a court order requiring the Trump Administration provide hygiene supplies to children in the Rio Grande Valley detention facilities. The Israeli government announced that Representatives Omar and Tlaib are prohibited from visiting Israel during their upcoming trip after President Trump advocated for the prohibition on Twitter.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School