Eve Levin, Caroline Cox  //  3/1/18  //  Daily Update


The Trump Administration submitted a brief requesting the Supreme Court deny a request to review a second case on the Administration’s travel ban. President Trump lambasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, criticizing Sessions’s statement that the DOJ Inspector General would investigate alleged surveillance abuses. The Supreme Court heard a case today challenging the constitutionality of laws restricting political clothing at polling places. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether Jared Kushner pursued his business and family’s interests under the pretext of serving U.S. foreign policy. Washington state passed a net neutrality law that applies to all ISPs in the state.

 

IMMIGRATION

The Trump Administration submitted a brief requesting the Supreme Court deny a request to review a second case on the Administration’s travel ban (Lyle Denniston Law News).

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who President Trump attacked for his rulings on a Trump University lawsuit, decided in favor of the Trump Administration in a lawsuit seeking to stop the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall (The Hill).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

President Trump’s continued statements denigrating the judicial system threaten democracy, argues Nicole Ndumele of Protect Democracy at Take Care.

President Trump is urging lawmakers to pass stronger gun control legislation, including expanded background checks and raising age requirements on gun sales (NYT, WSJ). 

President Trump’s suggestion to involuntarily commit individuals deemed to be a gun violence risk is poor policy, argues Ari Ne’eman at the ACLU.

A Guantánamo detainee believes that President Trump’s election cost him his chance at freedom, writes Amos Barshad at The Marshall Project.

 

DEMOCRACY

The Supreme Court heard a case today challenging the constitutionality of laws restricting political clothing at polling places (The Hill; WaPo).

  • SCOTUSblog offers an overview of the oral arguments.
  • Ilya Shapiro provides his analysis or the oral arguments at Cato.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

President Trump is attacking both Attorney General Sessions and Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz on Twitter for the decision to refer a probe of the DOJ’s handling of secret surveillance warrants (Just Security, NYT).

Attorney General Sessions is defending his decision to hand over the investigation into the surveillance warrants program (WSJ).

Despite emerging diplomatic opportunities with North Korea, the United States is continuing to consider military strategies in the region (NYT).

 The Justice Department announced that it is planning to crack down on opioid makers (NYT).

The United States has lost its key Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS (NYT).

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether Jared Kushner pursued his business and family’s interests under the pretext of serving U.S. foreign policy (NYT).

  • The Washington Post previously reported that at least four countries—the UAE, China, Israel, and Mexico—had discussed ways to exploit Kushner’s business interests.
  • Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may be more effective advisors to the President from outside the White House, suggests the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.
  • Kushner continued with government business as usual on Wednesday despite his security downgrade (Politico).

980 days before the next election, President Trump announced that Brad Parscale, a close associate of Jared Kushner, would run his 2020 reelection campaign (NYT).

The purchase of a $31,000 dining set for HUD Secretary Ben Carson is par for the course in this administration’s history of frivolous spending, writes Herlaine Olen (WaPo).

 

REGULATION

The President’s legacy so far is one of “radical, private-sector, jobs-obsessed conservatism” evidenced by extreme deregulationwrites Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal.

Rigorous benefit-cost analysis has largely fallen by the wayside in the Trump Administration, but four reforms might help save it, argues Stuart Shapiro at the Regulatory Review.

Rules promulgated by career civil servants not appointed as “Officers of the United States” are invalid, claims the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved President Trump’s nominees to the FTC and the nominees will now be submitted to the full Senate (The Hill).

The FCC will vote on a deregulatory proposal to remove environmental impact reviews and other requirements for wireless facilities deploying 5G networks (The Hill).

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was named the “Worst Member of the Trump Administration” in a New York Times poll (NYT).

Detractors and supporters of the tax overhaul are racing to gather data about how companies are spending and distributing their windfall (NYT).

A carve-out in the reformed tax code that benefits farm cooperatives is a “GOP embarrassment” with “no economic rationale,” argues the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

The SEC initiated an aggressive probe of technology companies in the cryptocurrency market (WSJ).

President Trump’s plan to open 95% of the continental shelf to offshore drilling is facing bipartisan pushback (WaPo).

 

RULE OF LAW

President Trump lambasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, criticizing Sessions’s statement that the DOJ Inspector General would investigate alleged surveillance abuses (WaPoNYT).

  • Sessions rebuffed the attack, arguing that his actions were appropriate and that he would serve with “integrity and honor” (WSJPolitico).
  • The President’s attacks are dangerous, misleading, and bizarre,writes Kate Brannen at Just Security.
  • The President could resolve his own complaints about slow investigations by declassifying FBI and DOJ documents, writes the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

Analysis of this week’s oral arguments in United States v. Microsoft continues.

  • The case probably will not be resolved along ideological lines, observes Andrew Keane Woods in a detailed analysis at Lawfare.
  • Ellen Nakashima provides a recap of key moments in the argument at the Washington Post.

Trump communications director Hope Hicks told the House Intelligence Committee that her job occasionally requires white lies but that she had not lied about Russian interference (NYT).

  • Hicks is resigning but says the resignation is unrelated to the testimony or investigation (NYTWSJWaPo).
  • The resignation means the White House will be “without an expert Trump translator” (Politico).
  • The departure of the fifth director in thirteen months shows the unique challenges of the role under President Trump, writes Matthew Nussbaum at Politico.
  • Hicks’s recognition that she was lying is significant in an administration that struggles to distinguish fact from fiction, opines Dana Milbank at the Washington Post.
  • Jennifer Rubin argues that the departure may be legally bad for the President, also at the Washington Post.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

President Trump’s escalating attacks on the judiciary are an attack on democracy itself, writes Nicole Ndumele at Take Care.

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s thirteenth federal court of appeals judge, Elizabeth Branch, by a 73 to 23 vote (Washington Times).

 

FEDERALISM

Washington state passed a net neutrality law that applies to all ISPs in the state, flouting the FCC’s decision to repeal the federal net neutrality rules (Ars Technica).

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

DHS repudiated an NBC News report that Russia breached voting sites and systems in seven states before the 2016 election (The Hill).

  • Rick Hasen notes that election officials and observers are siding with DHS (Election Law Blog).

It’s not clear that the U.S. military or the NSA—with or without a presidential order—can do much to prevent Russian cyber interference, writes Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica.

The Russians indicted for inferring in the 2016 election won’t be extradited, suggesting the indictment was unsealed to legitimize the investigation, argues Daniel Goldman at ACSBlog.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators are questioning witnesses about President Trump’s knowledge of the hacking and publication of DNC and Clinton campaign emails (NBC News).

Mueller’s investigation is honing in on President Trump’s attempts to push out Attorney General Jeff Sessions as part of a pattern of obstruction of justice (WaPo).

Mueller agreed to give Rick Gates more liberties, including ending GPS monitoring and more travel flexibility, in exchange for greater cooperation in the Russia investigation (Politico).


Daily Update | December 18, 2018

12/18/18  //  Daily Update

Two business associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn were indicted for conspiring to serve as unregistered foreign agents of Turkey and lying to federal investigators. Congressional Republicans continue to attempt to convince President Trump not to shut down the government if there is no funding allocated for a border wall. Democrats in Michigan have turned to Governor Rick Snyder in hopes of blocking Republican legislation that would strip significant authority from the Democratic Secretary of State and Attorney General. An official statement from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sharply criticized the United States Senate for claiming that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was at least partially responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The Senate Intelligence Committee released two reports on Russian social media activity during the 2016 election. Russian disinformation teams targeted special counsel Robert Mueller with claims that he was corrupt and had ties to extremist groups.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 17, 2018

12/17/18  //  Daily Update

A federal district judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act after the Trump administration declined to defend the law. Nearly every organization that President Trump has led in the past decade is under criminal investigation. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned after allegations of financial misconduct. Two years after its publication, many of the claims in the Steele dossier have been confirmed by other investigations. Kim Jong-un publicly warned that increased sanctions from the United States could end any chance of North Korean denuclearization. The Trump administration has aggressively sought to expedite high-profile cases to the Supreme Court in the hopes of securing victories from its conservative majority. A new report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee reveals that Russian government support for President Trump on social media was more widespread than previously known.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 14, 2018

12/14/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump claimed he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” and publicly criticized his former attorney following Cohen’s sentence to three years in jail. A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after being taken into Border Patrol custody a week ago according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The United States Senate voted 56 to 41 to withdraw American military assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen, going against President Trump’s defense of the nation following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed two requests at the Supreme Court asking it to stay injunctions from three lower courts on the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military. National security advisor John Bolton outlined a new strategy for the The Trump administration in Africa aimed primarily at opposing China. Maria Butina pled guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent, and agreed to cooperate with with federal prosecutors going forward.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School