Jeffrey Stein  //  3/2/18  //  Daily Update


According to a new poll, more than 80% of Americans favor continuing the DACA program. U.S. counterintelligence officials, including the FBI, are scrutinizing Ivanka Trump's negotiations and financing surrounding the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. Starting on March 1, more than 1,000 employees of the federal judiciary became subject to a policy that prohibits them from partisan political activity, including campaign contributions. Vladimir Putin used his annual state of the nation speech to threaten Western nations with a new generation of nuclear weapons and to reassure Russians that new social spending will benefit their lives.

 

IMMIGRATION

Despite the Trump administration’s pledge to help religious minorities in the Middle East, one hundred Iranian Christians remain stranded in Vienna after their applications for refugee status were denied by the United States (NYT).

Law enforcement officials at local, state and federal levels describe the Trump administration’s hard-charging campaign against MS-13 as out of proportion with the threat (NYT).

According to a new poll, more than 80% of Americans favor continuing the DACA program (CNN).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The federal trial over a Kansas law requiring people to show citizenship documents like a birth certificate or passport when registering to vote begins this week in Kansas City  (ACLU).

Two groups are suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department for documents they say show agency officials are making policy decisions that harm LGBT individuals (The Hill).

 

DEMOCRACY

Starting on March 1, more than 1,000 employees of the federal judiciary became subject to a policy that prohibits them from partisan political activity, including campaign contributions (ABA Journal).

The outcome of Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the Supreme Court case challenging Minnesota’s prohibition on political clothing at polling places, could affect what Californians wear to the polls (KPCC).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY 

The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer (NYT).

Vladimir Putin used his annual state of the nation speech to threaten Western nations with a new generation of nuclear weapons and to reassure Russians that new social spending will benefit their lives (NYT).

President Trump made an unexpected appearance at a White House summit on the opioid crisis, floating penalties for "opioid companies" and tougher punishments for drug dealers (CBS News).

Attorney General Sessions abandoned his customary reserve in the face of presidential displeasure and issued a statement in his own defense, which may imply that he views his role as a first line of defense, writes Bob Bauer at Lawfare.

The Trump administration signaled that it plans to sell the Ukrainian government Javelin anti-tank missiles, which could be used to combat Russian-backed separatists (WaPo).

If initial reports are confirmed that North Korea has been supplying Syria with components for its chemical weapons and ballistic missiles programs, it’s likely that both countries violated international law, argues Megan Reiss at Lawfare.

A joint resolution calling for the removal of U.S. armed forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen brings new attention to the legality of the U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen under the War Powers Resolution (Just Security).

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has traveled to Central America to determine whether she can push counternarcotics and anti-corruption initiatives at the United Nations (WaPo).

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST 

U.S. counterintelligence officials, including the FBI, are scrutinizing Ivanka Trump's negotiations and financing surrounding the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver (CNN).

 

REGULATION

President Trump said that he would impose stiff tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, making good on a key campaign promise and rattling stock markets as the prospect of a global trade fight appeared imminent (NYT).

  • President Trump’s announcement will lead to less stability, argues Daniel J. Ikenson at Cato.
  • The tariffs may undermine an entire system of global trade, writes Neil Irwin at the New York Times.

The Treasury Department and IRS released a new online calculator that allows taxpayers to figure out if they should make changes to their tax withholding under the new tax law (The Hill).

The Trump administration’s draft annual report on the costs and benefits of federal regulations is a corrective to the noisiest claims, from both the White House and its critics, on the whole topic of regulation, argues Cass R. Sunstein in Bloomberg.

Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney said he thinks he could remain in charge of the agency for as long as another six months (The Hill).

Senators have introduced a bill to ban bump stocks, arguing legislation is still needed despite President Trump's promise to sign an executive order making the devices illegal (The Hill).

 

FEDERALISM

Reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is sharing information with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is significant because presidential pardons for Trump family members might not protect them against state civil suits or criminal prosecution for conduct that also violates state laws (ACS Blog).


RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE  

Rep. Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he shares a top admiral’s concern that Russia has not paid a high enough price to deter it from future actions like its meddling in the 2016 election (The Hill).

Democrats are increasing their attacks on the Trump administration over its inaction against Russian hacking and disinformation (The Hill).

Russia, China and other countries waging cyberattacks on the United States have not been deterred and do not fear any retaliation, according to the Army general President Trump has chosen to be the new chief of U.S. Cyber Command (Washington Examiner).

 


Daily Update | September 21, 2018

9/21/18  //  Daily Update

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says she would agree to testify at a Senate hearing next week, but would not be prepared to do so on Monday. The Trump Administration plans to shift $260 million from program like cancer research and AIDS prevention to cover the cost of housing thousands of undocumented immigrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Pentagon stopped announcing body counts of Taliban and Islamic State fighters killed in battle in Afghanistan, a practice which had begun in January. The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has begun dismantling decades-old policies meant to improve racial disparities in youth incarceration. A number of Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin managed to build relationships with elements of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | September 20, 2018

9/20/18  //  Daily Update

As election day nears, many states and counties are beefing up their plans to deal with cyberattacks on election infrastructure. Undocumented immigrant families affected by Hurricane Florence are wondering whether seeking government resources like shelter, food, or other aid would put them at greater risk. State Department officials are facing backlash over the decision to drastically limit the number of refugees who will be permitted to settle in the U.S. The Office of Inspector General criticized the Bureau of Prisons’ management of female prisoners. Terrorism is down worldwide, but the State Department says that Iran maintains a ‘near-global reach’ as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un committed to some concrete steps towards denuclearization, but fell short of what American officials have demanded.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | September 19, 2018

9/19/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s order for the Justice Department to declassify certain materials related to the investigation and surveillance of his former campaign advisor, Carter Page, is a self-interested effort at “obfuscation, concealment, deception, and the weaponizing of the oversight process.” Mike Pompeo announced that the Administration will cap its refugee resettlement for the coming fiscal year at 30,000, the lowest number in history. Administration officials urged Congress to amend a decades-old court ruling that limits the amount of time migrant children can be detained. FEMA Chief William Long has been suspended and is facing a possible criminal investigation related to his use of government vehicles. More evidence has arisen showing that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied to Congress in testifying that DOJ initially approached him about adding the citizenship question to the census.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School