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 | 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