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 | June 8, 2018

6/8/18  //  Daily Update

The Department of Justice stated in a brief that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act against a case brought by Texas’ Attorney General and lawmakers in 19 other states. The Environmental Protection Agency decided not to look at air, water or ground contaminants for evaluating the risks associated with potentially toxic chemicals after extensive lobbying from the chemical industry. President Trump has scapegoated refugees and has promoted prejudiced policies that have overwhelmingly hurt them across the world. President Trump claimed publicly that similar tactics to those used in withdrawing the Iran Nuclear Deal would be successful in negotiations with North Korea. Carter Page’s interactions with Russia date back to 2004 as he slowly became more and more involved with Russia during the 2016 election.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | June 7, 2018

6/7/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration is preparing to release a sweeping plan for reorganizing the federal government, including a major consolidation of welfare programs. The administration’s policy on separating families at the border is connected to the policy regarding the indefinite detention, without individualized bond hearings, of persons detained for immigration purposes. Fury and despair over the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling are misplaced. President Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, for whom Kim Kardashian West had advocated in her meeting with the president. There is a growing list of U.S. diplomats breaking diplomatic conventions. Mike Mulvaney, the head of the CFPB, has purged its expert advisory boards.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | June 6, 2018

6/6/18  //  Daily Update

The UN declared that the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families at the border violated their rights and international law. A judge ruled that President Donald Trump can be deposed in the defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former ‘Apprentice’ contestant who claims that President Trump kissed and groped her after she appeared on the show. Officials are concerned about voters’ distrust of election security, which may be as powerful as an actual hack. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the administration’s School Safety Commission, formed after the Parkland school shooting, will not look at guns. Several states are defying the FCC repeal of net neutrality.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School