Helen Marie Berg, Lark Turner  //  3/22/18  //  Daily Update


The federal Office of Women’s Health removes information about health for lesbian and bisexual women from its website. The Fed raises interest rates to their highest level in a decade. The Trump administration has only submitted 4 of the 13 national security reports required by the National Defense Authorization Act. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is pushing ahead with a plan to “pause” an Obama rule intended to ensure children from certain minority backgrounds aren’t overrepresented in special education. The President congratulated Putin on his latest election win despite an explicit briefing telling him not to. Evidence already in the public record strongly suggests Cambridge Analytica “knowingly used Russian disinformation to help the Trump campaign win the 2016 election.”

 

CIVIL RIGHTS 

The federal Office of Women’s Health removes information about health for lesbian and bisexual women from its website (Sunlight Foundation).

LGBT groups voice opposition against federal district court nominee Gordon Giampietro who has called same-sex relationship “troubled” (The Hill).

Despite some flaws, the CLOUD Act will protect privacy and civil liberties and should be passed, argue Jennifer Daskal and Peter Swire on Lawfare.

Civil rights groups sue the Trump administration for failing to disclose why it ended an Obama-era rule that required companies to report the sex and race of employees (The Hill).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

Louisiana v. Williams asks whether a court can decline to consider post-trial findings of fact for Brady purposes—and the Court should grant cert, argues Leah Litman at Take Care.

President Trump jokes with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House and says that money the Saudis spend on U.S. weapons is “peanuts” for the kingdom (WaPo). 

The Trump administration has only submitted 4 of the 13 national security reports required by the National Defense Authorization Act (Lawfare).

President Trump’s overtures to Russia may lead to renewed arms negotiations (WaPo).

In memo, Attorney General Sessions encourages federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug traffickers (The Hill).

Attorney General Sessions wants the federal budget to include funds for the DOJ to prosecute marijuana users—and that would be a mistake, contends Jonathan Blake at Cato at Liberty.

USAID defends the agency’s proposal to cut foreign aid by 33% in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (WaPo).

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

FEC filings show more than $1.5 million has been spent at Trump-owned properties by GOP-linked PACs since Jan. 1, 2017 (WaPo).

 

REGULATION

The Fed raises interest rates to their highest level in a decade (WaPo, WSJ). 

Sen. Chuck Grassley is blocking Trump’s pick for general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (The Hill).

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is pushing ahead with a plan to “pause” an Obama rule intended to ensure children from certain minority backgrounds aren’t overrepresented in special education (Disability Scoop). 

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta deleted data from a new tip-sharing rule tending to show the rule could lead to businesses taking $640 million in gratuities meant for staff (Bloomberg).

Even protectionists think Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium will lead to job loss,writes Colin Grabow on Cato at Liberty.

President Trump’s blockage of Qualcomm sale is likely a sign of what’s to come in trade standoff with China,write Wenqing Zhao and David Stanton at Lawfare.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says net neutrality is decreasing Americans’ access to broadband internet, though he didn’t offer proof (Ars Technica).

As budget bill inches forward, VA legislation may end up on the chopping block (WaPo).

 

RULE OF LAW 

President Trump has forced members of his White House staff to sign nondisclosure agreements (NYT).

  • In response, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) introduced legislation to protect White House whistleblowers despite the NDAs (The Hill).
  • The agreements might have violated more than the First Amendment, writes Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

Congress is refusing to do its job in failing to check the Trump Administration, write former Republican Congressmen Tom Coleman and Mickey Edwards at Take Care.

 

FEDERALISM

Democratic states, using a strategy long employed by Republicans, are suing the federal government over its new environmental policies — and winning (NYT).

 

REMOVAL FROM OFFICE 

Why are Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, and Summer Zervos speaking out despite NDAs? asks Callum Borchers at The Washington Post.

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

Andrew McCabe was likely fired for “this Russia thing,” writes Michael Dorf at Take Care.

Former CIA director John Brennan said the Russians “may have something” on President Trump, while Trump cites an unverified quote from Prof. Alan Dershowitz defending him against Mueller’s appointment (NYT).

  • Mueller should never have been appointed special counsel, writes Alan Dershowitz at The Hill.
  • Trump and Putin are both eroding norms through lies, and they can’t be allowed to get away with it, writes Thomas Friedman at The New York Times.
  • Mueller’s investigation is “full of side dishes but no entree,” argues Ed Rogers at The Washington Post.

The President congratulated Putin on his latest election win despite an explicit briefing telling him not to, and the leak of those briefings are telling, writes Erik Wemple at The Washington Post.

  • President Trump has defended his congratulatory call to President Putin (WaPo).
  • White House aides were caught off guard by their conversation (WaPo).

How much of what Bob Mueller knows will become public? ask Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare.

Evidence already in the public record strongly suggests Cambridge Analytica “knowingly used Russian disinformation to help the Trump campaign win the 2016 election,” writes Justin Hendrix at Just Security.

  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg admits that his company made some mistakes and needs to better protect user privacy, beginning with an audit of apps (NYT, WaPo).

The Senate Intelligence Committee told the Department of Homeland Security to step up the urgency in its efforts secure upcoming elections against foreign interference (NYT).

 


Daily Update | August 14, 2018

8/14/18  //  Daily Update

The District of Columbia rejects Russian company’s bid to dismiss charges brought by Robert Mueller. Omarosa Manigault Newman, former aide to President Trump, releases a recording of her firing made in the White House Situation Room. President Trump appears to admit that White House aids sign nondisclosure agreements. FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who criticized President Trump in texts, is fired. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s lawyers are prepared to counter Robert Mueller. The prosecution called its final witness in Paul Manafort’s trial. A rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, is greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 13, 2018

8/13/18  //  Daily Update

Testimony in Paul Manafort’s trial asserted that the CEO of Federal Savings Bank, which lent Manafort $16 million, wanted Manafort to get him a Cabinet-level position. A federal judge threatened to hold DOJ officials -- even Jeff Sessions -- when a mother and child were deported in the middle of their suit against the DOJ. GEO Group, a private prison that contracts to provide immigration detention centers, has threatened to sue protesters for defamation and tortious interference. The torture of a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, including waterboarding, is described in detail in cables that CIA Director Gina Haspel sent to agency headquarters in late 2002. Hacking competitions show that manipulating the U.S. elections systems is easy -- even within the capability of budding adolescent hackers. Financial trails suggest that Peter Smith, a Republican operative, may have paid Russian hackers in his quest to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing e-mails.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 10, 2018

8/10/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s legal team have made a counteroffer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s proposed terms for an interview between Mr. Mueller and President Trump. The proposed terms would allow questioning on Russian collusion, but would limit inquiries regarding obstruction of justice. The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance on Wednesday, accusing the Department of Justice of undermining their autonomy by reassigning cases in order to maximize deportations. The Senate Judiciary Committee released the first set of documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House. Foreign lobbyists and their agents have spent over $530 million influencing US policy and public opinion since January, 2017.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School