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 | October 18, 2018

10/18/18  //  Daily Update

White House Counsel Donald McGahn resigned his post. The number of migrant families crossing the border reached record levels in the last three months, leading President Trump to call for a reinstatement of the family separation policy. The U.S. received $100 million in Syrian stabilization support from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, raising questions about the timing of the transfer in light of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration plans to withdraw from the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty, which allows Chinese companies to ship small packages to the U.S. at a heavily discounted rate. The White House revealed its Unified Agenda, proposing additional deregulation and predicting a decrease between $120 and $340 billion in regulatory costs by the end of fiscal year 2019. A senior Treasury Department employee was charged with leaking confidential financial reports, some of which related to the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | October 17, 2018

10/17/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration has falsely and dangerously connected immigration to terrorism in promoting policies. President Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras unless a group of migrants fleeing violence are stopped and returned to the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent to Saudi Arabia to speak with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ongoing concerns over the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Rejecting an industry challenge, a D.C. Circuit Court judge allowed an Obama-era student loan protection for graduates of for-profit colleges to go into effect. DHS’s intelligence assessment reported that the volume of attempted cyber-attacks on election systems in 2018 has been growing, but some argue this may reflect improved reporting and sharing between governments, rather than an “uptick in activity.” President Trump criticized Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for raising interest rates too fast, referring to the bank as his “biggest threat.”

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | October 16, 2018

10/16/18  //  Daily Update

The “Watergate Road Map” will be largely unsealed after a lawsuit, improving public understanding a potential report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. With the midterms less than a month away, federal agencies have not yet finalized plans for countering foreign interference in the 2018 election. The Department of Homeland Security has noted an increasing number of attempts to hack US election systems in the leadup to the midterms, but all attacks have been unsuccessful. Despite his ongoing rhetorical conflicts with President Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reshaped the military. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation that would require the agency to use only publicly available data in cost-benefit analysis is a boon for transparency and scientific rigor.