Britany Riley  //  3/7/18  //  Daily Update


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel recommended disciplinary action against Kellyanne Conway for violating the Hatch Act with consistent advocacy for Roy Moore in last year’s Alabama Senate election. Valerie Huber, an outspoken abstinence advocate, will now be the sole overseer of a $286 million Health and Human Services (HHS) program meant to fund family planning programs. Carl Ichan, former Trump adviser, raised ethical concerns when he sold off $30 million of stock just days before the President’s announcement of steel and aluminum import tariffs. This is not the first time Ichan has been accused of profiting from his access to the President. A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official accused HUD Secretary Ben Carson of creating an environment of harassment and intimidation after a whistleblower accused Carson of retaliating against her for refusing to violate legal spending limits to furnish his office.

 

IMMIGRATION

Many immigrants hoping to gain permanent resident status are dropping out of public nutrition programs in fear that use of public benefits will negatively affect their immigration status under proposed Trump Administration policies emphasizing “immigrant self-sufficiency.” (NYT). 

After a favorable court ruling, President Trump took to twitter to brag about the administration’s authority to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (WaPo).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

Accommodations under the Trump Administration’s rule allowing employers with religious and moral objections to opt-out of providing contraception coverage should be limited when weighed against the undue third-party harm they will cause, argue Micah Schwartzman, Nelson Tebbe, and Richard C. Schragger on Take Care.

Valerie Huber, an outspoken abstinence advocate, will now be the sole overseer of a $286 million Health and Human Services (HHS) program meant to fund family planning programs (Politico). 

The Human Right Campaign issued a letter encouraging Senators to oppose judicial nominee Thomas Farr due to his history defending discriminatory voting laws (HRC).

 

DEMOCRACY

President Trump’s judicial nominees, Wendy Vitter and Gordon Giampietro, are under criticism after failing to disclose several public speeches and writings on controversial political issues such as abortion and anti-discrimination law to the Senate Judiciary Committee (The Hill).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

The Senate Armed Forces Committee unanimously approved Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, President Trump’s nomination to lead the National Security Agency (NSA) and oversee the NSA and Pentagon’s cyber warfare programs (The Hill).

Indictment of Russians accused of election meddling shows how law enforcement action against foreign actors is useful in counterintelligence efforts if only because public indictments educate the public on impending threats, argues David Kris on Lawfare.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST 

Carl Ichan, former Trump adviser, raised ethical concerns when he sold off $30 million of stock just days before the President’s announcement of steel and aluminum import tariffs. This is not the first time Ichan has been accused of profiting from his access to the President, notes Andrea Peterson at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel recommended disciplinary action against Kellyanne Conway for violating the Hatch Act with consistent advocacy for Roy Moore in last year’s Alabama Senate election (Politico, WaPo).

 

REGULATION 

Gary Cohn, a free-trade advocate and head of the National Economic Council, announced his resignation. Many believe the resignation is tied to President Trump’s recent announcement suggesting he will implement controversial protective tariffs on imported steel and aluminum (NYT, WSJ).

  • The president should be talked out of this plan, claims Simon Lester at Cato at Liberty.

Despite warnings from election agencies that the U.S. is ill-equipped to prevent Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections, the White House has issued no plans or guidance on the issue. Better protection relies on the Federal Election Commision being filled, argues Trevor Potter on The Hill.

  • The Trump Administration claims they have taken steps and that election security is a “top priority.”

The Environmental Agency (EPA) will allow a top appointee to do outside consulting work in the private sector on a number of projects for unspecified clients, raising ethics concerns for many. The House requested more information on how many EPA employees are engaged in such work (Ars Technica).

A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official accused HUD Secretary Ben Carson of creating an environment of harassment and intimidation after a whistleblower accused Carson of retaliating against her for refusing to violate legal spending limits to furnish his office (Politico, The Hill).

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

Former Trump campaign official Sam Nunberg seems to believe his decision to ignore a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not result in any time in jail, but history tells us otherwise, notes Andy Wright on Just Security.

 


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