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 | 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