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 | 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