Jacob Miller  //  5/15/19  //  Daily Update


The Alabama Senate approved a measure that would outlaw abortion at all stages of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk; it awaits signature by Governor Kay Ivey. A new law will impose financial burdens on individuals convicted of felonies that make it harder for them to vote in Florida, despite the passing of Florida’s ballot initiative to restore voting rights to felons. Action from the FCC has continued to increase tensions between the United States and China following a unanimous vote to block China Mobile, and threatening public statements from President Trump. Donald Trump Jr. has agreed that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, following a fight between Republican lawmakers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed he was not allowed to say which two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in the 2016 election.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

Justice Department precedent favors Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis of potential obstruction of justice, even if Mueller did not make all of the arguments around statutory interpretation that he could have, argues Andrew Kent for Lawfare.

Just Security created a chart of potential wrongdoing by President Trump’s personal lawyers outlined in the Mueller report.

  • See the chart here.

The Department of Justice requested that a judge allow a court of appeals to review legal questions in an ongoing lawsuit that President Trump violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution before the case continues (Hill).

Donald Trump Jr. has agreed that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, following a fight between Republican lawmakers (Politico).

Attorney General William Barr has announced an investigation into the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but should return to trying to ensure fair elections going forward, writes the New York Times Editorial Board.  

 

IMMIGRATION

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Ronald Vitiello, a high level enforcement official, both challenged a White House plan to arrest families that had crossed the United States-Mexico weeks before many individuals were fired from the Department (Immigration Prof Blog, WaPo).

A federal judge denied Department of Homeland Security motions to separate and move cases to district court that accuse the Department of blocking migrants' right to counsel (Hill).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The Alabama Senate approved a measure that would outlaw abortion at all stages of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk; it awaits signature by Governor Kay Ivey (NYTimes, WaPo, WSJ, LATimes, Politico).

Courts have an historically had an important role in reproductive justice, and should not be de-emphasized in discussions moving forward, argues Leah Litman for Take Care.

A new law will impose financial burdens on individuals convicted of felonies that make it harder for them to vote in Florida, despite the passing of Florida’s ballot initiative to restore voting rights to felons, writes Katrina vanden Heuvel for the Washington Post.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

The Trump administration should relieve specific sanctions if it actually is concerned about the wellbeing of the Iranian people during its strategy of employing “maximum pressure,” write Tyler Cullis and Amir Handjani for Lawfare.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Private equity investor Tom Barrack, a friend of President Trump’s, was given access to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to pitch a plan around changing Middle East policy, according to emails obtained by CREW.

 

REGULATION

Action from the FCC has continued to increase tensions between the United States and China following a unanimous vote to block China Mobile, and threatening public statements from President Trump (Hill).

 

REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

Public opinion favors impeachment against President Trump much more than it did for President Clinton, and even more than compared to President Nixon, putting President Trump in a weak position going forward, writes Sidney Blumenthal in an open memo on Just Security.

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

The Justice Department’s excusing of Rudy Giuliani’s planned trip to Ukraine to gather political information invites foreign interference in the 2020 election overall, argues Francis Wilkinson for Bloomberg.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed he was not allowed to say which two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in the 2016 election (Tampa Bay Times).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that he informed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that “interference in American elections is unacceptable and if the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been” (Hill).

 


Daily Update | May 24, 2019

5/24/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump issued a memorandum granting Attorney General Barr sweeping authority in his audit of the Russian interference investigation. A court date has been set by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the mounting subpoena case over access to the President’s financial records. The Justice Department has argued that Congress lacks the ability to sue Trump over appropriating military funds for constructing his border wall.

Daily Update | May 22, 2019

5/22/19  //  Daily Update

The power struggle between the Trump Administration and Congress continues: The Democratic House moves towards impeachment, while two federal judges reject the President’s assertions of privilege. The President will appoint Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general and vocal anti-immigration hardliner, as his new immigration czar.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 21, 2019

5/21/19  //  Daily Update

The White House instructed former counsel Donald McGahn to ignore a subpoena from House Democrats to testify on Tuesday morning, citing an OLC opinion. A federal judge in DC upheld a subpoena from House Democrats to accounting firm Mazars for President Trump’s financial records. ICE is detaining more than 52,000 immigrants in jails around the country, an apparent all-time record. Assisted reproductive technology may disrupt traditional ideas about maternity on which abortion law and discourse rests. President Trump said he currently sees no threatening actions from Iran, but that the U.S. “will have no choice” but to respond if that changes. The president’s stated preference for acting cabinet secretaries is bad governance and bad for national security. The EPA plans to change how it calculates the health risks of air pollution, resulting in fewer projected deaths from the rollback of the Clean Power Plan.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School