Caroline Cox, Ian Eppler  //  5/16/18  //  Daily Update


U.S. Border Patrol has consistently undercounted the number of deaths of migrants on American soil. North Korea suggests that it may back out of the summit with the United States in response to joint South Korea–U.S. military exercises. The White House announced plans to eliminate the top cyber policy advisor position. In a memorial event for law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty, President Trump stated that a “dangerous anti-police prejudice” is growing in the United States. The Trump Organization has brought on a Chinese state-owned company as a partner for a real estate development project in Indonesia, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest after the Trump administration expressed support for ZTE, a Chinese electronics company under US sanctions.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS & LITIGATION

A federal district judge denied former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss his indictment by the Special Counsel’s office on the grounds that the Special Counsel lacked authority to prosecute him (Politico).

  • The opinion is available here.

 

IMMIGRATION 

Defense Department communications signal that the Trump Administration plans to hold migrant children on military bases (WaPo).

U.S. Border Patrol has consistently undercounted the number of deaths of migrants on American soil, writes Bob Ortega in a two-part series at CNN.

The Ninth Circuit heard arguments today in a challenge to President Trump’s recission of the DACA program (AP; Bloomberg).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

The Trump Administration’s approach to toxic coal ash is leading some Native American communities to argue that the Administration is ignoring tribal concerns (LA Times).

Racial biases may be playing into lines policymakers are drawing in work requirements for Medicaid, housing aid, and food assistance, write Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz at the New York Times.

 

DEMOCRACY

House Speaker Paul Ryan has scheduled a briefing for members of Congress that will discuss the Trump Administration’s work toward election security (The Hill).

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security met with Pennsylvania officials to discuss election security during the Commonwealth’s primaries (The Hill).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

North Korea suggests that it may back out of the summit with the United States in response to joint South Korea–U.S. military exercises (NYT, WaPo).

Palestinian protests against Israel and the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem have decreased but not died off completely in their second day (NYT).

  • The Hill reports that the United States is pushing against UN probes into the violence.
  • The Washington Post writes that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley defended Israel’s actions.

A new strategy from the Department of Homeland Security provides a framework for addressing the evolving cyber threats (Reuters).

The White House announced plans to eliminate the top cyber policy advisor position (The Hill).

After months of investigation, prosecutors are still unable to bring charges against a former CIA employee who was identified as a suspect in a CIA hacking tools leak (WaPo).

The United States announced new sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor for allegedly providing support to terrorists (Bloomberg).

In a memorial event for law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty, President Trump stated that a “dangerous anti-police prejudice” is growing in the United States (Politico).

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The Trump Organization has brought on a Chinese state-owned company as a partner for a real estate development project in Indonesia, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest after the Trump administration expressed support for ZTE, a Chinese electronics company under US sanctions, report Alexandra Stevenson and Richard C. Paddock in the New York Times.  

  • The Trump Organization’s involvement in the project may violate the Emoluments Clause, suggests Helaine Olen in the Washington Post.
  • President Trump’s support for ZTE defies explanation, argues Heather Long in the Washington Post.

 

REGULATION

President Trump issued an executive order rescinding some national monument designations made under prior administrations, but it is unclear whether the Antiquities Act authorizes presidents to rescind these designations, notes Justin S. Daniel in the Regulatory Review.

A negotiator for the Mexican government suggested that talks on revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement will likely continue beyond a Thursday deadline, making it unlikely that Congress will be able to vote on proposed revisions before the midterm elections (WSJ).

Breaking with longstanding practice, the Environmental Protection Agency will not consult with California’s regulators before proposing new vehicle emissions rules (WSJ).

 

RULE OF LAW 

The Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency announced an investigation into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s use of a private email account (Politico).

 

CHECKS AND BALANCES

The Senate confirmed Trump judicial nominees Joel Carson and John Nalbandian to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, respectively, bringing the total number of circuit judges confirmed during the Trump administration to 21 (Courthouse News).

The Senate is likely to confirm Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, after several Democrats announced they would support her (NYTimes, Politico, WSJ).

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) announced his support after Haspel stated, in a letter to him, that the CIA should not have used “enhanced interrogation” during the Bush administration (Axios).
  • Haspel also responded to written questions from other senators (Lawfare).
  • The Senate will be voting on Haspel’s confirmation without seeing a Department of Justice report on Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of videotapes of CIA torture, notes Brian Tashman of the ACLU.
  • The CIA needs a leader with a strong moral compass, and Haspel’s involvement in torture suggests she falls short, argues Sahar Aziz at ACS Blog.

 

 


Daily Update | May 25, 2018

5/25/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump cancelled his June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The FBI is working to halt a “massive, sophisticated” Russian hacking network. Civil rights groups issued searing criticism of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s claim that the law permits schools to report undocumented students to immigration enforcement. The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review froze the appeal in the 9/11 case, United States v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, et al., because it currently lacks a quorum. President Trump signed into law rollbacks of some Dodd-Frank regulations. The DOJ is opening a criminal investigation into bitcoin trading and potential price manipulation. Former President Obama called for stricter regulation of technology firms’ use of user data.

Daily Update | May 24, 2018

5/24/18  //  Daily Update

A federal judge ruled that President Trump’s decision to block Twitter users based on their political views constitutes a violation of the First Amendment. Moderate House Republicans demand a vote on immigration. President Trump says he will cancel a proposed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un unless the North Korean regime first accepts a list of unspecified demands. The FBI admits overstating the number of locked smartphones it has been unable to access because of encryption. The EPA bars reporters from a national summit on toxic chemicals. The White House sets a meeting for Republican congressional leaders regarding an F.B.I. informant who contacted members of the Trump campaign during the Russia investigation.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 23, 2018

5/23/18  //  Daily Update

By demanding that DOJ open an investigation into the FBI’s scrutiny of his campaign contacts with Russia, President Trump came closer to breaching an established restraint on executive power. The administration’s decision to hold migrant children on U.S. military bases while their parents await trial for illegal entry into the U.S. raises many concerns about traumatic effects on children. President Trump’s proposal for new abortion restrictions on federal family planning money would bar doctors from informing a woman where she could go to receive an abortion, unless she said she had already decided to end her pregnancy. President Trump is making the recruitment of intelligence sources even more difficult. The EPA booted reporters from a meeting about toxic chemicals.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School