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 | August 14, 2018

8/14/18  //  Daily Update

The District of Columbia rejects Russian company’s bid to dismiss charges brought by Robert Mueller. Omarosa Manigault Newman, former aide to President Trump, releases a recording of her firing made in the White House Situation Room. President Trump appears to admit that White House aids sign nondisclosure agreements. FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who criticized President Trump in texts, is fired. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s lawyers are prepared to counter Robert Mueller. The prosecution called its final witness in Paul Manafort’s trial. A rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, is greatly outnumbered by counter-protesters.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 13, 2018

8/13/18  //  Daily Update

Testimony in Paul Manafort’s trial asserted that the CEO of Federal Savings Bank, which lent Manafort $16 million, wanted Manafort to get him a Cabinet-level position. A federal judge threatened to hold DOJ officials -- even Jeff Sessions -- when a mother and child were deported in the middle of their suit against the DOJ. GEO Group, a private prison that contracts to provide immigration detention centers, has threatened to sue protesters for defamation and tortious interference. The torture of a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, including waterboarding, is described in detail in cables that CIA Director Gina Haspel sent to agency headquarters in late 2002. Hacking competitions show that manipulating the U.S. elections systems is easy -- even within the capability of budding adolescent hackers. Financial trails suggest that Peter Smith, a Republican operative, may have paid Russian hackers in his quest to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing e-mails.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 10, 2018

8/10/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s legal team have made a counteroffer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s proposed terms for an interview between Mr. Mueller and President Trump. The proposed terms would allow questioning on Russian collusion, but would limit inquiries regarding obstruction of justice. The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance on Wednesday, accusing the Department of Justice of undermining their autonomy by reassigning cases in order to maximize deportations. The Senate Judiciary Committee released the first set of documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House. Foreign lobbyists and their agents have spent over $530 million influencing US policy and public opinion since January, 2017.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School