Zachary Piaker  //  9/21/18  //  Daily Update


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says she would agree to testify at a Senate hearing next week, but would not be prepared to do so on Monday. The Trump Administration plans to shift $260 million from program like cancer research and AIDS prevention to cover the cost of housing thousands of undocumented immigrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Pentagon stopped announcing body counts of Taliban and Islamic State fighters killed in battle in Afghanistan, a practice which had begun in January. The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has begun dismantling decades-old policies meant to improve racial disparities in youth incarceration. A number of Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin managed to build relationships with elements of the Trump campaign in 2016.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

Michael Cohen has participated in multiple interviews with Special Counsel Robert Mueller “on all aspects of Trump's dealings with Russia,” report George Stephanopoulos, Eliana Larramendia, and James Hill in ABC.  

 

IMMIGRATION

The Trump Administration plans to shift $260 million from program like cancer research and AIDS prevention to cover the cost of housing thousands of undocumented immigrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tal Kopan reports in CNN.

 

DEMOCRACY

Despite the Supreme Court’s recent denial of a stay in Crossroads v. CREW, which required greater disclosure of the sources of “dark money” in politics, the immediate impact is likely to be limited, given that the FEC won’t have time to promulgate a new rule in time for the 2018 elections, writes Rick Hasen in Election Law Blog.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

President Trump lacks the legal authority to follow through on most of the threats John Bolton recently leveled at the International Criminal Court, argues Marty Lederman in Just Security.

The Pentagon stopped announcing body counts of Taliban and Islamic State fighters killed in battle in Afghanistan, a practice which had begun in January, Thomas Gibbons-Neff writes in the New York Times.

The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has begun dismantling decades-old policies meant to improve racial disparities in youth incarceration, Eli Hager reports in the Marshall Project.

The White House announced a new policy authorizing offensive cyber operations in an effort to deter cyber attacks by foreign adversaries, writes Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post.

A Government Accountability Office report revealed that the Defense Department has still not developed a plan evaluate its biological security practices three years after a military laboratory accidentally shipped live anthrax specimens around the world (NYT).

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Under Secretary Carson, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has repeatedly hired, promoted, and awarded raises to political operatives with no housing policy experience, Tracy Jan reports in the Washington Post.

 

REGULATION

Congressional disapproval of agency guidance documents or interpretations under the Congressional Review Act will likely have no impact, argue Keith Bradley and Larisa Vaysman in The Regulatory Review. 

Several advocacy organizations are suing to stop the Trump Administration’s rollback of Affordable Care Act regulations that prevented the sale of “junk plans” in the health insurance marketplace, Carmel Shachar writes in Bill of Health. 

In recent weeks, the Trump Administration has taken two significant steps to roll back Obama-era regulations that reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas operations, Julia Stein writes in Legal Planet.

 

RULE OF LAW 

More than a dozen legal scholars and Justice Department alumni sent a letter to President Trump’s lawyers arguing that Trump has no valid legal basis for claiming immunity from the Special Counsel’s obstruction of justice investigation, or from a subpoena soliciting information relating to this investigation.

  • Here you can find a longer White Paper explaining in greater detail the constitutional limits on the president’s power to resist a Special Counsel subpoena for corrupt or narrowly personal reasons.

President Trump’s order to declassify documents related to electronic surveillance of Carter Page demonstrates that “there is nothing he will not do and no person or institution he will not target in the name of self-preservation,” Cindy Otis writes in USA Today.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says she would agree to testify at a Senate hearing next week, but would not be prepared to do so on Monday (WaPo).

  • A credible allegation of sexual assault is enough standing alone to disqualify Brett Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court, argues Kate Shaw in the New York Times.
  • If Democrats win the House in November, they should consider impeaching a Justice Kavanaugh in order to conduct a full investigation, Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr.writes in the New York Times.
  • Jeannie Suk Gersen sketches out what a serious investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh would look like in the New Yorker.

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

The public has learned a tremendous amount about the Russian election interference campaign through the last two years’ of reporting, but rarely has it been gathered together in one place, write Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times.

The Treasury Department announced new sanctions against dozens of Russian individuals in retaliation for interference in the 2016 election, Matthew Choi writes in Politico.

A number of Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin managed to build relationships with elements of the Trump campaign in 2016, Simon Shuster writes in Time.

 


Daily Update | February 21, 2019

2/21/19  //  Daily Update

Justice Department officials believe that Robert Mueller will potentially finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by next week. President Trump announced that the United States would not re-admit Hoda Muthana, a student who traveled to Syria to try to join the Islamic State, but has apologized and wishes to return to the United States. The Supreme Court on ruled 9-0 that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment in Timbs v. Indiana. The Environmental Protection Agency has begun to lay out a new plan to change Obama-era rules and make regulation of mercury and air toxins substantially more difficult. Members of Congress have grown concerned that Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats may soon be removed from his position by President Trump.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 20, 2019

2/20/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump denied asking former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to put a U.S. attorney who would be sympathetic to President Trump in charge of the investigation into payments to a woman President Trump allegedly had an affair with. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a Texas man may not be executed due to his having an intellectual disability, reversing a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered a hearing on Roger Stone’s bail status after he posted an image on Instagram which appeared to show the judge’s head next to the crosshairs of a gun. President Trump signed an order to create a military branch under Air Force control that would primarily deal with threats in space, which he has referred to as a “space force.” The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report discussing allegations from whistleblowers that Michael Flynn and other members of the Trump administration were part of an effort to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 19, 2019

2/19/19  //  Daily Update

Sixteen states sue to challenge the President’s authority to declare a national emergency to build the border wall. A lawsuit was filed by multiple civil rights organizations challenging the administration’s policy of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while their cases are considered. The budget bill passed last week pushes back against some Trump Administration policies, but overall continues to expand the federal government’s immigration prison regime. President Trump stopped cost-sharing payments under the ACA, and Congress may end up liable to insurers for over $12 billion in missed payments. The First Circuit says the board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances was illegally constituted, and President Trump may have to appoint a new one.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School