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 | December 18, 2018

12/18/18  //  Daily Update

Two business associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn were indicted for conspiring to serve as unregistered foreign agents of Turkey and lying to federal investigators. Congressional Republicans continue to attempt to convince President Trump not to shut down the government if there is no funding allocated for a border wall. Democrats in Michigan have turned to Governor Rick Snyder in hopes of blocking Republican legislation that would strip significant authority from the Democratic Secretary of State and Attorney General. An official statement from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sharply criticized the United States Senate for claiming that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was at least partially responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The Senate Intelligence Committee released two reports on Russian social media activity during the 2016 election. Russian disinformation teams targeted special counsel Robert Mueller with claims that he was corrupt and had ties to extremist groups.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 17, 2018

12/17/18  //  Daily Update

A federal district judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act after the Trump administration declined to defend the law. Nearly every organization that President Trump has led in the past decade is under criminal investigation. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned after allegations of financial misconduct. Two years after its publication, many of the claims in the Steele dossier have been confirmed by other investigations. Kim Jong-un publicly warned that increased sanctions from the United States could end any chance of North Korean denuclearization. The Trump administration has aggressively sought to expedite high-profile cases to the Supreme Court in the hopes of securing victories from its conservative majority. A new report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee reveals that Russian government support for President Trump on social media was more widespread than previously known.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 14, 2018

12/14/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump claimed he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” and publicly criticized his former attorney following Cohen’s sentence to three years in jail. A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after being taken into Border Patrol custody a week ago according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The United States Senate voted 56 to 41 to withdraw American military assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen, going against President Trump’s defense of the nation following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed two requests at the Supreme Court asking it to stay injunctions from three lower courts on the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military. National security advisor John Bolton outlined a new strategy for the The Trump administration in Africa aimed primarily at opposing China. Maria Butina pled guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent, and agreed to cooperate with with federal prosecutors going forward.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School