Daily Update | November 29, 2018
Attorneys for Paul Manafort allegedly briefed President Trump’s attorneys on Manafort’s discussions with the Special Counsel after Manafort agreed to cooperate. Targets of the Special Counsel investigation are rejecting proposed plea deals, likely due to President Trump’s efforts to undermine the investigation. The Trump administration is now using the Office of Refugee Resettlement to support its aggressive immigration enforcement efforts. The Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric against Iran may be a precursor to an effort to secure support for multilateral action against Iran, or it may be a precursor to unilateral military action. Affordable Care Act signups have dropped significantly despite minimal premium increases in most states, suggesting that the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the law by not promoting the enrollment period are successful.
Daily Update | October 30, 2018
A lawsuit accused President Trump and his company of inducing people to invest in sham businesses. The Department of Defense will send at least 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a group of migrants moving through Central America. President Trump will travel to Pittsburgh following the mass shooting at a synogogue. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the alleged Pittsburgh shooter. Angela Merkel will not run again for party leader or chancellor of Germany. President Trump has interviewed Neomi Rao, director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to fill the DC Circuit vacancy left by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. government agencies are attempting to prevent Russian interference with the 2018 election on social media by identifying and aggressively confronting Russian agents.
Daily Update | October 29, 2018
Over 700,000 immigrants face a backlog on applications to become U.S. citizens under the Trump administration, with the process that used to take six months now taking over two years. Harvard’s Institute of Politics Survey suggests Americans under 30 will vote in higher numbers in the 2018 election than they have in previous years. House Republicans' change of the rules in 2015 to allow them to issue subpoenas as the majority party without consulting the minority party may backfire in 2018 if Democrats use it to investigate President Trump. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been elected the next President of Brazil. President Trump’s promotion of the idea of “America First” has left a number of world leaders less willing to work with the United States at the United Nations.
Daily Update | October 23, 2018
The Special Counsel has acquired audio recordings related to Roger Stone’s contacts with Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. In an unusual move, Paul Manafort has allegedly retained a joint defense agreement with President Trump, despite pleading guilty cooperating with the Special Counsel investigation. The Department of Health and Human Services announced new regulations that would allow states to opt out of many Affordable Care Act insurance requirements. Brian Johnson, a longtime Republican political operative and critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has played a leading role in reshaping the agency as acting deputy director.
Daily Update | October 16, 2018
The “Watergate Road Map” will be largely unsealed after a lawsuit, improving public understanding a potential report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. With the midterms less than a month away, federal agencies have not yet finalized plans for countering foreign interference in the 2018 election. The Department of Homeland Security has noted an increasing number of attempts to hack US election systems in the leadup to the midterms, but all attacks have been unsuccessful. Despite his ongoing rhetorical conflicts with President Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reshaped the military. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation that would require the agency to use only publicly available data in cost-benefit analysis is a boon for transparency and scientific rigor.
Daily Update | September 25, 2018
Rod Rosenstein will meet with President Trump on Thursday, with his job potentially hanging in the balance. The Special council is inquiring into relationships between the Trump family and the family of a well-known Russian oligarch. A federal immigration judge is criticizing new DOJ policies requiring the number of cases judge must hear per year. Two district courts have extended the ACA’s prohibition on sex discrimination to transgender individuals. North Dakota’s voter ID law will officially be in effect in this year’s mid-term elections, after a Federal Appeals Court put a hold on a lower court ruling enjoining the law. The CIA is refocusing its efforts on foreign powers and away from terrorism. Violent crime fell in the United States last year, according to the FBI, halting a two year rise. The Trump administration imposed new tariffs on China. The Department of Transportation rescinded an Obama era rule requiring trains carrying crude oil to use improved brake technology. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to allow importation of a critically endangered black rhinoceros killed during a trophy hunt.
Daily Update | September 18, 2018
In a court filing, the Special Counsel announced that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn would be ready for sentencing in late November, suggesting that his cooperation with the Special Counsel investigation is nearing its end. The federal government asked the Supreme Court to limit its disclosure obligations in a lawsuit challenging the ban against transgender Americans openly serving in the military, citing Presidential privilege. Newly released e-mails written by Brett Kavanaugh suggest that he will oppose modern interpretations of the Constitution that protect civil rights such as gay marriage and access to abortion. Closer attention should be paid to the vendors of election equipment given the dominance of three companies in the election-technology market and their insistence on keeping their technology secret while they curry politicians’ favor. President Trump ordered the Department of Justice to declassify and release the text messages of several former FBI officials whom he has criticized.
Daily Update | September 17, 2018
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice and agreed to cooperate with the ongoing Special Counsel investigation. Many immigrant parents who were separated from their children at the border are being denied reunification because of minor misdemeanor offenses from decades ago. The attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland are seeking discovery on President Trump’s communications with foreign and state governments regarding his Washington, DC hotel, after a federal district judge denied a motion to dismiss a suit contending that President Trump’s ownership of the hotel violates the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. The Trump administration will announce $200 billion of new tariffs on Chinese products, further escalating tensions over trade. National Security Advisor John Bolton’s criticism of the International Criminal Court does not serve the interests of the United States.
Daily Update | September 12, 2018
In his latest attack on the credibility of the Department of Justice, President Trump falsely claimed in an early morning tweet that former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were involved in a “media leak strategy” to undermine his administration. New York State Tax Department investigators met with Michael Cohen’s attorney regarding its investigation into Cohen and the Trump Organization; officials involved in the matter described the Department’s investigation as a “clear interference” with the US Attorney’s Office’s ongoing criminal investigation. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously dismissed a claim alleging that President Trump incited a riot at a 2016 campaign rally in Kentucky, finding that his speech did not encourage violence and was ultimately protected by the First Amendment. The Department of Health and Human Services announced its plan to more than triple the size of its camp for migrant children at Tornillo-Guadalupe Land Port of Entry in response to the growing number of children crossing the border.
Daily Update | September 11, 2018
National Security Advisor, John Bolton, announced the Administration’s threats to impose sanctions and bans on travel to the United States for those involved in the ICC’s potential investigation into the United States’ efforts in the Afghanistan war. The Federal Election Commission unanimously ruled that federal campaigns and national party committees can accept free security services from Microsoft without violating campaign finance laws because Microsoft would be acting out of business interests and would be providing the services on a non-partisan basis. In response to Palestine’s stalled peace talk negotiations with Israel, the Trump Administration orders the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington D.C. Office. The Trump administration is planning to roll back regulations governing the release of methane, a greenhouse gas, during oil and gas extraction.
Daily Update | August 27, 2018
Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, received immunity as part of the federal investigation into campaign finance violations by the Trump campaign. In a series of tweets and statements, President Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and suggested that he investigate the “other side.” Sessions responded with a statement declaring that the Justice Department would not be influenced by political considerations. In response to a formal complaint of discrimination from HUD, Facebook will remove more than 5,000 targeting categories for advertisers. President Trump canceled a trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing a lack of progress in negotiations. A federal district judge blocked several provisions of an executive order by President Trump that purported to curtail the collective bargaining rights of federal employees and limit civil service protections.
Daily Update | August 8, 2018
Asylum seekers filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others for recent policy changes that restrict asylum claims based on domestic or gang violence. Kris Kobach used flawed research to defend President Trump's voter fraud panel. Two former Trump campaign aides have set up a new foreign lobbying firm, and their first client is a Russian-backed Serbian nationalist political party. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai acknowledged that he had falsely claimed that a cyberattack targeted the agency’s public comment system during the net neutrality repeal debate, but blamed the falsehood on the Obama administration. A draft Inspector General report states that the administrator of the General Service Administration misled Congress about the White House’s involvement in a decision to cancel the construction of a new headquarters for the FBI.
Daily Update | August 7, 2018
At former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s trial, Rick Gates testified that he and Manafort knowingly committed crimes. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that he would move forward with efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, even though a judge ruled this week that it must be restored. The Trump administration restored sanctions on Iran that had previously been rescinded as part of the now-revoked nuclear agreement. Prominent Trump campaign donors are supporting a legal defense fund for Trump aides. Jelena McWilliams, President Trump’s recently confirmed nominee to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, will roll back rules adopted after the 2008 financial crisis.
Daily Update | August 6, 2018
In a tweet, President Trump acknowledged that the purpose of the June 9, 2016 meeting between Trump campaign staff and Russians was to gather information on Hillary Clinton. A federal judge upheld a previous ruling that DACA must be restarted, pointing to the Trump administration’s failure to offer a “rational explanation” for ending it. Sworn statements in a class-action lawsuit against a migrant detention center in Virginia allege a pattern of abuse at the facility. President Trump’s hateful rhetoric toward the press may incite violence against them. The United States and Mexico are nearing agreement on revisions to NAFTA. U.S. SOS Mike Pompeo said the United States will fully enforce Iranian sanctions scheduled to go into effect on Monday.
Daily Update | July 25, 2018
A tape was leaked featuring a conversation between President Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, involving efforts to purchase the rights to the story of a woman who allegedly had an affair with President Trump. The Trump Administration may have deported more than 450 migrant parents without their children. Federal labor mediators have advised the Education Department that its new work rules most likely illegally curtail workers’ protections and access to union representation. Ivanka Trump shut down her eponymous clothing brand after extensive criticism of the business’s potential to produce conflicts of interest. The Trump administration announced plans to use a Department of Agriculture program to provide $12 billion in aid to farmers who have suffered losses as a result of newly imposed tariffs.