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

Daily Update | August 9, 2018

8/9/18  //  Daily Update

A lawsuit was filed against the DOJ for refusing to comply with a request for documents which would provide information on a letter it sent to state election officials, asking for detailed information on voter list maintenance practices. The Trump Administration will impose new sanctions on Russia for the British nerve agent attacks, accusing Russia of violating international law. Three civilian men, operating from President Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, are secretly shaping the Trump administration’s Veteran Affairs policies. The Bureau of Land Management published a notice in the Federal Register that it will start the process of opening up land in California to fracking. The White House is crafting on an executive order to give President Trump the authority to sanction foreigners who interfere in U.S. elections.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | August 8, 2018

8/8/18  //  Daily Update

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.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | August 7, 2018

8/7/18  //  Daily Update

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.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | August 6, 2018

8/6/18  //  Daily Update

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.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 3, 2018

8/3/18  //  Daily Update

The ACLU and two other organizations have filed a lawsuit alleging that immigrants in detention centers are being denied basic food, health care, and religious freedom, in violation of their constitutional rights. A major Trump donor agreed to pay Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, ten million dollars if he secured funding for the donor’s nuclear-power project. White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, refused to disavow President Trump’s statements claiming that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” The EPA is proposing a new regulation that would freeze current emissions requirements until 2025. National security officials are taking the Russian threat to U.S. elections seriously and vow to protect the 2018 elections in language that contrasts to the President's less decisive words on the subject.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | August 2, 2018

8/2/18  //  Daily Update

On Twitter, the President called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to immediately conclude the special counsel investigation into Russian interference. The trial of Paul Manafort for bank and tax fraud is continuing with witnesses for the prosecution discussing Manafort’s spending on luxury goods. Special counsel Robert Mueller is offering to limit questions for President Trump in order to get an interview with him. The Trump Administration is contemplating significantly reducing for a second time the number of refugees to be resettled in the United States. A new Defense Department plan advises the Trump Administration to reduce the number of American troops in Africa. President Trump asked the Treasury Department to investigate lowering the capital gains tax, despite the fact that the Department has no authority to lower the tax.

Daily Update | August 1, 2018

8/1/18  //  Daily Update

Paul Manafort’s trial for bank and tax fraud began on Tuesday. President Trump’s defense that “collusion is not a crime” obscures that federal conspiracy statutes and other criminal charges may be possible after Mueller’s investigation. Migrant children reunified with their parents are experiencing mental health issues related to their forced separation. U.S. intelligence agencies are concluding that North Korea has resumed construction of missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the United States. A federal court temporarily blocked the implementation of a State Department settlement that would allow individuals to publish 3-D printing schematics for homemade guns online. The Department of Homeland Security is forming a cyber hub with the goal of protecting American infrastructure from cyberattacks. Facebook announced that an influence campaign, similar to those used by Russian hackers in the 2016 election, has been discovered on its platform.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | July 31, 2018

7/31/18  //  Daily Update

A recent court filing in the case against Paul Manafort alleges that the former adviser to President Trump earned $60 million through his work for Ukraine. A new class action challenges President Trump’s travel ban for failing to provide the case-by-case waivers promised in the proclamation. The State Department’s policy toward diplomats and international organization employees in America is a “stealth attack” on same-sex couples. Despite President Trump’s suggestion that he would meet with Iranian leaders, spokespeople for Iran have rejected future engagement. The Trump administration is considering use of its regulatory powers to essentially grant a $100 billion tax cut to the wealthy by allowing taxpayers to account for inflation in determining capital gains liabilities.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | July 30, 2018

7/30/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump said he didn’t know in advance about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump, Jr. Newly obtained police reports and call logs suggest numerous cases of abuse and “inappropriate relationships” at migrant youth shelters. Under a program called “Quiet Skies” that began in March, the TSA has been deploying air marshals to monitor ordinary citizens that raise concerns due to foreign travel or other activities. President Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters from covering official events for allegedly “disrespectful behavior and impertinent questions.” According to Taliban officials, U.S. diplomats met with Taliban representatives in Qatar without Afghan government officials present, a reversal of longstanding policy. The head of the civil rights division of the Department of Education will focus on students persecuted for their religious beliefs. The potential for 3-d printed guns has raised fears regarding a spike in gun violence.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | July 27, 2018

7/27/18  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into President Trump’s tweets to determine whether personal attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey offer evidence in the obstruction-of-justice investigation. The Trump Organization’s finance chief has been called to testify before a federal grand jury in the Michael Cohen probe. The government is struggling to meet the court-ordered deadline to reunify families separated as a result of the administration’s zero-tolerance border policy. A lawsuit challenging the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census and claiming the Trump Administration is discriminating against immigrants will go forward. U.S. and Europe outline deal to ease trade feud. The District of Maryland rules that an Emoluments lawsuit against President Trump can proceed. Jeff Sessions and Paul Ryan oppose impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | July 26, 2018

7/26/18  //  Daily Update

A federal court ruled that the "Emoluments Clause" case against President Trump can proceed. In federal court, the Trump administration revealed it intended to deport families immediately upon reunifying them. The White House announced that it will stop publishing summaries of President Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders, bringing an end to a longstanding practice of both Republican and Democratic administrations. The Trump administration said it would resume billions of dollars expected by insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under an Affordable Care Act program. During President Trump’s first year in office, the amount of penalties imposed on corporations that broke the law or violated regulations dropped, in the majority of cases, by more than 50 percent.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | July 25, 2018

7/25/18  //  Daily Update

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.

Jacqueline Sahlberg

Harvard Law School