Daily Update | April 19, 2019

4/19/19  //  Daily Update

A private right-wing militia in New Mexico has been detaining migrant families at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol. A redacted version of the Mueller Report was released following a press conference including prepared remarks from AG William Barr. Following the press conference, top Dems have suggested that Barr “deliberately distorted” portions of the report. The report of a second Justice Department investigation, discussing the FBI’s investigation of the Christopher Steele dossier, could be released as early as next month.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 18, 2019

4/18/19  //  Daily Update

The White House is resisting congressional requests for information and is preparing for an extended legal battle over congressional subpoenas. AG Bill Barr ruled that a noncitizen who is transferred from expedited removal to full removal proceedings after demonstrating a “credible fear” of persecution or torture is subject to mandatory and indefinite detention. DOJ indicted dozens of medical professionals for the illegal distribution of opioids. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his opposition to allowing Chinese telecommunications company China Mobile to enter the U.S. market, citing national security concerns. The Mueller investigation has revived the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an anti-corruption tool.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 17, 2019

4/17/19  //  Daily Update

The Fourth Circuit ruled that detained immigrants do not have a right to be kept in the same state as their children. Republicans object to document requests in House investigation of voting irregularities in Georgia, Kansas, and Texas. Several House committees have subpoenaed foreign banks with Trump ties.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 16, 2019

4/16/19  //  Daily Update

The DOJ is expected to release a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation on Thursday. Since the State Department altered its foreign affairs manual last year to give diplomats greater discretion to deny visas on public-charge grounds, denials on this ground have increased. The Department of Interior opened an investigation into President Trump’s recently confirmed Secretary, David Bernhardt, for potential ethics violations and conflicts of interest. The Supreme Court continues to fault capital defendants for the states’ sloppy death penalty policies and litigation tactics, rather than holding the states accountable.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 15, 2019

4/15/19  //  Daily Update

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is consulting with the Department of Justice regarding the legality and constitutionality of the request of President Trump’s tax returns. The ICC has denied a request from prosecutors to further investigate alleged war crimes by the U.S. military and CIA in Afghanistan. The White House has confirmed that the plan to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities is back under consideration. Acting White House Budget Director Russell Vought indicated in a memo that agency rules are now going to be subjected to closer monitoring to determine which rules are “major” and therefore required to be submitted to OIRA for review. The number of vacancies in the Trump Administration could create an unmanegeable workload for the Senate.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 12, 2019

4/12/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump echoed AG Bill Barr in claiming that “spying” on the president’s 2016 campaign took place. According to DHS officials and newly obtained email messages, the White House considered transporting immigrant detainees to “sanctuary cities” and Democratic jurisdictions as retaliation against the president’s opponents. The DOE is accused of dragging its feet in implementing a Obama-era special education regulation. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London and indicted by the DOJ. Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig was indicted for misleading federal investigators about his lobbying work for the Ukrainian government. Former lobbyist David Bernhardt was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 11, 2019

4/11/19  //  Daily Update

Attorney General William Barr said he plans to publicly release a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report “within a week.” President Donald Trump denies rumors that his administration is hoping to resume the separation of parents and children at the US-Mexico border. President Trump has faced more joint challenges from states in his first two years in office than either Barack Obama or George W. Bush did in their eight years in office. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation have officially confirmed that the Russian hacking efforts in advance of the 2016 election went well beyond the 21 states confirmed in previous reports. The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office has reported that it has gathered more evidence of hush payments to two women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump for its ongoing criminal investigation.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 10, 2019

4/10/19  //  Daily Update

President Donald Trump’s "dramatic purge of Homeland Security leaders" helps clear the way for him to new steps to curb illegal immigration. A U.S. district court in California blocked President Trump’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to wait out the processing of their cases, ruling that the D.H.S. had overstepped its authority. The DOE’s civil rights division is requiring the Texas Tech University system to end its use of race in admissions decisions. President Trump exploited the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to bypass not only the Senate’s advice-and-consent role, but also the ordinary line of succession within a critical government agency. Congress can probably force President Trump to turn over his tax returns, but it is legally complicated.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 5, 2019

4/5/19  //  Daily Update

In a letter to members of Congress, lawyers for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen requested support for a reduced prison sentence for Cohen so he can assist in oversight investigations. The DOJ defended AG Bill Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report, drawing a response from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. ICE arrested more than 280 people at a Texas company, the largest workplace immigration raid in a decade. The House will file a lawsuit to block President Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall on the border. In response to complaints from LGBT employees, AG Bill Barr ordered an investigation into discrimination at the DOJ. The House approved a war powers resolution ending U.S. military involvement in Yemen, sending it to President Trump for a possible veto.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 4, 2019

4/4/19  //  Daily Update

Members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team believe that their investigation conclusions were more troubling for President Trump than Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary letter to Congress made them appear. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested that the IRS turn over six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Jared Kushner has been identified as the senior White House official whose security clearance was denied last year because of concerns over foreign influence. Senate Republicans employed the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules in order to speed up confirmation times of executive branch and district court judge nominees. When the Supreme Court hears arguments concerning the Trump Administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the Census, it will not consider a crucial element of the case—whether the decision was motivated by racial animus, and therefore violated equal protection.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 3, 2019

4/3/19  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has admitted fewer refugees than originally declared, which security experts and advocacy groups warn damages US credibility and leadership abroad. Former intelligence and military officials filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, arguing the government’s pre-publication review system violates the First Amendment. The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to authorize subpoenas in connection with information it received from a whistleblower about White House overrides of denied security clearances. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, President Trump’s nominee to lead the US Africa Command, said Russian and Chinese efforts to gain access and influence in Africa will be to the detriment of US interests in the region.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 2, 2019

4/2/19  //  Daily Update

The success of a lawsuit filed by Trump’s lawyers for declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief against the producers of a new TV show, Are You Smarter Than Donald Trump? will depend on whether it is taken as satire. The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to subpoena the full Mueller Report. Visa denials are on the rise under the Trump Administration. The Mattis policy regarding transgender persons in the military will go into effect on Friday, April 12. A whistleblower within the White House Personnel Security Office has come forward with a list of 25 individuals who were issued denials for security clearance that were subsequently overturned by the White House.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 1, 2019

4/1/19  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference would be made public by mid-April. Even as the Mueller investigation concludes, New York state investigations into the Trump Organization are just kicking into high gear. President Trump directed the State Department to cut off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as a response to migrant caravans emerging from those countries. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Facebook with engaging in discriminatory advertising practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Seema Verma, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has spent millions of dollars of public funds on Republican communications consultants during her tenure. A federal judge blocked President Trump’s executive order lifting an Obama-era rule prohibiting gas drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic coast.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 29, 2019

3/29/19  //  Daily Update

Within the past two years nearly 20,000 deportation cases that had been suspended by immigration judges were restarted by the Trump administration. Since the President’s renewed attempts to dismantle Obamacare, legislators have been weighing the political risks and opportunities. Mitch McConnell has no intention of leading the charge. The President’s nominee for Associate Attorney General, Jessie K. Liu, has withdrawn herself from consideration for the position following what some say were oppositions to her relative lack of conservative credentials. In discussing “unprecedented obstruction” during a speech on the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell has also made an effort to circumvent the existing confirmation process for Presidential appointees to District Courts.

Daily Update | March 28, 2019

3/28/19  //  Daily Update

Renewing calls to repeal and possibly replace the Affordable Care Act, the President has moved beyond the argument that portions of the law are unconstitutional, with the Justice Department now arguing it should be dismantled entirely. The Trump Administration is seeking to expand beyond precedent the reach of Anti-Abortion foreign policy regulations that would ban US funding from certain groups. New employees in the Trump White House aren’t the only ones flouting procedure, as watchdog groups have identified departing aides failing to disclose their new roles per Federal law. According to a lawsuit and recent report, the Trump administration is using a post-9/11 immigration regulation to indefinitely detain a Palestinian citizen.