Daily Update | February 22, 2018
President Trump held a listening session including people affected by school shootings who urged action on gun control. Border Patrol is stretching its authority to search private property and extend its reach beyond the physical border. New lawsuits seek to challenge the winner-take-all approach to allocating Electoral College votes in most states. Benjamin Wittes, editor of Lawfare blog, sued the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act over its failure to produce records related to its promotion of Mar-a-Lago. Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg will be interviewed by the Special Counsel.
Daily Update | February 21, 2018
In response to the recent shooting at a Florida high school, President Trump announced that the Justice Department will propose regulations banning bump stocks. Despite Saudi Arabia’s refusal to accept nonproliferation safeguards, the Trump Administration is seeking to sell nuclear reactors to the kingdom. A lawsuit alleges that the Trump Administration is holding young adults indefinitely and illegally. A lawyer involved with Rick Gates and Paul Manafort pled guilty to making false statements to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the course of the investigation into Russian election meddling.
Daily Update | February 20, 2018
The Supreme Court is likely to take one of five approaches to the Trump Administration's request for expedited review of a lower court's block on terminating the DACA program. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Jared Kushner “has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition.” AT&T is arguing in court that “President Trump's hatred of CNN played a role in the DOJ's attempt to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner Inc. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered new U.S. Congressional maps to rectify what it had previously ruled was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
Daily Update | February 19, 2018
Via tweet, President Trump blamed the FBI’s preoccupation on the Russian interference investigation for its failure to prevent last week’s school shooting in Florida. The October deaths of four American soldiers in Niger raise questions about the amorphous and expansive post-9/11 “war on terror.” Former Trump campaign advisor Richard Gates will testify against Paul Manafort, as part of a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied that vacancies in the State Department evidence a dismantling of the agency.
Daily Update | February 16, 2018
The Fourth Circuit has invalidated the third iteration of the Travel Ban, joining the Ninth Circuit, but the injunction is stayed pending Supreme Court review of the case. The Vera Institute of Justice told its lawyers nationwide not to discuss abortion access with undocumented immigrant minors in custody, for fear it would jeopardize a multimillion-dollar contract with HHS. President Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an advisor to first lady Melania Trump, while donating $5 million less than expected to charity. The CFPB’s just-released strategic plan reflects a new restrained approach.
Daily Update | February 15, 2018
President Trump threatened to veto any immigration bill that doesn’t meet the “four pillars” of his demands. Vice President Pence announced that the U.S. intelligence community universally concluded that Russia did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election, despite the fact that officials have made no such judgment. There is an increasing wave of efforts to punish or restrain judges who reject political districting. The United States may seek to put Pakistan on the Terrorism-Finance List.
Daily Update | February 14, 2018
A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction temporarily maintaining DACA protections for those who applied before the Administration announced its repeal. Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted the White House’s statement that the investigation into staff secretary Rob Porter’s security clearance was ongoing at the time of his resignation. The Administration’s budget proposal shrinks the Department of Energy budget by more than $1 billion, including eliminating a popular program that provides grant funding to early-stage energy research.
Daily Update | February 13, 2018
President Trump released his budget proposal, which includes a substantial increase in military spending and additional infrastructure funding but cuts other domestic programs such as Medicare. The Human Rights Campaign released a statement calling the proposed budget ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ for its cuts to programs critical to the safety of LGBTQ people. Attorney General Jeff Sessions deviated from prepared remarks to the National Sheriffs Association to emphasize the ‘Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.’ Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand left her job due to frustration at the slow pace of nominations for Department of Justice positions and concern that she would be expected to supervise the Mueller investigation if President Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Daily Update | February 12, 2018
A federal judge ruled that detaining inmates beyond their release date at the request of the U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement violates the Fourth Amendment. Senior officials in the Trump Administration are divided over whether two ISIS militants should go to Guantánamo Bay or be brought to the U.S. for a criminal trial. Rachel Brand, the third-highest official at the Department of Justice, is stepping down. US intelligence agencies attempted to purchase information from a Russian who promised he could provide information stolen from the National Security Agency and compromising information on President Trump.
Daily Update | February 9, 2018
On this week’s Versus Trump, Charlie Gerstein and Easha Anand discussed the Russia investigation, the Nunes memo, and whether President Trump will be interviewed by the Special Counsel. The White House has advised government agencies to prepare for a government shutdown as Congress struggles to pass a budget before the midnight deadline. ICE officials are reportedly looking into the agency joining the Intelligence Community. Buried in the White House and House Intelligence Committee’s back-and-forth over the Nunes memo is an effort by White House Counsel Don McGahn to weaken congressional oversight.
Daily Update | February 8, 2018
Russian hackers successfully penetrated voter registration systems in several states prior to the 2016 election, said Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security. A California judge ruled that a bakery can continue to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Alaska is at the heart of a legal challenge aimed at getting the Supreme Court to revisit Citizens United. The Senate reached a two-year budget deal that raises spending but does not address immigration.
Daily Update | February 7, 2018
President Trump is not expected to extend a March 5th deadline for when legal protections and work permits for DACA recipients begin to expire. A Trump Administration plan to move oversight of drug prevention programs to the Justice Department is drawing protest from state and local law enforcement officials. Ten states and a coalition of environmental groups sued the Trump Administration for delaying enforcement of an EPA rule meant to protect waterways. Records suggest President Trump personally profited from Trump from America, the nonprofit presidential transition organization.
Daily Update | February 6, 2018
President Trump attacked Democratic lawmakers who did not applaud during the State of the Union, calling their behavior “Un-American” and “treasonous.” In response to Friday’s release of the Nunes memo, the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously in favor of releasing a counter memo written by Democratic members of the Committee. President Trump’s lawyers want him to refuse an interview in the Mueller inquiry, which could set up a prolonged court fight.
Daily Update | February 5, 2018
The Trump Administration released a new Nuclear Posture Review on Friday, in which it announces a need to modernize weaponry in response to Russia’s efforts, sparking a “new kind of nuclear arms race.” The Supreme Court’s decision whether to intervene in the debate over congressional redistricting in Pennsylvania could have considerable impact on the midterm elections. Increasing numbers of states and localities are resisting cooperation with federal immigration agents.
Daily Update | February 2, 2018
The Trump Administration refused to sign a statement in support of an Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling on marriage equality and transgender rights. Redistricting court decisions are unlikely to have an impact on the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections, with the one big exception of Pennsylvania’s surprise state court ruling. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly zeroed in on a statement penned by President Trump and his advisors aboard Air Force One last July which sought to explain a meeting between Russians and top campaign officials during the previous summer.