Daily Update | March 14, 2019
Minutes after Paul Manafort received his second federal sentence in less than two weeks, Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance added a sixteen-count state indictment into the mix. DOD announced that it would begin implementing President Trump’s transgender service ban, despite a number of pending challenges in the federal courts. The Sixth Circuit upheld Ohio’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood. California imposed a death-penalty moratorium. President Trump grounded the Boeing jet blamed for deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Daily Update | March 13, 2019
The Trump Administration intends to close the international division of the USCIS by the end of the year and redirect those resources toward handling the immigration backlog in the United States. The New York Attorney General’s office issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to four Trump Organization projects. President Trump’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year proposes significant cuts to Medicaid, which would negatively affect people with disabilities. President Trump’s decision to eliminate the requirement to publicly disclose civilian casualties from US counterterrorism strikes reduces transparency, but Congress can fill this gap. Speaker Pelosi does not support impeaching President Trump unless there is compelling and bipartisan support because impeachment is divisive and Trump is “just not worth it.”
Daily Update | March 12, 2019
Trump has sent a record-breaking $4.75 trillion budget to Congress, which includes $8.6 billion for border wall construction. The DOJ will ask SCOTUS to bypass the 9th Circuit and hear argument on the second census question. The new Georgia Secretary of State intends to continue with a plan to use electronic voting machines that many think are susceptible to hacking. A campaign finance group urges Democrats to disavow and shut down Super PACs in advance of the 2020 election. The transgender military service ban will soon be implemented.
Daily Update | March 11, 2019
President Donald Trump has asked Congress for another $8.6 billion to complete a 722-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled Friday that potentially thousands of migrant families who were separated at the southern border under the Trump administration could be added to an existing class-action lawsuit. The Trump administration announced that it will soon implement a ban on most transgender people in the military, despite lingering injunctions. 20 states’ attorneys general have announced a challenge to the Trump administration’s new rule in Title X, the federal family planning grant program, slated to cut funding to clinics that provide or refer patients to abortion services. President Trump claimed that “Democrats oppose Israel and Jews,” reacting to the party’s controversy over recent remarks by a Muslim congresswoman.
Daily Update | March 8, 2019
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in prison. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen sued the Trump Organization for millions of dollars in unpaid legal fees. A federal judge in California dismissed a hush-money settlement lawsuit against President Trump from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. President Trump said he didn’t violate campaign finance laws by reimbursing Michael Cohen for a payment to Stormy Daniels. The Trump administration created a list of immigration activists and journalists that were subject to greater scrutiny during border crossings. In response to the DNC’s announcement that Fox News will not host a Democratic primary debate, President Trump suggested he might block other networks from hosting general election debates. DHS is considering a rule requiring health-care providers to disclose the secretly negotiated prices they charge insurers for services.
Daily Update | March 7, 2019
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee regarding border security. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen provided documents to the House Intelligence Committee that he said illustrate changes requested by the President’s lawyers to a knowingly false statement he made to Congress in 2017. A federal judge in California ruled that the inclusion of a citizenship question of the 2020 Census violated the APA and the Enumeration Clause. DOJ announced that it will increase its focus on illegal foreign influence operations, including violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Federal regulators are easing up on the use of various bank “stress tests” enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Senate Republicans are preparing to pass a rules change to shorten debate on lower court judges.
Daily Update | March 6, 2019
Lawyers for Michael Cohen approached the Trump team about a possible pardon. Roger Stone will be required by a federal judge to explain how he can follow a gag order while also delivering on a book deal. More migrants are crossing the border this year than last. Trump promised conservative activists at CPAC in Washington, D.C. that he would soon issue an executive order “requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars.” A judge has ruled that the Office of Management and Budget must reinstate a rule requiring some employers to disclose salary data with race and gender information.
Daily Update | March 5, 2019
The House Judiciary Committee issued its list of more than 80 document requests to support an investigation into obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power. Following earlier recriminations of Cohen’s accusations of racism, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced he would resign at the end of the President’s first term. Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s last day at the Department of Justice was this past Saturday, with the circumstances of his departure still unclear. Citing a lack of robust case law, the Supreme Court in a statement by Justice Kavanaugh has refused to hear a dispute regarding the disbursement of publicly-funded grants to a religious institution in New Jersey. Tenuous bipartisan support for a formal repudiation of the President’s declaration of a national emergency to fund a border wall appears to be coalescing before a vote. A new report indicates that the President ranks Fox News reporters according to perceptions of loyalty.
Daily Update | March 4, 2019
The Mexican government has undertaken more active efforts to support President Trump’s border intervention, stopping groups of migrants and refusing asylum applications in some cases. Revisiting an earlier request for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the President recast those remarks as sarcastic during his longest speech as President. Comments made by Michael Cohen during testimony last week are bringing fresh scrutiny to the role that WikiLeaks played in Russia’s election interference. The President’s use of Non-Disclosure Agreements with highly-subjective gag orders during the campaign might be more common in the private sector but are testing the limits of public information. Weeks of noncompliance with the provisions of the Global Magnitsky Act demonstrate that the President is ignoring his obligations to produce a report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Daily Update | March 1, 2019
President Trump had some reactions to Michael Cohen's testimony, acknowledging that Cohen didn't lie about everything. Following Cohen’s testimony, the House intelligence now intends to call the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, to testify. President Trump And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s Second Nuclear Summit Ends With No Deal. The attorney general of Washington, D.C., issued a subpoena for documents regarding President Donald Trump's inaugural committee. The Department of Homeland Security extended temporary protected status (TPS) for U.S. residents from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua until Jan. 2, 2020. The Supreme Court appeared ready to let stand a 40-foot cross on public land in Maryland, but the justices struggled to come up with a test to clarify the separation of church and state.
Daily Update | February 28, 2019
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, testified in detail before the House Oversight Committee about financial coverups during the 2016 election cycle, along with multiple other allegations of unethical and potentially criminal conduct. The Trump administration’s approach to Moda Muthana, a natural-born U.S. citizen who later joined ISIS, suggests that the administration’s immigration campaign will not stop with naturalized citizens, but rather poses a danger to American-born citizens as well. The federal government received over 4,500 complaints in four years about sexual abuse of immigrant children at government-funded detention centers. The United States military blocked internet access to a Russian “troll farm” on the day of the midterm elections, as a warning against Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
Daily Update | February 27, 2019
The House voted to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration. The House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena several administration officials for documents connected to family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump Organization wants the House Judiciary Committee to stop its investigation into the company, arguing that one of the Committee’s legal consultants has a conflict of interest. A federal judge has ruled that the Trump Administration’s rule banning bump stocks on guns can proceed. Paul Manafort’s defense team has filed its sentencing memo.
Daily Update | February 26, 2019
58 former U.S. government national security officials have signed a Joint Declaration that directly challenges President Donald Trump’s national emergency proclamation. The ACLU calls on House members to block Trump's emergency declaration. The Trump climate advisory panel may be structured to avoid having to release public records. A federal judge has ruled the male-only Selective Service Act unconstitutional. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he will make Mueller testify if his report isn’t made public.
Daily Update | February 25, 2019
Michael Cohen provided information to federal prosecutors about irregularities with the Trump Organization and inaugural committee. An IRS employee was charged with illegally leaking Michael Cohen’s banking records and providing them to Michael Avenatti. A bipartisan group of fifty-eight former senior national security officials issued a statement saying there is no factual basis for President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the border. A new lawsuit is seeking to require the federal government to recognize Hoda Muthana—an American-born woman who joined the Islamic State as an “ISIS bride” and now seeks to return—as an American citizen and allow her reentry into the country. The Trump Administration’s attempt to deny citizenship to the children of binational same-sex couples received a setback when a federal court ruled that such children are U.S. citizens under the relevant federal statutes. A federal judge ruled that an all-male military draft is unconstitutional.
Daily Update | February 22, 2019
President Trump should not rely on the Supreme Court to uphold his declaration of national emergency just because it saved the Muslim travel ban. A criminal complaint released on Thursday alleges that an IRS employee unlawfully disclosed confidential reports about President Trump’s former attorney, Michal Cohen. The FEC’s chair, Ellen Weintraub, has instructed FEC lawyers not to defend the FEC in non-enforcement suits in an effort to break the gridlock at the FEC and create more robust campaign-finance enforcement. Relentless discussion of impeachment may harm our democracy and inflame partisan dysfunction. The Trump Administration has cut off talks with the state of California about fuel-efficiency standards, citing the California Air Resource Board’s lack of cooperation with the Trump Administration. The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force should not be used to justify United States air strikes in Iran.