Daily Update | November 5, 2018
A federal judge in Maryland denied the Trump administration’s request to put discovery on hold in an Emoluments Clause lawsuit. The first trial regarding the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census will begin in New York on Monday after the Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s request for a stay. Economic sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran today. Cesay Sayoc, the man alleged to have sent pipe bombs to Democrats and other public figures across the country, will remain in custody until he is transferred to New York for trial. At the SEC and DOJ, there has been a sharp decline in financial penalties against banks and businesses accused of illegality. Federal and state officials are guarding against Russian interference in the midterm elections, with a wary eye to a greater threat in 2020.
Daily Update | November 2, 2018
At a Florida rally, President Trump calls constitutional citizenship protections a “crazy policy.” President Trump says the U.S. will stop releasing apprehended migrants prior to their hearings. Justice Department charges Chinese company with espionage. Democrats are preparing to try to obtain a copy of President Trump’s tax returns if they win control of the House or Senate. Senator Joe Manchin says social media accounts associated with his Senate office had been hacked. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is expected to be nominated as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Daily Update | November 1, 2018
President Trump’s proposed birthright citizenship order is creating legal chaos now and will later, despite the order’s likely unconstitutionality. The proposal is dividing the Republican party, including President Trump and Speaker Ryan. Border Patrol is preparing for the arrival of both the migrant caravan and national troops. The Trump Administration called for a ceasefire in Yemen. The National Archives released the Watergate “Road Map.” The Commerce Department banned American companies from selling components to the Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua. Democrats slammed the Director of National Intelligence for keeping a report about Chinese election interference confidential.
Daily Update | October 31, 2018
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested an FBI investigation after it was discovered that a company offered to pay women to make allegations against him. The DOJ has unsealed an indictment of Chinese intelligence officers for the hacking of aerospace information and technology from American companies. Advocacy groups urge President Trump to appoint a head for the Bureau of Prisons. The Interior Department’s oversight organization has referred an investigation into a possible conflict of interests by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to the Justice Department. Mr. Zinke is the subject of at least eighteen federal investigations into ethical or policy violations. President Trump has proposed an executive order that would end birthright citizenship.
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 26, 2018
President Trump’s allies say FBI officials should be investigated over Russia probe. At the Supreme Court, the DOJ argues in favor of businesses being able to discriminate against transgender employees. President Trump to order 800 army troops to help secure the border with Mexico. CIA Director Gina Haspel has listened to audio of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Manhattan judge questions Trump Foundation over campaign ties. President Trump proposes to lower drug prices by basing them on other countries’ costs. A federal judge orders Georgia to give voters the chance to fix absentee ballots. Typhoon Yutu destroys U.S. territories in the Western Pacific.
Daily Update | October 25, 2018
Pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Maxine Waters, as well as CNN. The migrant caravan headed to the United States from Honduras is creating a political firestorm before the midterms. Amazon met with ICE officials to market its facial recognition software. The GAO has issued its report on the family separation policy. Officials are preparing for false claims of election interference that might affect the public’s confidence in the electoral process. Chinese and Russian spies are listening to President Trump’s phone calls. Two new reports demonstrate how black Americans are targeted by Russian disinformation.
Daily Update | October 24, 2018
The DOJ is planning to propose a change to immigration proceedings that would allow the Attorney General to rule on cases before they are heard by the Board of Immigration Appeals. TSA’s proposal to use facial recognition surveillance technology at airports “is not good news for privacy and civil liberties” as it could easily spread to other government agencies. Taking its first step to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the US will revoke the visas of the men accused of the murder. The Administration’s new practice of asking the partisan affiliation of judicial candidates to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals has some concerned judges are being selected based on partisanship rather than qualifications. The US Cyber Command has begun its first cyber operation against Russian election interference by informing Russian operatives their activities have been identified and are being tracked.
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 22, 2018
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is aggressively investigating whether Roger Stone had advance knowledge that hacked and stolen emails would be published by WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. A federal judge ordered that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort be sentenced in February for financial crimes he was convicted of in August. The Trump Administration is considering redefining “sex” under Title IX as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. Georgia’s “exact match” law could disenfranchise nearly 1 million eligible voters. The Trump Administration is planning to announce the U.S. will withdraw from the the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a thirty-year-old arms control measure with Russia. The Justice Department charged a Russian woman with helping lead an elaborate campaign of “information warfare” to interfere with the upcoming midterm elections.
Daily Update | October 19, 2018
President Trump finally stated that he believed that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was dead. Emmet T. Flood has been named White House Counsel on a temporary basis. President Trump threatened closure of the Southern border if Mexico did not stop the ‘caravan’ of migrants headed from Guatemala to the United States. DHS is considering withdrawing from the Flores Agreement, a 21-year-old court-supervised settlement agreement that provides strict conditions for the detention of immigrant children. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board finally released a report that shows a gaping hole in privacy protections from U.S. surveillance. The Heritage Foundation’s training program for judicial clerks raised ethical questions and concerns regarding the duties of the clerks to the judges they will serve. The Inspector General concluded that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke violated the Department’s policy on travel.
Daily Update | October 18, 2018
White House Counsel Donald McGahn resigned his post. The number of migrant families crossing the border reached record levels in the last three months, leading President Trump to call for a reinstatement of the family separation policy. The U.S. received $100 million in Syrian stabilization support from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, raising questions about the timing of the transfer in light of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration plans to withdraw from the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty, which allows Chinese companies to ship small packages to the U.S. at a heavily discounted rate. The White House revealed its Unified Agenda, proposing additional deregulation and predicting a decrease between $120 and $340 billion in regulatory costs by the end of fiscal year 2019. A senior Treasury Department employee was charged with leaking confidential financial reports, some of which related to the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference.
Daily Update | October 17, 2018
The Trump administration has falsely and dangerously connected immigration to terrorism in promoting policies. President Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras unless a group of migrants fleeing violence are stopped and returned to the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent to Saudi Arabia to speak with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ongoing concerns over the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Rejecting an industry challenge, a D.C. Circuit Court judge allowed an Obama-era student loan protection for graduates of for-profit colleges to go into effect. DHS’s intelligence assessment reported that the volume of attempted cyber-attacks on election systems in 2018 has been growing, but some argue this may reflect improved reporting and sharing between governments, rather than an “uptick in activity.” President Trump criticized Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for raising interest rates too fast, referring to the bank as his “biggest threat.”
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.