Daily Update | February 28, 2019

2/28/19  //  Daily Update

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.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 27, 2019

2/27/19  //  Daily Update

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.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 26, 2019

2/26/19  //  Daily Update

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.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 25, 2019

2/25/19  //  Daily Update

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.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 22, 2019

2/22/19  //  Daily Update

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.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 21, 2019

2/21/19  //  Daily Update

Justice Department officials believe that Robert Mueller will potentially finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by next week. President Trump announced that the United States would not re-admit Hoda Muthana, a student who traveled to Syria to try to join the Islamic State, but has apologized and wishes to return to the United States. The Supreme Court on ruled 9-0 that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment in Timbs v. Indiana. The Environmental Protection Agency has begun to lay out a new plan to change Obama-era rules and make regulation of mercury and air toxins substantially more difficult. Members of Congress have grown concerned that Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats may soon be removed from his position by President Trump.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 20, 2019

2/20/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump denied asking former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to put a U.S. attorney who would be sympathetic to President Trump in charge of the investigation into payments to a woman President Trump allegedly had an affair with. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a Texas man may not be executed due to his having an intellectual disability, reversing a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered a hearing on Roger Stone’s bail status after he posted an image on Instagram which appeared to show the judge’s head next to the crosshairs of a gun. President Trump signed an order to create a military branch under Air Force control that would primarily deal with threats in space, which he has referred to as a “space force.” The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report discussing allegations from whistleblowers that Michael Flynn and other members of the Trump administration were part of an effort to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 19, 2019

2/19/19  //  Daily Update

Sixteen states sue to challenge the President’s authority to declare a national emergency to build the border wall. A lawsuit was filed by multiple civil rights organizations challenging the administration’s policy of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while their cases are considered. The budget bill passed last week pushes back against some Trump Administration policies, but overall continues to expand the federal government’s immigration prison regime. President Trump stopped cost-sharing payments under the ACA, and Congress may end up liable to insurers for over $12 billion in missed payments. The First Circuit says the board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances was illegally constituted, and President Trump may have to appoint a new one.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 18, 2019

2/18/19  //  Daily Update

Trump has declared a national emergency to fund the border wall. As a border wall becomes more likely, asylum seekers at the border are giving up hope. The Court will review the census citizenship question dispute this term. The Special Counsel's office filed its sentencing memo in Paul Manafort's case. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a former employee of the data firm Cambridge Analytica. A district court ordered the Trump administration to halt the imminent discharge of HIV-positive airmen.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 15, 2019

2/15/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump is expected to sign Congress’ budget as well as declare a national emergency to obtain the remaining funds necessary for the construction of a southern border wall. A group of civil liberties organizations filed a lawsuit against the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy, arguing it violates US immigration laws, the APA, and international human rights law. The Senate confirmed the nomination of William Barr as attorney general along partisan lines. If Congress tries to access the July 2018 Helsinki meeting notes, President Trump may be able to claim executive privilege, but that privilege is not absolute.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 14, 2019

2/14/19  //  Daily Update

William Barr remains non-commital on whether the Mueller report will be made public. The district court judge rules that Paul Manafort lied while under the plea deal cooperation agreement. As the budget deal nears completion, Trump makes it clear that he wants to avoid a shutdown. The Supreme Court is likely to act on the census citizenship question this week. The ACLU argues that New Hampshire is unfairly targeting young voters to remove them from rolls ahead of 2021 election.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 13, 2019

2/13/19  //  Daily Update

Earthjustice released a report that highlights how the Trump administration's planned migrant detention center for unaccompanied children is slated to be placed on top of a former landfill which could have damaging effects on children’s health. The EPA rejected a ban on toxic chemicals that are known to cause serious health threats. The new head of the CFPB proposed getting rid of rules that have served to protect Americans from a predatory industry.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 12, 2019

2/12/19  //  Daily Update

Lawyers for the Trump Foundation argued that the New York attorney general's lawsuit against the organization should not move forward because of political bias. The House Veterans Affairs Committee opened an investigation into the role of three members of President Trump's Florida country club Mar-a-Lago in a digital health record contract and other VA business. The FBI’s International Human Rights Unit, a unit that handles war crimes, may be shut down. Even though Inspectors General play a key role as internal agency watchdogs that help promote accountability, there are 12 IG vacancies across federal agencies.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 11, 2019

2/11/19  //  Daily Update

Paul Manafort continued political work for Ukraine months after his indictment, and may have lied in the hopes of getting a pardon. The Supreme Court blocks a Louisiana abortion law from going into effect. Georgia voters suing for paper ballots win their appeal to the 11th Circuit. SCOTUS vacates a stay of execution for a man who wanted a Muslim chaplain at his side. 2018 was a record-low year for EPA enforcement. The legal challenge to Trump’s executive order requiring a “two-for-one” elimination of regulations continues to discovery. DHS unveils a new “Remain in Mexico” plan.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 8, 2019

2/8/19  //  Daily Update

After earlier saying he would not testify before Congress unless the subpoena threat were removed, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Federal investigators have given David Pecker, chief of the National Enquirer’s publisher, immunity to cooperate with the investigators. The HHS Office of Population Affairs removed content about birth control and related medicine from its Title X website. The FEC adjusted the individual contribution limit to $2,800 per person for the next election cycle. DOJ awarded $8.3 million to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. President Trump is likely to sign an executive order banning Chinese telecom equipment next week. The Trump Administration relaxed rules for gun exports. The CFPB proposed new regulations on payday loan lenders that would rescind “ability-to-repay” provisions.

Zak Lutz

Harvard Law School