Daily Update | February 7, 2019

2/7/19  //  Daily Update

DOJ and DHS issued a report finding no evidence of foreign interference in the 2016 elections. Democrats are starting a series of investigations into the Trump administration. Federal prosecutors have looked into a foreign flow of money in Paul Manafort’s firms. The Supreme Court will review a certiorari petition about gun carry license policies and another about California’s ban on new pistol models. DOJ unsealed two “sweeping” indictments of Huawei, and opened an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein sex offender case. T-Mobile executives hoping for approval of a merger booked more than 52 nights at Trump Hotel. The Education Department’s proposed regulation on Title IX harassment could transform campus harassment procedural protections.

Zak Lutz

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 6, 2019

2/6/19  //  Daily Update

New York federal prosecutors delivered a subpoena to Trump’s inaugural committee, requesting an array of documents related to the committee’s donations and spending. Two years later, President Trump’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement hotline is still being criticized as racist and anti-immigrant. The Trump Administration concluded there is no evidence that a foreign entity materially impacted US election systems during the 2018 election. Trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union are likely doomed as each side has made propositions the other finds unacceptable. President Trump will nominate senior Treasury Department official and World Bank critic, David Malpass, as President of the World Bank.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 5, 2019

2/5/19  //  Daily Update

Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York plan to subpoena President Trump’s inaugural committee. Rinat Akhmetshin—a Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who attended the a Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials in June 2016—received a series of suspicious payments in 2016. The Trump Organization has fired at least eighteen undocumented workers from five golf courses over the past two months, in part of a purge apparently set in motion after a series of media reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status. Republican congressional leaders are increasingly concerned with the vast number of executive branch positions currently unfilled by a permanent officeholder. As we learn more about the process that led to the Trump Administration’s travel ban, its roots in anti-Muslim animus become clearer, as do the parallels between the Supreme Court’s decisions in Trump v. Hawaii and Korematsu.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 4, 2019

2/4/19  //  Daily Update

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is continuing to refuse to resign amid blackface controversy. President Trump’s reelection campaign spending rose sharply to $23 million in the last months of 2018, driven by rallies and advertising. Bans on LGBTQ “conversion therapy” for minors are now under threat. Mueller's team reportedly seized “voluminous and complex” evidence from Roger Stone in the investigation. President Trump taps Ronny Jackson to be his top medical adviser, despite an investigation into Jackson on allegations of mismanagement and misconduct. U.S. national parks are struggling with up to $11 million in revenue loss resulting from the government shutdown.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 1, 2019

2/1/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump says he will let the Justice Department decide whether to release the report to be issued at the close of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Senate rebukes President Trump over troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. President Trump offers a pessimistic assessment of congressional negotiations over border security funding. Hundreds show up for immigration court hearings that turn out not to exist. President Trump pushes back against his own “naive” intelligence officials. The Trump Administration proposes big changes in how prescription drugs are priced.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 31, 2019

1/31/19  //  Daily Update

Senator Lindsey Graham wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for FBI testimony on the arrest of Roger Stone. Democrats have offered an initial deal within the House and Senate that would give new customs officers and scanning technology to search cars and attempt to find opioids, but have not offered any funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall. President Trump met with with Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner and other officials to discuss potentially using emergency powers towards the border wall. Kansas lawmakers are seeking an amendment that would effectively ban abortion under state law, even if it would remain federally legal. President Trump called his intelligence officials “extremely passive and naive” on Iran after facing criticism over his administration’s policies in testimony before Congress. The Ninth Circuit upheld a terror-reporting tool used by the federal government, finding that the government did not need to show “reasonable suspicion” to share information about individuals potentially suspected of activity linked to terrorism.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | January 30, 2019

1/30/19  //  Daily Update

Roger Stone, a longtime advisor to President Trump, pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements. The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that federal law, rather than state law, must be used to determine the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. A planned Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation vote on the nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General has been postponed amidst concerns raised by several Democrats. By the end of this fiscal year, the “Muslim ban” will have prevented approximately 15,000 spouses and adopted minor children of U.S. citizens from reuniting. Concerned with the possibility that the Supreme Court may chip away at Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the coming months and years, New York enacted legislation to strengthen reproductive health protections in the state.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 29, 2019

1/29/19  //  Daily Update

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker stated publicly that special counsel Robert Mueller is near the completion of his investigation. The United States Justice Department has unsealed an indictment charging Chinese company Huawei with evading United States sanctions on Iran and other crimes under United States law. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela, specifically Petróleos de Venezuela, the state-owned oil monopoly that is a significant portion of the country’s revenue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will monitor the experiences of teenagers with autism, collecting data for the first time as part of a long-term program. State legislators have introduced hundreds of bills aimed at making voting easier for citizens following the 2018 midterm elections.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | January 28, 2019

1/28/19  //  Daily Update

The partial government shutdown has ended temporarily. President Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone was arrested on Friday and charged with one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. The unnamed foreign corporation challenging a subpoena issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a cert petition seeking Supreme Court review of the D.C. Circuit's decision in favor of Mueller. President Trump's lawyers asked the Supreme Court to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census. The Trump administration's policy to restrict transgender people's service in the military leaves personnel in limbo. US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its 2019 Annual Energy Outlook, which projects that coal will remain part of the US energy grid until 2050.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 25, 2019

1/25/19  //  Daily Update

The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Michael Cohen to compel testimony about his role in the proposed Trump Organization tower in Moscow. Jerome Corsi, a witness and subject of intense scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has been collecting $15,000 per-month payments from Infowars in an arrangement set up by Roger Stone. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would allow federally funded foster-care agencies to discriminate against non-Christians and same-sex couples. If the federal courts run out of money over the course of the government shutdown, the Supreme Court will continue to perform its essential functions, although precisely how it will do so remains unclear. The Navy is denying civil claims by approximately 4,500 plaintiffs, totaling $963 billion in damages, stemming from exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 24, 2019

1/24/19  //  Daily Update

After a protracted dispute with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump said he will deliver his State of the Union address after the government reopens. A bill containing President Trump’s proposal to end the shutdown contains new restrictive measures on DACA, TPS, and asylum. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has postponed his scheduled testimony before Congress on February 7, citing recent comments from President Trump and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. HHS granted a waiver to a Christian ministry in South Carolina to participate in the federally funded foster-care program, even though the ministry will only work with Christian families. The EU says it will impose nearly $23 billion in tariffs if President Trump imposes tariffs on EU cars and auto parts. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is fighting the Trump administration’s request for extradition with a request to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to require U.S. prosecutors to unseal any charges against him.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 23, 2019

1/23/19  //  Daily Update

The Supreme Court granted the DOJ’s request to lift lower court injunctions blocking the implementation of the transgender military ban, allowing the ban to go into effect. The Court also chose not to take action on the DOJ’s request to review DACA, which may have consequences for government shutdown negotiations. President Trump’s new policy cutting funding for congressional travel during the shutdown may violate federal law and may hinder Congress’ ability to oversee foreign affairs. The President admitted via Twitter that he told Press Secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings because of the media’s rude and inaccurate coverage. Modifications to the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program proposed by HHS and CMS will negatively impact participants with HIV.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | January 22, 2019

1/22/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that conversations about Trump Tower Moscow went on leading up to the 2016 election. The Trump administration’s proposed ACA Rules could raise health insurance costs for millions of Americans. After the bipartisan First Step Act was signed, the DOJ and BOP have been dragging their feet to implement the new law, which reforms the criminal justice system. President Trump cannot acquire the land he needs build his border wall without forcibly displacing large numbers of property owners by using eminent domain. The Special Counsel’s office says it did not realize the extent of Buzzfeed’s story about Michael Cohen until it was published.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | January 18, 2019

1/18/19  //  Daily Update

In response to Nancy Pelosi’s threat to cancel the State of the Union, President Trump cancelled a congressional delegation to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan. Lack of funding for HUD means that rent for seniors and people with disabilities living in HUD-subsidized housing are facing poor housing conditions and could lose their housing altogether if the shutdown persists. The State Department will call back its furloughed diplomats next week, after finding enough money to cover payroll for two weeks. President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, used his technology company to try to rig online polls in President Trump’s favor during his presidential campaign. The GAO has released a report regarding the impact of global migration on climate change. The DOJ has submitted a filing indicating that it no longer believes that Texas should be put under federal supervision for voting under the Voting Rights Act.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 17, 2019

1/17/19  //  Daily Update

Citing security concerns due to the government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump to reschedule the State of the Union address or deliver it in writing. At his confirmation hearing, William Barr’s testimony sent mixed signals about what kind of Attorney General he will be. In a new report, the inspector general of the GSA says the agency “ignored” constitutional issues in its decision to allow the Trump International Hotel to maintain a lease in the Old Post Office building in Washington and recommended that the agency review the lease again. The Pentagon is developing a new vetting process for recruits with “foreign ties,” including some U.S. citizens. Iranian state television said one of its journalists has been arrested in the United States, but the U.S. government has not confirmed. T-Mobile executives have made repeated stays at Trump hotels, raising suspicions that they are trying to influence the administration’s decision about its merger with Sprint.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School