Daily Update | April 4, 2019

4/4/19  //  Daily Update

Members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team believe that their investigation conclusions were more troubling for President Trump than Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary letter to Congress made them appear. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested that the IRS turn over six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Jared Kushner has been identified as the senior White House official whose security clearance was denied last year because of concerns over foreign influence. Senate Republicans employed the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules in order to speed up confirmation times of executive branch and district court judge nominees. When the Supreme Court hears arguments concerning the Trump Administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the Census, it will not consider a crucial element of the case—whether the decision was motivated by racial animus, and therefore violated equal protection.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 3, 2019

4/3/19  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has admitted fewer refugees than originally declared, which security experts and advocacy groups warn damages US credibility and leadership abroad. Former intelligence and military officials filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, arguing the government’s pre-publication review system violates the First Amendment. The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to authorize subpoenas in connection with information it received from a whistleblower about White House overrides of denied security clearances. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, President Trump’s nominee to lead the US Africa Command, said Russian and Chinese efforts to gain access and influence in Africa will be to the detriment of US interests in the region.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 2, 2019

4/2/19  //  Daily Update

The success of a lawsuit filed by Trump’s lawyers for declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief against the producers of a new TV show, Are You Smarter Than Donald Trump? will depend on whether it is taken as satire. The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to subpoena the full Mueller Report. Visa denials are on the rise under the Trump Administration. The Mattis policy regarding transgender persons in the military will go into effect on Friday, April 12. A whistleblower within the White House Personnel Security Office has come forward with a list of 25 individuals who were issued denials for security clearance that were subsequently overturned by the White House.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 1, 2019

4/1/19  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference would be made public by mid-April. Even as the Mueller investigation concludes, New York state investigations into the Trump Organization are just kicking into high gear. President Trump directed the State Department to cut off foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as a response to migrant caravans emerging from those countries. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Facebook with engaging in discriminatory advertising practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Seema Verma, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has spent millions of dollars of public funds on Republican communications consultants during her tenure. A federal judge blocked President Trump’s executive order lifting an Obama-era rule prohibiting gas drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic coast.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 29, 2019

3/29/19  //  Daily Update

Within the past two years nearly 20,000 deportation cases that had been suspended by immigration judges were restarted by the Trump administration. Since the President’s renewed attempts to dismantle Obamacare, legislators have been weighing the political risks and opportunities. Mitch McConnell has no intention of leading the charge. The President’s nominee for Associate Attorney General, Jessie K. Liu, has withdrawn herself from consideration for the position following what some say were oppositions to her relative lack of conservative credentials. In discussing “unprecedented obstruction” during a speech on the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell has also made an effort to circumvent the existing confirmation process for Presidential appointees to District Courts.

Daily Update | March 28, 2019

3/28/19  //  Daily Update

Renewing calls to repeal and possibly replace the Affordable Care Act, the President has moved beyond the argument that portions of the law are unconstitutional, with the Justice Department now arguing it should be dismantled entirely. The Trump Administration is seeking to expand beyond precedent the reach of Anti-Abortion foreign policy regulations that would ban US funding from certain groups. New employees in the Trump White House aren’t the only ones flouting procedure, as watchdog groups have identified departing aides failing to disclose their new roles per Federal law. According to a lawsuit and recent report, the Trump administration is using a post-9/11 immigration regulation to indefinitely detain a Palestinian citizen.

Daily Update | March 27, 2019

3/27/19  //  Daily Update

Attorney General William Barr aims to release a public version of the Mueller report within “weeks.” The Trump Administration gained clear legal approval to implement limitations on the service of transgender individuals in the military through a D.C. Circuit Court order. The DOJ argued in the Second Circuit that the President can block users on Twitter because it is a personal, not official, account. The Trump Administration, through a DOJ letter to the Fifth Circuit, now takes the position that the entire Affordable Care Act should be found unconstitutional. The religious exemptions to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act advanced by the Administration are unconstitutional. The House failed to override the President’s veto of the block on his national emergency declaration, which will likely move the fight to court.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | March 26, 2019

3/26/19  //  Daily Update

Following the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, officials and observers have differing opinions about the impact of Mueller’s report and what consequences may follow from the report. President Trump and members of the Republican party have stated that they will “pursue and even punish those responsible for the Russia investigation” following the submission of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Several inland checkpoints along the southern border have been closed in order to reassign staff to checkpoints at the border where there are greater numbers of immigrants crossing into the United States. Coastal communities are urging the EPA to update oil-spill regulations in the face of expanded off-shore drilling and an oil-spill policy that was last revised in 1994.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 25, 2019

3/25/19  //  Daily Update

The report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was released to Attorney General William Barr this weekend. Mr. Barr’s summary of the report asserts that the Special Counsel’s report concludes that President Trump did not conspire or coordinate with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election, but that it is inconclusive on the question of obstruction of justice. President Trump’s campaign for the 2020 general election has paid over $1.3 million to private Trump businesses through rent, food, lodging, and other expenses. President Trump signed an executive order to encourage universities to promote and protect free speech, particularly focusing his remarks on the suppression of conservative students’ views, and additionally promoting transparency regarding the cost of college and student borrowing. President Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory contravenes decades of U.S. policy, has lead to largely negative international responses, and appears at least partially political in nature.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 22, 2019

3/22/19  //  Daily Update

The White House refused to share information with multiple House committees about a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FBI has been sued by the ACLU and the Center for Media Justice for records pertaining to the surveillance of so-called “Black Identity Extremists.” Federal courts are hampering the efforts of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reverse Obama-era policies. A group of Democratic states threatened a lawsuit against the CFPB for delaying implementation of the payday loan rule. President Trump issued an executive order requiring colleges and universities to promote “free inquiry” in order to receive federal funds. President Trump said the United States will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 21, 2019

3/21/19  //  Daily Update

Until a recent D.C. Circuit decision becomes final, District Judge Kollar-Kotelly says her injunction barring the Administration from introducing limits on the service of transgender individuals in the military remains in place. Eighteen states have considered legislation this year that would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to post their tax returns in order to appear on a ballot. Senator Marco Rubio plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to limit the number of Supreme Court justices to nine. Analysis continues of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow ICE to detain migrants with criminal records long after their release from custody. Despite a variety of inquiries from the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the White House has refused to hand over any requested documents or produce any witnesses.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | March 20, 2019

3/20/19  //  Daily Update

White House lawyers want an opportunity to claim executive privilege and review Robert Mueller's report before it reaches lawmakers and the public. Search warrants obtained in the New York case against President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen were unsealed. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument in an anti-corruption case against President Trump regarding his violations of the Constitution's emoluments clauses. The Supreme Court’s latest opinion adds to a string of decisions with sweeping views of ICE’s power to confine migrants. Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration 63 times over the past two years.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | March 19, 2019

3/19/19  //  Daily Update

If the federal appeals court allows the Emoluments Clauses challenge against President Trump to move forward, he may be forced to disclose financial information related to his businesses. In addition to reviewing the statutory issues concerning the 2020 census citizenship question, the Supreme Court will also review the constitutional issue. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen declared that the United States is not prepared to handle foreign cyber attacks but is taking steps to identify and combat these threats. The Department of Defense produced a fact sheet listing all military projects from which funding could potentially be diverted to build the southern border wall. Democratic congressional leaders requested the FBI open an investigation into Chinese American executive, Li Yang, for misusing her personal ties to President Trump.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | March 18, 2019

3/18/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump issued his first veto, rejecting legislation to overturn his declaration of a national emergency to fund a border wall. President Trump encouraged House Republicans to vote in favor of a resolution calling on the Justice Department to make Robert Mueller’s final report public. Paul Manafort has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme. The Trump Administration has issued orders to put into effect next month new limitations on service in the military by transgender individuals. The Trump administration is considering sending a volunteer emergency response team to assist with security and humanitarian efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | March 15, 2019

3/15/19  //  Daily Update

Anticipation for the Mueller report continues to build, as the House calls unanimously for its release and a key member of the Special Counsel’s team prepares to leave his post. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he won’t share the President Trump’s tax returns with Congress. A New York appeals court ruled that the President could be sued by a former Apprentice contestant for defamation. The Senate voted to deny the President his national emergency at the southern border — but the President’s own veto is all but assured. The Connecticut Supreme Court held that Remington and other manufacturers of the AR-15 rifle could be sued by the families of victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School