Daily Update | April 30, 2019

4/30/19  //  Daily Update

Rod Rosenstein, the oft-maligned Deputy Attorney General, has resigned. His now-former boss, Attorney General William Barr, is expected to face lengthy questioning from lawyers to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Two controversial (and potentially unconstitutional) ICE enforcement tactics are drawing both public criticism and legal challenge. And FBI Director Christopher Bray warned of Russia’s plans to meddle in the 2020 Presidential contest.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 26, 2019

4/26/19  //  Daily Update

House Democrats asked DHS for documents related to the recent series of firings and resignations at the department. A federal judge blocked a DHS “gag rule” that would strip Title X funding from health care providers that refer patients to an abortion provider. Advocacy groups sued the FEC for failing to act on alleged campaign finance violations by the NRA. House Democrats are considering various responses to the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with investigations. Russian agent Maria Butina will be sentenced in federal court on Friday. The Interior Department halted plans to expand offshore drilling to wait for the outcome of a legal case about similar drilling plans in the Arctic.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 25, 2019

4/25/19  //  Daily Update

Deutsche Bank has begun providing documents to the New York State Attorney General in response to a subpoena for records related to loans made to President Trump and the Trump Organization. ICE detention facilities routinely violate the religious rights of non-Christian detainees. The Supreme Court appears poised to hand the Trump Administration a victory in the litigation challenging the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census. The Trump Administration has worked to water down a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at “highlighting the harm of sexual violence in war, the needs of survivors, and the validity of accountability for such harm.” The Mueller report shows President Trump repeatedly directing subordinates to open criminal investigations of political rivals.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 24, 2019

4/24/19  //  Daily Update

The post-Mueller cold war between President Trump and House Democrats intensified on Tuesday, as the President indicated that he would fight any Congressional requests for additional information or testimony related to the Special Counsel’s investigation. The White House reportedly plans to invoke executive privilege to prevent former White House Counsel Donald McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. After hearing oral argument in a challenge to the Commerce Department’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Supreme Court seems poised to rule in the Department’s favor. And the House sought a preliminary injunction to bar President Trump from using military funding to build a wall on the nation’s southern border.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 23, 2019

4/23/19  //  Daily Update

The Supreme Court granted certiorari on a trio of cases that will decide whether Title VII protects LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination. President Trump and the Trump Organization sued the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in an effort to prevent the committee from subpoenaing the company’s financial records. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to former White House Counsel Don McGahn as part of its investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. Mississippi’s arguments in defense of its ban on abortions at or after 15 weeks of pregnancy underscore how aggressively some states are seeking to evade constitutional precedent on abortion jurisprudence without overturning it.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 22, 2019

4/22/19  //  Daily Update

The fallout from Thursday’s release of the Mueller Report continues to spread, as do calls for the dissemination of an unredacted version of the report — and for the President’s impeachment. The Ninth Circuit dealt another blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to undercut the authority of sanctuary cities and states. A proposed OPM rule that would likely limit the access of graduates of pre-trial diversion programs to federal jobs is drawing criticism from criminal-justice reform advocates.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 19, 2019

4/19/19  //  Daily Update

A private right-wing militia in New Mexico has been detaining migrant families at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol. A redacted version of the Mueller Report was released following a press conference including prepared remarks from AG William Barr. Following the press conference, top Dems have suggested that Barr “deliberately distorted” portions of the report. The report of a second Justice Department investigation, discussing the FBI’s investigation of the Christopher Steele dossier, could be released as early as next month.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 18, 2019

4/18/19  //  Daily Update

The White House is resisting congressional requests for information and is preparing for an extended legal battle over congressional subpoenas. AG Bill Barr ruled that a noncitizen who is transferred from expedited removal to full removal proceedings after demonstrating a “credible fear” of persecution or torture is subject to mandatory and indefinite detention. DOJ indicted dozens of medical professionals for the illegal distribution of opioids. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his opposition to allowing Chinese telecommunications company China Mobile to enter the U.S. market, citing national security concerns. The Mueller investigation has revived the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an anti-corruption tool.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 17, 2019

4/17/19  //  Daily Update

The Fourth Circuit ruled that detained immigrants do not have a right to be kept in the same state as their children. Republicans object to document requests in House investigation of voting irregularities in Georgia, Kansas, and Texas. Several House committees have subpoenaed foreign banks with Trump ties.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 16, 2019

4/16/19  //  Daily Update

The DOJ is expected to release a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation on Thursday. Since the State Department altered its foreign affairs manual last year to give diplomats greater discretion to deny visas on public-charge grounds, denials on this ground have increased. The Department of Interior opened an investigation into President Trump’s recently confirmed Secretary, David Bernhardt, for potential ethics violations and conflicts of interest. The Supreme Court continues to fault capital defendants for the states’ sloppy death penalty policies and litigation tactics, rather than holding the states accountable.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 15, 2019

4/15/19  //  Daily Update

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is consulting with the Department of Justice regarding the legality and constitutionality of the request of President Trump’s tax returns. The ICC has denied a request from prosecutors to further investigate alleged war crimes by the U.S. military and CIA in Afghanistan. The White House has confirmed that the plan to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities is back under consideration. Acting White House Budget Director Russell Vought indicated in a memo that agency rules are now going to be subjected to closer monitoring to determine which rules are “major” and therefore required to be submitted to OIRA for review. The number of vacancies in the Trump Administration could create an unmanegeable workload for the Senate.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 12, 2019

4/12/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump echoed AG Bill Barr in claiming that “spying” on the president’s 2016 campaign took place. According to DHS officials and newly obtained email messages, the White House considered transporting immigrant detainees to “sanctuary cities” and Democratic jurisdictions as retaliation against the president’s opponents. The DOE is accused of dragging its feet in implementing a Obama-era special education regulation. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London and indicted by the DOJ. Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig was indicted for misleading federal investigators about his lobbying work for the Ukrainian government. Former lobbyist David Bernhardt was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 11, 2019

4/11/19  //  Daily Update

Attorney General William Barr said he plans to publicly release a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report “within a week.” President Donald Trump denies rumors that his administration is hoping to resume the separation of parents and children at the US-Mexico border. President Trump has faced more joint challenges from states in his first two years in office than either Barack Obama or George W. Bush did in their eight years in office. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation have officially confirmed that the Russian hacking efforts in advance of the 2016 election went well beyond the 21 states confirmed in previous reports. The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office has reported that it has gathered more evidence of hush payments to two women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump for its ongoing criminal investigation.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 10, 2019

4/10/19  //  Daily Update

President Donald Trump’s "dramatic purge of Homeland Security leaders" helps clear the way for him to new steps to curb illegal immigration. A U.S. district court in California blocked President Trump’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to wait out the processing of their cases, ruling that the D.H.S. had overstepped its authority. The DOE’s civil rights division is requiring the Texas Tech University system to end its use of race in admissions decisions. President Trump exploited the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to bypass not only the Senate’s advice-and-consent role, but also the ordinary line of succession within a critical government agency. Congress can probably force President Trump to turn over his tax returns, but it is legally complicated.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | April 5, 2019

4/5/19  //  Daily Update

In a letter to members of Congress, lawyers for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen requested support for a reduced prison sentence for Cohen so he can assist in oversight investigations. The DOJ defended AG Bill Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report, drawing a response from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. ICE arrested more than 280 people at a Texas company, the largest workplace immigration raid in a decade. The House will file a lawsuit to block President Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall on the border. In response to complaints from LGBT employees, AG Bill Barr ordered an investigation into discrimination at the DOJ. The House approved a war powers resolution ending U.S. military involvement in Yemen, sending it to President Trump for a possible veto.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School