Daily Update | May 7, 2019
The House Judiciary Committee said it will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for missing congress’s deadline to turn over an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, stating that the House’s request for the tax returns “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.” New guidelines issued by the Trump administration explicitly criminalize humanitarian aid at the border, leaving humanitarian workers in the Southern United States at risk for incarceration. The Trump administration deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier to the Middle East in response to unusually specific intelligence reports indicating that Iran planned to target U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.
Daily Update | May 6, 2019
As Michael Cohen, his beleaguered former personal counsel, prepares to begin his three-year prison sentence on Monday, the President continued to fume over reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will soon testify before Congress. An Ohio federal district court struck down the state’s districting scheme as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
Daily Update | May 3, 2019
The Department of Health and Human Services finalized a regulation making it easier for health care workers to refuse to provide services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Barr’s recent decision allowing ICE to detain asylum seekers awaiting their hearings without due process. The Pentagon released its annual report on civilian casualties in connection with US military operations, but the numbers reported are significantly lower than those reported by NGOs. The Trump Administration’s regulatory agenda has faced several challenges in court, losing at a historic rate. Congress’ review of the Mueller report and Barr’s handling of the report is focused largely on criminality, which may obscure other issues, such as national security risks and presidential expectations.
Daily Update | May 2, 2019
Trump wants to speed up asylum cases and start charging an application fee. A federal judge has declined to dismiss a suit alleging that Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause. Congress held its first hearing on the ERA in 36 years. AG Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mueller wrote in a letter to the AG that he was dissatisfied with the summary the AG provided to the public. The DOJ argues that Robert Stone should not receive an unredacted version of the Mueller Report in preparation for his trial.
Daily Update | April 30, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 26, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 25, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 24, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 23, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 22, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 19, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 18, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 17, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 16, 2019
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.
Daily Update | April 15, 2019
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.