Ryan Hayward  //  7/31/17  //  Topic Update

 President Trump publicly attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying Sessions’s recusal from Russia-related matters was a “bad thing” for the presidency (NYT).

  • If Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns, there are three scenarios for his succession at the Department of Justice, each with very different implications for special counsel Robert Mueller, notes Steve Vladeck at Just Security.
  • There are three scenarios for Sessions’s succession, with dramatically different implications for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, writes Steve Vladeck at Just Security.
  • Senate Democrats appear to have found a way to stop President Trump from making recess appointments (CNN). This may block Vladeck’s third scenario, the scenario that would have given President Trump the greatest flexibility to appoint Sessions’s successor.
  • Failing to hold pro forma sessions while in recess would signal tacit approval to the Attorney General’s replacement without Senate vetting, writes Gerard Magliocca at Balkinization.
  • President Trump’s firing of James Comey provides a template for how he will fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, explains Leah Litman (Take Care).
  • White House aides and Republican senators have been pressuring the president to stop his campaign against Sessions and to not fire him (NYTWaPoPolitico).
  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley stated there is “no way” the Senate would approve a new Attorney General this year (CNBC).
  • President Trump is pondering a recess appointment of an Attorney General replacement for Sessions (WaPo).
  • At the New York Times, Charlie Savage provides an overview of legal questions and answers surrounding a possible firing of Sessions.
  • At Lawfare, Ben Wittes explains why officials’ decision to resign is a critical means of maintaining the rule of law.
  • In contrast, Carrie Cordero argues at Lawfare that Jeff Sessions should not resign but rather force the president to fire him.
  • There is little upside for President Trump in firing Sessions, argues Vikram David Amar at Verdict.
  • John Dickerson notes that even Jimmy Carter demanded loyalty of cabinet members and staffers.
  • Senator Lindsey Graham has stated that there would be “holy hell to pay” if President Trump fires Sessions (Vox).

“It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties” — so notes a legal memo prepared by independent counsel Kenneth Starr during his investigation into President Clinton (NYT).

  • The prospect of indictment could impact the President’s decisionmaking, notes Renato Mariotti at Just Security.

President Trump was reported to be considering pardons for himself and those connected to the Russia invesigation.

  • Congress could amend the constitution to take the question of a self-pardon off the tableargues Jeffrey Crouch at Take Care.
  • A Democratic representative from Texas is proposing a constitutional amendment to ban presidential self-pardons (Buzzfeed News).
  • Pardoning those connected with the Russia investigation would be obstruction of justice, argues Bennett Gershman at the Daily Beast.

Senator Lindsey Graham says he will introduce legislation to insulate special counsels from being fired by a president (WSJ).


Updates | The Week of February 19, 2018

2/25/18  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a new charge against Paul Manafort while Richard Gates pled guilty. Meanwhile, President Trump's proposal to arm teachers drew controversy in Washington.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Updates | The Week of February 5, 2018

2/11/18  //  Daily Update

The Nunes memo set off aftershocks; agencies scrambled to implement the Trump Administration's policies to mixed effect; and Congress passes a budget after a brief overnight shutdown.

Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

The Department of Justice has filed a statement of interest in support of two conservative groups that sued the University of California-Berkeley over alleged limits on their ability to host events. Common Cause, a non-profit watchdog group, has filed a complaint alleging that the settlement paid to Stormy Daniels by President Trump amounted to an unreported in-kind contribution to President Trump's campaign.