Britany Riley  //  6/25/17  //  Topic Update

President Trump appeared to publicly acknowledge he is under investigation in a Friday Twitter rant directed against Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (NYT). 

  • The President’s lawyer later walked back that acknowledgement, denying that the President is being investigated (NYTWSJ).
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters there “was never any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians” (Politico).
  • The President added John Dowd, a veteran Washington defense lawyer and former prosecutor, to his legal team this week (NYT).
  • At Politico, Eliana Johnson, Josh Dawsey, and Josh Gerstein profile Mark Corallo, the spokesman for the President’s legal team. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a public hearing this Wednesday on Russian interference in the election (The HillWSJ)

  • During the hearings Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed claims that hackers linked to the Russian government attacked election computer systems in 21 states. (WaPo)

Reports indicate Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has privately discussed his possible recusal from the special counsel’s Russia probe (ABC NewsNYT).

  • The Democratic National Committee issued a statement Friday calling on Rosenstein to recuse himself (NYT).
  • At Lawfare, Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes consider what happens next if he does.
  • “Expect mutual demolition” in the imminent “dogfight” between President Trump and the DOJ, warns Eric Posner.  
  • Marty Lederman doubts that Rosenstein will recuse himself (Lawfare).
  • At Politico, Philip Shenon profiles Rachel Brand, the Justice Department’s No. 3, who would take over oversight of the investigation if Rosenstein were to recuse himself.
  • Rosenstein himself recently warned the American public to be “skeptical about anonymous allegations” in the news (NYT).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller met with House Intelligence Committee members Tuesday to ensure that their parallel investigations do not conflict with one anotherwrites Kyle Cheney for Politico.

  • Mueller has composed a team of lawyers with experience in government prosecutions, counter-terrorism, and Russian foreign affairs, suggesting that he plans to conduct a wide-ranging and lengthy investigation, notes the Associated Press in a profile of the lawyers.  
  • The criminal law concept of “aiding and abetting” provides a useful framework to determine whether the Trump Administration violated campaign finance laws by offering “substantial assistance” to Russians tampering in the 2016 presidential election, suggests Bob Bauer at Just Security.

Rumors have surfaced that President Trump may attempt to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein said she is “growing increasingly concerned” at the possibility (The Hill).
  • President Trump’s tweets signal he is dangerously close to his own Saturday Night Massacre, warns Jed Shugerman (Shugerblog).
  • Mueller must “rise above his Comey loyalties,” argues the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.
  • If President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, what happens next? Jed Shugerman considers at Shugerblog.

The Trump transition team’s general counsel directed the team to preserve documents and other materials related to the Russia investigation, reports the New York Times.

  • Nicholas Confessore and Barry Meier profile Rick Gates, a protégé of Paul Manafort who is among the individuals directed to preserve the documents (NYT).
  • The New York Times and CNN filed suit this week against the government seeking the release of notes taken by James Comey after his meetings with the President (NYT).

The President’s apparent indifference to Russian interference in the election should be front-page news, argues the New York Times Editorial board.

  • The President’s silence on Russian interference is a powerful political tool for Democrats, notes Cory Bennett at Politico.
  • White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that he has not spoken with President Trump about whether or not Russia meddled in the US Presidential election last year (Politico).

The New York Times and CNN filed suit this week against the government seeking the release of notes taken by James Comey after his meetings with the President (NYT).

Michael Flynn sat in the Oval Office and listened to the new C.I.A. director brief President Trump on sensitive intelligence, raising concerns about blackmail (NYT).

  • “Michael T. Flynn was a man seething and thwarted”: so begins this New York Times profile of the former National Security Advisor. 

Vice President Pence has hired criminal defense lawyer Richard Cullen, godfather to one of James Comey’s daughters, in connection with the pending Russia investigations. (NYTWaPo)

  • How can a former governor who disclosed a negative net worth just last year pay for the lawyer? With donors, explains Rebecca Ballhaus at the Wall Street Journal. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been under fire in recent months for his contact with Russian officials, has also retained his own personal counselreports Sari Horowitz for the Washington Post.

 A timeline of Russian aggression since President Trump’s Inauguration, from Ryan Goodman on Just Security.



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

President Trump attempted to fire Special Counsel Mueller in June 2017 over his obstruction of justice probe, but refrained after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit.