Eve Levin  //  10/31/17  //  Topic Update

President Trump has pledged more than $400,000 of his own money to help cover his aides’ legal costs in the Russia probes (WaPo).

  • The tax status of legal defense funds, such as the one set up by President Trump, is unclear, notes Ellen Aprill at Take Care.

The ideal level of transparency in high-level corruption investigations is uncertain, writes Matthew Stephenson at the Global Anticorruption Blog.

A bipartisan bill would impose disclosure requirements on online political advertising, but some are skeptical of the proposal’s efficacy (Ars Technica).

  • The bill is incomplete, but a good start, argues the Bloomberg View editorial board.
  • The Honest Ads Act is the best first step to address Russian interference in U.S. elections, write Timothy Roemer and Zachary Wamp at the Hill.
  • Facebook has increased its lobbying efforts following scrutiny over Russian interference (WSJ).
  • Facebook should disclose the full extent of Russian influence operations to individual users who were targeted, argue Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix at Just Security.
  • Twitter has announced its intention to block paid advertisements by Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, but the companies will still be able to post original tweets on their own accounts (Ars Technica).
  • Twitter also announced plans to disclose data on political advertisement purchasers (NYTPolitico).
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein questioned the extent to which Russian ads could sway American voters (Politico).
  • A New York-based web hosting company assisted Russian online “troll farm,” report Katie Zavadski, Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, and Spencer Ackerman in the Daily Beast.
  • Cold War-era counter-propaganda efforts can provide a guide to responding to future Russian influence campaigns, argue Ashley Deeks, Sabrina McCubbin, and Cody M. Poplin in Lawfare.

The Steele dossier on President Trump’s Russia ties was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC (WaPo, NYT).

  • The application of campaign finance statutes to the allegations regarding the Clinton campaign and the Steele dossier is ambiguous, writes Jed Shugerman at Shugerblog.
  • Coverage regarding the Clinton campaign’s connection to the Steele dossier frequently overlooks the fact that the dossier played no role in the assessment of Russian interference in the election, writes Robert Litt at LawFare.
  • The FBI is set to turn over information related to the Steele Dossier to Congress at the end of the week (WSJPolitico).
  • A full investigation is needed into the role of the Democratic Party and the FBI in sowing distrust related to Russian interference in the U.S. election, writes the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal.

The House Intelligence Committee will interview Brad Parscale, digital director of President Trump’s 2016 campaign, as part of its investigation into Russia’s influence operation on social media (WSJ).

Congressional investigations into Russian interference are being bogged down in partisan politics, writes Nicholas Fandos in the New York Times.

Republican members of Congress are setting up for a fight over the budget for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation (Politico).

The State Department is set to begin implementing new Russian sanctions after lawmakers in both parties raised questions about a weeks-long delay (Politico).

  • The Trump Administration sent Congress a list of organizations and persons associated with Russia that Congress will use to determine new sanctions (NYT). The list is here.

The United States revoked the visa of Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin’s government and supporter of the Magnitsky Act. (NPR).

  • After criticism, the Department of Homeland Security quickly restored Browder’s ability to enter without a visa (WaPo).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the lobbying firm run by Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, due to alleged involvement in lobbying on behalf of Russian-backed interests in Ukraine (NBC).

Ty Cobb, President Trump’s outside counsel for the Russia investigation, has been able to prevent President Trump from engaging in further public comments about the investigation (Politico).

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, testified before the House Intelligence Committee regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election (NBC).

State election officials asked members of Congress for additional resources to secure election systems in advance of the 2018 election (The Hill).

Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm employed by the Trump campaign, contacted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to seek Clinton’s emails before the 2016 election (Politico).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating possible money laundering by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (WSJ).

Senate investigators are seeking documents from the estate of Peter Smith, a former Republican campaign staffer who acknowledged seeking Clinton emails from Russian hackers (ABC News).

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.