Thomson Reuters has secured a multiyear contract to give Department of Justice personnel access to technology platforms designed for legal research and investigative purposes. More than 25K users across the department will have access to the information service provider’s Westlaw Edge, Litigation Analytics, Drafting Assistant and Practical Law products.
From Executive Privilege and Individuals outside the Executive Branch (IN11177, October 9, 2019):
White House assertions of executive privilege for presidential communications have historically been confined to individuals who were executive branch employees when those communications occurred. While the idea that executive privilege could extend to individuals outside the executive branch predates the Trump Administration, it appears that recent testimony by Kris Kobach, former Kansas Secretary of State, and Corey Lewandowski, former manager of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, are likely the first times the executive branch has actually made such an assertion to Congress.
From the introduction to The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives (R45769, Updated October 10, 2019): “The House impeachment process generally proceeds in three phases: (1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of articles of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment.”
Compilied by CNN, here is the timeline of recent key events and stories surrounding Trump, Ukraine and the intelligence whistleblower.
The transcript of a controversial phone call in late July between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked his counterpart to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden was released today. Read it here.
From the introduction to Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History (R45087, Updated August 1, 2019):
Censure is a reprimand adopted by one or both chambers of Congress against a Member of Congress, President, federal judge, or other government official. While Member censure is a disciplinary measure that is sanctioned by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 5), non-Member censure is not. Rather, it is a formal expression or “sense of” one or both houses of Congress.
Resolutions attempting to censure the President are usually simple resolutions. These resolutions are not privileged for consideration in the House or Senate. They are, instead, considered under the regular parliamentary mechanisms used to process “sense of” legislation.
This report summarizes the procedures that may be used to consider resolutions of censure and the history of attempts to censure the President (1st-115th Congresses). It also provides citations to additional reading material on the subject.
Here is transcript of the former Special Counsel’s prepared statement. Here’s an annotated version of the full redated Mueller report prepared by the Washington Post and a transcript of Mueller’s May 29, 2019 statement.
From the abstract for Stacy Hawkins, Trump’s Dangerous Judicial Legacy, UCLA Law Review Discourse, Vol. 67, 2019:
Reviewing statistical data on the composition of the federal judiciary over the last forty plus years, this paper describes what appears to be President Trump’s deliberate effort to reverse a decades-long trend by his presidential predecessors to diversify the federal judiciary. It then imagines both the motivations for and consequences of this effort. The longstanding commitment to increasing judicial diversity that preceded President Trump reflects a tacit, and at times even explicit, acknowledgement by his presidential predecessors that the legitimacy of our justice system depends on a diverse judiciary. By contrast, Trump’s judicial appointments reveal an increasingly evident ambition to “whitewash” America that has emerged from his larger rhetorical commitment to “Make America Great Again.” Combining the statistical data on the rapidly shifting demography of the federal judiciary under President Trump with insights from the scholarly literature on theories of procedural justice and representative bureaucracy, which posit that the diversity of judges matters to citizens’ perceptions of justice as well as to judicial accountability to minority citizens’ interests, this paper suggests that President Trump’s “whitewashing” of the federal judiciary will have grave consequences for the legitimacy and effective functioning of our courts on behalf of an increasingly diverse citizenry.
From the abstract for Nathan Cortez, Information Mischief Under the Trump Administration, Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 94, No. 2, 2019:
The Trump administration has used government information in more cynical ways than its predecessors. For example, it has removed certain information from the public domain, scrubbed certain terminology from government web sites, censored scientists, manipulated public data, and used “transparency” initiatives as a pretext for anti-regulatory policies, particularly environmental policy. This article attempts to tease out an emerging “information policy” for the Trump administration, explain how it departs from the information policies of predecessors, and evaluate the extent to which both legal and non-legal mechanisms might constrain executive discretion.
Nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents were leaked to “Axios on HBO,” identifying a host of “red flags” about officials who went on to get Trump administration jobs and others who never had an administration materialize. Axios redacted personal details that weren’t newsworthy, information from spurious sources, and material the vetting team described as rumors about contenders’ personal lives, and contact and identification information. All the unredacted information is from public sources. Read the documents here.
From the summary of The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives (R45769, June 14, 2019): “The House impeachment process generally proceeds in three phases: (1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of articles of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment.”
In a letter sent to the President today, the Office of Special Counsel recommends that Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway should be fired because she has violated the Hatch Act repeatedly in her official capacity. Read the report.
In a public statement today [transcript here], Mueller reiterated DOJ policy that an indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions so indicting President Trump for obstruction of justice was “not an option.” See the DOJ OLC’s memo titled A Sitting President’s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution (updated Dec. 10, 2018).
Excerpt from the introduction to Legislative Purpose and Adviser Immunity in Congressional Investigations (LSB10301, May 24, 2019):
The Trump Administration has recently questioned the legal validity of numerous investigative demands made by House committees. These objections have been based on various grounds, but two specific arguments will be addressed in this Sidebar:
- The President and other Administration officials have contended that certain committee demands lack a valid “legislative purpose” and therefore do not fall within Congress’s investigative authority.
- The President has made a more generalized claim that his advisers cannot be made to testify before Congress, even in the face of a committee subpoena. This position, based upon the executive branch’s longstanding conception of immunity for presidential advisers from compelled congressional testimony regarding their official duties.
From the blurb for Michael Wolff, Siege: Trump Under Fire, (Henry Holt, June 4, 2019):
Michael Wolff, author of the bombshell bestseller Fire and Fury, once again takes us inside the Trump presidency to reveal a White House under siege.
With Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff defined the first phase of the Trump administration; now, in Siege, he has written an equally essential and explosive book about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side. A stunningly fresh narrative that begins just as Trump’s second year as president is getting underway and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report, Siege reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed.
On May 16, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed sentencing documents for Michael Flynn. Included in those documents were descriptions of how Flynn assisted prosecutors, including both the cases he had been involved with, and the way in which his cooperation had assisted the investigation.
From the Daily Kos: “The documents show that Flynn’s cooperation was vital in three different cases: the criminal investigation into how Flynn’s former business partner acted as an unregistered agent for Turkey; the special counsel investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia; and a third case, the description of which remains redacted. Some speculation has suggested that the third case may be related to the ongoing trial of Roger Stone, or other potential cases related to WikiLeaks. Others have suggested that it might represent Flynn’s knowledge of some financial matter related to the Trump Organization … which mostly shows just how little is known about the multiple cases still pending in various jurisdictions following the Mueller investigation.”
The list of prosecutors who signed the statement includes more than 20 former U.S. attorneys and more than 100 people with at least 20 years of service at the Justice Department — most of them former career officials. Read the statement here.
Available on NPR here.