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Executive Power

Justice Department Filing in New York Trump Tax Returns Case

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed a statement of interest in the case involving President Trump’s challenge to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s subpoena for the partial release of Trump’s tax returns. The brief argues that the case ought to be resolved in federal as opposed to state court.

The Russia Connection

House Judiciary Committee Requests Grand Jury Materials Related to Mueller Investigation

In the D.C. District Court, the House Judiciary Committee filed a brief in support of their application for a judge to release certain grand jury materials relevant to the Russia investigation. The brief argues that the grand jury materials are critical to developing a full understanding of the events described in the Mueller Report and are particularly crucial to determine whether President Trump provided false statements to Mueller’s office in his written answers to the special counsel’s questions.

Targeted Killing

D.C. District Court Dismisses Journalist’s Drone Lawsuit

A judge in the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by an American journalist challenging his alleged placement on a U.S. government “kill list.” The man’s belief that he is on the list stems from what he describes as multiple aerial bombings targeting him while in Syria. The judge dismissed the case because of the government’s invocation of the “state secrets privilege” so as to not disclose classified information needed to establish the man’s prima facie case.

Intelligence Oversight

Schiff Seeks Answers from Barr Regarding Whistleblower

The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff published a letter written to Attorney General Bill Barr regarding the Department of Justice’s involvement in the whistleblower complaint. Schiff characterized the intervention as “improper and contrary to both a clear, categorical statutory directive and longstanding IC whistleblowing practices” before demanding the formal legal opinion, allegedly from the Office of Legal Counsel related to the complaint.

Executive Power

New Filings in President Trump’s Lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York released a series of documents revealing that President Trump is suing both Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the accounting firm Mazars over an attempt to obtain his tax returns. The complaint filed by lawyers of Trump suggests the request is unconstitutional since a sitting President cannot be criminally investigated. The court documents can be found here and below.

Surveillance: Snowden NSA Controversy

The Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden

The Justice Department has filed a civil complaint against Edward Snowden alleging that he violated non-disclosure agreements he signed with the CIA and NSA by both giving interviews he and failing to submit his new book for pre-publication review. The government is also suing the publisher of Snowden’s book to ensure that no profits from book sales are transferred to Snowden before the suit is resolved. The complaint can be read here and below.

Immigration

National Injunction Ordered for Trump Third Country Asylum Rule

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has reinstated a nationwide ban on a Trump administration rule barring people at the southern border from seeking asylum unless they had previously done so in Mexico or another third country. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had previously ruled that the preliminary injunction against the rule was only enforceable within the Ninth Circuit.

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