Dems face challenges to beating Trump in court | TheHill

The Democratic states fighting President Trump’s emergency declaration face a rough road as they try to convince the courts that his order was unlawful.

But experts say the lawsuit won’t be a slam dunk for the president either.

“This is a hard case,” said Michael McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. “It’s going to be a hard case for California to win and a hard case for Trump to defend.”

Source: Dems face challenges to beating Trump in court | TheHill

7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might End | WIRED


The breaking news hit a snowy Washington on Wednesday: Newly installed attorney general William Barr appears to be preparing to announce the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

But what would “Mueller wrapping up” actually mean?

And does the rapid movement, soon after Barr was installed at the Justice Department, indicate that he shut down the Mueller probe prematurely?

A recent New York Times article documenting Trump’s two-year-long campaign to obstruct and muddy the investigation exacerbated those fears, as did an ominous tweet by conservative commentator—and White House spouse—Matt Schlapp pronouncing that “Mueller will be gone soon.”

The tea leaves around Mueller in recent weeks seem especially hard to read—and they’re conflicting at best.

Source: 7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might End | WIRED

House Democrats to Block Border Emergency Declaration Friday | Time


House Democrats plan to file a resolution as soon as Friday that’s aimed at blocking President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the Southwest border.

That could set up a vote by the full House by mid-March. The clash is over a declaration that Trump is using to try spending billions of dollars beyond what Congress has authorized to start building border barriers.

Source: House Democrats to Block Border Emergency Declaration Friday | Time

Extending New START is a no-brainer—And yet, we can’t count on it


The Trump administration has finished off the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a treaty mortally wounded by Russia’s deployment of a banned intermediate-range missile. That leaves the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) as the sole agreement limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.

New START has less than two years to run. At the February 15-16 Munich Security Conference, a senior Russian official reiterated Moscow’s readiness to extend the treaty. The administration, however, continues its odd reluctance to take up that offer. House Democrats should use their power of the purse on the issue.

Source: Extending New START is a no-brainer—And yet, we can’t count on it

February 17, 2019 – Most-Viewed Bills | Congress.gov

February 17, 2019

1. H.Res.109 [116th] Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.
2. H.R.1044 [116th] To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes.
3. H.J.Res.31 [116th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019
4. S.47 [116th] Natural Resources Management Act
5. H.R.8 [116th] Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
6. H.R.420 [116th] Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
7. H.R.1 [116th] For the People Act of 2019
8. S.420 [116th] Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act
9. H.R.3884 [94th] National Emergencies Act
10. H.J.Res.37 [116th] Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.

Source: Most-Viewed Bills – Congress.gov Resources – Congress.gov Resources

Alan Dershowitz: Time to fill the gaping hole in the Constitution | TheHill

News coverage of the 25th Amendment, which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly discussed invoking against President Trump, has underscored a dangerous reality.

There is a gaping hole in our process outlined in the Constitution for removing a president who is not doing his or her job. The impeachment criteria cover “crimes and misdemeanors.” The 25th Amendment covers a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

But there are many possible situations that are not covered by these provisions that may well warrant removal.

Source: Alan Dershowitz: Time to fill the gaping hole in the Constitution | TheHill

Dems open new front against Trump | TheHill

House Democrats are digging into the Trump administration’s dealings with Saudi Arabia, making its plan to sell nuclear technology to the kingdom the subject of the first major investigation by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The investigation was announced Tuesday in conjunction with the release of an interim report that details allegations made by unnamed whistleblowers that senior White House officials ignored warnings from legal and ethics advisers to stop pursuing a plan to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Dems open new front against Trump | TheHill

Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general


President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated Jeffrey Rosen, a longtime litigator and deputy transportation secretary, to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.

In his current post, the 60-year-old Rosen serves as the Department of Transportation’s chief operating officer and is in charge of implementing the department’s safety and technological priorities. He rejoined DOT in 2017 after previously serving as general counsel from 2003 to 2006.

Source: Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general

Jared Kushner Cited by Democrats Investigating Trump Administration Plan to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudis


Democrats are investigating the Trump administration’s plans to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a congressional memo released Tuesday.

A 24-page report from the House oversight committee noted that there are serious misgivings about the Trump administration’s plans to build nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia, a move some say could put U.S. national security at risk.

Source: Jared Kushner Cited by Democrats Investigating Trump Administration Plan to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudis

Government’s Growing Problem: Paying Its Technical Debt | Nextgov


In many ways, the definition of technical debt is still being defined.

But pretty much everyone agrees that it’s mostly based on the cost of maintaining aging software and systems, especially those which have existed well beyond their expected or planned lifecycles.

So in essence, an agency buys software or a computer system and takes on some technical debt right away because in addition to whatever the item costs, they need to pay people to maintain it.

Hopefully, when a system is new, that does not involve too much labor. However, many agencies try and hold on to systems as long as they can to avoid new capital expenses, even though that often means adding manual processes and patches to maintain security and usability. So the technical debt of owning that system grows.

There was a House hearing back in 2015 about IT modernization where some shocking facts about technical debt, though it was not commonly called that quite yet, came to light. It might have also been the first time that The Pareto Principle, first conceived in 1896, was applied to government IT.

The Pareto Principle states that for many events, 80 percent of the effects can be contributed to 20 percent of the causes.

For government IT, it was discovered that 75 percent of the IT budget in 2015 was earmarked for operating and maintaining legacy equipment, with only 25 percent going to new technology buys.

Source: Government’s Growing Problem: Paying Its Technical Debt – Nextgov