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See you in court
March 18, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sued Twitter for $250 million on Monday, alleging that the social media platform "shadow banned" conservatives, including himself, ahead of the 2018 midterms, Fox News reports.

Shadow banning is described as purposely making a user's content undiscoverable to everyone except the original poster, without their knowledge; Twitter had repeatedly denied ever shadow banning any user. His lawyers allege Nunes was shadow banned in 2018 "in order to restrict his free speech," adding that access to Twitter "is essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American democracy" and a "candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship."

The suit, filed in Virginia state court, also claims Twitter wanted to interfere with Nunes' work when he was still chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and allowed users with Twitter handles like "@DevinNunesMom" to harass him. "In her endless barrage of tweets, Devin Nunes' Mom maliciously attacked every aspect of Nunes' character, honesty, integrity, ethics, and fitness to perform his duties as a United States congressman," the suit claims.

This is one of several users named in the complaint, accused of forcing Nunes to endure "an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life." Nunes is asking that Twitter reveal the identities of those users. Catherine Garcia

March 14, 2019

Roger Stone, a Republican political operative and one of President Trump's longtime advisers, will go to trial Nov. 5 on charges of obstruction, lying to Congress, and witness tampering.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., set the date on Thursday, and said the trial should last about two weeks. Defense lawyers said prosecutors have handed over nine terabytes of data, and they need several months to go through everything. Stone, accused of lying about communications with WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election, was arrested at his home in Florida in January, and is out on bail.

Berman Jackson did not make any rulings regarding whether Stone's new book criticizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation violates a gag order in his case. "I really haven't had the opportunity since the time of the filing to study the exhibits in any detail, and I'll continue to review them," she said. Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government late Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The law prohibits federal agencies and contractors from purchasing equipment made by Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE Corp. In the suit, Huawei alleges this violates the company's right to due process and the separation of powers between Congress and other branches of government, The Wall Street Journal reports. The United States considers Huawei a security threat and wants to keep the company from building 5G networks worldwide.

Guo Ping, one of Huawei's chairs, said during a press conference in Shenzhen that by enacting the NDAA, "Congress acted unconstitutionally as judge, jury, and executioner. Regrettably, the NDAA was enacted to restrict Huawei without giving us the opportunity to defend ourselves." Catherine Garcia

March 4, 2019

California on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to block changes to Title X, the federally funded program that offers family planning and related preventative health services.

"The Trump-Pence administration has doubled down on its attacks on women's health," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement. "This illegal Title X rule denies patients access to critical healthcare services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care."

Under the new rules, the administration would be able to move millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood to faith-based family planning organizations and prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from operating in the same space as an abortion provider, The Associated Press reports. Becerra said the new regulations will affect four million women in the U.S. who undergo cancer screenings and get pregnancy tests.

Twenty other states, including New York, Hawaii, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., plan to sue the administration over the rule changes on Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2019

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to redirect about $6.7 billion from programs in the Departments of Treasury and Defense to border wall construction. Less than 24 hours later, the declaration already faces its first legal challenge.

A lawsuit has been brought by Public Citizen, a progressive advocacy group, on behalf of Texan landowners whose property would be used for the wall. The suit argues Trump "exceeded his constitutional authority and authority under the National Emergencies Act" and asks that he be banned from "using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall."

The Justice Department reportedly warned the president in advance of his Friday announcement that the declaration would be held up in court. Trump himself acknowledged as much, musing in a sing-song voice that after his declaration, the White House "will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit [Court] ... and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake, and we'll win at the Supreme Court, just like the ban [on travel from majority-Muslim nations]."

Whether Trump's forecast is correct remains to be seen. Conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt on Friday predicted the emergency declaration would move through the courts fairly quickly, and that Trump would win on appeal, perhaps before reaching the Supreme Court.

Few echoed that expectation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised Congress would use "every remedy available," including the courts, to fight Trump's action, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) likewise pledged a court challenge to this presidential "vanity project."

George Conway, a conservative lawyer and the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, tweeted that Trump knows he will lose in court and that the emergency declaration is unconstitutional. And Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) warned the declaration will "likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent." Bonnie Kristian

February 11, 2019

President Trump is being sued by former White House communications aide Cliff Sims, author of a tell-all book about his time working in the Trump administration.

Last week, the Trump campaign filed an arbitration claim against the Team of Vipers author, saying he violated a nondisclosure agreement he signed while working for Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Sims has said he doesn't remember if he ever signed a nondisclosure agreement. In the lawsuit filed Monday, Sims' attorney says Trump is "seeking to impose civil liability against Mr. Sims through application of NDAs that apply to information Mr. Sims learned solely during his federal service."

The suit also accuses Trump of trying to enforce only certain NDAs; he went after former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose book about her time in the White House was less than flattering, but left Corey Lewandowski and Sean Spicer, whose books he liked, alone. Trump has called Sims a "low-level staffer" who "pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer." Catherine Garcia

November 24, 2018

A New York judge on Friday denied a request from President Trump's attorneys to dismiss a lawsuit brought by New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood which accuses the president of misusing his family's charitable foundation for political purposes.

The suit alleges Trump and his three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, through the foundation engaged in "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump's personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for nonprofit foundations."

The president's lawyers argued he is immune from lawsuits while in office, protested the family's ignorance of any wrongdoing, and said the suit is politically motivated. The judge rejected all three claims.

Underwood praised the decision in a statement saying "the Trump Foundation functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump's business and political interests." Trump Foundation lawyer Alan Futerfas maintained "all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes to assist those most in need." Bonnie Kristian

November 19, 2018

A federal judge in California will hear arguments Monday for blocking President Trump's November executive order restricting asylum applications to migrants who enter the U.S. legally.

Civil rights groups aim to persuade U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar the order violates current immigration law, as the Immigration and Nationality Act says anyone who arrives in the U.S. "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" may apply for asylum. They also argue the administration made a procedural error by failing to provide adequate time for public comment on the new rule.

The Trump administration has claimed via a statement by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that Trump holds "broad authority to suspend or restrict" immigration if he believes it is in U.S. national interest to do so.

Should Tigar, appointed by former President Barack Obama, decide against the Trump administration Monday, it will likely be a temporary ruling restoring the previous guidelines while further litigation proceeds. Bonnie Kristian

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