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White House Releases Report Justifying Soleimani Strike

The White House has sent a notice to Congress outlining its legal and policy justifications for the Jan. 2 airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. This disclosure is a legally mandated reporting requirement introduced through Section 1264 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, a measure intended to increase transparency in U.S. national security policy.

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Justice Department Claims Subpoenas for Trump’s Tax Returns are Unconstitutional

The Justice Department argued in an amicus brief before the Supreme Court that four subpoenas by congressional committees for President Trump’s financial records are unconstitutional, on the grounds that the committees did not make a “heightened showing, both of a legitimate legislative purpose for the subpoenas and of the need for the information sought.” The filing also accuses the committees of using their investigatory powers to harass the president and distract him from his con

middle east peace

White House Releases Middle East Peace Plan

The White House released "Peace to Prosperity," President Trump’s blueprint for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan guarantees that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem, and would not require it to uproot any settlements in the West Bank. The proposal would grant limited sovereignty to the Palestinian state, but prevent it from establishing a formal army or air force. The plan can be viewed here and below.

The Russia Connection

Flynn Moves to Withdraw Guilty Plea

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea of making false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russia. The motion cites the government’s “bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement” as reasons for withdrawing the plea and requests a delay of Flynn’s sentencing by 30 days, from Jan. 28 to Feb. 27. The motion is available here and below.

Article 51

U.S. and Iran Submit Article 51 Letters on Use of Force

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 8, United States Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft reported the targeted killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani last week was an act of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter in response to an “escalating series of armed attacks in recent months” by Iran and Iranian-backed forces on U.S. personnel. The letter adds that the U.S. is prepared to take further action “as necessary to continue to protect U.S. personnel and interests.”

Disinformation

Livestream: House Hears Testimony About Digital Manipulation

On Jan. 8 at 10:30am, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on “Americans at Risk: Manipulation and Deception in the Digital Age.” The committee will hear from Monika Bickert from Facebook, Joan Donovan of the Harvard Kennedy School, Tristan Harris from the Center for Humane Technology and Justin Hurwitz from the University of Nebraska College of Law. The livestream of the hearing is available here and below.

Michael Flynn

Justice Department Recommends Up to Six Months in Prison for Michael Flynn, Reversing Prior Decision

Federal prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum advising that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn serve up to six months in prison, within the guidelines range of zero to six months of incarceration. In their initial sentencing memorandum in December 2018, prosecutors recommended that Flynn receive a sentence at the low end of the guidelines range.

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