Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Alex Potcovaru
Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 4:31 PM

Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer after being told via email that she wanted to provide information that would harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign as “part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump,” The New York Times reports. In what may have been an effort to preempt documents the Times planned to release, Trump Jr. tweeted a transcript of the full email chain between himself and British music publicist Rob Goldstone, who brokered the meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. Goldstone wrote that Veselnitskaya had “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” Trump Jr. wrote back, “[I]f it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were also copied on at least the last email in the chain and subsequently attended the meeting, the Times reports. In a statement issued on Saturday in response to early coverage of the meeting in question, Trump Jr. originally stated that Kushner and Manafort were not aware in advance of the expected subject of the meeting. A source close to Manafort stated that the former campaign chairman had not read to the bottom of the email chain, Politico writes. Spokespersons for both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have denied that either knew about the meeting prior to this weekend’s coverage.

Advisers in the Trump administration asked Blackwater founder Erik Prince to develop plans for Afghanistan calling for the use of military contractors rather than deployment of U.S. servicemembers, the Times reports. Chief Strategist Steve Bannon requested that Defense Secretary James Mattis include the plans in the review of Afghanistan strategy currently led by Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, but Mattis declined. The Pentagon is considering sending several thousand more troops to Afghanistan to break the stalemate that has developed with the Taliban.

The U.S. and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding on counterterrorism and terrorism funding, CNN reports. The announcement comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels throughout the region in the hopes of resolving the diplomatic crisis that has caused a decisive break in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states’ relations with Qatar. Tillerson will head to Saudi Arabia later this week.

The Times has a firsthand look at the destruction in Mosul after the defeat of ISIS. The Iraqi government declared victory in the battle with ISIS for Mosul yesterday, but after the war is over, government ministers estimate the rebuilding of Iraq at large will cost $100 billion.

As tensions remain high on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. successfully shot down a test intermediate-range ballistic missile using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, Reuters reports. The test over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday was the 14th consecutive successful test of the technology, a 100 percent success ratio to date. The IRBM is similar to the type of missile that North Korea could use to threaten the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering requiring foreign students in the U.S. to reapply to stay in the country every year, The Washington Post reports. Implementing the change would take at least 18 months, and the plan remains only at the preliminary stage. Students have been shown to overstay their visas at double the rate of other visitors, a concern driving the proposal. Opponents cite the high cost and paperwork increase of the change, as well as a potential chilling effect on a group that added $35 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015 alone.

15 Marines and one Navy service member were killed when their transport plane en route from North Carolina to California crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi, the Times reports. The cause of the crash was not clear, and officials had to proceed cautiously in the recovery efforts due to the weapons on board. The service members were scheduled to conduct routine training in Yuma, Arizona.

A group of Twitter users blocked by @realDonaldTrump has sued the President, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and Social Media Director Dan Scavino for violating their First Amendment rights, the Times reports. The plaintiffs argue that the President’s Twitter account serves as a kind of “digital town hall” and that their exclusion from the space for the expression of their views is unconstitutional. Skeptics cite the personal quality of the account and the minor damage to the plaintiffs.

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes posted twenty questions the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray at Wednesday morning’s confirmation hearing.

Paul Rosenzweig argued that how one frames the issue of immigration greatly affects how one answers the question.

Stewart Baker posted the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast.

Elizabeth McElvein examined the connection between public polling on the Russia investigation and Americans’ views of security politics.

Matt Kahn posted the Week That Will Be.

Ashley Deeks argued that the U.S. should continue to use domestic criminal prosecutions for cybercrimes to help establish legal norms

Quinta Jurecic posted documents from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding the “Gates Procedures” for the sharing of intelligence information on members of Congress and their staff.

The Lawfare editors posted a reminder to RSVP for Wednesday’s Hoover Book Soiree featuring Jack Goldsmith interviewing Graham Allison on his latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?.

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