Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Garrett Hinck
Monday, October 30, 2017, 12:08 PM

Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Paul Manafort Jr., the former Trump campaign chairman, and Richard W. Gates III, Manafort’s business associate, in the first indictments of the Trump-Russia investigation, the New York Times reported. The Times said that in a filing at the D.C. federal district court, the special counsel charged Manafort and Gates with laundering over $18 million from business in eastern Europe, failing to report foreign bank transfers, and violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Manafort surrendered to the FBI on Monday morning and is expected to appear in court later in the day, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ty Cobb, President Donald Trump’s lawyer for matters related to the Russia investigation, said he was not concerned that Manafort would offer damaging information about the president. Over the weekend, Buzzfeed News’ Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier reported on 13 wire transfers said to be key elements in the investigation into Manafort.

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, the Journal reported. Papadopoulos admitted that he had lied to the FBI about the extent of his contacts with a professor who had connections to Russian officials promising “dirt” about Hillary Clinton, according to newly unsealed court documents. The documents show that in April 2016, the professor told Papadopoulos about “thousands of emails” about Hillary Clinton.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser, took an undisclosed trip to Saudi Arabia last week, Politico reported. Jason Greenblatt, envoy to the Middle East, and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser, accompanied Kushner. The White House would not say who Kushner met with during the trip.

The Spanish state prosecutor charged the leaders of Catalonia’s separatist movement with rebellion and sedition, the Post reported. A Madrid judge will now decide whether to continue the case against Carlos Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, and other officials in Catalonia’s government, according to the Journal. However, Spanish authorities did not immediately arrest the Catalan politicians, and at least one minister attempted to continue at his government post in defiance of the orders.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran is fulfilling its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, Reuters reported. Yukiya Amano, the IAEA director-general, verified that the IAEA’s inspectors—who monitor Iran’s compliance with the deal—had certified that Iran is upholding its commitments to curb its nuclear program. Amano declined to comment on Trump’s recent decertification of the deal.

Massoud Barzani, the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan, will step down after leading an independence referendum that led to extensive territorial losses to Iraq’s government in Baghdad, the Post reported. Barzani criticized the United States for tacitly supporting Iraq’s military re-occupation of Kirkuk province that unraveled many territorial gains the Kurds had made in recent years. On Monday, Kurdish political parties opposed to Barzani said their offices were looted and burned overnight, according to Reuters. The local police force said it would stop the attacks.

Lawyers that formerly represented Guantanamo Bay detainee Rahim al-Nashiri defied a military judge’s order for them to appear in court at the U.S. military base in Cuba, the Miami Herald reported. Three civilian defense attorneys said they would not obey an order from the military judge presiding over al-Nashiri’s case to continue to represent al-Nashiri. They resigned from the case following a dispute with the lead military defense lawyer over a classified ethical conflict.

The Navy is investigating two Navy SEALs in the death of a U.S. Green Beret that the Navy said was murdered in Mali this summer, the Times reported. The soldier’s fellow troops found him dead in a hotel they were staying in Bamako, Mali’s capital, in the course of a secret assignment. The Navy’s investigative service said that it had identified the two SEALs as persons of interest in its investigation.

Kenya’s president won a second term in a repeat election that the opposition decried as unfair and biased, the Times reported. Kenya’s election commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta the victor of the election, surmounting the reversal of a similar result two months earlier that Kenya’s Supreme Court declared invalid. The election commission has suffered numerous irregularities, including the flight from the country of one of its members. Opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed to continue to contest the results.

The Post’s Dana Priest, Devlin Barrett, and Matt Zapotosky wrote about the uncertain status of the American citizen Islamic State fighter being held as an enemy combatant in Iraq.

The Post’s Josh Rogin wrote about the administration’s deadlock on arming Ukraine against Russian separatists.

ICYMI: This weekend on Lawfare

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion with Benjamin Wittes, Kori Schake, Nora Bensahel and Ryan Evans on the diplomatic response to the Trump administration.

Sarah Grant updated Water Wars, covering the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting, developments in the South China Sea, and the latest commentary on maritime conflict.

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes detailed seven unanswered questions related to the first indictments from the Mueller probe.

In the Foreign Policy Essay, David Bosco presented the hidden upside of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from UNESCO.

Paul Rosenzweig shared video of an interview with Melissa Hathaway on the future of cybersecurity.

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