Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Garrett Hinck
Friday, December 8, 2017, 11:51 AM

Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces on Thursday as people in the West Bank and Gaza reacted to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. About 50 Palestinians were injured after protesters threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Hamas called for a new uprising against Israel while mostly peaceful demonstrations took place in East Jerusalem. U.S. partners in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, condemned the U.S. decision and said it worsened tensions in the region.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S. relations with Russia would not improve until Moscow stops supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, the Washington Post reported. Speaking at a summit where he met with his Russian counterpart about a U.N. peacekeeping force for Ukraine, Tillerson promised that the U.S. would not reduce its sanctions on Russia until Moscow reverses its “apparent annexation” of Crimea. The U.S. has supported an expanded mission for the U.N. peacekeeping force while Russia has advocated limiting its mandate to just protecting election monitors.

Emails from Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who organized the 2016 meeting at Trump tower between a Russian lawyer and Trump campaign officials, showed continued coordination between the Trump campaign and Goldstone after the meeting, CNN reported. Goldstone attempted to convince Dan Scavino— Trump’s social media director on the campaign and, now, in the White House—to set up a social media profile for Trump on Russian site VKontakte (VK). Executives from VK repeatedly reached out to the Trump campaign with offers to help promote Trump, the Post reported. Other emails appeared to refer to the news of the hacks of the Democratic National Convention. Additionally, emails revealed an effort to provide access to hacked documents from Wikileaks to the Trump campaign in September 2016, according to CNN. An unknown individual sent an email to Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign staffers with a link to an encrypted Wikileaks page and a decryption key. The page’s contents are not publicly known.

The House Ethics Committee cleared Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, of wrongdoing relating to the disclosure of classified information about foreign surveillance reports earlier this year, the Post reported. Nunes recused himself from his committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after he said the Obama administration may have improperly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials identities’ in surveillance intercepts. Nunes did not say whether he would terminate his recusal and resume oversight of the Russia probe.

A judge in Argentina charged former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with treason, saying she helped hide Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the Post reported. The judge requested that the Argentine Congress lift Kirchner's’ immunity from prosecution so that she can face charges related to accusations that she covered up Iran’s role in the bombing in exchange for a lucrative trade deal. On Thursday, authorities arrested Kirchner’s former foreign minister for his role in the plot.

France led a delegation of world leaders to pledge their support for Lebanon’s government in a bid to prevent further interference from Iran and Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported. The International Lebanon Support Group—which includes the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia and China—met in Paris to express its support for Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hariri formally renounced his resignation on Tuesday, shoring up support for the government he attempted to leave while on a visit to Saudi Arabia in November. At the meeting, France declared its backing for Lebanon’s policy of non-alignment in the Middle East.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the first visit to Greece by a Turkish head of state in 65 years, causing tension by confronting the Greek government about long-standing disputes, the Guardian reported. Erdogan’s statements at a press conference with the Greek president about the entry of Greece into NATO and the treaty that set the modern borders between the two countries in 1923 caused consternation from his hosts. Erdogan’s visit—which many in Greece had hoped would lead to a rapprochement between the two Balkan rival states—exacerbated disputes about extradition and the rights of Muslims in Greece.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Matthew Kahn argued that Congress should help FBI Director Christopher Wray rebuke the president’s attacks on his agency.

Evelyn Douek discussed how fake audio and video content could exacerbate the problems of misinformation and fake news.

Nicholas Weaver asked why the NSA’s investigations into the Shadow Brokers the Vault 7 leaks have not yet led to any arrests.

Kahn posted the video and testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner argued that the Logan Act would be construed narrowly to limit its scope if courts ever applied it.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman and Benjamin Wittes shared the November polling data on confidence in government on national security matters.

Peter Margulies summarized oral arguments at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii v. Trump’s challenge to the Sept. 24 travel ban proclamation.

Wittes shared the “When You’re the President They Let You Do It” edition of Rational Security.

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