Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vanessa Sauter
Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 11:17 AM

In March, Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned President Donald J. Trump’s legal team that he could issue a grand jury subpoena should the president resist meeting with the special counsel, according to the Washington Post. The escalation between the special counsel’s office and Trump’s legal team culminated in John Dowd’s resignation in late March. Following the disagreement, the special counsel’s office provided more specific information on the subjects Mueller intends to discuss with the president, which was purportedly compiled by Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow and reported in the New York Times on Monday.

The Ukrainian government has halted cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, amid plans to exchange missiles from the U.S. to Kyiv, the Times reports. Ukraine’s anti-corruption prosecutor has slowed down cooperation in four cases involving Manafort. The former campaign manager faces money laundering and financial fraud charges arising from his work supporting former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian political leader ousted in 2014. A Ukrainian official stated they are seeking to “avoid irritating the top American officials” in their decision that immediately follows the Pentagon’s final approval to sell hundreds of missiles to Kyiv.

On Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein pushed back on his critics, stating the Justice Department “is not going to be extorted,” according to CNN. Reports surfaced on Monday that a handful of pro-Trump Republicans, led by Rep. Mark Meadows, had drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein following calls for the Justice Department to increase transparency into ongoing investigations. Meadows responded to Rosenstein’s statement by calling on the deputy attorney general, who is overseeing the special counsel’s investigation, to resign.

The European Union Court of Justice rejected Facebook’s attempt to block the referral of a landmark privacy case that could potentially ban the legal instrument Facebook implements to transfer European personal data to the U.S., Fortune reports. The data protection commissioner, Ireland’s privacy watchdog who is battling Facebook over its data, called any delay in the proceedings a “risk of injustice” that could enable Facebook to unlawfully process data in the European Union. The High Court agreed in its Wednesday decision, stating “very real prejudices is potentially suffered … if the matter is further delayed by a stay as sought in this case.”

Brain scans reveal Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused 9/11 plotter currently in U.S. custody, suffered serious head trauma consistent with descriptions of his handling while in CIA custody, according to the Miami Herald. The MRI brain scans, which were conducted on Guantanamo in late January, were called “flawed” in a March 1 memo that McClatchy recently obtained. Nevertheless, the scans reveal “evidence of head injuries consistent with the physical trauma” documented in the 2014 Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. The update may help mitigate the risk of the death penalty should Mohammed be convicted.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes discussed the 49 questions Mueller hopes to ask the president.

Grayson Clary considered whether hacking torts are exempt under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Eric A. Posner reviewed Samuel Moyn’s “Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World.”

J. Dana Stuster hshared this week’s Middle East Ticker.

Philip Bobbitt announced the latest edition of the Hoover Institution’s Aegis Paper Series.

Matthew Kahn shared the latest Lawfare Podcast featuring Steve Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt on their latest book “How Democracies Die.” Stewart Baker also posted this week’s Cyberlaw Podcast.

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