Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Sarah Tate Chambers
Friday, May 4, 2018, 10:40 AM

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to intervene in the investigation of Michael Cohen in an interview with the Hill, saying that Sessions should “put these people under investigation.” Giuliani's statements were made in response to an NBC report that investigators had tapped Cohen’s phones and were part of a series of statements made about Trump to the media. That reporting was later corrected after government officials said investigators had obtained a pen-register order on Cohen, which does not record the substance of phone calls.

Last December, Army special forces arrived on the Saudi Arabia border with Yemen, the New York Times reports. The Green Berets are helping the Saudis both find and destroy ballistic missiles and launch sites used by the Houthi rebels. This mission was previously undisclosed, and the Pentagon claimed that the assistance to Saudis was limited to “aircraft refueling, logistics, and general intelligence sharing.” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman requested the U.S. troops after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile over the airport in Riyadh. That claim has since been questioned based on photos and videos of the strike.

The United States asked China to investigate the unauthorized Chinese use of high-grade lasers directed at American aircraft in Djibouti, the Washington Post reports. The Pentagon is confident that Chinese nationals are responsible for the activity that has injured two airmen. This is the first major problem since China opened its first overseas base in Djibouti in 2017. At the time of the opening, American military officials were concerned about the proximity of the Chinese base to the U.S. military base in the small east African country.

Afghanistan distributed their much-anticipated and controversial electronic national ID cards in a step towards securing national elections. The Post reports that not all Afghan citizens have supported the cards. The cards label every Afghan citizen as “Afghan.” Because that label is traditionally associated with the Pastun’s—Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group—smaller ethnic groups have argued that the label will benefit Pashtuns.

The Czech president said that the Czech military intelligence agency created a small amount of Novichok last year, according to the AP. The small amount of Novichok, also referred to as A230, produced was tested and then destroyed. President Milos Zeman is known for harboring Kremlin-friendly views. The intelligence agency and the Czech government did not provide an immediate comment. Novichok was the nerve agent used to poison former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in Britain.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Herb Lin and Max Smeets wrote on what is absent in the U.S. Cyber Command’s new command vision.

Kemal Kirisci and Kutay Onayli analyzed Turkey’s call for snap presidential and parliamentary elections and the effects the nature of the election will have on Turkey’s democracy.

David Kris reviewed the norms of information-sharing between the executive branch and Congress and compared them to the unusual posture of Trump tweeting his dissatisfaction with the Justice Department for not providing unredacted documents to Congress.

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