Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vanessa Sauter
Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 1:29 PM

The Trump administration will limit visas to Chinese graduate students studying robotics, aviation, and high-tech manufacturing, Reuters reports. The change, effective June 11, is part of the administration’s strategy to “ensure that intellectual property is not transferred to our competitors,” according to one U.S. official. The Department of Justice charged three Chinese graduate students, who were studying at a California university, with economic espionage in 2015 for allegedly stealing U.S. trade secrets.

President Donald Trump privately called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions last March to reverse his recusal from the special counsel’s investigation, the New York Times reports. Sessions refused the request. The encounter between Sessions and Trump is purportedly now under the purview of the special counsel’s investigation, suggesting a broadening scope of an obstruction inquiry. President Trump’s lead lawyer working on the investigation, Rudy Giuliani, has argued that private discussions with the attorney general should not be questioned if the special counsel ends up interviewing the president.

House oversight committee chairman Trey Gowdy agreed with the FBI’s decision to use an informant associated with Trump campaign in the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation, according to Politico. The South Carolina representative was one of two Republican leaders who joined a Justice Department meeting last week with intelligence officials to discuss the FBI’s use of the source. In a recent interview with Fox News, Gowdy stated the informant had “nothing to do with Donald Trump,” but that “the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.” President Trump has called the informant a a “spy” planted by the Obama administration.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ordered Michael Cohen’s lawyers to finish reviewing the millions of seized documents by mid-June, Reuters reports. Cohen’s lawyers had requested the judge give the team until mid-July to review the 3.7 million documents seized as they establish which documents fall under attorney-client privilege. Cohen has not yet been charged with any crime.

Apple observed a sharp increase in national security requests in 2017, according to Reuters. Over 16,000 national security requests were tracked in the second half of 2017, rising 20 percent from the first half of 2017; Apple only registered roughly 6,000 similar requests the prior year. The tech giant also announced on Friday that the company would start tracking government requests to remove apps, effective July 1.

The Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce have jointly released a report on fighting botnets, fulfilling a significant request from the May 2017 executive order on strengthening federal cybersecurity. The report calls for acknowledging the global threat of botnets, strengthening consumer education, securing products throughout all stages of their life cycles, and encouraging market incentives.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Josh Blackman discussed the current state of conservative and libertarian lawyers.

Benjamin Wittes reviewed The Fourth Estate, Showtime’s new documentary series on journalism in the Trump era.

Joshua Busby and Steve Slick questioned whether transparency could increase public trust in the intelligence community.

Timothy Saviola provided an update on the latest development in the South China Sea.

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest Lawfare Podcast. Stewart Baker posted this week’s Cyberlaw Podcast.

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