Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Sarah Tate Chambers
Friday, June 1, 2018, 4:04 PM

President Trump says his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on, reports the New York Times. The news come after North Korea’s former intelligence chief and top nuclear negotiator, Kim Yong Chol, visited the White House on Friday to deliver to deliver a letter to the president from the North Korean leader.

James Comey spoke to investigators with the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office about Andrew McCabe, according to the Washington Post. The Justice Department's inspector general accused McCabe of misleading the FBI and Comey about an inappropriately authorized disclosure to the media. The inspector general then referred the case to the U.S. attorney’s. No charges have been filed.

The Spanish Parliament delivered a no-confidence vote and ousted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Washington Post reports. Rajoy, a member of the Popular Party, will be replaced by Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the Socialist Party. While Rajoy has accepted parliament’s decision, he stated last week that Sanchez “is never going to be able to win elections, and this is the reason for his [no-confidence motion] and this urgency.” Sanchez currently leads a bloc of 84 in a 350-seat parliament; the government under his leadership is expected to be weak.

Russian journalist Andy Babchenko faked his own death in order to avoid a fate similar to Sergei Skripal, the double agent who was poisoned by a nerve agent, Politico reports. Babchenko staged the fake murder with help from Ukrainian security officials in order to expose a plot to kill Babchenko. He believes the hit was ordered by Russia.

Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement and its far-right League have formed a coalition to govern the country, according to the Post. Since the European Union was formed, it is the first purely populist coalition to lead a Western European country. Before the agreement was reached, Italy’s political uncertainty sent global markets downward due to fears that Italy would hold new elections and possibly exit the euro.

Russia is developing a new relationship with the Central African Republic, the Post reports. In 2017, Russia entered into an arms deal with the Central African Republic; this year, the relationship now includes military training and discussions of mining exploration. According to the article, the two countries have signed several bilateral deals but the contents and terms are secret. The relationship began because Russia saw an opportunity: U.N. peacekeepers were stretched to their limits and western interest in assistance was declining, yet President Touaera needed additional help. One U.N. official said: “[Western countries] are all worried, but they don’t really know what to do. France, the U.S. and E.U. … They didn’t expect the Russians stepping in.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jeffrey Kahn presented his observations from oral arguments in Georgia v. Russia (II) before a Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.

Maddie McMahon and Jack Goldsmith summarized publicly available opinions on pardons as they relate to the Russia investigation and provide a list of all Justice Department pardon opinions.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Ryan Pougiales, and Benjamin Wittes presented the results of their polling on public support for Haspel’s nomination.

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