Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Friday, June 15, 2018, 1:30 PM

On Thursday, the Inspector General released its report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The 500-page report is highly critical of Former FBI Director James B. Comey for his decisions leading up to the 2016 election. The IG concluded he was “insubordinate” both when he personally announced the end of the email probe on July 5 and when he notified Congress of its reopening on October 28. However, the investigation found no evidence to support President Trump’s claims that political bias motivated any of those decisions. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have claimed vindication in the IG’s conclusions. Read Lawfare’s initial thoughts on the report.

The Trump administration announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, reports the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month, China offered to buy almost $70 billion worth of U.S. products if the White House would hold off on impending tariffs, but it now appears that deal was rejected by Trump. The reactions to this announcement are mixed. In a rare show of approval, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president’s actions are “on the money.” However, within moments of the announcement, China’s commerce secretary said the nation will retaliate in “equal scale and equal strength.”

A federal judge revoked Paul Manafort’s bail Thursday morning, reports Reuters. Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, will now await his July 25 trial behind bars. On June 8, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding indictment accusing Manafort of witness tampering in addition to his previous charges. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort “You’ve abused the trust placed in you.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that a senior Taliban leader was killed in a targeted U.S. airstrike, according to BBC. The leader, Mullah Fazlullah, began serving as head of the Pakistani Taliban in 2013, and it was under his command that education advocate Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way to school in 2012. The U.S. military confirmed an airstrike aimed at “a senior militant figure,” while an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesperson said definitively that “Fazlullah was targeted and killed.”

The New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, President Trump, and three other members of the Trump family, reports the New York Times. The lawsuit, which is the culmination of two years worth of investigative work, alleges that Trump’s charity used its funds inappropriately, most notably during the 2016 presidential campaign. New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced in a press release Thursday that “the Trump Foundation illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign” despite the fact that Trump signed annual I.R.S. filings to say his foundation did not engage in political activity. This lawsuit seeks $2.8 million in restitution. Trump immediately took to Twitter, claiming “I won’t settle this case!”

China will maintain United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea, according to the Journal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued his tour to shore up political support after the June 12 Singapore summit with a stop in Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a joint press conference, Pompeo said China had “reaffirmed its commitment” to UN sanctions, while China’s foreign minister stressed Beijing’s commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The foreign minister did not mention sanctions during his statement at all.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Carrie Cordero offered her thoughts on the ethics of separating families at the border.

Daniel Byman warned that the next administration will have to recover from the damage done by Trump’s foreign policy decisions.

Jennifer Daskal and Paul Rosenzweig criticized the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision that forced labor constitutes material support.

Matthew Kahn posted the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation for campaign coordination and self-dealing.

Matthew Kahn also posted the Justice Department Inspector General’s final report on the Clinton email investigation.

Autumn Brewington, Victoria Clark, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn and Benjamin Wittes discussed nine initial takeaways from the Inspector General’s report.

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