Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Hannah Kris
Monday, July 16, 2018, 1:53 PM

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki on Monday, reports the New York Times. At a press conference after the two leaders met, Trump said that he brought up Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and that Putin denied involvement. The summit comes on the heels of the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents by a federal grand jury for a plot to hack into Democratic campaign official’s emails and to leak the contents to the media though WikiLeaks and other platforms. When asked whether he believes the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment or Putin’s denials, Trump demurred. The summit has been the subject of extensive analysis, including by David Satter, who called in the Wall Street Journal for Donald Trump to avoid legitimizing Russian aggression in Syria, Ukraine, and the U.S. to prevent further actions by Russia. Satter also sought to remind Donald Trump that his silence doubles as a tacit approval for Putin, and that Trump needs to confront issues regarding Russia as opposed to just letting them go undiscussed.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that certain countries may be able to receive deferments from the Trump administration’s sanctions against Tehran, reports Reuters. Mnuchin cited the need to maintain stability in international oil markets. The sanctions on oil, set to go into effect on Nov. 4, will affect many countries who currently import Iranian oil—including France, who is seeking a waiver from some of the new trade restrictions. Mnuchin reiterated that the administration would not grant exemptions to any country, only temporary waivers to accommodate difficulties in the process of cutting trade with Iran.

Israel has released a Turkish woman accused of providing aid to Hamas who has been held in Israel since last month, according to Reuters. Ebru Ozkan was flown to Istanbul on Sunday after being charged by an Israeli military court. Ozkan’s arrest has heightened tensions between Israel and Turkey, fueling a continued disagreement between the two countries regarding Palestine, Jerusalem, and terrorism in Israel.

Kenya’s president and deputy president are offering to be the first subjects of proposed new anti-corruption measures, reports the Washington Post. The proposed measures—termed “lifestyle audits”—would require all government officials to report their financials in order to prove their assets were purchased with legally obtained money. Nearly a third of Kenya’s state budget is lost to corruption.

Israel provided the New York Times with documents that provide new details about Iran’s nuclear program. The documents, which Israel obtained in a raid on a Tehran warehouse by Mossad agents in late January, were responsible for calls from Netanyahu for the U.S. to exit the Iran nuclear deal. The documents reveal that Iran’s nuclear program was much more developed than previously realized and that Iran deliberately hid parts of its nuclear program from international inspectors.

China and the E.U. emerged from an annual trade summit with a new commitment to work together to reform the World Trade Organization and to enforce the Paris climate accord, reports the Wall Street Journal. The results of the annual summit represent the first time in three years that the E.U. and China have been able to release a joint statement identifying points of agreement. The commitment is seen by some as evidence that China and the E.U. are becoming closer in the face of new U.S. tariffs.

Former British Education Secretary Justine Greening called for a new Brexit referendum on Monday, citing “gridlock” in the Parliament over the issue, according to the Associated Press. Greening claimed that her fellow senior Conservative parliamentarians also support a new vote and that if a new referendum is held, she will campaign for Britain to remain in the E.U. The call for a new vote comes after Prime Minister Theresa May outlined on July 12 new plans for an exit that allows for Britain to have a “common rule book” with the E.U. on trade, a policy that infuriates many hardliners who favor a complete break with the European bloc.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Carol Saivetz discussed the Helsinki summit, including potential points of discussion and the current attitude of President Trump towards Putin.

Scott Anderson and Benjamin Wittes analyzed the FBI’s 2018 climate survey, finding that although the workforce remains proud of the bureau, doubts linger about its leadership.

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