Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 12:52 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to propose new nuclear treaties with the United States during his meeting with President Trump in Helsinki, according to a leaked Russian document, seen by Politico, that lists proposed discussion topics. The individual who provided the document obtained it from Russian officials, who claim that it represents what Putin said to Trump during their closed-door meeting. The White House declined to comment on the document.

A delegation of top Turkish officials will meet with representatives from the U.S. State and Treasury Departments on Wednesday to discuss the American pastor currently in custody in Ankara, reports Reuters. Andrew Brunson was arrested in October 2016 based on allegations that he supported the failed military coup that attempted to remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from office. He was released on house arrest in July. Turkey has refused to return Brunson to the United States, and both nations have imposed retaliatory tariffs.

The Federal Communications Commission’s inspector general says the body “misrepresented facts” when it claimed that a cyberattack on its computer systems rendered the public unable to voice their opinions on a proposal to repeal net neutrality last year reports the Washington Post. On May 7 and 8 of 2017, millions of Americans attempted to comment on the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality. The FCC said in a press release at the time that it was “subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks” that prevented many from commenting. The inspector general’s report, released Tuesday, could not find any evidence to support the claim that such attacks occurred.

West Virginia lawmakers on the state House’s judiciary committee voted to recommend the impeachment of all four members of the state’s Supreme Court, reports the Wall Street Journal. The articles of impeachment accuse the justices of abusing state funds for lavish expenses such as a $1.5 million office remodel and misusing travel budgets. The court’s fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned last month and pled guilty to wire fraud. A vote on the articles of impeachment could take place as early as next week.

A recent ruling by the European Court of Justice is expected to challenge the standing extradition agreements between European Union countries, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the previous understanding, EU member agreed to return suspects and convicted criminals to the nation where they committed the crime in order to face charges. In July, the ECJ ruled that countries can decide not to extradite if they have reason to doubt the independence of the courts in the requesting country.

A federal judge ordered to FBI to preserve all emails sent from the private email account of former FBI Director James Comey in case of future Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, reports the Hill. The Justice Department’s inspector general revealed in June that Comey had occasionally used a personal email for government-related work. The request was brought by the group Judicial Watch. The court found that the Justice Department failed to explain why preserving the emails would cause an “undue burden.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith highlighted their complementary articles on the experience of being the president’s lawyer during times of crisis.

J. Dana Stuster analyzed Saudi Arabia’s decision to expel the Canadian ambassador and the Trump administration’s decision to reinstate sanctions against Iran in this week’s Middle East Ticker.

Victoria Clark posted two rulings in the transgender servicemember ban litigation, Doe v. Trump.

Clark also posted the U.S. appeals court opinion rejecting the habeas petition of Guantanamo detainee Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alawi.

Stewart Baker posted the Cyberlaw Podcast, a rerun of Baker 2015 interview with Joseph Nye.

Jen Patja Howell posted the Lawfare Podcast which featured a discussion on the challenges of digital evidence.

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