Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Friday, October 12, 2018, 12:33 PM

A Turkish court ordered the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson after two years in Turkish custody, reports the New York Times. Brunson was arrested in 2016 on charges of aiding the failed military coup that attempted to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Upon leaving the courthouse, Brunson returned to his home in Izmir and is expected to return to the United States on Saturday.

The Turkish government allegedly shared audio and video recordings with U.S. officials that prove Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and then killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite these new reports, President Trump reaffirmed his decision to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The United States Army discharged at least 500 immigrants within the last 12 months who were recruited for their language and medical skills, reports the Associated Press. The enlistees were promised a fast track on their citizenship, and were given little to no explanation for their discharges. The Pentagon refused to comment on individual cases.

New documents filed by the Justice Department on Thursday contradict congressional testimony given by commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, according to the Washington Post. Ross testified in March that he had never discussed adding a citizenship question to the census with anyone in the White House. However, the new documents filed as part of a multi-state lawsuit against the Trump administration reveal that Ross recalls discussing the question with then-White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Hurricane Michael caused “catastrophic” damage to the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida on Wednesday, according to Air Force Times. An Air Force spokesperson announced that “personnel should make plans for an extended time away from the base.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in reported that North Korea is willing to abolish “all existing nuclear weapons and materials” in exchange for an easing of sanctions, reports Reuters. The announcement followed Moon’s third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A federal judge ordered a partial release of the previously-classified “Road Map,” a document in which Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski presented the findings of his grand jury investigation to Congress, reports Politico. The release follows a request by attorney Geoffrey Shepard, who served on President Nixon’s defense team. (Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes filed their own lawsuit to obtain the full “Road Map”—their suit is described here on Lawfare.)

The Senate confirmed Adam Klein as Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on Thursday. It also confirmed Edward Felten and Jane Nitze as PCLOB members. (According to Cameron Kerry writing for Lawfare, the PCLOB, an independent agency that conducts oversight and advises Congress on privacy and civil liberties concerns with respect to counterterrorism policies, has been without a chair since 2016 and without a quorum since early 2017.)

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Donald Clarke criticized recent news reports suggesting that China has legalized its Uyghur mass-detention camps.

Bruce Riedel underscored the importance of U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia as leverage following Khashoggi’s disappearance.

David Pozen explained when politicians should play hardball with partisan conflict.

Orin Kerr analyzed fifth amendment pleas in forced decryption cases.

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