Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Sarah Grant
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 9:25 AM

The United States Central Command issued an unusual public rebuke of an ally, challenging the statement made by British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, during a press conference Wednesday that he saw no increased risk from Iran or its allied militias in Iraq or Syria, the New York Times reports. Central Command said Ghika’s assessment ran “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”

The State Department also ordered a partial evacuation of non-emergency U.S. government employees from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil, in response to the perceived threat from Iranian allied forces, according to Reuters.

Responding to a subpoena from Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to a limited interview behind closed doors, NBC News reports. Trump Jr. is expected to testify under oath in mid-June for no more than four hours on a predetermined set of topics.

The House Intelligence Committee has requested that four attorneys who have worked for President Trump or his family members provide documents and sit for interviews related to allegations that they “reviewed, shaped and edited” former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s false testimony to Congress, Politico notes.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the city’s police and other agencies, making it the first major U.S. city to block the tool, the New York Times reports. The board is expected to confirm the decision in an obligatory second vote next week.

Top House Democrats are expected to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday to discuss the revised free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada and will likely also raise Trump’s escalating trade war with China, according to Politico.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Andrew Kent weighed in on the debate between Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes over the Mueller report’s statutory analysis on presidential obstruction of justice and explored additional Justice Department precedent that supports Mueller’s theory.

Tyler Cullis and Amir Handjani discussed how the Trump administration’s economic sanctions campaign against Iran is rendering legal exemptions for trade in humanitarian goods unworkable in practice.

Matthew Khan posted video of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the development of 5G infrastructure.

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