Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Monday, June 3, 2019, 5:18 PM

After a briefing with senior NSA officials, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) issued a statement that “there is no evidence at this time” that EternalBlue, a software exploit stolen from the NSA in 2017, was used in a ransomware attack on Baltimore’s government. The statement contradicts a New York Times report attributing the attack to the hacking tool.

In a tweet on Saturday, the president announced that Emmet Flood, the lawyer hired to represent the White House in the Russia investigation would be leaving on June 14.

Federal prosecutors declined to comply with Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s May order to release transcripts of recorded conversations between then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to the Washington Post. The Justice Department lawyers argued that they did not rely on such recordings to establish “guilt or determine a recommendation for his sentencing.”

Jared Kushner said he did not know whether he would report to the FBI a future offer of information on a political opponent from the Russian government like the one that led to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

During his visit to Asia, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan criticized China for using a “toolkit of coercion,” expressed concern about Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government, and proposed sanctions enforcement against North Korea as a possible point of cooperation with Beijing, CNN reports. Shanahan also said that there is no need to renew major joint exercises with South Korea, per Reuters.

An American B-52 bomber and an aircraft carrier deployed outside of the Persian Gulf in response to escalating tension with Iran conducted a joint exercise in the Arabian Sea that included “simulated strike operations,” according to the Associated Press. At the same time, the administration has softened its rhetoric towards Iran, the Times reports.

The president began his state visit to the United Kingdom. He is expected to warn Prime Minister Theresa May against allowing Huawei to build components of Britain’s 5G network, reports Reuters.

A judge in Sweden denied a request for a detention order in the alleged rape case against Julian Assange while the WikiLeaks founder remains in the U.K. pending extradition, NPR reports.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the White House’s Middle East peace plan as potentially “unexecutable” and said it “might not gain traction,” according to a recording obtained by the Post.

Pictures of North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol alongside Kim Jong Un appeared in state media on Sunday, contradicting a report in a South Korean newspaper that the diplomat had been purged, according to the Financial Times.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell posted an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a Brookings event the CIA’s privacy and civil liberties officer.

Jack Goldsmith responded to a post by Benjamin Wittes and David Kris, arguing that there are good reasons to investigate the Trump campaign investigators and to give the attorney general limited declassification authority for that investigation.

Goldsmith also analyzed the attorney general’s interview with CBS’s Jan Crawford.

Rachel Sweet argued that the aggressive mandate given to U.N. peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the wrong approach for such a complex conflict.

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