Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Friday, June 21, 2019, 3:08 PM

On Thursday evening, President Trump authorized military strikes against Iranian radar and missile batteries, but reversed his decision while the operation was in its early stages, the New York Times reports. In a tweet Friday morning, the president wrote that he called off the strikes ten minutes before they were to occur, after learning that they would result in 150 casualties. The White House has not commented on the story.

The Senate passed three resolutions blocking the president’s emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but the measures do not enjoy the margins necessary to override a veto, the Washington Post writes.

Special Officer First Class Corey Scott, a Navy SEAL and witness with immunity in the war crimes trial of Edward Gallagher, confessed that he—not Gallagher—was responsible for killing a 17-year-old ISIS prisoner, NPR reports. Prosecutors say that Scott’s testimony, which differs dramatically from his hours of pre-trial interviews, is a fabrication to protect Gallagher. Defense attorneys say that the alternative account had not previously emerged because prosecutors failed to uncover it.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler believes Hope Hicks’ refusal to talk about her tenure in the White House during closed-door testimony before the committee will be an important part of House Democrats’ lawsuit to compel testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, according to Politico. The committee shared the transcript of Hicks’ interview on Thursday evening, which can be found here on Lawfare.

Prosecutors say that Roger Stone’s recent social media posts violate his gag order and the terms of his release on bail, per CNN. Judge Amy Burman Jackson issued the order in February. A violation of his bail terms, which currently allow him to remain at his home in Florida, mean that Stone could return to jail awaiting his trial in November.

Protests over Hong Kong’s proposed extradition law, consideration of which was indefinitely suspended by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, resumed on Friday as thousands of protestors surrounded Hong Kong police headquarters, the Times reports. Dissatisfied with mere suspension of the bill, protestors demanded that Lam fully withdraw the bill from consideration and that police release individuals arrested during last week’s protests. The police did not disband the protests and instead chose to maintain minimal presence while urging the protestors to disperse. In a sign of Lam’s weakening authority, the city government closed its headquarters and the legislature again cancelled meetings, citing security concerns.

In a settlement Friday, Walmart agreed to pay $282 million in fines for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the company’s Brazilian subsidiary pleaded guilty to a federal crime. The fine, much lower than the $600 million which prosecutors sought at the end of the Obama administration, was negotiated down after President Trump, who criticized the FCPA, took office, the Times writes.

Sensitive documents regarding expanding border surveillance were also hacked in the recent cyberattack against a contractor for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Post reports. Although it was previously reported that only photos of travelers and license plates had been compromised, it has now surfaced that sensitive government material is now available on the “dark Web”.

According to the German economic minister, Huawei must demonstrate it can meet their security criteria in order to participate in the development of the country’s 5G network, Reuters writes.

Central bankers of Britain, France and Germany claim oversight over Facebook’s cryptocurrency to guard against money laundering, Reuters says. In the same spirit, Reuters added, France will create a G7 task force to study the regulation of cryptocurrency.

The Florida town of Riviera Beach paid $600,000 after a ransomware attack in late May affected emergency response systems and turned off water pump stations, according to BBC.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Ashley Deeks and Scott Anderson analyzed the legal implications of Iran shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf.

Quinta Jurecic shared the transcript of Hope Hicks’ interview with the House Judiciary Committee.

Hadley Baker shared a livestream of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Mueller report titled, “Lessons from the Mueller Report, Part II: Bipartisan Perspectives.”

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