Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 3:03 PM

President Trump announced via Twitter this morning that he had “just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" Trump’s comments come days after a significant attack on Saudi oil facilities that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attributes to Iran. According to Reuters, a senior U.S. official is also calling for a U.N. Security Council resolution placing the blame on Iran for the attacks. Meanwhile, the State Department released a statement detailing that Secretary Pompeo is traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the attacks and “coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region.”

The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department has launched a civil suit against Edward Snowden due to Snowden’s failure to submit his new book, Permanent Record, for pre-publication review. The Justice Department noted that they were not seeking to interfere with the book’s release but rather recover all the proceeds that Snowden earns.

President Trump announced that he will nominate Robert O’Brien to replace John Bolton as his national security adviser, according to Politico. O’Brien is currently serving as the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department. He received media attention in this role when, at President Trump’s request, he assisted with the case of A$AP Rocky, an American rapper detained in Sweden.

With over 90 percent of the votes counted in the Israeli election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance each appear to have 32 seats in the new parliament. According to the Washington Post, both leaders have begun seeking endorsements from smaller parties as they each attempt to build a coalition of at least 61 seats to obtain a governing majority.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a letter stating that the agency “has complied fully with all applicable law” in the agency’s handling of a whistleblower complaint whose existence was revealed by the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, reports the Wall Street Journal. The DNI failed to turn over documents related to the situation to Congressman’s Schiff’s office by a Tuesday deadline, and the letter suggested it was premature for the House Intelligence Committee to compel Acting Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire to appear before the Committee on Thursday.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Margaret Taylor analyzed the facts of the House whistleblower standoff and the historical relationship between the legislative and executive branch on intelligence community whistleblowers.

Robert S. Litt also unpacked the legal framework on whistleblowers and its implications for the ongoing situation in the House Intelligence Committee.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast, which discusses the weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities and possible American responses.

David Priess shared a new Lawfare Institute e-book, “The United States and the Use of Force Against Iran.”

Richard C. Bush provided a historical overview of Chinese legal and political influence in Hong Kong to explain the current unrest in the special administrative region and to discuss potential ends to the crisis.

Jacob Schulz shared video coverage of Corey Lewandowski’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Mikhaila Fogel posted the Justice Department’s civil complaint against Edward Snowden.

Dakota S. Rudesill shared a request for scholarly papers from the American Association of Law Schools Section on National Security Law.

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