Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 11:37 AM

The White House released a rough transcript of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. The transcript shows Trump offering the help of the U.S. attorney general and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in a potential investigation of Joe Biden and his family, according to the Washington Post. The transcript is available here on Lawfare.

The Washington Post reports that Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, played a large role in the attempts to pressure the leaders of Ukraine, often sidelining formal national security officials. The Post follows up on Giuliani’s comments last night on Fox News, which included claims that he only contacted Ukrainian officials at the request of the State Department.

The Senate passed a non-binding resolution at the request of Minority Leader Charles Schumer urging the Trump administration to hand over the whistleblower complaint, according to The Hill. The resolution passed with unanimous consent as Schumer said from the Senate floor that he could not think of a “straight-faced reason” it would be blocked.

On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he would consider meeting with the Trump administration on a new nuclear deal, reports the Associated Press. However, Rouhani reiterated that there would be no meetings with President Trump unless sanctions are lifted.

In the case of Bijan Rafiekian, a former business associate of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a U.S. district judge ruled that prosecutors provided insufficient evidence to sustain the jury’s finding that Rafiekian knowingly acted as an agent of Turkey and failed to notify U.S. officials on his work, reports Politico. On this basis, the judge ordered the acquittal of Rafiekian.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Google is not obligated to apply certain EU privacy standards globally, reports Politico. Specifically, the court decided that the ability for Europeans to demand that Google remove search results linked to people’s names, the so-called “right to be forgotten” should only apply with the EU.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan backed President Trump’s request for a delay on the subpoena of his tax returns requested by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., according to the New York Times. The three-page filing requests additional time so that the Justice Department can potentially offer an opinion on the “weighty constitutional issues” offered by the president’s lawyers.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes discussed what areas Congress should and should not examine in an impeachment inquiry.

Mikhaila Fogel, Jacob Shulz, Gordon Ahl and Masha Simonova released a comprehensive timeline of the Trump-Ukraine scandal.

Scott R. Anderson and Benjamin Wittes provided an update on the mystery surrounding Andrew McCabe’s non-indictment, including copies of their complaint and three exhibits containing their original FOIA request about what might have led the Justice Department to pursue attempted criminal prosecution.

Jack Goldsmith provided a description of his new book published yesterday, “In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth.”

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which Jack Goldsmith discusses with John Fabian Witt his new book, “To Save the Country: A Lost Treatise on Martial Law.”

Jake Laperruque discussed the role of the private sector in making police facial recognition systems more transparent.

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