Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Thursday, October 3, 2019, 1:23 PM

Without any prompting, President Trump called on China to “start an investigation into the Bidens” in remarks to reporters outside the White House, according to the Washington Post. This comment came after an answer to a question about U.S.-China trade relations in which Trump said, “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power.”

The Post also reports that President Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in the administration’s campaign to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. The Post details that Trump had Pence inform Zelensky that U.S. aid would remain withheld and demand that Zelensky take more action to reduce corruption in Ukraine. However, officials close to Pence claim that the VP was not aware of Trump’s request to Zelensky to re-open an investigation of the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine.

The State Department inspector general provided Congress with several documents related to the Ukraine scandal, including some that Rudy Giuliani gave to the department earlier this year. According to CNN, the trove of documents included some reports containing unproven allegations against the Bidens as well as accusations against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would begin collecting DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of individuals in federal immigration custody, according to the New York Times. The DNA will be included in a national criminal database used by the FBI. A 2005 law passed by Congress exempted immigrants from the broad DNA collection to which serious criminals are subjected, but DHS officials now say this exemption is outdated and ought to be eliminated.

The European Court of Justice ruled that individual countries, both within and outside the EU, can force Facebook to remove content that is illegal within their jurisdiction such as hate speech, reports the Financial Times.

A man armed with a knife killed at least four people inside a police headquarters in Paris, reports CNN. The attacker had been employed by the police since 2003, but there is no indication yet as to a motive.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security in which Tamara Cofman Wittes, Shane Harris, Susan Hennessey and Margaret Taylor discussed recent developments in the Ukraine scandal and new revelations about Attorney General Barr’s asking foreign officials to look into the actions of U.S. intelligence agencies during the investigation of Trump campaign interactions with Russia.

Mary McCord discussed how armed militia groups in the U.S. have embraced Trump’s tweet that warned of civil war.

Avi Asher-Shapiro commented on the Trump administration’s efforts to stonewall a FOIA request on whether the U.S. government failed to fulfill their duty to warn Jamal Khashoggi of the danger to his life prior to his murder.

Brian Kalt explained the real purpose behind the 25th Amendment and argued that it does not offer a remedy to remove Trump from office.

Alan Rozenshtein discussed the shift in the encryption debate toward a greater focus on the ways in which encryption enables child exploitation.

Jamil Jaffer announced a new podcast called ‘Fault Lines’ from the National Security Institute at George Mason University and shared the first episode which focuses on Saudi Arabia and China.

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