Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Thursday, October 10, 2019, 3:44 PM

The Wall Street Journal reports that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who allegedly helped Rudy Giuliani with efforts to investigate the Biden family in Ukraine, were arrested for violation of campaign finance rules. CNN reports that both men were also subpoenaed by three House committees on Thursday. The indictment and subpoena materials are available on Lawfare.

The U.S. military is taking custody of several important Islamic State detainees, including two British men accused of engaging in executions of American hostages, reports the Washington Post. The rare move comes amidst worries that detainees currently held by Kurdish forces in northern Syria could escape or be released during the Turkish operations in the region.

In the face of international condemnation for Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the U.S. and other members of NATO to back the operation while threatening to allow millions of Syrian refugees into Europe if Turkey did not receive adequate support, according to the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday morning for trade talks, reports the Washington Post. In a tweet, Trump signaled that he would meet with Liu tomorrow and that a trade deal may follow.

The U.S. special envoy on Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, said that the Trump administration is preparing new sanctions on Cuba for their support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to Reuters. Abrams also indicated the administration is taking a “closer look” at Russia’s role in keeping President Maduro in power.

Apple has removed an app from its app store that crowdsourced the locations of both police and protestors in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. Apple said they found the app had endangered residents and law enforcement officers.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the latest episode of the National Security Law Podcast, in which they discuss the White House counsel’s letter indicating non-cooperation with the impeachment inquiry, President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and the newly declassified decisions about the FBI’s improper use of Section 702 database searches.

Keith Whittington discussed how it is constitutionally acceptable for the House to begin an impeachment inquiry without a vote, contrary to the assertions in the White House counsel’s letter.

Joshua Rovner suggested that intelligence officials should resist the urge to publicly dissent on policies with which they disagree as it can lead to increased politicization of the intelligence agencies.

Austin Carson argued in response to Rovner’s piece that the Director of National Intelligence must be willing to speak out when presidential claims clearly contradict intelligence assessments but not necessarily on policy concerns.

Gordon Ahl shared an indictment of a Defense Intelligence Agency employee charged with leaking top secret information to journalists.

Ahl also shared an opening brief from the ACLU in an appellate case involving warrantless surveillance of a U.S. resident under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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