Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 11:58 AM

During closed-door testimony to Congress yesterday, William B. Taylor Jr., the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, detailed President Trump’s personal role in an effort to withhold security aid to Ukraine until President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announced investigations involving the Biden family, reports the New York Times. Taylor’s full opening statement is available here on Lawfare.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine policy, is testifying Wednesday as part of the House impeachment inquiry, reports the Washington Post.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finalized an agreement in Sochi on Tuesday to deploy their forces across northeastern Syria in order to force the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the region, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari said that U.S. forces that have recently entered Iraq from Syria will depart within four weeks, contrary to previous reports from Defense Secretary Mark Esper that the troops would remain in Iraq for longer to continue fighting the Islamic State, reports the Post.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after Parliament rejected a plan for a swift three-day timeline to deliver Johnson’s Brexit deal, reports the BBC. The leaders appear to not have agreed to any formal plans in the meeting, but a Labour spokesperson said Corbyn would support “a reasonable timetable to debate, scrutinise and amend” the Brexit bill.

The bodies of 39 people were found in a Bulgarian-registered truck outside of London. Police are still uncertain about many details of the case, including the identities of the victims, according to the Times. The driver of the truck was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The Chinese government dismissed reports indicating that it was planning to replace Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam as a “political rumor,” reports CNN.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying Wednesday in a House Financial Services Committee hearing about a cryptocurrency project called Libra, reports the Times. According to his submitted written testimony, Zuckerberg intends to acknowledge that amid widespread criticism of the project some people “wonder whether we can be trusted” to protect consumers.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jim Baker discussed how governmental authorities should embrace encryption as a means to protect against existential cybersecurity threats.

Rachel Westrate commented on the worrisome findings from a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which Scott Anderson speaks with filmmaker Dan Gabriel and journalist James Verini about the role the city of Mosul has played in recent Iraqi history.

Stewart Baker posted an episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast featuring a news roundup of recent cyberattacks and an interview with Alex Joel, formerly of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Mikhaila Fogel shared Amb. William Taylor’s opening statement to his testimony before the three House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Fogel also livestreamed a House Judiciary Committee hearing on securing America’s elections.

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