Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 11:48 AM

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the two articles of impeachment at 7:15 p.m. after six hours of debate on Wednesday afternoon that is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, reports the New York Times. Lawfare is livestreaming it all here.

On Tuesday, President Trump delivered a rambling letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which he raised objections to the impeachment inquiry in a characteristically fiery fashion, including a claim that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” according to the Washington Post.

The acting ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., who was a key witness in the House impeachment inquiry, intends to step down from his role at the end of the year, according to the Post. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing him of “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued an order that gave the FBI a Jan. 10 deadline to provide a written statement on what has been done and will be done to correct procedural errors uncovered in the recent Justice Department inspector general report, says the Times.

The National Defense Authorization Act was passed by the Senate on Tuesday with an 86-8 vote, reports the Wall Street Journal. The president has indicated he will likely sign the measure which among other things creates the U.S. Space Force, provides paid parental leave for federal workers and sanctions the Assad regime in Syria.

The House approved two spending packages on Tuesday to avoid a government shutdown and fund all federal agencies and programs through next fall, reports the Times.

India’s Supreme Court declined to stay the implementation of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, reports Reuters. The Court will hear petitions on Jan. 22 regarding the constitutional validity of the law.

The New York Times reports that the Chinese government is systematically combining old and new tools to enhance its ability to spy on Chinese citizens.

Politico traces the evolutionary history of cybersecurity efforts at the Department of Homeland Security in the run-up to the 2020 election.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which David Priess sat down with Peter Bergen to discuss his new book, “Trump and His Generals.”

Preston Lim discussed the latest Canadian national security news including Attorney General David Lametti’s decision to block the disclosure of evidence in an ongoing case.

John Bellinger shared excerpts from Judge William Webster’s New York Times op-ed entitled “I Headed the FBI and CIA. There’s a Dire Threat to the Country I Love.”

Gordon Ahl posted a letter from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer that requested four witnesses be called in a Senate impeachment trial.

Ahl posted the FISA Court order in response to the Justice Department inspector general report. Ahl also shared a supplemental brief from the House Judiciary Committee regarding their efforts to obtain grand jury materials related to the Mueller report.

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