Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Friday, December 20, 2019, 12:34 PM

The House of Representatives voted 385 to 41 in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade, which the Senate is expected to act on in the new year, according to the Washington Post.

U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped by Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, has requested emails and other documents to examine the role of former C.I.A. Director John Brennan in assessing Russia’s election interference in 2016, reports the New York Times.

The Post reports that multiple former officials believe President Trump’s views on Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election might have been influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Friday, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office in New York is expected to announce criminal charges against 96 individuals involved with the MS-13 street gang, according to the Times. The charges include seven murder conspiracies and widespread drug trafficking and weapons sales.

In the United Kingdom, members of parliament voted 358 to 234 in favor of Boris Johnson’s bill to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, reports the BBC. The bill will be debated further in early January.

Lebanon’s president appointed Hassan Diab, a professor and former education minister, as the new prime minister in the midst of ongoing protests and a financial crisis in the country, reports the Times.

An unidentified gunman killed one officer and wounded five others outside of the Federal Security Service building in Moscow on Thursday, reports NBC News.

The Times reports that companies are tracking and storing the movements of tens of millions of smartphone users through apps that share locations.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Torey L. McMurdo discussed the significant gaps in legal protections for service members in academia.

Stewart Baker shared a special edition of the Cyberlaw Podcast in which Bob Litt, David Kris and Bobby Chesney discuss the recent Justice Department inspector general’s report.

Jeff Kosseff explained why Congress passed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the first place since Congress is now considering changes.

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode in the Arbiters of Truth podcast series, in which Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke to Peter Pomerantsev, an author and research fellow at Johns Hopkins University, about the origins of Russian disinformation.

Gordon Ahl posted an appellate ruling on FISA Section 702 surveillance that considered the possibility of a fourth amendment claim for certain database queries.

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