Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 12:25 PM

President Trump renewed his public attacks on federal law enforcement on Tuesday, denouncing the prosecutors, judge and jury forewoman in the case of Roger Stone. The President called himself “the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” and demanded a new trial for Stone, reports the New York Times. On Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr told multiple people close to President Trump that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, according to the Washington Post. The Federal Judges Association will hold an emergency meeting today to address growing concerns about Trump and the Justice Department’s recent interventions in politically sensitive cases, reports CNN.

President Trump also announced a range of pardons and commutations on Tuesday, including for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, ex-New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken, writes Politico.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday was declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential vote after five months of delayed results. Hours after the announcement, Ghani’s leading challenger, Abdullah Abdullah accused Afghanistan’s election commission of favoring President Ghani and declared himself the winner. Abdullah said he would form a government of his own, reports the New York Times.

A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen’s Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say. The discovery further ties Iran to an attack that briefly affected Saudi Arabia’s oil output and consequently spiked energy prices, writes the Washington Post.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will start on March 17, two weeks after Israel holds its third national election in less than a year, according to Reuters.

A federal judge ruled yesterday that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei lacks the grounds to sue the U.S. government over a U.S. law that restricts its ability to do business with federal agencies and their contractors, writes Politico.

The Chinese government today reported that the rate of new Coronavirus cases continues to decline. However, international experts say they are wary of declaring that the pace of global infections is slowing, reports the Washington Post.

The Justice Department will hold a conference today to discuss the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law which gives online platforms a degree of protection from liability stemming from certain material users post, according to Reuters. Bill Barr delivered a speech at the workshop this morning in which he discussed the Department’s concern “about the expansive reach of Section 230.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast with Andrew Bacevich on “The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory.”

Charlotte Butash and Benjamin Wittes argued that Bill Barr’s decision to overturn sentencing guidelines in the case of Roger Stone is a gift to criminal defendants everywhere.

William Ford analyzed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on securing a negotiated solution to the Libyan civil war.

Evelyn Douek discussed Facebook’s new white paper on the future of online content regulation.

Madiha Afzal examined why Pakistan’s military is repressing a huge, nonviolent Pashtun protest movement.

Ami Ayalon and Ayal Hayut-man argued that in the fight against terrorism, victory should be defined as a continuous process of providing security and maintaining society’s core values in the face of threats.

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