Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, February 21, 2020, 11:55 AM

Former Trump advisor Roger Stone was sentenced yesterday to more than three years in prison, reports the New York Times. The case stoked controversy last week when Attorney General William Barr overruled a sentencing recommendation by four career prosecutors, who subsequently quit in protest. President Trump suggested yesterday afternoon that he would use his pardon power to spare Mr. Stone if Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not agree to Stone’s petition for a new trial and potential appeal, writes Politico.

Intelligence officials warned lawmakers in a closed briefing last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to support President Trump’s re-election. This disclosure to Congress angered Trump, who berated outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire and complained that Democrats would use this information against him, reports the New York Times.

The United States yesterday accused the GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence agency, of a cyberattack against the Republic of Georgia in October. The accusation was issued by Secretary of State Pompeo and was backed by simultaneous accusations from Britain, Australia, and many European nations, according to the New York Times.

President Trump said yesterday that he is considering Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia to serve as his permanent director of national intelligence, reports the Washington Post. Collins responded that he is committed to running for Senate in Georgia.

Turkey said two of its soldiers were killed in Syrian government airstrikes yesterday, bringing Turkish military fatalities in northwest Syria this month to 15, reports Reuters. Turkey’s defense ministry also said that over 50 Syrian forces members had been killed in retaliation in Idlib.

Iranians will vote for a new parliament today, coming at a time of growing economic hardship as sanctions weigh on the economy, writes the Associated Press. The U.S. imposed sanctions on five senior Iranian officials yesterday for allegedly preventing fair and free elections in Iran, according to the Wall Street Journal. Those sanctioned include members of Iran’s Guardian Council and Elections Supervision Committee.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Vishnu Kannan compiled the national security highlights from the ninth Democratic debate.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview with professor Brendan Nyhan on the empirical effects of disinformation.

David Priess and Martijn Rasser argued that we must take Greenland seriously as a vital national security issue, and that the country will have a major impact on U.S. interests within the next decade.

Amanda Sloat analyzed the Munich Security Conference, arguing that European states want to exert more unity and strength on the world stage but lack the vision and consensus to do so.

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