Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 12:44 PM

Amy Berman Jackson, the U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the criminal case against Roger Stone, warned on Tuesday about attacks by President Trump on a juror in the Stone case, saying that stoking frustration about the guilty verdict could prompt someone to “take it out on” members of the jury, reports the New York Times.

Attorney General William Barr yesterday urged lawmakers to reauthorize the government’s expiring surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to the Wall Street Journal. Barr said he would implement new oversight mechanisms after a recent inspector general report found serious flaws in the government’s efforts to obtain FISA warrants for former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

The new acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, has asked an intelligence officer who angered some Republican lawmakers after delivering a briefing about Russian election interference to remain in her role, writes the New York Times. Analysts describe the move as a peace offering to the intelligence community. Meanwhile, Rep. John Ratcliffe is back under consideration as a potential pick to serve as Director of National Intelligence, reports The Hill. Ratcliffe was considered for the role last year, but he withdrew amid scrutiny about his embellishing details about relevant professional experience.

Federal health officials warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States, and urged hospitals, businesses and schools to begin making preparations, according to the New York Times.

The Afghan government has agreed to postpone President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration to a second term, reports Reuters. The move will allow more time for U.S. diplomats and others to mediate a resolution to a crisis over contested election results that threatens the U.S.-Taliban peace accord.

At least 20 civilians, including nine children, were killed in Syrian army strikes in Idlib yesterday, according to the BBC. The current humanitarian crisis in Idlib has been described as the worst in the country since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Two Libyan families have filed a U.S. civil lawsuit against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and his sons for torturing and killing their relatives, reports Al Jazeera. The suit has been brought under the Torture Victim Protection Act and seeks compensation using U.S. assets belonging to the leader of the Libyan National Army.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast with Jim Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and the NSA; and Andrew McCabe, the former Acting Director of the FBI. The group discussed the annual worldwide threats briefing, which Congress canceled this year.

Scott Anderson shared a statement by Sen. Bob Menendez related to the joint resolution on the use of military force against Iran and war powers reform.

Elizabeth McElvein analyzed the political landscape backgrounding this year’s FISA reauthorization.

Elliot Setzer shared the livestream of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on European and Transportation Commands.

Stewart Baker shared the most recent episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast.

Alicia Wanless analyzed Elizabeth Warren’s plan for tackling disinformation.

Charlotte Butash discussed the new Huawei indictment.

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