Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Thursday, April 23, 2020, 4:40 PM

Wisconsin’s Republican-dominated legislature on Tuesday filed for an injunction against the social distancing measures ordered by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration, reports the Wall Street Journal. The injunction targets an order by the Department of Health Services Secretary that closed many businesses and ordered Wisconsin residents to stay home. Republicans argue that the order failed to follow proper procedures and that the state should lessen restrictions in rural counties with few reported cases.

President Trump signed an executive order yesterday temporarily halting the issuance of green cards in response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, writes NPR. The proclamation suspends immigration for people outside the United States seeking green cards for 60 days, with exemptions for healthcare professionals, those seeking temporary visas and permanent residents of the U.S.

Rick Bright, the official who led the federal agency overseeing the development of a coronavirus vaccine, said yesterday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for strenuous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, a drug the president has embraced as a coronavirus cure, according to the New York Times. Bright was dismissed this week as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after he resisted pressure to direct money towards the potentially harmful anti-malarial.

President Trump yesterday criticized the decision of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia to allow many businesses to reopen this week, reports the Times. He said the move was premature.

Sen. Chuck Grassley urged President Trump to reconsider a signing statement from last month’s coronavirus relief package, warning it could be used to limit the power of inspectors general (IGs), writes the Hill. Grassley wrote: “Read broadly, this interpretation could be cited as authority to unduly strip IGs of their fundamental ability to timely report waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in government programs to Congress.”

Two former Syrian security officers went on trial in Germany today on charges of crimes against humanity committed in the early days of Syria’s civil war, according to the Times. One of the officers, Anwar Raslan, a former colonel in a Syrian intelligence service of President al-Assad’s government, is the first high-ranking Syrian official to be tried on such charges.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned that the country will destroy U.S. warships if its security is threatened in the gulf, reports Reuters.

Facebook yesterday introduced a feature displaying the location of the Facebook Page or Instagram account with a large audience on every post it shares, so end users have a better understanding of how reliable or authentic the accounts may be, writes TechCrunch.

A two-week ceasefire in Yemen announced by the Saudi-led military coalition expired today without movement toward a permanent truce, according to Reuters.

South Africa will deploy more than 70,000 troops to help enforce a lockdown intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, reports the BBC. The country currently has some of the most stringent lockdown restrictions in the world.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Christine Kwon, Erica Newland and Kristy Parker argued Trump can’t play politics with aid to states.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Rational Security discussing protests against states’ stay-at-home orders and China’s disinformation campaign about the coronavirus.

Scott Anderson and Pranay Vaddi analyzed when the president can withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.

Charlotte Butash discussed how Trump’s recent actions deviate from the contemporary legal framework governing inspectors general.

Elliot Setzer shared a resolution from the House Rules Chairman that would authorize remote voting.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk featuring dispatches from Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Setzer shared an advisory report from experts recommending changes to the structure of the military justice system.

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