Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 1:28 PM

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that lawmakers won’t return to Washington next week, following widespread backlash to Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to have the House come back on May 4, reports Politico. The Capitol’s attending physical warned on Monday night that lawmakers would be at risk for coronavirus given the number of COVID-19 cases in Washington, D.C.

President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order meat processing plants to remain open amid the coronavirus pandemic, writes the BBC. The order designates meatpacking facilities as part of U.S. critical infrastructure. But meat plans across the country have become COVID-19 hot spots, and the order provoked backlash from unions and labor advocates who warned the administration needs to do more to protect workers, according to the New York Times.

Democratic lawmakers in Congress will propose legislation today to force President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to compel U.S. manufacturers to make medical supplies, reports the Washington Post. Trump has expressed reluctance to invoke the act, despite supply shortages and a lack of widespread testing.

President Trump yesterday suggested that state and local relief funds from the federal government could hinge on his administration’s view of a given locality’s sanctuary city policies, writes Politico.

Nearly three in five Americans say they would be either unable or unwilling to use the digital contact tracing technology under development by Google and Apple, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and University of Maryland. The two tech companies are working to help develop apps that would notify users who had come into close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.The survey results, however, suggest there are serious barriers to achieving thewidespread adoption that would make the technology effective.

The White House has asked intelligence agencies to seek information about whether China and the World Health Organization (WHO) hid information during the initial outbreak of COVID-19, according to NBC. As part of the assignment, intelligence agencies were ordered to determine what the WHO knew about two research labs studying coronaviruses in Wuhan.

A suicide bombing near Kabul, Afghanistan killed three people and wounded fifteen today, reports Reuters. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

The United States has circulated a draft U.N. resolution that would indefinitely extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran set to expire later this year, writes the Associated Press. The resolution is likely to spark opposition from Russia, which has stated its desire to resume conventional weapons sales to Tehran.

The Pentagon will restore $545 million dollars in funding for military construction projects in the U.S. that were put on hold to help fund President Trump’s border wall, according to Politico. To fill the budget hole left by releasing these funds, Defense Secretary Mark Esper proposed using funds that were supposed to be spent for projects overseas. This included funds for two projects at Guantanamo Bay, writes the New York Times’ Charlie Savage.

FBI documents made public yesterday reveal extensive communications between longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, reports the Associated Press.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Sophia Yan, a Beijing correspondent for the London Telegraph, to discuss her recent trip to Wuhan and surveillance in China.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast featuring a debate with Harriet Moynihan over the application of international law to cyberattacks.

Karl Eikenberry and David Kennedy asked whether the COVID-19 pandemic truly resembles a war.

Gary Bass argued that it’s time to restart the debate about the morality of nuclear weapons.

Kemal Kirisci and M. Moral Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey will need help protecting refugees during this public health crisis.

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