Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, May 15, 2020, 11:50 AM

The whistleblower who was removed as the head of a federal medical research agency told a House subcommittee yesterday that top Trump administration officials failed to heed his early warnings to stock up on masks and other supplies to combat COVID-19, reports the New York Times. Dr. Rick Bright also predicted vaccine shortages if the administration does not begin drafting a distribution plan for any future vaccine.

Sen. Richard Burr has temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid a Department of Justice investigation into his stock sales earlier this year, writes the Hill.

President Trump yesterday announced a plan to expand the government’s undersupplied stockpile of emergency gear to help combat the coronavirus pandemic and accelerate manufacturing, according to the Washington Post.

More than 60% of deaths among Moscow’s COVID-19 patients are not being included in the city’s official coronavirus death toll, reports the Moscow Times.

The U.S. has increased military pressure on China amid increased tensions in the South China Sea, according to CNN. In the last few weeks, U.S. Navy ships and Air Force B-1 bombers have undertaken missions aimed at sending a public message that the U.S. military intends to maintain a presence in the region despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate voted yesterday to revive three expired FBI tools for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations that lapsed this spring, adopting modest new privacy safeguards for Americans swept up in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court process, writes the New York Times.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to allow a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting foreign government money through his Washington hotel to proceed to fact-gathering about Trump’s profits, reports Politico.

The U.S. yesterday blamed Islamic State militants—not the Taliban—for an attack on a maternity ward in Afghanistan this week that killed two newborn babies, and TKTK others, writes Reuters. The U.S. renewed its calls for Afghans to continue peace negotiations with the Taliban insurgency, but it was unclear if the statement would be enough to reverse a decision by the Afghan government to resume offensive operations against the Taliban.

The swearing-in of Israel’s new unity government has been delayed until Sunday because of a dispute over the allocation of cabinet posts, according to the BBC.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott Anderson and Benjamin Wittes announced a Freedom of Information Act request to find out if members of the intelligence community feels like it’s being unduly pressured by the Trump administration.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast discussing this week’s SCOTUS oral arguments in the Trump financial documents subpoena cases.

Scott Anderson and Margaret Taylor discussed the House’s proposal for remote voting.

Elliot Setzer shared House Democrats’ draft rule changes that would allow proxy voting.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk featuring pandemic reports from Nanjing, Nepal and Singapore.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast discussing reporting on fake news with Craig Silverman, the media editor for Buzzfeed News and one of the leading journalists covering the disinformation beat.

Durward Johnson and James Kraska argued some synthetic biology may not be covered by the Biological Weapons Convention.

Justin Sherman discussed a new bill to “warn” Americans before they download certain foreign apps.

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