Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, May 29, 2020, 11:30 AM

President Trump yesterday signed an executive order intended to change a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that provides tech companies with civil liability protection for third-party content posted on their sites, reports the Washington Post. Trump has argued these protections allow Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor conservatives—a charge the companies deny. The order came largely in response to a decision by Twitter earlier this week to mark two of his incorrect tweets with fact-checking labels.

Twitter also hid behind a warning label two tweets sent by the President early this morning, writes NPR. The platform cautioned that the tweets were hidden for “glorifying violence.” In the messages, Trump said he would “send in the National Guard” to restore order in Minneapolis, which has seen protests in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man pinned to the ground and choked by a white police officer. The president added to his tweet: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

President Trump also said yesterday that he is directing Attorney General William Barr to work with states to enforce their own laws against what he described as deceptive business practices by social media companies like Twitter, according to Reuters.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee will vote next week to authorize subpoenas as part of a Republican-led effort to investigate the origins of the Russia probe that led to the routine “unmasking” of President Trump’s associates, reports Politico.

The Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked an effort by Democrats in the state to expand voting by mail, ruling that a lack of immunity to COVID-19 does not qualify a voter to apply for a mail-in ballot, writes NBC.

The Justice Department charged 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens with acting as agents of North Korea’s state-owned bank to evade U.S. sanctions law, according to Reuters. North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank allegedly conspired with the employees charged in the case to process at least $2.5 billion in illegal payments to support the country’s nuclear weapons program.

The Trump administration is considering defying Congress by selling missiles worth $478 million to Saudi Arabia, reports the New York Times. Lawmakers in both parties have repeatedly objected to the United States continuing to supply Riyadh with weapons it has used in strikes on civilians in Yemen.

President Trump will likely approve a measure that would impose sanctions on top Chinese officials responsible for imprisoning more than one million muslim Uighurs in internment camps, after the bill passed the House yesterday, writes Bloomberg.

The National Security Agency (NSA) says that Sandworm, the Russian military hacking group that interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has also been exploiting a major email server program since at least last August, according to the Associated Press. The vulnerability was identified 11 months ago, when a patch was issued, though some companies and governments may still not have fixed the vulnerability.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Preston Lim analyzed a Canadian judge’s dismissal of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s application to end hearings on her potential extradition to the United States.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast discussing a Malaysian law ostensibly aimed at stamping out disinformation with Gabrielle Lim, a researcher at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.

Mara Revkin reviewed Darryl Li’s “The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenges of Solidarity.

Elliot Setzer shared an indictment from the Justice Department bringing charges against North Korean bank officials.

Julian Ku analyzed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal to certify that Hong Kong is autonomous from China.

Omar Rahman argued that years of dereliction has left the Palestine Liberation Organization facing annexation without a plan.

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