Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, June 5, 2020, 11:17 AM

Several hundred active-duty troops brought to Washington, D.C. to respond to protests left the capitol yesterday, a day after their initially planned departure was abruptly delayed, reports the Associated Press.

Senate Democrats yesterday introduced legislation to limit the president’s power to invoke the Insurrection Act, in response to President Trump’s threats to deploy active military troops into U.S. cities, according to the Hill. The bill, introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, would require a president to consult with Congress prior to invoking the Insurrection Act.

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended his controversial decision to use force to clear peaceful protestors from streets near the White House on Monday, saying it was a necessary move in response to “very serious rioting,” writes Politico. The incident on Monday garnered controversy after police drove religious leaders from St. John’s church off the church’s portico so that President Trump could walk through the just-cleared area to conduct a photo-op outside the church.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday demanded that President Trump provide a list of the agencies that have deployed law enforcement officers around Washington, D.C. in response to protests against police brutality, reports the Hill. Officers in the capital in recent days have been seen without any identifiers on their uniforms, raising concerns about accountability. Many of the federal agents have refused to identify which agency they work for after being asked by journalists and protestors, according to Politico.

The Supreme Court will announce as soon as Monday whether it will accept a challenge to the doctrine of qualified immunity, writes the Washington Post. The doctrine shields police and other government officials from lawsuits about excessive force or alleged civil rights violations, among other things. The death of George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, has accelerated calls for the court to reconsider.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Ret. Gen. Martin Dempsey criticized Trump’s threat to use military force to suppress nationwide protests, calling the idea “dangerous'' and “troubling,” according to NPR.

Twitter has disabled President Trump’s tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint, reports Reuters.

The Justice Department is encouraging U.S. attorneys nationwide to use federal courts—where they can bring more serious charges—to prosecute people suspected of violence or property damage during protests in response to George Floyd’s death, writes NBC.

Senate Republicans moved yesterday to authorize subpoenas for dozens of high-level Obama administration officials as part of a sprawling election-year effort to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation, according to the New York Times. The Senate Homeland Security and the Senate Judiciary Committee have been laying the groundwork for months of public hearings designed to undercut the central conclusions of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and to portray President Trump as a victim of government overreach.

Sen. Chuck Grassley said he would hold up the confirmation of two Trump administration nominees until he received a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind President Trump’s decision to fire two inspectors general, reports the Wall Street Journal.

A senior Google official announced yesterday that Chinese and Iranian hackers recently targeted the email accounts of staffers for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, writes Politico. Chinese-backed hackers attempted to use malicious emails to breach Biden campaign staffers’ accounts, while hackers in Iran used a similar tactic with the Trump campaign. There was “no sign of compromise” of either campaign’s emails.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Elliot Setzer shared the criminal complaint against three alleged far-right anti-government extremists charged with conspiracy to incite violence at a Las Vegas Black Lives Matter protest.

Richard Altieri and Benjamin Della Rocca analyzed Trump’s revocation of Hong Kong’s special status, and China’s push to win the global tech race.

Setzer shared a livestream of a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the crisis in Hong Kong.

Mikhaila Fogel shared an invitation to a career panel webinar and Q&A with Lawfare’s senior team, on Tuesday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Benjamin Wittes analyzed Rod Rosenstein’s peculiar testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week.

Edward Fishman discussed how to fix America’s failing sanctions policy.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ryan Merkley of the Wikimedia Foundation about why Wikipedia works.

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