Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Matt Gluck
Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 5:19 PM

The Department of Justice charged Ethan Melzer, a soldier in the United States Army, with divulging sensitive information to the Order of Nine Angles (O9A), a neo-Nazi extremist group, in a plot to conduct an attack against the U.S. military, according to the Washington Post. The FBI and the Army arrested Melzer on June 10 after thwarting his alleged plans last month. Melzer’s indictment comes amid a reported rise in white-supremacist violence across the country.

Aaron Zelinsky, a prosecutor in the Department of Justice who worked on the Roger Stone case, plans to testify before Congress Wednesday about his supervisor’s conduct during the prosecution of Stone, writes the New York Times. Zelinsky is expected to say that he was pressured by high-ranking officials in the Department of Justice to recommend a lenient sentence for Stone. Zelinsky and three other Justice Department lawyers withdrew themselves from the Stone prosecution after department officials overrode Zelinsky and his fellow prosecutors and reduced Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

Despite resistance from congressional Republicans and high-ranking White House officials, President Trump supports sending Americans a second set of stimulus checks, reports the Post. House Democrats included another round of checks in their stimulus bill last month, and Republicans in Congress are split on the issue.

On Tuesday, President Trump reiterated a statement he made at his Saturday campaign rally that he instructed his administration to slow down COVID-19 testing, reports Politico. Trump’s affirmation comes after members of the administration tried to downplay the President’s comments at the rally.

In a Tuesday hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress that several states are experiencing a “disturbing surge” of COVID-19 cases, writes the Post. Fauci also said in the hearing that President Trump has not told him to slow testing for the coronavirus, despite the President’s statement earlier in the day.

Democratic Senators pushed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday not to conduct a vote this week on GOP police reform legislation, claiming in a letter that the Republican bill is “woefully inadequate,” according to Reuters. The House is expected to consider a Democratic reform bill on Thursday.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is firmly limiting its communication with foreign officials, reports Politico. Antony Blinken, a senior adviser to the presumptive Democratic nominee, cites President Trump’s creation of a “poisonous environment” in his explanation of this campaign policy.

The French government repatriated ten children of French Jihadists, who were held in Kurdish led detention camps in Syria, Monday, according to the Times. When the Islamic State collapsed in Syria in March 2019, Kurdish forces established camps to hold surviving relatives of Islamic State combatants. Approximately 900 children from Western countries remain in the camps, as many Western nations refuse to bring home their citizens who have ties to the Islamic State.

Yemen’s Houthi movement reports it struck the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, in a drone and missile attack on Tuesday, writes Reuters. The Saudi government says it blocked the attack. After a six-week ceasefire between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia ended last month, there has been a surge in violence between the two sides.

European Union countries are reportedly planning to prohibit Americans from entering the bloc when it reopens its borders on July 1, writes the Times. In March, President Trump angered European officials when he barred citizens from many EU countries from entering the United States as a part of the U.S.’s initial coronavirus response.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation with Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman about former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book and legal battle surrounding its release.

Megan McBride and Jessica Stern analyzed online misinformation regarding the protests following George Floyd’s killing.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast covering Juneteenth, John Bolton’s book and the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling among other topics.

Nate Wood discussed the similarities between debates concerning nontraditional military functions and those centered on defunding the police.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines Podcast featuring his conversation with Dana Stroul, Jamil Jaffer and Harry Wingo about the recent nationwide protests and the national security community’s role in combating racial injustice, among other topics.

Susan Landau announced the recent publication of her paper in the Harvard National Security Journal examining the NSA’s Call Detail Records (CDR) program.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of the ChinaTalk podcast featuring a discussion with Anthony Dapiran about the 2019 Hong Kong protests and their relation to Black Lives Matter.

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