Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Matt Gluck
Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 5:36 PM

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held oral arguments in an en banc rehearing of a case stemming from a petition from Michael Flynn’s lawyers to compel U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to comply with the Justice Department’s request to drop the criminal case against Flynn, according to Politico. Analysts noted that the court appeared skeptical of arguments made by Flynn’s lawyers. A three-judge D.C. Circuit Court panel had ordered Sullivan to allow the Justice Department to drop its prosecution of Flynn.

The State Department Inspector General reportedly found that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acted lawfully when he declared an emergency to effectuate over $8 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia last year, reports the New York Times. Reports also indicate that the inspector general’s office determined that the State Department did not take adequate measures to reduce civilian casualties that could result from the arms sales.

Facebook will institute a new policy that will prohibit U.S. news organizations with significant links to political groups from claiming news exemptions that allow them to promote content concerning social issues or elections without labeling the content as political, according to Axios. This comes days after Google said it would ban politically-driven advertisers that falsely claim to be local news outlets to promote political points-of-view.

Facebook reports that it removed almost 40 percent more terrorism-driven content in the last three months than it did during the first quarter of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Facebook spokeswoman said the increase in content removal was due to “improvements in [the platform’s] proactive detection technology,” which allows Facebook to remove harmful content before users report it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has developed a coronavirus vaccine that “has passed all necessary tests” and is ready for use, writes Politico. The vaccine has not yet progressed through Phase 3 testing, which worries experts who say Phase 3 trials are critical in determining the effectiveness of a vaccine.

The White House is circulating a proposal that would enable U.S. authorities to prevent U.S. citizens and permanent residents from entering the U.S. from Mexico if authorities suspect these people are infected with the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post. The administration is reportedly considering a public health emergency declaration that may allow it to institute this policy.

Murder rates in major cities across the country have increased dramatically over the last several months as crime rates in general have decreased significantly, according to the New York Times.

After Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the city would delay its legislative elections, the mainland Chinese government said Tuesday that it will keep Hong Kong’s lawmakers in office for at least another year, reports the Wall Street Journal. After the election was canceled in late July, some opposition politicians feared the mainland government would appoint interim lawmakers. The announcement from Beijing did not say whether the extension would apply to the four pro-democracy legislators who were previously disqualified from the legislative election.

President Trump said Tuesday that his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping has deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic and that he has not spoken to him in a “long time,” according to Reuters. Tensions between the U.S. and China have been elevated as the U.S. has criticized China’s treatment of Hong Kong and targeted Chinese tech giants, among other things.

More than 20 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post. The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that of the approximately 100,000 COVID-19 infections being reported daily in the Americas, half come from the United States.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a discussion with Jim Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent and anchor of CNN Newsroom, about his new book, “The Madman Theory: Trump Takes On the World.” The discussion centered on President Trump’s use of scare tactics in conducting foreign policy initiatives.

In the next installment of the Healthy Elections Project, Joaquin Garcia, Zahavah Levine, Bea Phi, Peter Prindiville, Jeff Rodriguez, Lexi Rubow and Grace Scullion discussed the challenges that faced Wisconsin as it prepared for its Tuesday primary and those that the state must address before the November presidential election.

Jonathan G. Odom argued that the international community should hold China accountable for its unfounded maritime claims and activity in the South China Sea.

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