Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Friday, August 28, 2020, 1:37 PM

Long-serving prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe resigned today, reports The New York Times. Abe cited a relapse of bowel disease as the reason for his departure. His Liberal Democratic Party will nominate a replacement in the next few weeks, with the top candidates including his chief cabinet secretary and a former defense minister.

Floods in Afghanistan have killed at least 150 people and displaced many more, writes The New York Times. Afghanis say their health system is overwhelmed by the triple emergencies of the coronavirus pandemic, the ongoing war and now the devastating floods in the northern city of Charikar. Some areas are unable to receive aid because of insurgent violence, lamented prominent peace-maker Abdullah Abdullah.

Sweden is conducting heightened military exercises in the Baltic Sea, according to the Financial Times. Defense minister Peter Hultqvist explained that the exercises are in response to Russian military maneuvers. “What we’re doing,” he said, “is sending a signal both to our partners and to the Russian side that we stand up for Swedish integrity and sovereignty.”

The Michigan secretary of state announced an investigation today into misleading robocalls about the 2020 election, reports The Washington Post. The messages erroneously told people that if they vote by mail, their personal information will be shared with police and insurance companies. Right-wing operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman’s “Project 1599” are allegedly behind the calls.

Palestinian leaders are not willing to resume relations with Israel, reports The Post. Although the United Arab Emirates, with whom Tel Aviv recently agreed to a peace deal, has insisted that further annexation would ruin their partnership with Israel, Palestinians worry that threatening statements made by President Netanyahu to his supporters indicate annexation may continue.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will start working on a resolution to hold Sec. Pompeo in contempt, reports Lindsay Wise of the Wall Street Journal. Per the committee, Pompeo has not cooperated with its investigation into his “transparently political misuse” of department resources, according to Reuters.

D.C. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao authored an opinion today holding that “the Due Process Clause may not be invoked by aliens without property or presence in the sovereign territory of the United States.” The Supreme Court declined in 2008 to say whether Guantanamo detainees without U.S. citizenship have Due Process protection, so analysts note that Rao's opinion denying detainees both substantive and procedural due process rights is significant. According to Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck, the case may be reheard by the full D.C. Circuit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has declined to rehear Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s conviction for desertion, reports Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News.

Tillman also writes that the 9th Circuit temporarily lifted an injunction today that prevented federal officers in Portland from forcing legal observers and journalists to disperse.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Aviezer Tucker reviewed Anne Applebaum’s new book, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism,” arguing that her book said more about elite perspectives than populist currents.

Benjamin Wittes asserted that a footnote in a House Intelligence Committee memo confirms the existence of a significant hole in counterintelligence investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

As part of the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, Axel Hufford explained why ballot boxes are an increasingly popular option for the 2020 election.

Thomas Hopkins, Sean Kang, Kenneth Kuwayti, Zahavah Levine, and Max Levy also analyzed Nevada’s June 9 primary for the project.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation between Quinta Jurecic and Emma Llansó, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. They discussed Global Internet Forum (GIFCT), a consortium which platforms use to remove terrorism-related material.

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