Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore, Tia Sewell
Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 1:59 PM

President Trump will visit Kenosha, Wis., to meet with members of law enforcement today, according to the Washington Post. On Monday, local officials expressed concern that his visit could exacerbate tensions in the city and requested that the president delay his trip. This unrest follows the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, whose death sparked further outrage after a summer of protests against police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.

In Portland, demonstrators have begun taking more measures to keep themselves safe as protests have grown increasingly confrontational and dangerous, writes the New York Times. Clashes this summer have largely occurred between protestors and police. But as right-wing activists have arrived, sometimes bearing firearms, multiple violent confrontations have broken out and left three people dead over the past two weeks.

The United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution today that aimed to prosecute, rehabilitate and assimilate people involved in terrorism, reports DW. Fourteen members of the Security Council were in favor of the resolution, but the U.S. objected that it would not have required countries to repatriate foreign fighters. Despite U.S. diplomatic prodding, European countries have been reluctant to repatriate Islamic State fighters detained in Iraq and Syria.

A human rights advocate featured in the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” has been arrested on terrorism charges, writes BBC News. Paul Rusesabagina became famous after he sought to save hundreds of Tutsis from genocide at his hotel. The BBC notes that Rusesabagina has been critical of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron called upon Lebanese leadership to form a government “as soon as possible,” according to France 24. Macron arrived in Beirut on Monday and will mediate political negotiations in Lebanon while pressing for reform to tackle corruption in the country. Amid financial crisis, sectarian tensions, the pandemic and reconstruction efforts following the explosion on Aug. 4, Lebanon is facing many critical threats to its stability.

Hackers are probing the defenses of Trump campaign websites to find security vulnerabilities, writes Reuters. In the past two months, cybersecurity experts have seen significant increases in the number and severity of cyberattacks on Trump campaign websites. Cloudflare, an American cybersecurity firm hired by Trump’s team, stated that, “We have seen an increase in cyberattacks targeting political candidates. We will continue to work to ensure these attacks do not disrupt free and fair elections.”

Nine vaccine candidates for Covid-19 have advanced into final-stage testing as the world races to fast-track vaccine development, reports the Wall Street Journal. Several of the companies behind leading candidates expect interim results this fall, which may be enough for a vaccine to gain regulatory approval for mass distribution. This comes as the United States has recorded over six million coronavirus cases and 183,474 confirmed deaths, according to the Times.

Analysts expect Yoshihide Suga to become the next prime minister of Japan, according to The Washington Post. The understated politician has served since 2012 as the main spokesman for the administration of departing Prime Minister Shinzo. In that role, he coordinated policy and enforced obeisance to Abe in the governing Liberal Democratic Party. Because he is not known as a foreign policy expert, The Post explains that he will likely emulate Abe’s stances in that realm.

Far-right extremists in Germany attempted to storm the Reichstag last night, reports The New York Times. The agitators were quickly ejected from the premises as they waved imperial flags and chanted, “We are the people,” even though they only enjoy support from 9% of German public. The Times adds that last night’s episode fits into a broader movement of far-right extremism, including attacks on a synagogue in Halle and the 2019 assassination of a local politician near Kassel.

Attorney General William Barr announced new rules today limiting the government’s ability to secretly monitor political candidates and their aides, reports The Washington Post. Before the FBI and the Justice Department seek warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil an elected official, a political candidate or aides, officials now must choose whether to warn the subject that foreign governments may be targeting them. If the official does not issue a warning, the FBI Director must give reasons for that decision.

A D.C. Circuit panel ruled that the courts cannot enforce a subpoena from a House Committee to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, writes Politico. The 2-1 decision held that the House of Representatives cannot seek enforcement of subpoenas against executive branch officials in federal court unless it first passes a law making them enforceable. Experts have noted that the ruling hamstrings the House’s ability yesterday to enforce subpoenas. Lawfare contributor Steve Vladeck expects the “stunning decision” to be appealed to the full D.C. Circuit.

President Trump’s lawyers appeared in the Second Circuit today to argue that the Manhattan District Attorney cannot enforce a subpoena for Trump’s financial records, writes Kyle Cheney of Politico. “The three-judge panel seemed to lean toward granting a stay,” Cheney adds, “which would stretch the case out to late September, at least.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tait Anderson, Chelsey Davidson, Andrew Freiwald, Michael Jacobs, Jenny Liu and Kimberly Valladares explained why Iowa may struggle in the general election to replicate the voter turnout from its June primary.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast about the president’s authority to unilaterally wage trade wars. The panelists were Lawfare’s Scott R. Anderson, University of Miami law professor Kathleen Claussen and Vanderbilt law professor Timothy Meyer.

Andrew Mines discussed how the coronavirus is impacting American jihadist travelers.

Tia Sewell shared the D.C. Circuit’s 8-2 ruling denying Michael Flynn’s petition for expedited relief to the court to dismiss his criminal case. Yesterday’s en banc decision reversed a 2-1 panel ruling from June 24.

Elliot Setzer shared the D.C. Circuit’s divided panel ruling that the House of Representatives cannot seek judicial enforcement of its subpoenas against Don McGahn.

Jordan Schneider shared the 100th episode of his ChinaTalk podcast. He sat down with Tanner Greer of Scholarstage to discuss President Xi’s ideology, why it's worth studying ancient Chinese history and Mormon culture in China.

Ellen Chachko shared her essay about Israel’s cyber defense architecture. She examines recent reforms in Israel’s government, such as the establishment of a new civilian national security agency, and argues that they are harmful to civil liberties and private sector autonomy.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of The National Security Law Podcast called “What Would Robert Jackson Do?” They discussed the D.C. Circuit’s recent denial of Due Process rights to a Guantanamo prisoner, the Hatch Act and the increasing prevalence of deep fakes in political culture.

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