Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Friday, October 9, 2020, 3:30 PM

President Trump has pressed Attorney General Barr to indict Democratic leaders like Joe Biden and Barack Obama for unsubstantiated alleged crimes relating to the Trump-Russia investigation, according to the New York Times. In a call to a Fox TV channel, Trump said, “[Barr’s] got all the information he needs. They want to get more, more, more, they keep getting more. I said, ‘You don’t need any more.’”

The New York Times also reports that the president’s tax returns show highly unusual payments totaling more than $21 million from a Las Vegas hotel to the Trump campaign. The Times describes the payments as a “sudden windfall” while Trump’s campaign coffers were dwindling in 2016.

Attorney General Barr has told top Republican legislators that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the original Trump-Russia probe won’t be finished by Election Day, reports Axios. The outlet notes that this disclosure comes as a disappointment to GOP operatives. The Associated Press already noted yesterday that Barr and the president are “increasingly at odds” over the timeline of the investigation, and Barr is reportedly frustrated by the president’s public statements on the case.

The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) won the Nobel Peace Prize today for stabilizing countries riven by conflict and famine, according to Reuters. The Nobel committee said in its citation that the WFP estimates 265 million people will be starving within the next year, “so of course this is also a call to the international community not to underfund” the program.

Russia hosted ceasefire talks today between Armenia and Azerbaijan, who have been warring over the ethnically Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan. The Associated Press writes that Armenia is amenable to a ceasefire, but Azerbaijan won’t stop shelling until its rival’s forces withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh. “Azerbaijan is very reluctant to agree to measures… that would ‘normalize the status quo’ without any tangible political progress,” explains Caucasus region expert Thomas de Waal.

Zoe Tillman of Buzzfeed News has published a deep dive into the past week’s election-related lawsuits. Because the COVID-19 pandemic interferes with normal voting procedures, federal judges are stepping in North Carolina, Texas, New Jersey and other states to determine how Americans can vote in the presidential election.

Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in Bishkek today as anti-government protests paralyzed the city. After a widely disputed election last Sunday favored the president, opposition groups seized control of government buildings and forced the state Electoral Commission to cancel the results, reports Deutsche Welle. Jeenbekov, who indicated Friday that he will resign when a new cabinet is appointed, has ordered troops into the capital, mandated an early curfew and imposed severe security restrictions that will last until Oct. 21.

China agreed today to join CoVax, an international effort to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to two thirds of the global population by 2022. Previously, China had hesitated to sign up before fulfilling its distribution commitments to allies like Pakistan and the Philippines, but now the Chinese Foreign Ministry proclaims its confidence in the country’s manufacturing abilities, writes the Washington Post. The U.S. has still not joined CoVax to avoid “being constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” in the White House’s words.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Vishnu Kannan shared the national-security-related exchanges from Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.

David Priess and Benjamin Wittes announced that the Lawfare Live project – interactive livestreams featuring Lawfare writers, editors and guests – will launch on Friday, October 16.

Tia Sewell shared an affidavit supporting the FBI’s charges yesterday against domestic terrorists in Michigan who allegedly plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Rohini Kurup released the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s unanimous decision that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can enforce his subpoena for eight years of the president’s financial records.

Matt Gluck examined U.S. military payments to civilians who were wounded by conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation between Quinta Jurecic, Evelyn Douek and Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler about how mass media enables the spread of disinformation.

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