Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore, Tia Sewell
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 3:45 PM

President Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court yesterday to delay a ruling that would allow Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance to obtain Trump’s financial records, writes the New York Times. This is the Trump legal team’s second attempt to appeal their case to the Supreme Court in less than a year.

House Democrats published a letter today that criticizes the Trump administration’s unilateral approach to the coronavirus and offers a plan for increased international cooperation, reports the Washington Post. The lawmakers claim that the administration’s antipathy towards China hindered the White House’s efforts to work with global organizations to slow the spread of the virus. To date, the coronavirus has killed over 215,000 people in the United States.

U.S. presidential arms control envoy Marshall Billinglea said yesterday that the United States and Russia have agreed to extend the New START agreement to tactical weaponsa claim that the Kremlin disputes, according to Defense One. The Russian foreign ministry clarified that Russia and the U.S. have not agreed on nuclear arsenals freezes, despite Trump administration officials touting concrete progress towards “an agreement in principle.” The Russian ministry added that Moscow would not approve a New Start treaty extension before the U.S. election on Nov. 3 of this year.

Prosecutors allege that Amy Coopera woman who drew national scorn in May after falsely reporting a Black birdwatcher threatened her in Central Park—called the police a second time after the incident, writes the Washington Post. During the second phone call, Cooper allegedly lied that the man “tried to assault her.”

Turkish arms sales to Azerbaijan multiplied sixfold this year before fighting began in Nagorno-Karabakh, reports Reuters. The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly observes that Azerbaijan purchased $123 million in arms and defense equipment from Turkey, its close ally, in the first nine months of the year, creating a military advantage for Azeris as they fight Armenia for control of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Saudi Arabia yesterday failed to win a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to France 24. Bruno Stagno, a deputy executive director a Human Rights Watch, tweeted that the council elections “delivered a stunning rebuke to #SaudiArabia under Mohammed bin Salman,” whose murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi drew international condemnation.

For the sixth straight day, thousands of Nigerians have taken to the streets after a video posted online showed state police beating an individual. The Washington Post writes that ten people have died in the demonstrations, and calls for broader police reform have continued even after the Nigerian government agreed on Sunday to disband the “Special Anti-Robbery Squad,” whose members have been associated with human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings.

Israel approved over 1,300 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank today, writes Reuters. The decision marks the first such authorization since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended annexation plans in the territory in August of this year.

The Supreme Court declined yesterday to review the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision which gives broad immunity from civil suit to internet platforms when publishing third-party content. In a statement, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote critically of lower courts’ sweeping interpretations of Section 230 and indicated he would like to reexamine the provision in “an appropriate case.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott Moore examined China’s new climate commitments and argued that the U.S. should respond by scaling up American investment in clean technology research and development.

Sam Cohen analyzed developments and tensions in the South China Sea following the Quadrilateral Security dialogue, an informal strategic consultation meeting between the U.S., Australia, India and Japan.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Charles Kupchan on his recently published book, “Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself from the World.”

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