Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 3:52 PM

YouTube announced today that it will ban videos that promote the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. According to the New York Times, the company said in a blog post that it will prohibit “content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.” Analysts like Mike Rothschild, the author of a forthcoming book on QAnon, note in the Times article that YouTube has played a “huge role” in spreading the conspiracy theory from the fringes to the mainstream. Facebook also announced a decision last week to ban QAnon groups calling for violence, but hundreds of QAnon-linked accounts still remain active on the website.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigated whether money from an Egyptian bank was illegally routed into the president’s campaign coffers, reports CNN. The transfer might have allowed candidate Trump to inject $10 million into his campaign less than two weeks before Election Day. However, the probe into the Egyptian bank subsided this summer based on the recommendations of career prosecutors.

Vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris canceled in-person campaigning after a member of her staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the New York Times. Harris herself tested negative on Wednesday. An official campaign statement pledged that it will “notify everyone who came into contact with the individuals during the potential infection window.”

After a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Aug. 31 severely limited the House’s ability to enforce subpoenas, the full court will re-hear the subpoena dispute between the House Judiciary Committee and former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist warned today that healthy young people may have to wait until 2022 to be vaccinated for COVID-19, writes the Washington Post. In a question-and-answer session released on YouTube, Soumya Swaminathan explained that any coronavirus vaccines available next year will be given first to healthcare workers, the elderly, “and so on.” Although the U.S. is not part of the WHO’s Covax initiative, in which countries collaborate to research and distribute a vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that it also may ask certain low-risk groups of people, like children, to avoid immediately taking the vaccine due to limited supplies.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov will resign following weeks of protests over widely disputed parliamentary elections, reports the Associated Press. In Bishkek, the capital city, protesters have overtaken government buildings and released political allies from prison. In an attempt to quell the violence, Jeenbekov has endorsed a released former president to be his successor. Demonstrators are still pushing to dissolve Kryzgystan’s parliament and force the speaker’s resignation.

A day after Thailand banned large gatherings, tens of thousands of protesters amassed in Bangkok today to call for the release of jailed anti-government activists. The broader goal of their movement, according to Reuters, is to establish a new constitution and remove the prime minister after a potentially manipulated election kept him in power last year.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled “The ‘Unmasked at Last’ Edition.” Benjamin Wittes, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Shane Harris and Susan Hennessey discussed the closure of a Justice Department investigation into Obama administration officials, among other issues relating to national security and foreign policy.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines podcast featuring an interview with Chris Brose, a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, about Brose’s recent book: “The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare.”

Stewart A. Baker released two episodes of The Cyberlaw Podcast. One featured an interview with David Ignatius about the technology in his latest spy novel, “The Paladin.”

The other episode includes Baker’s discussion with a group of experts about the latest news in cybersecurity, content moderation and international law.

Anna Salvatore shared Justice Clarence Thomas’s statement on the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Lane Baker, Gabriella Garcia, Axel Hufford, Garrett Jensen and Alexandra Popke wrote about state-to-state differences in ballot drop-off options as part of Stanford’s Healthy Elections Project.

Jen Patja Howell released an episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled “David Priess Accepts the Results of the Presidential Election.” Priess joined Benjamin Wittes on the podcast to discuss his recent Lawfare piece on the history of peaceful transitions of power in the U.S.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.