Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 3:18 PM

Coronavirus infections are rising across the United States, writes the New York Times, and the nation’s average of 59,000 daily infections is the most since early August. States including Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Wyoming all set seven-day case records yesterday—a wave that experts attribute to colder weather pushing people indoors.

The Times also reports that President Trump maintains a previously unknown bank account in China. After partnering with one of China’s largest state-controlled construction companies, Trump sought in 2016 to license and manage a housing development in Beijing. He has invested at least $192,000 in the country, but records are unclear about his total expenditures.

A voting rights organization is suing the president, Attorney General Bill Barr and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf for violating the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, according to Zoe Tillman of Buzzfeed News. “President Donald J. Trump and his political appointees,” the group claims in the complaint, “are trying to prevent a free and fair 2020 election by intimidating and threatening eligible voters who want to vote, support, and advocate on behalf of certain political candidates, and express their political beliefs.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the U.S. will increase military aid to “like-minded democracies such as India and Indonesia” to counter the influence of Russia and China, writes the Defense Post. “America’s network of allies and partners provides us an asymmetric advantage our adversaries cannot match,” Esper said at a press conference yesterday.

The Justice Department announced today that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, agreed to a $8 billion settlement and will pled guilty to three federal charges. The company is accused of aggressively marketing a drug that caused hundreds of thousands of overdoses in the U.S. and fueling the opioid epidemic, notes Forbes.

According to NPR, Nigerian police opened fire yesterday on protesters calling for an end to police brutality. At least one person was killed in the ensuing commotion and about two dozen were injured. The shooting came two weeks after Nigerians successfully pushed to dismantle a brutal anti-robbery police unit, though political analyst Cheta Nwanze notes that “police brutality was just a trigger for these protests.” Rising unemployment and coronavirus-related woes have converged into an all-encompassing protest movement in Lagos in which citizens are setting ports afire, ransacking the king’s palace and setting fire to government buildings.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott R. Anderson and Benjamin Wittes shared a long-overdue Trump administration report on the legal and policy frameworks for using military force, which they obtained by suing under the Freedom of Information Act.

Samantha Fry and Samuel Rebo dissected the Justice Department’s indictments against six Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the 2018 Olympics, the Ukrainian government and several other vulnerable groups.

Lorenzo d’Aubert and Eric Halliday discussed how Judge Amy Coney Barrett has ruled on national security issues.

Scott R. Anderson explained how states might appoint electors if the results of the presidential election are contested.

Richard Tilley reviewed Thomas Rid’s “Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare.”

Stewart Baker released the latest episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast entitled, “Fight Like a Canadian,” featuring a conversation with University of Toronto Professor Ronald Deibert about his new book, “Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society.”

Bryce Klehm posted a lawsuit filed by the late Jamal Khashoggi’s wife against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salmin, who is accused of ordering her husband’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein wrote about why it has taken so long for the Supreme Court to scrutinize Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Mark J. Valencia argued that U.S. spy flights in the South China Sea violate international norms.

Bill Priestap and Holden Triplett discussed the foreign espionage threat to U.S. businesses.

Eric Talbot Jensen and Sean Watts shared their Hoover Institution Essay entitled, “Due Diligence and the U.S. Defend Forward Cyber Strategy.”

Jordan Schneider suggested how the U.S. should respond to China’s systemic detention and torture of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Jen Patja Howell released the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast. David Priess spoke with Brookings Fellow Tanvi Madan and Lavina Lee, a director of Australian Strategic Policy Institute Council, about the growing partnership between the U.S., Japan, Australia and India.

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