Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Friday, October 30, 2020, 2:51 PM

The U.S. tallied a record 500,000 cases of Covid-19 this past week, writes the New York Times. Parts of the Sun Belt, the Upper Midwest and the Mountain West are experiencing surges in infections and hospitalization rates, and across the country 800 people are dying on average each day.

House Democrats released a report today excoriating the Trump administration for its handling of the pandemic, according to the Washington Post. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus accused the president of misleading the public about the dangers of the virus, condemned administration officials for ignoring scientists’ advice and identified examples of the administration awarding pharmaceutical contracts to ill-prepared companies without competition.

David Correia, a former business partner of Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, pleaded guilty yesterday to lying to election officials about a donation he made to a Trump-supporting PAC. Correia is accused of creating a shell company called Global Energy Producers to funnel $350,000 to the president’s reelection campaign, writes CNBC News.

Russia-based hackers targeted the email accounts of Indiana and California Democratic party members earlier this year, reports Reuters, though the Indiana Democratic Party said in a statement that it was “unaware of any successful intrusions.” The hacking group also unsuccessfully tried to breach influential U.S. think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In the days leading up to the presidential election, Instagram is not allowing users to browse “recent” posts on all hashtag pages, writes the Verge. Now users can only view the top posts under a hashtag (for example, #election2020) so that misinformation is less likely to spread.

At least 14 people have died and hundreds of others are injured in Greece and Turkey after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Aegean Sea, reports CNN. Witnesses observed a “mini-tsunami” afterwards that sent water gushing through the streets of western Turkey, and the deputy mayor of Samos, Greece said that a few old buildings had collapsed on the island.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli will likely declare victory soon in the country’s presidential elections, according to the Associated Press. After the state’s electoral commission declared today that Magufuli earned 83 percent of the vote, the U.S. warned that “irregularities and the overwhelming margins of victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results.” A group of regional experts called the Tanzania Rights Watch pointed to a “climate of fear” in Tanzania, as the government has deployed troops to polling places, blocked the internet and seized ballot boxes.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finished his tour of South Asia today with a visit in Vietnam, writes the Wall Street Journal. Pompeo did not mention Beijing explicitly in his remarks, but he said that the U.S. has “enormous respect” for Vietnam’s sovereignty—a critical reference to Chinese encroachment in the South China Sea. The Journal notes that Pompeo encouraged Indonesians on Thursday to speak out about Chinese abuses toward the Muslim Uyghur population.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Zahavah Levine and Thea Raymond-Sidel explained how different states are verifying mail-in ballots.

Alexandra Ross Perry and Christopher Meyer described several states’ lawsuits to halt the expansion of vote-by-mail.

Rohini Kurup shared the House Judiciary Committee’s report on the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

Vera Mironova wrote about social media fundraisers for women affiliated with the Islamic State.

Jon Temin argued that democracy fails when presidents fail to obey their term limits.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast in the Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation. Quinta Jureicc and Evelyn Douek interviewed Casey Newton, an editor for The Verge, about the latest news in platform and content moderation.

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