Most Republicans in Congress are refusing to accept President Trump’s loss in the presidential election, reports the New York Times. Only Senators Romney, Sasse, Collins and Murkowski have acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory, with the rest of their Republican colleagues either publicly or tacitly supporting the president’s baseless bid to challenge the electoral results in battleground states. “The issue is now not so much Trump as loyalty to Trumpism,” suggested Timothy Naftali, the founding director of the Nixon Presidential Library. “If you’re a Republican and you get this wrong, you’re going to be primaried out.”
Attorney General Bill Barr released a memo allowing federal prosecutors to probe alleged irregularities in the 2020 election, writes BBC. Barr’s statement prompted a top Justice Department official, Richard Pilger, to resign. Pilger would have overseen investigations into election misconduct.
Michael Ellis, a White House official and former GOP political operative, has been selected to be the top lawyer at the National Security Agency, writes the Washington Post. The selection has not yet been announced, according to U.S. officials speaking anonymously. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that the appointment was made under pressure from the White House.
The Biden administration is expected to put pressure on digital platforms to limit the tech giants’ power, including through the continued pursuit of an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google last month, according to the Times. Biden has also called for the revocation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields websites from liability for user-created content. As restraining the power of tech companies has gained bipartisan support in the U.S. government over the past few years, Silicon Valley giants will continue to face heavy scrutiny in the next administration for a range of issues concerning misinformation, privacy and antitrust policies.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced early this morning that he’d signed an “unspeakably painful agreement” to end the war with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, writes CNN. His announcement came soon after Azeri forces captured Shusha, a city often called the Jerusalem of Nagorno-Karabakh for its rich history. According to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Armenia will have to return much of the Azeri territory surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russian peacekeepers will be deployed along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and the corridor linking the enclave to Armenia.
The European Union today accused Amazon of misusing non-public data from third-party sellers to unfairly compete with sellers in France and Germany, reports the Verge. The accusations follow an EU antitrust investigation announced last year into Amazon’s use of sales data.
According to Politico, the Biden administration may have trouble accessing important documents and transcripts from President Trump’s White House. Although the Presidential Records Act of 1978 requires the sitting president to preserve all records relating to their official duties, Politico explains that there is “no real enforcement mechanism,” so it’s up to the White House to decide which materials should be public. As a result, the Trump administration’s record of shredding documents, encrypting communications with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and using personal emails for government work may limit President-elect Biden’s knowledge of sensitive national security policy.
Militant Islamists in a northern province of Mozambique have allegedly beheaded more than 50 people in the past few days, reports Deutsche Welle. The attack, which targeted several villages in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, follows yearslong insurgency and continued violence in a region where human rights groups claim massive abuses have been committed both by Islamist rebels and Mozambique security forces trying to quell the rebellion.
ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare
Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the latest episode of the National Security Law Podcast entitled, “It’s Late, and We’re Loopy.”
Adam Mount and Pranay Vaddi suggested how the U.S. can revise its procedures for authorizing nuclear use.
Muhammad Fraser-Rahim explained why Nigeria’s #EndSARS protest movement is about more than one notoriously brutal police unit.
Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled, “Trump is Defeated.” Benjamin Wittes spoke with Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Schulz and Susan Hennessey about the transition from the Trump presidency to a Biden one.
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